Kenpo Concepts

The system I practice is American Kenpo founded by Edmund Parker, Sr.  The KenpoXena system has a specific purpose, to unlock what you already know in a non-traditional setting.  KenpoXena is only a window to what can be learned and achieved.

Following are a few terms from the Mr. Parker’s Encyclopedia of Kenpo that I feel are invaluable in personal discoveries of efficient movement. I have added explanations to some. Every person moves and reacts in a different manner. Briefly consider how you can benefit from, and utilize these concepts as you train.

Before You Begin

Anchor – To weigh down the elbow or body to create leverage, coverage, or control.  The ability to anchor is of utmost importance to women because our attackers will often out-weigh and/or be stronger than us.

Attitude – Your mental state of mind projected outwardly by your posture, and willingness to be direct.  How you project yourself to others says a lot.  You will appear less like a victim if you do not project fear.

Body Rotation – “Body torque used to increase the force of your strike or action.”

Common Sense – “(1) The use of sound and practical judgment; (2) the inherent ability to view things logically when overcoming difficult problems and situations.”  Once you accept the situation you are in you can be logical about possible exits and defenses.  Panic is a deterrent to common sense.

Environment – “Conditions that confront us on a daily basis.  It involves social and cultural conditions, objects around us, thoughts that are in us, condition of our bodies, weather conditions, ability of your opponent, objects which an opponent may use, and all other factors that influence our chances of survival.  It is everything around you, on you, and in you at the time of confrontation.”

Feel – “A word used to describe the foot or hand as it slides from one point to another.”  Much of your defense will be instinctive.  Even so, you have to be aware of where your targets are.  Even with your eyes closed you use your hands, feet and body to determine where the assailant is.

Training Concepts

Body Fulcrum – “The natural curvatures of the body used as launching platforms to add leverage, bracing, or acceleration to the speed and force of any weapon.”  For the purpose of KenpoXena, the weapon is a kick or strike.

Gouge(ing) – “The thrusting of a thumb into an eye for the purpose of forcing it out.”  Okay, I know this sounds really gross, but who is going to want to continue hurting you if their eye is not where it belongs?

Hammer Fist – “A natural weapon of the hand that is formed by clenching your fist totally.”  Strikes are executed with either side of the fist and not with the knuckle side of the hand.  The natural hammering action results in striking with the pinkie side of the fist.  Very strong and effective strike.

Handsword – “A natural weapon of the hand that is formed by keeping the hand open with the fingers extended and [tightly] joined, slightly bent, and thumb tucked in.”  Most natural strike is with the pinkie side (knife edge) of the hand.  Keeping the fingers tightly joined helps to minimize (or eliminate) the potential for injury.

Kicks – “Generally refers to method(s) used when striking with the foot.  It also includes striking with the shin, calf, peroneus longus, knee, or other parts of the leg.”  In short, don’t worry about exact foot position.  Formal training in martial arts or kick-boxing will help you instinctively form the foot for the target, but for self-defense purposes kick what you can with what you can.

Positions of Readiness – “These are positions that can be assumed prior to, during, or after combat.”  In the context of women’s self-defense, this has to do with acceptance of your situation.  You have to take a position of readiness (non-fighting fighting stance) once you have accepted the fact that things are going bad.  When you are able to get away, be ready to again assume the position of readiness.

Thrust – “A particular method of execution used to propel a strike.  It resembles an explosive push type action.”  Your intention must always be penetrating.  Intend to go through the target at all times.  Doing so will help you thrust your movements and execute effective techniques.

Movement Execution Concepts

Angle of Cancellation – “A controlled angle which places an opponent in a precarious position, thus minimizing or even nullifying the use of his weapons.”

Angle of Disturbance – “That angle which, when a move is executed, does not necessarily injure, but rather upsets an opponent’s balance.”  An opponent off balance is easier to get away from.

Angle of Incidence – “The angle at which a weapon, when delivered, strikes perpendicular or at a right angle to the target or surface intended, to bring about maximum results.”  Basics described in KenpoXena are intended to attack a target in this manner.  Your goal is to create an opportunity to escape.

Back-up-Mass – “The use of the body weight that is directly behind the action that is taking place.”  Use your body with your kicks and strikes.  Not using your body means you kick with only your leg and strike with only your arm.  These are only a fraction of your total body mass.  Would you rather hit with 10 or 150 pounds?

Black Dot Focus – “Our Kenpo concept of focus.  We visualize a black dot on a white background, representing total awareness.  Our concern is not only with maximizing power, but protection as well.”  KenpoXena is window and not intended to be all inclusive.  The main goal is to give you the tools to better protect yourself and feel better about your natural abilities.  Efficient movement is key to maximizing your power and maintaining protection.p>

Borrowed Force – “An opponent’s force which is used against him.”  Example: Offensive when the assailant pushes your right shoulder backward, but you step forward striking with your left hand using the push to accelerate your left hand.

Center of Gravity – “That point around which one’s weight is evenly distributed so that your body is kept in constant balance to help maximize your physical movements.”  Dropping your weight and establishing a good base is an effective defense against bear hug grabs and some chokes.  It is a starting position that provides you stability.  You cannot defend yourself without stability.

Deceptive Action – “The utilization of misleading, illusive, and feinting movements or gesture to deceive an opponent.”  Use the fact that the attacker believes you to be weak and submissive.  The element of surprise is one of the greatest weapons women have.

Explosive Action – “Instantaneous action or reaction that ignites and bursts from inside out with repetitive succession.”  The fight for your safety may be a long one and can only be won by ferocity.  You increase your chances of surviving the attack if you keep fighting as hard as you can.  Explode as you attack soft targets, that is a great equalizer.

Glancing – “A method of striking that is similar to a slice.”  For the purposes of KenpoXena I want to stress that it is okay when you glance your intended target.  The contact made can still be effective as long as you continue with other strikes depending on where you end up after the glancing strike.

Gravitational Marriage – “The uniting of mind, breath and strength while simultaneously dropping your body weight along with the execution of your natural weapon(s).”  This is a key element for defending bear-hug and choke attacks.  Although KenpoXena is geared toward reactive defense, visualizing what if situations can help put your mind into any defense as described with gravitational marriage.

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