Is kempo really a good self defense?

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by Floorismyfriend, Nov 1, 2003.

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  1. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    He has read every Spiderman comic that he can get his hands on and once smelt Bas Ruttens jock strap in a No Holds Barred Laundrette.
  2. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    I cant honestly say i practice kenpo, but my uncle whose a blackbelt in kenpo gives me advice on stand up techniques.
    I am more of a louisville slugger type which is a real good martial art for multiple attackers, but if i dont have one with me at the time I am pretty good at bjj,grappling,wrestling type of thing.

    You people cant honestly tell me with a straight face you would teach somone who is smaller and weaker to go toe to toe in stand up against a larger and stronger attacker? Wouldnt it be better to teach them how to get up and escape?

    And btw spider man OWNZ YOU!!!!
  3. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    *Sigh*... Ok, one last time, should a person have some understanding of how to groundfight (not grapple, but fight on the ground)? Of course. Can and is that taught in traditional Martial Arts like Kenpo/Kempo? Yes. Can it be taught in a modern Marital Art like BJJ? Yes as well.

    As I suggested eariler, if I was in charge of helping a small woman learn to defend herself, I would guide her towards a modern self defense system (like Tony Blauers P.D.R or S.P.E.A.R. systems). From a purely self defense aspect they get to all of the key self defense lessons faster than most traditional and MMA (please keep in mind that the only focus of these types of systems is self defense).

    But I should also note that those modern self defense systems employ a significant amount of striking. From experience I can tell you the majority of early class time is striking based. And, again from what I've seen, they do share a lot in common with Kenpo (both philisophically and execution wise). The systems also teach the basics of ground fighting. But the emphasis there is striking first, grappling second. The goal is to never spend a protracted amount of time of the ground.

    Is BJJ a good art? Yes. Can it be used for self defense? Sure. Is it desirable to go to the ground and is that were you should take a self defense situation? We've had a very experienced grappling instructor, Kwan, outline a lot of good reasons to not to go to the ground in a self defense situation.

    The best arts are the ones that prepare you to fight in all situations. Kenpo, and a lot of other tradtional martial arts do that. BJJ, depending on how it's taught, can do that as well.

    The original question was can Kenpo be effective for street self defense? The answer is yes, depending on how it is taught. You ask can BJJ be effective for self defense? The answer is yes, depending on how it is taught?

    The final question is, is BJJ better for street self defense than Kenpo? Like the answer to the old zen koan "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop",... the world may never know. But everyone's got an opinion. In my mind, I would rather learn self defense in a system that is truely focused on self defense first than a system that is focused on sport first.

    - Matt
  4. matsloth

    matsloth New Member

    kenpo self defence

    hi ,kenpo for the smaller guy ,sub level 4,nerve strikes ,co ordination of upper and lower casement strikes ,the use of the zone os sancturary,the hole concept of destroying hieght width and depth,sweeps and takedowns ,focus on soft target areas,the list can go on,kenpo taught as science ,the science of motion,the art of the thinking man,it all depends on your instructor,and your understanding of your art,or arts,also one other thing ,mentality ,a lot of people train there bodys ,but forget their mind,it takes a certain type of person to ram his fingers in someones eyes ,win at all costs ,all in or all out,
    the greatest fighter with the wrong mentality may be lost on the street if faced with the prospect of really snapping an arm,
  5. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    I agree with you that if u CAN choose to not go into the ground that you shouldnt in a self defense situation. But alot of times you will NOT be able to choose between ground or standing. For example somone grabs you from behind drags you and throws you on the ground. In this case you dont get to choose. Another example is being chased down by a rapists and getting tackled to the ground. Or after having a heated arguement being sucker punched and you land on your back the attacker proceeds to get on top of you and begins to ground and pound. Or having 3 crypts aproach you for having a red t shirt before you know it they tackle you to the ground and start stomping you
  6. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    -To a large extent, this topic reminds me of a sore you have in your mouth that you know you should/t prod it with your tongue, but---. Seriously, there are many people on this thread that have been good to share ideas and opinions with.

    -I believe being able to defend oneself from the ground is a must (as I have stated before), at least long enough to be able to post and get back to a better position. Flooris actually brings up some good points, as far as most of us (I hope) are not going out starting fights or letting our egos get us into one. If we do get into it on the street, it's probably going to be a case of being attacked and if our awareness is lacking, we may have to fight out of the hole and often from the ground. This is one reason that most TMA include some groudfighting in their combative version (as opposed to sport), though many instructors let that atrophy within their systems over the generations.

    -I do contend with the notion that going purposely to the ground is a good idea for the smaller and weaker person. It can be IF you have better skills there then your attacker, but the same would apply to trapping, boxing range, kicking range, ect. When the UFC began and Royce cleaned house, it was largely due to the fact that his opponents (like most people) were ill-prepared for that kind of fight. Also, Royce was a whole lot better at taking them into his element than they were at either keeping him in their's or at stopping him from taking them to his. The element of surprise has one more battles than any other factor. He and his family were smart enough to capitalize on a weakness in just about everybody else's gameplan. Even though some people were experiened in grappling and groundfighting; they had not been nearly as extensive in their work in that area.

    -Today that has changed. While not everyone has developed great grappling or groundskills, a MUCH higher percentage know how to sprawl well enough to keep even a very good grappler from taking them down. Many MA's have some basic grappling or ground skills and so do many non-MA's. The element of surprise is really not there anymore. At least to any great extent. IMO groundfighting is of indespensible value in three cases:

    1) When you find yourself taken down and have to deal with that reality. At the very least until you can post and get to a better position.

    2) If your opponent outclasses you in other ranges and they lack this skill. If they can out punch you, kicks (espscially low line) can come in very handy. By the same token, if they out match you in striking or stand up, grappling or groundfighting is a good choice. Make them fight your fight and try to make them fight under your own terms, this is just good strategy. However, this would not only apply to the use of grappling or groundfighting, but ANY set of fighting skills.

    3) If you want to stop them with a submission rather than injury. This is what I like most about grappling (and to an extent pressure points which I love to incorperate into grappling BTW), is that I have more of an oppurtunity to be merciful. If you were really intent on hurting me, espescially if you were on certain drugs (shame on you) and I had to stop you with strikes, I would probably have to do severe damage, possibly even maim or kill you to stop you. Groundfighting skills and grappling skills would give me more of an option to stop you w/o doing serious damage.

    Paragraph breaks added to increase legibility: Yoda
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2003
  7. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    Good stuff Kwan Jang - No2 is one that is very often overlooked.
  8. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Good points. One thing to consider as part of training in all of these cases is where does awareness come into the scenario. That's one aspect that I really like about some Modern Self Defense training (and it's also in a lot (if not all) of TMA's even if it it isn't necessarily taught). Each one of these cases you outlined suggests a lack of awareness of your surrondings (ie. that you let someone with ill intent get close enough to you to grab you, you were in a verbal confrontation and not prepared to sucker punch or be sucker punched, or you let three gang members approach you when you knew that it wasn't going to have good results). Yes, these are all worst case scenarios, but as part of self defense training you need to figure out how not to get into those situations.

    I've been feeling the same way, but I can't help but keep responding.

    Thanks for sharing I've been really digging your posts.

    This was te post of the day! You hit the nail right on the head. You want people to come to your playground to fight. You don't neccessarily want to be brought to their playground.

    - Matt
  9. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    Very good advice by kwang jang and reckon matt about the awareness thing.
    But sometimes you dont get to choose where you live,work,travel
    especially if you are too young to get yourself a nice apartment in the nicer part of town. Awareness is one thing but if you have to constantly survive in hostile surroundings like I once did you begin to grow a sixth sense of trying to avoid danger and even then its a good chance of having to deal with one of the perils i have mentioned in my past posts.

    Again in most self defense situations you will not get to choose to fight in your play ground or theirs.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2003
  10. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    By playground I was referring, like Kwan, to where your fighting strengths are. Not necessarily a geographic location.

    And I really believe that one can estabilsh control in most self defense situations. Again, that's what a lot of arts teach. For example if you are in a verbal confrontation and you feel in your gut that it's going to escalate to violence, it's better for you to throw the sucker punch and get out of there than wait to be hit. "Stun and run"... It's dirty, but that's what a real fight is.

    The Crips (thanks KenpoDave) scenario you can up with is a really tough one. You're right, we can't necessarily change where we live at times. But if you know that you're in a dangerous (or potentially dangerous) part of town, you need to constantly keep you guard up and always know where your escape routes are.

    Ultimately, what I think we all agree on is that you need to know (at least in a basic sense) how to function in all of the fighting ranges: kicking, punching, trapping & grappling. You need to at least be able to strike in all of these ranges. Additionally having basic grappling skills like Kwang eloquently stated, provides you with more options.

    Finally you need to know where you opporate the best (ie. your playground) and learn to keep the fight there. And you need to also learn how to get from their playground to yours for those times when you end up in a place you don't want to be.

    - Matt
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2003
  11. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    it's "Crips" not "Crypts" :)
  12. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    oops, thanks. Time to edit that....

    - Matt
  13. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    When you live in a dangerous place for several years without incident you begin to get a false sense of security that "I't wont happen to me" or "I have no enemies why should i worry" or "That kind of stuff only happens at night time" or "Nobody can beat me" eventually one of these ideas will gain a foothold in your head and your guard will come down. For some people it takes a few months and for most people it takes years but it happens to everybody at one time or another. If you think your any different you would be completely wrong.

    I honestly believe that if you could choose to fight in your terms or fight with your strenghts then it couldnt necessarily be called self defense. I myself am a very short 5 foot 6 inches and have much experience against taller and stronger people. From this experience i have learned trying to punch somones face who has 4-5 inches arm reach farther than yours becomes very futile after you take a few shots in the face and realize you haven't even touched him. Theres only 3 things you can do at this point. You could run away and hope hes too slow to catch you or you could jump for his legs or ankles or you could try to fight him in your guard and just tire him down.

    Also alot of people who do not study martial arts and are new to it do not have the time or conditioning to practice striking arts like boxing or muay thai. There are also ALOT of really short people out there(like me) who do not have the arm or leg reach to fight stand up effectively.
  14. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    The most awkward place for a taller fighter to defend against a shorter fighter, standing, is inside their guard.

    Have you ever tried Bobbing and weaving in for short range punches, strikes etc to their body etc and then shooting for the takedown by chopping down onto their leading leg with your elbow onto their knee and following thru with the body weight to drive them down and over and then hooking the ankle(Basic Chin Na takedown much more effective than trying to just BJJ/ Rugby Tackle them)? Give it a try as a drill-it's a good basic.

    They might outreach but do they 'out-speed' you?

    Also, why bother grappling on the ground with them if you don't have to? If your strategy is to defend yourself, then once you have put them onto the deck and stayed upright yourself, put the boots in and then leg it (Ie leave quickly).

    Ground Grappling/ Submission is a tiring business, going for 'Position' in this situation is a misnomer, the only position you need is to get out of there, by doing what you can to extracate yourself from the situation-unless you enjoy wrestling in Dog Crap, broken glass, condoms, mulch and hypodermics (As the streets are in my Neighbourhood).

    If you find yourself in a grappling orientated situation then yes you'll have to deal with it, hopefully with common sense and self-preservation utmost in yr mind. If in doubt get up and get out (If you can).
  15. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    I agree with you about the getting in close so they cant punch you but the problem with that is now your close enough for him to grip your shirt, hair, and pants. Even after you "put him on the deck" you have just given him something to grip on to which would make your getaway very difficult until you disable him and chances are you would have to roll around in the dog crap broken glass, condoms, mulch and hypodermics(As the streets are in your neighborhood). If I had the choice "to get in close" you would probably also have the choice to just run away. I would have just ran away in the first place but as I have stated before you dont always get a chance to choose. Most fights I have seen or been in usually already start out on the ground either by sucker punch or take downs from behind.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2003
  16. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    Whatever you do, they will have a chance to get a grip on you, regardless. And getting in close is for striking with elbows and short punches etc and not for Ball-room dancing, hit hard and fast on the inside. The whole point in closing the gap is to do damage, not tickle your adversary and smell their Bath juice.

    Those are the chances you take in any conflict, you might keep the upright, you might go over, come what may, you have to deal with it. More important to make sure that by striking hard, if yr adversary does manage to secure a grip on you, they can't capitalise upon it at that given split second, because you have just blasted them with as many powerful strikes as you could muster. So that their 'grip' is negated by the fact that they can't function at optimum ability for the few seconds you need to get away. If you are so worried about breaking grips, then most systems teach simple and effective strategies for breaking a grip in most situations. Learn some-under duress.

    Then practice your sprinting as much as your other stuff and yes you don't always get the chance. Such is life, if you are sucker punched or keeled over from behind then better practice those breakfalls as well. Work on the awareness as well and you'll have a full set of skills.
  17. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    You could run away....

    If you can choose "to get in close" you can also choose to run.
    As for getting in close do you mean holding him with one arm while the other punches or elbows? If so wouldnt you leave urself open to be thrown to the ground by both of his arms on the side of your punching arm? Wouldnt he also have 2 free arms to punch you with and since he has longer arms he now has better leverage and stronger punches?

    Or do you mean going in close as using both your hands to just out strike him with speed? Even tho your close and can strike him back your giving him even more leverage for even more powerful punches like hooks or upercuts.
    Why not as soon as you "get in close" keep your hands around him and just bring him down to the ground.
  18. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    These are all things that you'll have to work out for yourself with training partners. From my POV, I 'd rather put someone slammed into the deck, but not go over with them, in an ideal scenario, if I do, then I'll have to deal with it.

    Work on some of the striking scenarios, at different ranges and see what you can make work under duress. That's what we do it, find out what works, out of the different options such as Holding and Hitting, wrenching and hitting, blasting away striking etc. The rest is really just intellectualising, without training, these are meaningless words.

    Lastly if the other guy outweighs you, out-reaches you etc, then why would you want to end up in a grappling situation with him on the ground, where he can use that superior size and strength to overcome you? Even if you do gain some kind of Mount position?

    Don't tell me, you'd 'put him in a JuJigatame or a Kimura and that would be the end of it huh?'. :)
  19. matsloth

    matsloth New Member

    kenpo self defence

    hi interesting,the only thing i would add is time,most street situations are over in seconds ,and are very random acts,and we train along side trained fighters with a game plan of their own,most street fighters dont have a game plan or prior training,whitch makes them random,and un predictable,so a trained fighter may go" abc" but a street fighter may go "acb "if you see what i mean,
    in the dojo we almost always train skill on skill,street skill on thug rushed with anger ,drugs ,alcohol ect,this is the difference betwen self defence and martial arts (especialy sport based),also the pe emtive strike ,first rule of self defence ,dont be there,second rule hit first hit hard and get out ,the list goes on,
  20. Floorismyfriend

    Floorismyfriend New Member

    I am not trying to insult you here but from what you have been saying i gues you have never faught anyone with a MUCH greater height and strenght advantage. When your standing your giving him leverage with his legs to punch. Hockey brawls are a great example of what I am trying to explain each fighter grips the others jersey and continously punch until other fighter is down.
    If this happens the fighter with the longer arm reach will undoubtedly dominate the shorter player. This also makes it very difficult to get away since the attacker has a firm grip on your jacket, shirt, hair. It also makes it difficult to "get in close" or even strike the taller stronger fighter. Your best bet at this point is to put up a good guard.

    By going in close like you said your turning it into a grappling situation. Like i have said many times before if you can choose to get in close you can also choose to run away.
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