Friday, November 11, 2016

Let’s Talk Kenpo Structure

(by Ron Chapel Ph. D. 10-19-16)

Excerpts from the Diary of a “Mad” Martial Scientist

Understanding Human Structure

Over your lifetime beginning when you first began to have control of your body, you have performed various tasks, and in that process created synaptic pathways to the brain that support these many physical activities. Most of them are unconsciously engrained into your muscle memory and autonomic nervous system. You body can work efficiently when your body “senses” the need to use or overcome resistance, or inefficiently if you make a conscious decision to do something that contradicts sound body mechanics.

Most are “trained” into using poor body mechanics and in many cases have over-ridden and created “bad” synaptic pathways for inefficient and body damaging physical movement.

The human body is a great machine if you listen to it. Unfortunately for many, they have stop listening and retrained it so poorly; they can no longer “hear” what it is saying. You have forced yourself into “Disassociated Anatomical Movement.”

In Martial Science, much like other sciences, there is a direct cause and effect to all activity. Martial Science draws on many different scientific disciplines, but all are in some way related to one another through the conduit of human anatomy. There exists a significant cause and effect interaction between all the many parts of human anatomy whether static or in motion. In any examination of the many martial postures and their transitions, the efficacy of its many positions are predicated upon, among many factors, weight distribution and an exacting posture relative to the physical activity at hand.

The relative position of the feet to each other, and their movement, also significantly determines whether structural integrity is created or maintained. Let’s discuss for a moment structural integrity in posture, movement, and weight distribution. Any variations in these categories beyond proper anatomical posture can diminish or enhance effectiveness on multiple levels offensively or defensively.

How you move your body in its entirety, and arms, feet, and even the head in particular, in martial science affects the stability of the complete body for a variety of reasons. For most this probably is not news. However what is probably “new” information to most is that some of the basic things taught in most “martial arts” fall quite comfortably into the negative and inefficient category. Surprisingly their effectiveness can be demonstrated to be much less than perceived. That is, when these things are tested in the light of reality, they fall well short of their well-intended goals. Lets us define efficiency relative to human physical activity in general, and martial science in particular.

(for the rest of the article follow the link)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What's With All the Attempts?

(by Ron Chapel Ph. D. 10-19-16)

It seems that most teach, “Every attack is an attempt,” and the answer is always to “Move first.” This point of view is prevalent in a lot of kenpo interpretations to mask the lack of knowledge of teachers who do not have the answers to completed assaults, or by those who have never considered the reality of the Psychology of Confrontation over just following what some teach as “the” kenpo curriculum.

When I have broached this perspective with “motion” people, they have said that “I don’t believe in defending before, or during an attack,” which is ludicrous, and it astounds me that someone might entertain that notion.

Certainly given the opportunity, one should neutralize any threat as soon as possible, even taking the offensive when it is appropriate. Multiple decades as a street cop have made me acutely aware of reality over, “techniques done on the mat at the school.”

Kenpo-Karate based on motion has degenerated to that level because of the dearth of competent instructors ever since the first generation of black belts Mr. Parker recruited to teach his commercial curriculum. They knew what worked in reality and ignored or changed what did not, all with Mr. Parker’s approval.

(for the rest of the article please follow the link)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Mr. Speakman

(photo from the Kenpo Hall of Fame Facebook page)

Nice photo of Mr. Speakman.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Four Stages Of Anatomical Indexing

(by Ron Chapel Ph. D. 10-19-16)

Or; Anatomical Indexing versus “motion master keys”

I. Stage One – Alphabetic
This is the preliminary physical stage of learning in any physical activity, where the alphabet “letters” or basics are learned and “pronounced” singularly and properly in preparation for the next stage of learning.

II. Stage Two – Phonetic
This is the secondary stage of learning in any physical activity. It stresses the basics of proper [url=″]execution[/url] and constant physical correction, anatomical alignment and structural integrity, as its primary function. Its primary goal is to begin the process of training the body, and creating muscle memory and synaptic pathways associated with the activity in preparation for the next stage of development. Here the term “Phonetic Basics” is appropriate to distinguish what is learned from more expeditious and intuitive action to come later in one’s development.

III. Stage Three – Script/Cursive
Here the movements began to take on a more fluid look as the mind and body becomes comfortable with the activity. The “corners are rounded” although the movements are still significantly large and pronounced as we execute with a flowing, smooth, and unhesitating action. It can be compared to drawing a square as opposed to drawing a “circle.” A circle may be drawn rather quickly but a square takes more time. The square is phonetic, while the circle is scripted movement.

(for the rest of the article please follow the link)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Early photos of Mr. Parker

(photos from Ed Parker Jr.'s Facebook page, date and location unknown)

A couple of rarely seen photos of Mr. Parker in the early days.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Where’s Kenpo’s Waldo?

(by Ron Chapel Ph. D. 10-19-16)

Where’s Control Manipulation?

Let’s talk about the four distances of combat as defined by Ed Parker in his Encyclopedia, and how they relate to each other and exactly where “Control Manipulation” actually resides, because clearly it is not included in the definition used by Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate.

I was taught there are subcategories to all four of the well known ranges of Kenpo-Karate, with each range as you progressively get closer to your attacker, encompassing additional concepts and principles, and still including all of the previous ones. Thus, the fourth range contains all of the other range principles of combat, as well as those exclusive to the fourth range itself.

This somewhat counters the “different stages of action” perspective some have adopted because of a lack of information regarding the full scope of Ed Parker’s Range definitions. Although it is true varying “ranges” can dictate the availability of various fighting tools at ones disposal, they do not dictate or restrict beyond simple physical limitations normally associated with human physical interaction.

Ed Parker Sr. defined the four ranges as 1; out of reach/range, 2; within reach/range, 3; Contact Penetration, and 4; Contact Manipulation. Each of these ranges in my teaching have extensive subcategory information that must be learned en route to a full, and advanced level understanding of the science.

From a motion-based Kenpo-Karate perspective, “Control” could be seen as a subcategory of “Contact Manipulation.” Because most of this information is not included in Ed Parker’s Kenpo-Karate, the subcategories become significantly important to the higher levels of the science of execution.

(for the rest of the article please follow the link)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Is Self-Defense really necessary?

(by Ed Parker, Iron Man Magazine, Oct. 1958)
Self-defense is indeed necessary. The old theory that it can never happen to me is little comfort when it really does happen. No sensible person can assume that all trouble happens to just certain persons or just a certain group of persons. It can happen any time without warning. If not today, perhaps tomorrow, if not tomorrow it will surely take place in one's lifetime. Kenpo Karate prepares one for such a crisis. Regardless of the seriousness of the situation, knowledge of Kenpo Karate will truly prove invaluable.
Only a few weeks ago a friend of one my students came to my school and expressed that ever-so-common phrase, "trouble will never come my way so why should I take any self-defense course?" A week after our first meeting he came to me again, only this time with determination to acquire defensive training. The same night of our first meeting he was attacked by two hoods who had no reason for their actions. While bending over to open his briefcase one of the hoods approached from the side and caught him on the jab with a staggering right punch. Stunned he turned to see who struck him; at that moment the other assailant kicked him in the groin. Dropping with pain, he watched as his attackers casually walked away.

There have been many like incidents lately and attacks of this nature are on the increase. We read about them daily in the local newspapers. To the average citizen these incidents mean nothing since they do not concern them. We would feel sorry if that were to happen to our friends, but we would chalk it up as a "bad break" and possibly say, "poor guy, he was unlucky." Not until it actually happens to us do we try to prepare ourselves.

Although this modern world that we live in is eliminating many of our old problems it is creating new ones. The strength, endurance, and hardy physique we were once dependent upon to protect our country, or families and ourselves is being lost in our new easy going way of life. Transportation by buses, cars, elevators, escalators, etc., all save countless hours of effort during our day. They have become a necessity, but something else is now needed to compensate for the lessened physical activity and the great amount of time on our hand s.

Not knowing what to do with this enormous amount of free time, many of our young people are seeking outlets. Some are frequenting reputable organizations such as the YMCA, commercial gyms and athletic clubs. Unfortunately, there are others who misuse their time and do things that are not constructive. Because of idleness and boredom, some of their activities are steered toward stealing, street fighting and other vices.

Present day fighting has changed somewhat from the old days when men fought one man at a time, regardless of number. To find this type of ethics in present day fighting is rate. The size of a person is no barrier to those who collect in great numbers. Big or small, heavy or light, the odds are increased proportionately. Even age and sex mean nothing to those who seek what they term entertainment.

Kenpo Karate is the answer in combating this unethical way of fighting. It teaches one how to fell an opponent through the manipulation of the hands, feet, knees and elbows. Each blow is delivered swiftly and precisely so that very little time is spent on one man. The coordination developed is such that three opponents can receive a blow at exactly the same precise moment. Using the many parts of the body as weapons, combined with the knowledge of maneuverability, a person with knowledge of Kenpo Karate can be equivalent to five or more men.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Points of Engagement

( 9-26-26)
In My American Chúan Fa/Kenpo System there is by design like most, defined footwork for various applications of offensive and defensive maneuvers. However, one of the things emphasized in our basic training is that all forms of footwork have distinctive predictable functional points of engagement to optimize their applications.
These points of engagement are numerical and allow the teacher to be specific in application with regard to the upper and lower platform synchronicity thus defining basics even more, relative to applications and the understandings thereof of the “how” in execution.
Much like my teacher, the late Ed Parker Sr. who created the concept of the “Clock Principle” to better help students and teachers alike to understand directional applications, I feel the American Chúan Fa Footwork Points of Engagement, will be just as revolutionary in the teaching, learning, and strict codification of the system to contribute to its longevity as a system itself.
By better defining what you do, and ensuring each generation learns the system properly, the system survives and insures generational access to the original information as taught to First Generation Practitioners. This is “old school training” where the student is given information and is expected to learn and execute as instructed.
Physical limitations are compensated for by high-level instructors who will make decisions on “tailoring” for individuals who need it, and those adjustments will remain philosophically within the parameters of the system mandates. However, these individual “adjustments” will not be allowed to become a part of the system even though it may be a part of a necessary interpretation for a particular individual.
(for the rest of the article please follow the link)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

KKAA and IKKA logos

First proposed logo for the Kenpo Karate Association of America

(I've heard that Mr. Parker didn't like this first version because of the yin and yang symbol.)

Official logo of the Kenpo Karate Association of America
International Kenpo Karate Association
(larger version)
(possible future version)
Cover of the 1985 IKKA handbook