How To Make Power Kenpo!

Changing the Power of Kenpo

You can make your system of Kenpo into Power Kenpo fairly easily. Of course, you’re going to have to go against the old school boys, but this isn’t always bad. In fact, if you do make your system into a Power Kenpo system, you will be following the footsteps of Ed Parker more closely than the old school boys.

The concept of Power Kenpo is something I coined many decades ago, and have never really talked about. It actually grew from an incident in 1968 in which I asked my instructor to take a look at a form I had been working on. My instructor stepped on to the mat and I took a position and began to move.

The form was actually out of a series of books on Japanese Karate, and it is called Heian Five. It is a strong form, with solid stance and large, significant movements. As such, it seems to stand opposed to the fast whirling arms of Parker Kenpo theory.

I finished the form, and my instructor observed, “Yes, definitely a Japanese form.” He didn’t say much more, and I had the feeling that he was displeased. Many decades later, I understand the displeasure, he was trying to teach me one thing, and I was straying in an entirely different direction.

To be honest, Kenpo Karate does not fit well with classical Shotokan Karate. Kenpo, as I have intimated, relies on fast hands and circling motions. Shotokan holds a disdain for subterfuge, and preaches the power of a strong stance, facing your enemy squarely, and attacking in a linear manner.

Each system has its strengths, and its weaknesses, but they don’t fit together. It is difficult even to shift from one art to another in the middle of combat. The funny thing about all this is that original Kenpo was built upon the Heian forms of classical Karate.

Most people blink when I say such a thing, but it is true. If you can find a copy of one of Ed Parker’s first books you will find that it is nothing more than a sequence of the applications of the Heian forms. Indeed, if you link the applications in his book, you are actually doing the Heians.

In conclusion, now you understand what I mean when I remarked about Power Kenpo and being true to the footsteps of Ed Parker. The fact is that true and dedicated martial artists should study as many systems as they can. The truth of the matter is that if you want power in your Kenpo, or accelerated weapons, or better kicks, then study a separate system that has what you want, and let the power of that other art bleed back to your kenpo, and that is how you will have Power Kenpo.


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