How to Evolve Kenpo Karate
That Kenpo is broken is obvious. Actually, not to hurt anybody’s feelings, it has been broken from the get go. One simple proof is that the founder himself, Edmund Parker, presented five different versions of the art during his lifetime.
Five different versions, starting with a shotokan karate based version, and progressing through a variety of made up kung fu. Yet, before you decide I am nothing but a detractor, all the martial arts can be found in Parker’s Kenpo. It is a massive system, and the potential is unlimited.
Now, the problem is that most kung fu systems have been passed along for generations. They have had hundreds, even thousands, of years to become developed, polished and evolved. Chinese Kenpo, on the other hand, has not been benefitted by this process.
The first version, the classical karate version, was extremely workable. Parker ran into difficulties with his instructor, however, and ran out of material to teach. Thus, he hired a kung fu artist from the San Francisco area, Jimmy Wu, to help him put together more material.
The next four versions of Chinese Kenpo, then, are they Parker? Or are they Wu? To be honest, they are probably a mix, but of what percentage?
And, to be fair, one must realize that Parker, through his lineage, and Wu, through his, did bring a certain amount of tried and tested material to the board. And, one must realize that the times were rich with material. There were all sorts of systems of karate and kung fu making their appearance, and Parker had front seat through these times.
That brings us to the intent promised by the title of this article, how to fix Kenpo. The best way to fix Parker’s Kenpo is to throw away the rankings, categorize the techniques by attack, and arrange them in order of difficulty. While this has been done somewhat, in doing it anew one will find all sorts of things that were left out, over emphasized, and so on.
The point is that all the martial arts are there, but they need to be arranged in a more workable manner, and only by a more scientific analysis is one going to come to grips with the truth of Kenpo. When I did this I came up with a system I called Monkey Boxing. Though, to honest, one could call the system Matrix Kenpo Karate.