American Kenpo is Bullshido
Hi everyone. I am new to the forum but have always been a fan of the site. Forgive me if this topic has been discussed to death but I have been thinking about this a lot lately and need to get it off my chest.
Ed Parker Kenpo was the first style I practiced when I started martial arts at about age 14. I did it for a few years before I quit and moved onto BJJ.
As I look back twenty years later after practicing several different styles, following MMA since UFC 1, and being in a few real fights, I have to conclude that Kenpo is about 85% garbage.
As I understand it, Kenpo training can basically be broken down into 3 aspects: Forms, techniques, and sparring. There is also plenty of time spent in the horse stance executing blocks and strikes. Without getting too deep into it - the forms are a waste of time. The techniques will never work in real life. And the sparring is okay but always has the karate/TKD point sparring feel to it. Reverse punches and flat feet are heavily encouraged.
In my opinion, the redeeming qualities are the variety of hand strikes you learn and the overall emphasis on doing whatever takes to end an attack quickly. For example, you learn how to attack the groin and eyes in just about every way imaginable.
The techniques are fun but way over the top. Ed Parker obviously had good intentions and I'm sure he believed that Five Swords would actually defeat a haymaker, but at the end of the day it becomes flashy choreography. Just watch the way some of these old guys slap their gi's when they perform. I'm sure the noises and speed are intimidating to the untrained viewer.
I have nothing but respect for Ed Parker and I don't regret taking Kenpo but it should not be accepted for more than it truly is: an archaic approach to self-defense. I think he was a few steps ahead of most styles at the time and it is still better than most Chinese styles and probably a lot of TKD schools too.
I don't feel good about badmouthing Kenpo because of how much respect I once had for it, but at some point you gotta call a spade a spade.
I was in American Kenpo for about 3 years when I was younger. It was my first art.
I do agree that BJJ is a great art to learn but BJJ is not a complete art for total defense either. Kenpo has merit in teaching, like you said, how to end things quickly, it can be good for learning intensity, basic strikes (like any Karate style can), and get you to thinking about how you can line up your strikes in certain situations. I find it funny that you pick on Five Swords because I always thought Five Swords was one of the most simple techniques to actually remember if you got into a fight. Some of them are ridiculous to try to remember in a fight and some are set up under unrealistic situations.
Granted, I would not use Five Swords in a fight unless someone was seriously telegraphing and they were slow or whatever. Most likely, I would use a hard style inner block to open them up and then exploit their center line or maybe even duck and take them to the ground. But Kenpo does get you thinking about approaches to fighting. It isnt a complete art no matter what Kenpoists say (no real ground game) but I do think it can be paired with BJJ to form a formidable fighter.
Josh Lannon was one of the 1st to step up and represent American Kenpo in an MMA event somewhere in Utah, it didn't end well for him.
Dont get me wrong, I think going into an MMA match armed with only Kenpo is a fools errand. Not saying it COULDN'T work but I don't think it would.
Originally Posted by masterfinger1
Was only pointing out that Kenpo, like any art, has some merit when paired with other, most likely better, alternatives.
I stand by my belief that going into an MMA match with only BJJ is not the best idea either. In the early days, it worked but striking is necessary...if for no other reason than to help you avoid getting killed while trying to take someone down.
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