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.