I train shotokan and sanda right now and I love the sparring in both. Shotokan teaches you to be fast, accurate, elusive, great counter striking, and amazing footwork.
Sanda helps me deal with powerful combinations coming at me. How to get in and get out against a kick boxer with takedowns.
If only I had some submission training.
anyway, I will be returning to america for one month at the end of the year. A kenpo karate school is near my home and I was thinking of joining for a bit. Looking forward or Kempo's take on traditional sparring. What's it like? Is it as organized and as technical as shotokan sparring?
Kumite and pad work is my favorite thing to do in training.
opinions and advice welcome
The kempo sparring I've seen is basically bogu sparring with headgear but no head contact, probably to satisfy soccer moms and insurance companies. Continuous, but with body strikes only its easy to develop bad habits when throwing combos/flurries.
Your mileage may vary. Some do less gear but point sparring rules.
No strikes to the face? Kinda lame.
"Kenpo" is going to vary too much to make intelligent blanket statements. Jeff Speakman does "Kenpo 5.0" competitions which are basically MMA in a head-guard, for example.
Here's some interesting sparring from former bully Clyde (kenpoprofessor on Youtube):
Kenpo sparring is very similar to TKD sparring. No good. But there are always exceptions. Go to a school and decide for yourself.