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Thread: Different types of kenpo...

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    Default Different types of kenpo...

    …in no particular order…

    Which have I missed or forgot? Add them.

    Which ones, or a combination of them, reflect your current training environment?

    Which would be your ideal environment?

    1. Pretty Boy Kenpo (PBK). To learn this, you typically check into a studio, where a 20 or 30-something guy has more red on his belt than a fire engine (each rank certificate, displayed proudly in glass mountings at the entry, is from a different association), and folks can be seen sparring in the background…tippity-tappity, followed by congratulations all around on a job well done. Between clashes, everyone straightens their gis and belts, and checks themselves in the mirrors. They may not be deadly, but they sure look good. Just ask them; they’ll tell you. The kenpo is sharp and snappy, with pressed edges like a pair of pants fresh from the cleaners. It’s a good-enough place to learn the material requirements of kenpo; you just better hope you never find your life depending on your skill; you’ll learn all the techs, extensions, sets and forms here, but good luck getting out of that wet paper bag with a buck knife. The walls are covered with movie posters, trophies, and plaques; and the corner has a gymboree set-up made mostly of primary-color karate things for the pee-wee class. You get back out to the parking lot, and weave through a maze of SUV’s and mini-vans to find your car.

    2. Hairy Bastard Kenpo (HBK). You check into an old boxing gym or a guys garage on the bad side of town, the place reeking of stale sweat. Some old surly cuss who has been wearing the same 2nd degree since the Viet-Nam war walks you to an age-yellowed canvass mat, peppered by rust colored stains from regular blood spilled in training. The walls are covered in peeling lead-based paint and the grime that forms from years of forced exhales and perspiration. The guys who show up to train are a bunch of PTSD vets, cops, prison guards or ex-cons from sundry eras, who all have the look of living hard. The kenpo is base…grab, hit; throw down, and hit some more. If a technique is reviewed, it’s quite painful to be in the line-up…you wonder if they really are going to break your elbow, as they yank you back and forth in Lone Kimono, and toss you around like a rag doll, even though you weight 240 lbs. And you only got to the kenpo and sparring after hours of reviewing World War 2-style battlefield judo and lotsa boxing. Nobody here has even heard of Long 5, much less knows it. It ain’t pretty, but it hurts…and you’ll thank the gods you had this training when battling your way out of a dogpile. The aged boxers in the group have whiplashed your neck, bruised your liver and kidneys, broken your nose, blackened both your eyes and split both cheeks…but they also made sure by the end of the night that you learned how to keep them from doing it over and over…then tested their work, and your resolve. In the corner are an old Olympic free-weight set and some dumbbells with a tattered weight bench. Taped up heavy bags and speed bags line the north wall. In sparring, you find yourself looking into the glazed-over eyes of someone you’re not quite sure is all there, and silently pray they remember you are an acquaintance here to train, and not some residual Charlie from a bad flashback…because this guy really could kill you. And might. You go out to the street, and either can’t find your car, or you find it, but the window’s smashed and the stereo has been ripped out. You had better get in the car and get out of there quickly, before that car full of gangstas drives by again.

    3. Clever Old Dog Kenpo (CODK). You drive up either to a home in the hills, or to a small studio off the beaten path. The place is nice, without being over-the-top. You’re greeted by an older gent with a rather mellowed look to a kindly face…one that does NOT reveal what you know of their history as a serviceman, law enforcement officer, or soldier for the mob. They wear a higher rank, but it’s not inappropriate for one who has been a mover and shaker in the art for as long as they have. The people training in the background – psychologists, lawyers, retired stock-brokers – are moving at a leisurely pace, running techniques with an emphasis on placement, rather than power or speed. There is time given to reactions to manipulations not seen in other contexts. No one is out to hurt or get hurt, and the same old techniques are done with a mind more towards dirty little tricks that neutralize the attack without mauling the attacker. The walls are lined with books on philosophy and spirituality, interspersed with hangings and cultural art from the far-east…pictures of the instructor with Alan Watts or the Dalai Lama. Your car is safe among the Volvo’s, Subaru’s and Hondas in the front yard, and there is no great hurry to leave as the class settles into a meandering discussion of Ira Progoff’s journaling suggestions and the importance of dreams. You know that, if a challenge match walked through the door, they would be able to walk out, having merely had their toes stepped on, and a finger dug sneakily into unpleasant nerve bundles. They would also have been invited to stay for tea. Cozy.

    4. Techno-Geek Kenpo (TGK). Lord only knows where you’ll actually meet to train; nobody here is in it for the money, and locations change on a semi-yearly rotation. The instructor is an odd blend…used to be surly old cuss, hasn’t retired to clever old-dawg status just yet, and has had it with pretty boy schools well before he quit participating in the competitive circuit. The class is working on detailed specifics, as the prof. discusses the myriad of angles of entry for a blow that don’t work, and why, so that they better understand the ones that do work, and why. The target, weapon & path are explored in detail, including bone alignment & muscle configuration. The space where mat meets mirror is lined with binders for taking copious notes, and at any given time, a student or two can be seen scurrying off to make an addition to their tome. You’re tempted to assume that, with this attention to detail, the people here must surely be old chess club rejects, but the preponderance of police gearbags in the locker room, stoic faces on the floor, and Harley’s in the parking lot cause you to think better. Nay-sayers show, are greeted warmly, then invited to try their stuff on the mat: You do your lone kimono, and we’ll do ours. Dang if those geeks can’t drop you off the first move, done meticulously and solid, every time. The legacy of the how-to details will be preserved in this crew, even if forgotten or glossed over elsewhere. The place is clean, but reflects serious business…what else would you expect from technical perfectionists? The walls are lined with lifelike training gear…dummy shotguns and rifles of various shapes and dimension, clubs, knives, handguns…and they get used. Meticulously. There is no room for error in tailoring when your life is on the line, and these guys are in it for life. Your car is fine, but you take your time getting to it…the discussion about details is just too fascinating to bother with the better part of judgment around getting home at a decent hour.

    5. Athletic-Competitive Kenpo (ACK). You check into a studio in the burbs…by day, it may have been a family studio with kids classes, but it’s night time now, and the kids have gone home. They are replaced by a slew of 6% body-fat tournament champs with lightening quick strikes and combos, and amazing cardio endurance. The younger ones still have some…facial flexibility, but the seasoned folk have bent noses and a build-up of subcutaneous scar tissue over their cheekbones. One corner has guys working focus pad drills, while another has a guy sliding in on a heavy bag with a feint-feint-strike attack. Throughout the school, pairs are clashing noisily, then stepping apart with one or the other giving the “good shot” nod to their partner or a pointer on how to get past what they’re doing to the other guy. It may not be the most technically sound kenpo in the world, but don’t tell them that unless you want a mouthful of mit. There are definitely egos in the room, but also a sense of well-earned pride and a determination to stay at the forefront of this sport. When not clashing, a sense of extended family infuses interactions. You meet the instructor, and see that the zeitgeist has flowed from the top, down: genuinely kind and inclusive, but with a sense of competitiveness and intensity just behind the eyes. The walls are lined with championship fighting trophies, and pictures of the last 40 years of competitors. It’s not the Cobra-Kai, but they are serious about their craft. The parking lot is a blend of Mercedes and work trucks still dirty from the job site. You get in your car looking forward to a fistful of Advil, a couple beers with a Gatorade and a protein shake, and a good nights sleep.
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Great Post, I take it you've seen all of these?

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    These reflect places I've trained, or are amalgamations of "types" I've met along the way. I started at a Hairy place as a kid, lateraled over to a PBK location, then back to an HBK location (the beginings of arthritis). The HBK's brother was my first intro to techno-geek kenpo, and I was hooked.

    When I lost contact with them, I went to an CODK school for a spell, then over to an ACK studio. Met a contact there for some more HBK, so lateraled again. Gave up on kenpo for a spell after Mr. Parkers passing, then met Doc...the consumate TGK professor; with his gung-fu background, he did the TGK thing with the best of them at Wongs and at Parkers; as a co-founder of BKF and a dozen years of running the Long Beach Internationals for Mr. Parker, he did the CAK and HBK thing; and now, with SL-4, is doing the TGK thing better than anybody else I know of.

    Since I haven't nailed the SL-4 yet, if and when I teach, it's a combo of HBK and TGK (get it right, then do it with some hair on your nads...I don't care if you're pretty; can you fight?).


    Where has your history taken you?
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Quote Originally Posted by crane557 View Post
    Great Post, I take it you've seen all of these?
    I've been lucky enough, and unlucky enough, to have been part of each several times.

    I think as I age, I'm more interested in becoming a blend of Techno and Clever Old Dog. It's easier on the joints. But one can't help but look back on the Hairy Bastard days with some pride, since most have never gone to that extreme in their training.

    It also makes it hard to visit the vast majority of schools as a kind guest. There's always this "which hat should I wear?" thing...I don't want to scare people I'm meeting for the first time, but don't want to roll all the way over either. Few will be interested in being on the recieving end of an old Hawaiian kempo blast; few want to hear that thier basics lack structural integrity, and here's a way to improve on them; few have ever sparred with the intensity of a night at Bob Whites leading up to the Internationals; and almost no kenpoists have done the grizzled-boxer thing, and if you come at them with this intensity, they think you're actually trying to harm them or you're pissed off. So I typically keep my hands to myself (aside from checking and blocking), and throw some tournament style snappy kicks and lead-hand backnuckles. But then ego kicks in, because I know there's more to my kenpo/fighting than that hunt-and-peck sparring exchange.

    Tough to make new friends out there, I'll tell ya.
    Last edited by Dr. Dave in da house; 02-06-2007 at 05:54 PM.
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    That's reality kenpo, lol.
    There is nothing so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    HBK would most closely resemble my current situation. But I do have a question.

    Why is it that people feel the need to put things into shiney little boxes.Is it because they can only relate to things in 2 dimensional terms of black & white? This is by no means intended to be offensive, but instead a legitimate question meant to get one thinking. Though the above list is somewhat humorous and many of us can relate, it is posted from only one unique perspective. While I feel the provided description of HBK best describes our dojo, if Dr. Dave came in his perspective could be different. Think about it if so inclined.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Hmm, interesting post. I guess you could say that my school is primarily ACK with a good dose of CODK and TGK thrown in for good measure. This in a school from a GM who came up learning MA in a HBK school.

    I love acronyms.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    HBK would most closely resemble my current situation. But I do have a question.

    Why is it that people feel the need to put things into shiney little boxes.Is it because they can only relate to things in 2 dimensional terms of black & white? This is by no means intended to be offensive, but instead a legitimate question meant to get one thinking. Though the above list is somewhat humorous and many of us can relate, it is posted from only one unique perspective. While I feel the provided description of HBK best describes our dojo, if Dr. Dave came in his perspective could be different. Think about it if so inclined.
    Did you see the part where I invite the readers -- including you -- to expand via addition? Shiny little boxes rock. So join in, and describe yours!

    D.

    "If it's not fun, F it"...this is supposed to be fun, dangit!
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    Hmm, interesting post. I guess you could say that my school is primarily ACK with a good dose of CODK and TGK thrown in for good measure. This in a school from a GM who came up learning MA in a HBK school.

    I love acronyms.
    Acronyms about shiny little boxes rock more, especially if you have Synchronicity playing in the background!
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Dr. Dave,

    I think that those of us that have been involved in Kenpo for a long time have gone to some of these schools. I think we are all the better for it. Takes all kinds of experience to make you better. Maybe our school has also evolved through some of these transitions.

    I am most Respectfully'
    sifuroy

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    I have been into all of those types of schools, and have learned something from each of them.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dave in da house View Post
    …in no particular order…

    Which have I missed or forgot? Add them.

    Which ones, or a combination of them, reflect your current training environment?

    Which would be your ideal environment?

    1. Pretty Boy Kenpo (PBK). To learn this, you typically check into a studio, where a 20 or 30-something guy has more red on his belt than a fire engine (each rank certificate, displayed proudly in glass mountings at the entry, is from a different association), and folks can be seen sparring in the background…tippity-tappity, followed by congratulations all around on a job well done. Between clashes, everyone straightens their gis and belts, and checks themselves in the mirrors. They may not be deadly, but they sure look good. Just ask them; they’ll tell you. The kenpo is sharp and snappy, with pressed edges like a pair of pants fresh from the cleaners. It’s a good-enough place to learn the material requirements of kenpo; you just better hope you never find your life depending on your skill; you’ll learn all the techs, extensions, sets and forms here, but good luck getting out of that wet paper bag with a buck knife. The walls are covered with movie posters, trophies, and plaques; and the corner has a gymboree set-up made mostly of primary-color karate things for the pee-wee class. You get back out to the parking lot, and weave through a maze of SUV’s and mini-vans to find your car.

    2. Hairy Bastard Kenpo (HBK). You check into an old boxing gym or a guys garage on the bad side of town, the place reeking of stale sweat. Some old surly cuss who has been wearing the same 2nd degree since the Viet-Nam war walks you to an age-yellowed canvass mat, peppered by rust colored stains from regular blood spilled in training. The walls are covered in peeling lead-based paint and the grime that forms from years of forced exhales and perspiration. The guys who show up to train are a bunch of PTSD vets, cops, prison guards or ex-cons from sundry eras, who all have the look of living hard. The kenpo is base…grab, hit; throw down, and hit some more. If a technique is reviewed, it’s quite painful to be in the line-up…you wonder if they really are going to break your elbow, as they yank you back and forth in Lone Kimono, and toss you around like a rag doll, even though you weight 240 lbs. And you only got to the kenpo and sparring after hours of reviewing World War 2-style battlefield judo and lotsa boxing. Nobody here has even heard of Long 5, much less knows it. It ain’t pretty, but it hurts…and you’ll thank the gods you had this training when battling your way out of a dogpile. The aged boxers in the group have whiplashed your neck, bruised your liver and kidneys, broken your nose, blackened both your eyes and split both cheeks…but they also made sure by the end of the night that you learned how to keep them from doing it over and over…then tested their work, and your resolve. In the corner are an old Olympic free-weight set and some dumbbells with a tattered weight bench. Taped up heavy bags and speed bags line the north wall. In sparring, you find yourself looking into the glazed-over eyes of someone you’re not quite sure is all there, and silently pray they remember you are an acquaintance here to train, and not some residual Charlie from a bad flashback…because this guy really could kill you. And might. You go out to the street, and either can’t find your car, or you find it, but the window’s smashed and the stereo has been ripped out. You had better get in the car and get out of there quickly, before that car full of gangstas drives by again.

    3. Clever Old Dog Kenpo (CODK). You drive up either to a home in the hills, or to a small studio off the beaten path. The place is nice, without being over-the-top. You’re greeted by an older gent with a rather mellowed look to a kindly face…one that does NOT reveal what you know of their history as a serviceman, law enforcement officer, or soldier for the mob. They wear a higher rank, but it’s not inappropriate for one who has been a mover and shaker in the art for as long as they have. The people training in the background – psychologists, lawyers, retired stock-brokers – are moving at a leisurely pace, running techniques with an emphasis on placement, rather than power or speed. There is time given to reactions to manipulations not seen in other contexts. No one is out to hurt or get hurt, and the same old techniques are done with a mind more towards dirty little tricks that neutralize the attack without mauling the attacker. The walls are lined with books on philosophy and spirituality, interspersed with hangings and cultural art from the far-east…pictures of the instructor with Alan Watts or the Dalai Lama. Your car is safe among the Volvo’s, Subaru’s and Hondas in the front yard, and there is no great hurry to leave as the class settles into a meandering discussion of Ira Progoff’s journaling suggestions and the importance of dreams. You know that, if a challenge match walked through the door, they would be able to walk out, having merely had their toes stepped on, and a finger dug sneakily into unpleasant nerve bundles. They would also have been invited to stay for tea. Cozy.

    4. Techno-Geek Kenpo (TGK). Lord only knows where you’ll actually meet to train; nobody here is in it for the money, and locations change on a semi-yearly rotation. The instructor is an odd blend…used to be surly old cuss, hasn’t retired to clever old-dawg status just yet, and has had it with pretty boy schools well before he quit participating in the competitive circuit. The class is working on detailed specifics, as the prof. discusses the myriad of angles of entry for a blow that don’t work, and why, so that they better understand the ones that do work, and why. The target, weapon & path are explored in detail, including bone alignment & muscle configuration. The space where mat meets mirror is lined with binders for taking copious notes, and at any given time, a student or two can be seen scurrying off to make an addition to their tome. You’re tempted to assume that, with this attention to detail, the people here must surely be old chess club rejects, but the preponderance of police gearbags in the locker room, stoic faces on the floor, and Harley’s in the parking lot cause you to think better. Nay-sayers show, are greeted warmly, then invited to try their stuff on the mat: You do your lone kimono, and we’ll do ours. Dang if those geeks can’t drop you off the first move, done meticulously and solid, every time. The legacy of the how-to details will be preserved in this crew, even if forgotten or glossed over elsewhere. The place is clean, but reflects serious business…what else would you expect from technical perfectionists? The walls are lined with lifelike training gear…dummy shotguns and rifles of various shapes and dimension, clubs, knives, handguns…and they get used. Meticulously. There is no room for error in tailoring when your life is on the line, and these guys are in it for life. Your car is fine, but you take your time getting to it…the discussion about details is just too fascinating to bother with the better part of judgment around getting home at a decent hour.

    5. Athletic-Competitive Kenpo (ACK). You check into a studio in the burbs…by day, it may have been a family studio with kids classes, but it’s night time now, and the kids have gone home. They are replaced by a slew of 6% body-fat tournament champs with lightening quick strikes and combos, and amazing cardio endurance. The younger ones still have some…facial flexibility, but the seasoned folk have bent noses and a build-up of subcutaneous scar tissue over their cheekbones. One corner has guys working focus pad drills, while another has a guy sliding in on a heavy bag with a feint-feint-strike attack. Throughout the school, pairs are clashing noisily, then stepping apart with one or the other giving the “good shot” nod to their partner or a pointer on how to get past what they’re doing to the other guy. It may not be the most technically sound kenpo in the world, but don’t tell them that unless you want a mouthful of mit. There are definitely egos in the room, but also a sense of well-earned pride and a determination to stay at the forefront of this sport. When not clashing, a sense of extended family infuses interactions. You meet the instructor, and see that the zeitgeist has flowed from the top, down: genuinely kind and inclusive, but with a sense of competitiveness and intensity just behind the eyes. The walls are lined with championship fighting trophies, and pictures of the last 40 years of competitors. It’s not the Cobra-Kai, but they are serious about their craft. The parking lot is a blend of Mercedes and work trucks still dirty from the job site. You get in your car looking forward to a fistful of Advil, a couple beers with a Gatorade and a protein shake, and a good nights sleep.
    Excellent!!
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Dr Dave- I think it is both hilarious and frighteningly accurate.

    Where I train is a mix of several, it is a house, with a HIGH ranking Master, but in a safe neighborhood...

    Cheers
    The above is just my opinion.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    I guess like all of the above it's a mixture. Whenwe spar it's similar to the ACK with a litle HBK thrown in. There are some CODK influences in class, and I'm pretty sure if we didn't train in a church some more of the HBK would come into play.

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    Jim Croce said it best ...

    "After all, it's what we've been that makes us who we are ..."

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    Default Re: Different types of kenpo...

    I like Socrates "You are who you choose to be."
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Thumbs up Re: Different types of kenpo...

    "No matter where you go...there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzai


    I actually see this as a Breakfast Club moment. For I see myself and my school, in part, described in each of these descriptions. I would even venture to guess, the aspects that I did not personally identify with, might be more visible from a different perspective.
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