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Thread: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

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    KenpoJuJitsu3 is offline
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    Default Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison


    Earlier today I posted a link to a Vee Arnis Jitsu interview on AmericanKenpoForum.com. I mentioned that when I look at Vee Arnis Jitsu I see “Easy Practical Applied Kenpo” or EPAK. An “old friend” of mine from NY apparently read that, watched the clip and gave me a call. My friend is a Vee Arnis Jitsu practitioner. At any rate the extent of the conversation was a comparison of VAJ t o AK. My friend was under the impression that the Checklist and “10 commandments of self-defense” mentioned by Shihan David James were nowhere to be found in the base system of Kenpo. A little history of the “friend”: This person is a former Kenpo practitioner who became disillusioned at a few of the local Kenpo schools in Baltimore. They ended up moving to NY for business purposes and “converting” to VAJ based on its “superior practicality” to American Kenpo. So here is my conceptual comparison. Disclaimer: Results may vary with instructor and location.

    State of Readiness: This is described as being ready for the situation. In Kenpo this falls under 2 parts of our cycle of considerations, acceptance and attitude. We must accept the possibility that danger exists and possess the attitude to do something about it: A state of readiness.

    State of Explosion: This is described as when you decide to do something, do it explosively and without hesitation. In Kenpo this falls under Explosive Action and Explosive Pressure: Using aggressive action that keeps constant force on an opponent, thus preventing him from getting set and retaliating.

    State of Control: This is described as controlling the individual through three steps. Interrupt the vision, interrupt the breathing and interrupt the balance. The Kenpo systems techniques are already formulated with this in mind through many concepts and applications. Most simply through actively striking the eyes, throat and lower carriage. On another level we utilize Zones of Obscurity (blind spots), Object Obscurity (blinders), Control Maintenance (sustained pain compliance holds), Control Manipulation (maneuvering opponent off balance or to a strategic position) and Control Release (takedowns, creating distance after engagement).


    The 10 commandments of self-defense


    Evaluate the Situation: This is covered in many ways in Kenpo. For starters it is ranked #2 or #3 in the cycle of considerations depending on where you learned it. It is defined as being cognizant of everything in you, on you and around you. A known Kenpoist, Clyde O’Briant has coined an acronym ARMM (Adjust Regulate Monitor Modify) as an application of Kenpo’s equation formula to combat. Another useful acronym is MACE (Monitor Act Control Escape) utilized by myself.

    Three Foot Rule: This is defined as the space where a person can realistically harm you and vice versa in VAJ. In Kenpo we cover this with several concepts not least of which is the “four ranges of combat” concept: Out of Contact, Within Contact, Contact Penetration and Contact Manipulation. We also cover this in more specific ways with the Dimension Zone Concept, Zones of Sanctuary, Quadrant Zone Theory and Outer Rim Concept.

    Start from a Non-threatening Manner: This is covered very simply in Kenpo. The vast majority of the self-defense techniques start from an attention stance with the hands in one of two places: down and hanging naturally or up framing the face in the “I don’t want to fight” posture. Technique Examples would be Piercing Lance, Circling Windmills and Intellectual Departure.

    Control the Focus – Eye to Eye Contact: This is #1 or #2 on the cycle of considerations and falls under attitude. Attitude is defined as not only the psychologically status of the individual in conflict but also their physical posture as well.

    Motion causes Motion – Biomechanics: The entire system of Kenpo is founded on this principle. Each technique, motion, strike or manipulation causes a range of possible reactions and through training we become conditioned to these reactions. We become able to read and anticipate these reactions as well as capitalize on them through follow-up maneuvers.

    Element of Surprise: Strike when the opponent is not ready. Professor James demonstrates talking to the aggressor and then striking mid-sentence. In Kenpo we term this under a few headings. Most notably: Purposeful Compliance, Purposeful Defiance, Zones of Obscurity, and Angles of Opportunity. Technique Examples would be Triggered Salute and Lone Kimono.

    Strike from the closest point: If you haven’t learned this yet and are passed yellow belt immediately seek other instruction…you are being misled. This is covered in Kenpo under economy of motion which is most often mentioned as “using smaller circles” and “closest weapon to closest target”. I’ll take this further. It’s using the smallest EFFECTIVE circle and using the closest EFFECTIVE weapon to the closest EFFECTIVE target. A punch to the top of someone’s skull from an inch away with a baby circle is not economy of motion because it is not effective.

    Changing the Focus: This is defined as getting the opponent to stop focusing on you so that you have the opportunity to use your techniques for the purpose of disabling the threat and/or escaping. Again this is covered by utilizing Pain Compliance, Object Obscurity, Explosive Pressure, Zones of Obscurity and Sequential Flow.

    High and Low Concept: This is described and demonstrated as striking the opponent in high zones and low zones with some degree of alternation. We utilize this in Kenpo by breaking and/or canceling the height zone along with the width and depth zones. In short it’s part of our Dimensional Zone Concept and utilizing Diversified Targets. Technique Examples would be Detour From Doom, Five Swords and Delayed Sword.

    Faster Forward/Slower Backward: This is described as the defender utilizing constant pressure on the opponent to get them to back pedal. This takes advantage of the fact that human beings are not designed to walk/run backwards and cannot see behind them to coordinate their steps. This is again covered in Kenpo’s concept of Explosive Pressure along with Cancelling the Depth Zone and Occupying the Opponent’s Space. Technique examples would be Attacking Mace, Circling Fans and the freestyle techniques.

    Hopefully this gave you a gist of Kenpo as compared to another noted and effective self-defense art Vee Arnis Jitsu. On a side note I wholeheartedly agree with these commandments of self-defense. If you are not learning ANY of them at your Kenpo school….seek other instruction immediately, you are being misled.
    James Hawkins III, SI
    Hawkins Martial Arts
    Baltimore, MD 410-948-1440
    http://www.youtube.com/user/FunctionalKenpo
    http://www.youtube.com/user/kenpojujitsu3

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    I enjoyed the clip. I enjoyed the thought process. I did not find anything that he described terribly far away from American Kenpo.

    I, too, thought that the 'Strike from the Closest' point was a bit off base; I'm was thinking 'closest effective weapon to closest effective target'. What I saw him demonstrate was more like a finger set insert, to have motion cause motion; something which we do throughout the system.

    I like the guy's passion and marketing.

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    I think that many systems of MA that are street oriented and "tested" on the streets like Kenpo and others are going to have a lot more in common than differences.

    I think the main difference is how they might codify or explain their approach. Mr. Parker spent a great deal of time laying out concepts and principles for students to learn and understand to apply to their techniques. Mr. James might have his "10 commandmants" but they are covered in other aspects of EPAK even though they are not directly spelled out like VAJ has them.

    Also, I think it is human nature to want to justify what you are doing. In the MA's it always takes the form of "my style is best" or "which lineage is oldest/purest".
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    Excellent post, Mr. Hawkins. This is something I'll need to read several times to really digest the amazing amount of good information here.

    Please feel free to continue...

    ~Peace
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    Great post James!
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    Nice vid with useful stuff. Very informative.

    However, when someone says "I GUARANTEE you 100% that I will teach you better than ANYONE else....", that's pretty egotistical and ignorant of the reality of that there are OTHERS out there that actually do practice this stuff and teach it rather effectively.

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Roach View Post
    Nice vid with useful stuff. Very informative.

    However, when someone says "I GUARANTEE you 100% that I will teach you better than ANYONE else....", that's pretty egotistical and ignorant of the reality of that there are OTHERS out there that actually do practice this stuff and teach it rather effectively.
    Yeah maybe...He could have said "I guarantee you 99% that I'll teach you better than anyone else. Just check youtube if you don't believe me". And he'd have a strong arguement.
    James Hawkins III, SI
    Hawkins Martial Arts
    Baltimore, MD 410-948-1440
    http://www.youtube.com/user/FunctionalKenpo
    http://www.youtube.com/user/kenpojujitsu3

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    Default Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    One of the things I have noticed since i undertook more than one martial art...

    • If you have Lemony Chicken Piccatta...
    • If you have Zesty Mesquite Smoked Chicken...

    No matter what it is flavored with...YOU HAVE FREAKIN CHICKEN!

    The thing we have to remember is that if you remove all of "flavor", fighting is about as basic an activity as you can get. Two arms and two legs and some basic moves is about it. Fighting is only as complicated as we make it. The need to be different and the need to differentiate one style from another is where a lot of the complications comes in. This is especially inherent in systems that do not see a lot of use for a long time. You see a lot of unrealistic techniques prop up that can be classified as nothing more than movie choreography.

    If we take the kenpo that we train and flavor it with all sorts of tournament encounters and light contact, you never get the high intensity training that a lot of reality based expose their students to. Training to smack some one in squishy armor and sparring is not the same as when some one is actually trying to take you down.

    If the kenpo that we train is done in a realistic manner (Bad news: Unless you are actually a flashy asian monk that trains martial arts as a way of life... You're not) against what one would actually encoutner... your stuff will work. It's all about intent.

    Hoch Hochheim has said in most of his seminars that you should have fighting first and systems second. Vee Arnis Jutsu has its place and so does Kenpo. What we have to do as practitioners is respect different arts for what they bring to the table (and shamelessly rip off their cool signature stuff because it's fun...)

    Regards,
    Walt

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    Talking Re: Vee Arnis Jitsu vs. American Kenpo: A conceptual comparison

    [quote=kroh;108773]One of the things I have noticed since i undertook more than one martial art...

    • If you have Lemony Chicken Piccatta...
    • If you have Zesty Mesquite Smoked Chicken...
    No matter what it is flavored with...YOU HAVE FREAKIN CHICKEN!

    Well the above is basically true, but how it is cooked also matters a great deal. The taste can be so altered by how it is prepared that for the novice the "chicken" gets lost in the translation. For instance how about Ralph Castro's Shaolin Kenpo, and Ed Parker's American Kenpo. Both come from the same root "recipe", but can "taste" completely different. Well now I am hungry. Have a great day...

    PEACE
    1stJohn1:9

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