06 November 2007

About Kenpo I said not a word. Until....now!

I've recently been made aware of a curious fact. I've offended some folk who've read my blog. Or purported to others that they've read it and found it upsetting. That in itself is surely not curious. As blogs go, this one was bound to upset more than a few apple carts. What is strange is that the offense that was reported to me was for something that I did not say. Specifically it was a criticism of Kenpo that I didn't make that seems to have a caused a minor uproar among some contingent-I'm unsure how large-in Richmond's martial arts community. Normally I can't be bothered with who I've offended. I'm happy to talk with whoever I've offended. I'm quite willing to modify my positions if good arguments and evidence are offered. However, when people get offended, I would very much like them to be offended by what I've actually said, or did.

In point of fact, I don't think I have ever said a word about the dearly departed Ed Parker, and his Kenpo Karate. I've never in my blog mentioned Jeff Speakman, or his mediocre film The Perfect Weapon, which I liked a lot as a teenager. Even still it isn't good. Speakman's movie I mean. I challenge you to look back at every post and find a single mention of Kenpo, or Shaolin Kenpo or Ed Parker, or something like Ed Parker has weird hair. Anything about Kenpo.
Anything At all...? I've attacked lots of other things. Aikido gets the brunt of my attacks, but I think I've given it to tai-jitsu on more than one occasion. But in general I think I've mostly slammed Aikido because of all the martial art, its the one that has most come to look like modern dance. Having said all that though, I thought maybe I ought to look at Kenpo and see what I think, you know beyond Jeff Speakman and his George Michael beard.
Here's what Ed Parker had to say.

What you notice almost immediately is how good his demonstrators look doing Kenpo. Their punches look crisp, their movements relaxed, it even seems as if their punches might have a little power which is a strange thing for a karate punch to carry. Okay not bad. Its Karate, which I don't like, but okay. That maybe be my personal preferance. And this stuff looks like it might be good for self-defense applications.
Lets look at couple more clips these from CounterStrike Kenpo, the first is of an adult class.

Huh? Not sure what was going on here. Why does everyone just stand there when other people are carving out an epic poem of strange strikes all along their listless forms?
Moving on....

With the kids right away you see the amazing alacrity with which the they perform their kata. More crisp movement, sharp punches. Sure we get some wierd movements, but what ever. I won't say much about the wierd movements because I don't know anything about Kenpo, so I'll let it slide. They don't kick or punch the way I do, but they are after something else entirely, judging by their technical practice. Speed, variety and volume. Seems sound. However, I know a bit about sparring and how it should look. It should resemble the way you train. And that isn't the case here. It is essentially point karate. Their hands are way down, they don't attack using the barrage of combo's they train to use, something that might actually be effective. They stand side-ways for the most part and content themselves with lead side techniques. So their hips have essentially been removed from the fighting They use the ever deadly jump hammer and back fist. Weak kicks, and poor balance. Don't believe me? Watch the kid go down at 2:29. It wasn't from a punch. Its because his balance in a fluid situation sucks. But I don't want to be too harsh it is just some kids after all. Their kata are excellent, they work hard and if they can utilize that multiple strike attack then, as karates go, this isn't a bad one. At least that is what I said till I found this asshole.

I didn't think people still feathered their hair. That is feathering isn't it?
You may remember the following event described by a columnist and Kenpo stylist in Black Belt magazine. I remember it. This guy's hair isn't quite feathered.


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