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kismasher
10/31/2003 12:10pm,
I took a free Tracy Kenpo lesson last night. It was my first time in any karate class. Well, the instructor knows me and knows that I am a 4th kyu aikidoka(just over 2 years study)here in town but no one else in the class knew anything about me.

After stretching/warmups it just happened to be sparring night, his highest rank was a green belt(he said only about 1/2 his class was there). So I put on the gear, head, hands, and feet; and asked my sparring partner about the rules. Here they are, "contact above the waist, try to avoid face, hit as hard as you want to be hit"

What none of these people know about me is that I do lots of heavy bag work and submission wrestle informally with some good friends. So, I wasn't too good about keeping to the rules, I grabbed several kicks (no no), leg-kicked someone one time (very softly) and accidently hit my partner in the gut pretty hard.

Anyways, to get to the point of this post, the instructor sent the people working on techniques to the other room to do whatever they do and kept his 3 highest ranks and me in the main room to spar with him. I went third, basically I thought the whole class was a load of crap. The instructor and I tappy-tapped each other with him landing most of the better shots, in fact I don't know if I hit him at all. He mentioned something about aikido during sparring. Now I hadn't even considered using any aikido just out of respect for him and his dojo but I felt he was being kind of a jerk about it. So I started using Irimi footwork against his kicks, but rather than grabbing his neck, I just firmly shoulder checked him over and over. I only lost my temper once when he kicked me in the back of the head, I trapped his leg the next time and just stepped in and gave him a little weight shift while dropping my center, rather than dump him though I held him up because I wasn't trying to show him up in front of his students.

Well this has gone on long enough, but you probably get the picture, I have gained a new found appreciation for my aikido training. The footwork is very practical and combined with some simple fighting strategy and techniques it is very effective.

Also I felt that any time I wanted it I could single leg him, he kept dropping into a horse stance right in front of me.

I also noticed that they tended to give away their back alot when they threw kicks, maybe they were setting up back roundhouse kicks or something. I don't know but I hope this guy doesn't represent kenpo as a whole.

Punisher
10/31/2003 2:24pm,
There are many types of kenpo, Tracy is just one of them. The school you went to may not have even been indicative of Tracy Kenpo.

I don't like the fact that you went to a sparring class and weren't informed of the rules, I like the fact that you had problems following them even less. At my school the rules would be very clearly spelled out, especially when sparring visitors. If you failed to follow them, say by throwing a leg kick, that would be fine. We would ask you if you wanted to include leg kicks and then we would do leg kicks. If you wanted to go at a higher level of contact then we willing to do so would.

The other thing I don't understand is this part:

"Now I hadn't even considered using any aikido just out of respect for him and his dojo but I felt he was being kind of a jerk about it. "

If you weren't using any aikido, what the hell were you using. Since this was you first kenpo class, and it was just sparring, you weren't using kenpo. You make it sound like the instructor, who you know and invited you to the class, insulted your honor, then you turned on the aikido switch, and owned him or at least could have anytime you he wanted to.

Did it ever occur to you that he may have invited you because of your experience in that other art and he wanted your different perspective.

Maybe if takedowns and grappling were included in the rules, maybe he wouldn't have done the same things he did.

Sounds to be you took what could a valuable learning experience for every one involved and made it worthless.

PizDoff
10/31/2003 3:28pm,
But did you make him flip like a little bitch?

deus ex machina
10/31/2003 4:49pm,
Kenpo sucks.

You should've dropped that mofo on his head.

CRACK SOME SKULLS BIAYTHCHH!!!!!!1!!

The Crack Taoist
10/31/2003 5:21pm,
deus,
Now now.. kempo is a BIG FRIGGIN area.
There's all sorts of things that call themselves "kempo".

Perfect example.
I'm investigating schools in my area (keep in mind I'm
coming from several years of TCMA, impeccable
lineage etc.). I'm actually looking at the sambo class
cause I figured it'd be full of contact.
I was skeptical about the school because their
website said they did "kempo".
I'm thinking.. OK they do karate.

Only it's not karate.
These people are doing kungfu. Traditional forms,
good structure, able to apply their stuff. Focus on
fundamental movements (jibengong). External
yes, but having a sortof "crash-in and destroy" flavor
like hsing-i.
AND they are cross training in muay thai and arnis!!
Is it pure? Nope. Is it tracable back to ole china? Nope.
Is it a mongrel hybrid of a style? Yeah.
Do they fight? Yes.

The senior instructor on the floor (not the owner of the
school oddly enough) said when I asked him why they
were doing kungfu and calling it kempo
"The man this style comes from was a scoundrel and
a complete liar. We have no idea whether the stories
he told are even remotely true. So I call what I do
"kempo" and the smart people figure out what's going
on eventually..."

Most kempo sucks but it's not an absolute.

As it happens I'm not interested in the senior man's
kungfu....
But his ARNIS emptyhand skills are fantastic.. because
of his chinese arts background.

Jenfucius
10/31/2003 11:24pm,
i guess kenpo is the chop suey of the martial arts!

Punisher
10/31/2003 11:39pm,
I'll admit that kenpo can be culturally confusing sometimes.

I'm and american, wearing a japanese gi, doing an art that's primarly chinese, that was brought to the main land by a hawaiian, that is conceptually inspired by, but probably not historically linked to, the Shaolin Temple. But that's just me. Someone else my have a different story.

But really most arts aren't very different. Most martial lineages and origin stories have very little basis in fact or reality.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, there is nothing special about the word "kenpo/kempo" to me. It simply means fighting method. To me it is just a general term that can me applied to any art. Now if you starting getting more specifc, like Parker style American Kenpo, Five Animal Kenpo, or Tracy Kenpo you can make a case for a distinction.

patfromlogan
11/01/2003 11:01am,
Kenpo/Kempo/Kajukenbo wear black gi. That is about all that I can see unites the systems. Here in Logan there are three small Parker lineage schools. One seems to be a decent Lawrence (sp?) school that spars light. One is closer to Parker type and while they spend too much time on esoteric Parker bs (sorry Ed, you were nice to me at that tourney back in the 70s) about circular, elongated circular, tension release snap or whatever, they have a good mix of upper belts and their sifu is a very fast good technique very fit middle weight.

The third spars full contact nhb'd, so if you want to get into it at that level they are happy to oblige. One of the young bb from the eclectic system I'm doing now quit and joined them and is reporting many bruises and submissions. Being a cocky young man on the first night he attended he kicked the instructor in the head and as they say, if you want to see a bb's good techniques hit him hard. He got the **** beat out of him, taken down and submited, and he loved it. They wear black gi and use a lot of protective equipment.

In Hawaii I have worked out with Universal Kempo Karate (branches in Colorado, Virginia, Washington, West Indies, Guam, California, Texas, New Hampshire, and Ohio). They don't bother teaching kata; Martin T. Buell, the founder, told me that he decided that it has little to do with self-defense. He also remembered blow by blow how he lost the Hawaiian Open to Del Griffith, my KK instructor here in Utah, by one point penalty for too hard contact with a back fist. He said karate tourneys were good for speed and distancing, but like kata have little to do with self-defense. I went to two of their branches on Oahu as a guest. I saw no protective gear. They emphasize conditioning, stand up, clinching, ground submissions, and self defense one on one drills. The stand up is like most karate with everyone marching back and forth doing punch kick combos, though half the time we paired up with pads. A very friendly bunch with some tough bbs. (one ass't in Kailua really impressed me, the kind of guy you just look at and know... He's a middleweight Japanese shaved head cop with amazingly fast kicks. I think they took the Chinese arts idea about multiple strikes; his single leg triple back kick blew me away. Fucking machine gun.

Anyone can join as a guest, I believe, and I signed a waiver and wore my bb to the classes. I'm planning on joining their association in January when I'm on Oahu. For $75 you get a month of class, a black gi, patch, and membership for a year. I of course will be a white belt (again! - I think it's the fifth time)

Any bullshidoists who visit Hawaii should take a break from mai-tais and drop in (call # in the yellow pages and you get to talk to Martin T. Buell, a friendly knowledgeable ma).
You’d get to see a lot about the culture and people of Hawaii that you’d never see otherwise. (I was the only haole (white) in the Kalihi branch. Lower Kalihi, being the slummy birthplace of kempo, gave me all sorts of historical appreciation by working out there again.

kismasher
11/03/2003 9:13am,
Originally posted by Punisher


If you weren't using any aikido, what the hell were you using. Since this was you first kenpo class, and it was just sparring, you weren't using kenpo. You make it sound like the instructor, who you know and invited you to the class, insulted your honor, then you turned on the aikido switch, and owned him or at least could have anytime you he wanted to.

Did it ever occur to you that he may have invited you because of your experience in that other art and he wanted your different perspective.

Maybe if takedowns and grappling were included in the rules, maybe he wouldn't have done the same things he did.

Sounds to be you took what could a valuable learning experience for every one involved and made it worthless.


Well, his sparring rules eliminated pretty much everything except contact from shoulders to waist, no shots to the back, or hard shots to the face. All I was doing was using a basic squared off boxing stance and throw some body shots. The problem was that these guys would turn their stance to protect the target area to the point of exposing their back (which was off limits).

Believe me, he didn't have the slightest interest in my perspective.

If takedowns and grappling were included, he would have looked like a fool in front of his class.

If tappy point sparring and 15 step "self-defense" katas are your thing, then good on ya.

HAPKO3
11/03/2003 1:21pm,
I have in the past made a long post about my sparring experience with a good friend of mine who holds a pretty high ranks in American Kenpo Karate (the Ed Parker branch).

Basically, I could manhandle him in more or less any way I chose. Mostly this was due to the fact that he was exposing his back to me by standing sideways. Also, i could single or double leg him at will (and my shoot SUCKS big time), kick the **** out of his leg, and toss him around from the clinch, which he had no idae how to deal with.

One thing that he did have is some nice punches - accurate, strong, and from all angles. I have a feeling, though, that it has to do with some of the boxing he does.

kismasher
11/03/2003 2:10pm,
Originally posted by HAPKO3
Basically, I could manhandle him in more or less any way I chose. Mostly this was due to the fact that he was exposing his back to me by standing sideways. Also, i could single or double leg him at will (and my shoot SUCKS big time), kick the **** out of his leg, and toss him around from the clinch, which he had no idae how to deal with.

One thing that he did have is some nice punches - accurate, strong, and from all angles. I have a feeling, though, that it has to do with some of the boxing he does.


exactly my experience, except for the strong punches :D

Omega Supreme
11/03/2003 2:19pm,
I would like to remind some people about something:

Benny Urquidez was Kempo

John Hackleman was Kempo

and I'm pretty sure some serious other badasses out there were Kempo.

ah well, that's my two cents.

kismasher
11/03/2003 3:04pm,
yeah, i actually know of another kempo instructor in town that is a serious badass, but he is also a prick. i have seen him publicly degrade his students and his wife in front of complete strangers.

no thanks.

HAPKO3
11/03/2003 4:19pm,
My friend's instructor is a serious badass.

He could kick my ass with relative ease from what I've and the way he moves.

His students are more or less incompetent, though, because he is not training them to be badasses - he's training them to do "American Kenpo".

kismasher
11/03/2003 4:45pm,
Originally posted by PizDoff
But did you make him flip like a little bitch?


no, but if i go back i will...

but it is very unlikely

Punisher
11/03/2003 9:30pm,
I really think you should go back, because from what I have read your story means nothing to me. I have no problem with any thread with an honset and frank evalution of an art, warts and all, but your post is horrible. It is full of vague statements and is nothing more than style bashing.

First of all, I'm still confused on how you got invited to the class. Do you know the instructor personally, did you call the school and ask for a free class, was it in response to an ad, or what?

You claim you didn't want to dispect him or his dojo, and then you come on the internet and do just that behind his back. In your post go out of your way to be derogatory, and from what I can see make that no attempt to make an honest assessement of the pros and cons of the instructor, art, or school. If you want an example of a decent post of this nature, read HAPKO3's account of his sparring with a kenpo guy.

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4307&highlight=kenpo

The difference between HAPKO3's experience is that he actually DID, what you said you COULD have.

One fundamental flaw that almost all the kenpo schools I know of, including mine by the way, is that they don't spar how they are supposed to fight. Just because you sparred with these guys, under a highly restricted set of rules, doesn't mean you know jack **** about their fighting style, philosphy, or capabilites.

By your logic I could go to one class at a BJJ school and post something like, "The class was soooo unrealistic. We started on our knees, which totally took away my ability to evade their grappling. Also, I noticed that when we were rolling they didn't bother to guard their face and I could have punched them out any time I wanted to." Now how stupid would that sound?

Now I understand that people tend to fight how they train, and if these guys still turned their back and left themselves open to takedowns with out the rules to protect them you might have a point, but the truth of the matter is you never attempted to find out.

I think you owe to the school to go back and give them an attempt to change your perception. Call up the instructor and tell him you have some quesitons about kenpo. Ask to spar him or someone else under a different and more realistic set of rules and tell him why. It doesn't have to be adviserial, you can approach it from the angle of a learning experience. If you are really concerned about "showing up" this guy in front of his students you can do it in a private setting.

In addition too, or instead of if he won't go for sparring under a different set of rules, you can work some controlled spontaneous self-defense. Again I'd approach it as a sharing of ideas and philosophies with you offering to bring the aikido view point. Take turns throwing and responding to unscripted attacks and see what happens. I'd start with single, simple attacks within a general area such as punches. Then move on to kicks, and then tackles and grabs. Don't resist at first, just attack and let your partner respond. Then you try. Put energy into to make it worthwhile but keep the contact light and try to protect you partner.

After a while build up to more complicated attacks or allow the "attacker" to try to counter the response. Still keep it simple, don't let it turn into a free for all: attack, response, counter response. Take breaks to talk about what's working, what's not, and why. In less than an hour you should have a good idea on what you both can and can't do well.

If after doing one or both of those things you come back and post that these guys give up their back, are easy to take down, or their style is crap, I'll listen.