Kajukenbo training and MMA

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by Rebel Wado, May 3, 2013.

  1. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    The question, I would ask, is what is the difference between MMA type training and Kajukenbo training?

    In a nutshell, the core training could be very similar. The principles are the same but Kaju will emphasize that there could be multiple attackers and with weapons, whereas MMA will focus more on one-on-one combat. Both could emphasize self-defense, both could emphasize sport.

    In addition, there are many Kajukenbo schools that are also MMA schools.

    With the above said, I would like to add in a discussion about "alive" training. Alive training is a core principle in MMA, wrestling, and many types of training that utilize progressive resistance. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliveness_%28martial_arts%29

    Now, while there is alive training in Kajukenbo, there could also be a lot of non-alive training, particularly in demonstrations. Predetermined attacks and counters are a big part in many Kajukenbo schools, and have been since Kaju was formed over sixty years ago. For example, a predetermined attack and counter could be something like: student one attacks with a right cross and left hook. Student two counters with a 45 degree step, kick to the groin, arm destruction, and right cross. While student two applies the counter, student one plays the role of the target dummy (just reacts to the hits but does not block or counter student two).

    However, is this non-alive (static) training now outdated in the light of MMA, wrestling, BJJ, etc.?

    It depends on the context. I've seen places, not necessarily kaju, but martial arts schools where the attacker just stands there while the defender applies multiple strikes (non-contact). This not only takes away student one's (attacker) natural reaction to protect himself, but it also can build a false sense of security for student two (defender).

    On the other hand, Kajukenbo is not built on the above type of non-alive training. The difference is in the level of contact. In Kaju training, you strike to stun or unbalance, in such that student one (the attacker) knows how effective the techniques are. If student one tries to overtly defend, they should not be able to because they will either be stunned or unbalanced.

    Of course, not every technique works well all the time, so there is another part of kaju training dealing with resistance. Here I will list a situation and give two answers:

    Situation is that student one attacks student two in a predetermined way (remember this is static training). Student two counters as per the technique being trained. However, at some point student one ceases to be the "target dummy" and fights back.

    1) Common way of dealing with the above situation would be to turn it into alive training now (like sparring) at a predetermined intensity. There is no longer an attacker and defender but both are attacker and defender. Call it rolling, call it sparring, call it a wrestling or boxing match, etc. The key is that both are still "fighting" within certain levels of contact, speed, and intensity.

    2) Old school way of dealing with the situation is something used in Kajukenbo. When student one (attacker) fights back, student two increases the speed, intensity, and contact until student one stops fighting back. The more student one wants to test out student two, the more student two will pound on student one, even to the point of possible broken bones and knock outs.

    Now you have two methods of training, #1 above is alive like MMA training methods, and you have #2 old school training. Both can be used and both, IMHO are useful training and should be included in training.

    Note that none of the above means that a student is not protecting themselves. Even when being a target dummy, one uses methods and instincts to protect yourself. "Always protect yourself" is a principle.
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  2. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    Well in Kajukenbo, there are punching attack and grab art defenses that give a very nice base on what you can do. Not what you HAVE to do, but just ideas of what you can do, each either builds on the previous, or introduces a new concept. This is probably a good example of some "non-alive" training you were talking about. One thing we do, that could count as "alive" training, is that sometimes during class, we "play" with the PAD and GAD (Punching Attack Defense and Grab Art Defense), and add our own little flair, while the partner also adds extra strikes and resistance to give a more realistic example aside from the usual "dummy" training. But what makes it a little different from the "non-contact attacker, defender", it is encourages to make contact and usually go full contact, so even though the attacker isn't stopping the strikes, they build up the pain threshold of the individual.

    Example: Student 1 punches Student 2. Student 2 does, Punching Attack Defense #8, the punches to the body, full contact, hard, meant to rock the other person, Student 1 must take the hits, they can keel over, but they must take it, they can move over a little bit to take it in the rib instead of the diaphragm. The chop to the neck, no contact, for obvious reasons, (chop to their OWN hand for the sake of contact, but reduce the possibility for injury of Student 1). Student 1 will get used to taking the hits overtime, and eventually his body will be used to it. Usually Student 2 is a nice guy and will hold back a little bit so that he doesn't put everything into his punch, but enough, and will eventually build up the power over time to the point where they go full contact, and Student 1 will be able to take it well.

    At some point resistance will be added in, but at that point, usually it is the case that Student 2 will be able to do it at enough power, intensity, and speed that Student 1 will not be able to react to the multiple strikes from Student 2.
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  3. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    I've done a bit of kajukembo. If you get really good at it, I expect it would work well in MMA. You learn breakaway/counter, sweeps, hip throws, falls, etc. As I understand it, kajukembo is way more structured than MMA training, so you'd want to do plenty of sparring to prepare for an MMA fight.
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  4. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    I remember seeing some shirts that some of the people at tournaments that say these words:

    Kajukenbo, the First Mixed Martial Art

    So yes it would most likely work well with MMA. There is a huge amount of standup and ground techniques, and sparring. Some schools have both standup and ground fighting combined during sparring, some don't. Either works well because many techniques in Kajukenbo involve sweeps among other things that will transition to the ground.
  5. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I don't see where the virtue of non-alive training comes into play. Could you explain more why non-alive (dead) drills are rewarding for a practitioner? I'd also be curious if you thought that these drills would be rewarding for 25 or 35 year old combat athletes, vs. 80 or 90 year old self defense practitioners.
  6. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    There's a place for dead training in tool development for some of the more destructive/damaging stuff, but without live training of your delivery systems it's pointless.
  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I go back to a saying that I like: "In a real situation, the factors that can most influence the outcome are: (1) Experience, (2) Attitude, (3) and a distant third, skill." All three of these factors can help shape how you train and how prepared you are for a real situation.

    One of the premises of alive training is the quick build up of experience. A student gains the experience of working in a more dynamic situation against a progressively resistant and unpredictable opponent.

    Now the people training kajukenbo fifty years ago included a lot of fighters. Culturally, you did not need a lot of alive training because of a few reasons. One was that many of them got in real fights or had real world experience in situations. And then add that many were also boxers or Judoka or had to fight boxers, wrestlers, or Judoka. So they had this experience working with resisting opponents. They were tough from life.

    Compare to many people today, who have very little real world experience. Today, a larger component of alive training is needed because there aren't as many fighters that have this real world experience. Today, almost all the fighting experience many people have is though alive training.

    The virtues of non-alive training can depend on the context and purpose of the training, IMHO. You still need attitude and skill. Experienced people know the value of both attitude and skill. For example, an experienced ring fighter knows that they need to have great stamina and conditioning, so they will train harder to be prepared both physically and mentally.

    So the value of non-alive training comes only when you have the qualifying experience to know what you need. Non-alive training could be a component of building skill WHEN skill is needed to be developed or tested. Non-alive training could be a component of building a superior attitude WHEN attitude is needed to be developed or tested. Just as alive training is a primarily component for building experience WHEN experience is lacking or needing a "refresher".

    The methods used in non-alive training depend on the situation, students, teachers, environment, etc. Done right, it can teach someone how to deal and receive pain and a pounding while always protecting themselves. It can also factor into being humble and having and showing respect and control. It can help with learning how to intuitively wait until the last possible moment to move and move the minimum necessary to get the job done.

    However, done wrong, non-alive training can lead to untraining the natural instincts to protect yourself. It can lead to a false sense of security. It can lead to ineffective fighting skill and ignorance. I could go on. I think most everyone has been here or there and experienced personally how things can go wrong with non-alive training.

    One of the primary reasons why heavy contact, non-alive training can work well and be rewarding is if it is not non-alive but instead treated as the more compliant end of alive training on a scale. As training partners advance, the training progresses to more alive training, but the core of the training is heavier contact that is aimed at stunning and unbalancing. Mentally, it is alive always. Physically, it is controlled to a certain level for training purposes. But the threat of pain and harm is always real!!!

    An issue with alive training that some people develop is the "slow to start" syndrome. Basically, it is good to size up your opponent and have strategy. However, people can basically train themselves to go to sleep, only waking up after getting hit in the face or building up to speed. However, in a real world situation, it could be zero to 100% in an instant. If you are slow to wake up, it is already over before you even get going.

    Some types of non-alive training help to develop the zero to 100% in an instant principle. There is a threat of getting your head knocked off immediately, and you go for the throat or whatever, no time to move around and wake up slowly.

    How rewarding the drills are depends on the experience level and of course the capabilities of each person. For an experienced fighter, the drills can focus on needs and help to balance out training. Maybe at 25 you can do a lot more physically than at 80 years old, so the drills need to be done in a manner that is smart for your capabilities and situation, but they can still be done in a controlled environment. For people inexperienced in fighting or real world situations, the drills are not as useful, no matter what the age. This is because they are a big leap of faith and it depends heavily on how good and experienced your teachers are. A good teacher will guide you through the process and probably will have to tailor your training to get you some experience that fighters would already have. A bad teacher, well then these drills can teach you bad habits and maybe you end up with a black belt but can't fight your way out of a wet paper bag :bang:
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  8. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    Also, well from what I experienced during these "dead" drills,

    Nothing teaches you to take a hit better than when you have no choice by to take it full contact and are not allowed to protect yourself.
  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    having no choice but to take a hit, I agree with... however, even when you don't appear to be protecting yourself, you are. I say always protect yourself.

    Part of receiving hits is learning to protect yourself at the last possible moment and with maximum mobility but minimum movement.
  10. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Good points. I would say Kaju would do okay in MMA because you do have the core principles from karate, judo, jujutsu, kenpo, chinese boxing, american boxing, and FMA knives and stick fighting. However, it would depend on the person and their fighting experience.

    What makes Kaju good in regards to something like MMA is that from these core principles, a student can specialize more in the area and cross-train. For example, we fight Muay Thai, so even though we are a Kajukenbo school, we have training specifically in Muay Thai. A Kajukenbo school that had MMA fighters would train in MMA specifically. IME.

    If the shirts were black with red writing, they might be the shirts that my good friend designed around 8-10 years ago. I've got three or four of these shirts, one of which is ripped up quite a lot but I still wear in training. :love:
  11. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    They are black shirts, with white letters that have Kajukenbo spelled vertically over the left side, I forget where they put "The First (or originial, I forgot the actual word) Mixed Martial Art". I think I've seen the red writing one, and I just found another one, a newer version that has the quote, "From the Streets, For the Streets" by Sigung Trent Junker on kajukenbo.com
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Ah cool. Sigung Trent is my good friend that I was talking about. I have to correct myself though. I just pulled out the original red writing on black shirts I got from Trent... they do not say what I thought.

    On the front it says, "Kajukenbo" then under a three leaf clover design it says, "The Original American Martial Art".

    On the back it says, "Before UFC", "Before JKD", "Before K-1", "Before MMA", "There was... Kajukenbo"

    I'm sure I've seen the other shirt you are talking about, but I don't own one of those. The last shirt I got from Trent has a nice design on it and says, "Kajukenbo Forever"
  13. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    I've seen those too, the "before" shirts. Those are cool. When I finally get some money to get them, I'm going to probably order some.

    Also getting back to the knowing how to take a hit part and protecting yourself at the last possible moment, like when you are forced to take a hit, such as when you must take repetitive hits (during a BB testing) or when you have to take hard hits (the "initiations" into a BB class), you learn how to exhale enough air to nullify it enough, but keep enough air in you or learn to breathe fast enough to have enough air to exhale again for the next hit. Or how to bend yourself forward enough to smother the hit a little bit.
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    So are there any?

  15. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    Confused ... any what?

    EDIT: OH I GET IT NOW, is there any difference between Kaju and MMA training? If I'm not incorrect in assuming that MMA we're talking about is "sport fighting", such as UFC then there are a few differences. Kajukenbo also has been integrated into the "sports martial arts" world. Some aspects of Kajukenbo training have been taken out to make it allowed for sport fighting. Kajukenbo in tournaments is usually point fighting, forms, etc, the usual, but it rarely transitions from stand up to ground. Kajukenbo in a self defense aspect, it teaches small joint manipulation, wrist locks, finger locks, which are illegal in MMA so they are not taught. There is katas in Kajukenbo, like in most martial arts. Kajukenbo also teaches to hit in the groin, again like most martial arts. MMA won't teach you to hit to the groin. MMA was built for cages, and fighting where there is a referee etc. Kajukenbo, as the shirts that we quoted, is "From the Streets, For the Streets". There is a heck of a lot more dirty fighting in Kajukenbo than MMA.

    These claims are all under the assumption that the MMA we speak of is the type of MMA that is in UFC, K1, stuff like that. If you mean the original definition of MMA, then not really, there aren't any HUGE differences. Because by the traditional definition of a MMA, Kajukenbo is also an MMA.
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  16. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Kajukenbo practitioners in MMA?

  17. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    There are quite a few Kajukenbo schools that are also MMA schools. Our school is borderline MMA in that we train Muay Thai and I've crossed trained on and off in BJJ since the late 1990s, but we don't have any MMA fighters. I think most of the Kajukenbo schools that I know of that do have MMA fighters, they are mostly amateur MMA fighters.

    Of professional MMA fighters with a Kajukenbo background, maybe there aren't that many, but probably the most famous is Chuck Liddell.
  18. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I know what you are saying. The closer your lungs are to empty, the better for taking body hits. Every art that has regular hard contact has tricks or instincts that should be built up to protect yourself. In boxing you learn how to keep your mouth closed and tuck your chin against jaw strikes. In Aikido you learn how to recover when standing. In kaju you also learn how to make an "ugly face" against shoulder and neck strikes. The list goes on...
  19. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    by any other name??

    Interesting that Liddell doesn't mention kajukenbo as a style that he has practised. He lists :

    Rank Purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1]
    5th Degree black belt in Kenpo Karate
    Black belt in Koei-Kan Karate
    Wrestling NCAA Division I Wrestling

    Are you equating kajukenbo with generic kenpo karate??/ I knew that kenpo sounded siliar but that kajukenbo included bo and not po in it's name. Just interested in where the connection is. Thanks

  20. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    This is not generic kenpo karate, it is Kajukenbo. Kajukenbo was known as kenpo karate back in the 1950s, before it formally was named.

    Sijo Adriano Emperado (founder of Kajukenbo)
    Walter Godin
    John Hackleman (Hawaiian Kempo)
    Chuck Liddell

    The concept that is hard for many to understand that haven't been exposed to Kajukenbo since before UFC, is that Kajukenbo was developed to be progressive. Those Kajukenbo folks that are MMA fighters, are not training Kajukenbo, they train MMA. Kajukenbo provides some core principles and a training method, but anyone serious in MMA isn't going to spend a lot of time doing forms/kata and other things that aren't directly related to MMA fighting. They are going to spend a majority of the time in alive training and conditioning. This is what John Hackleman did when he trained people like Chuck Liddell at The Pit.

    Kaju folks know who has trained and who hasn't with other kaju folks. It is a family, Ohana.

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