Kenpo's effectiveness

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by Tigersan, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. Tigersan

    Tigersan New Member

    Hi all,

    Ive been studying Kenpo for the last 8 years and really enjoy the style. In the class the techniques and stlyes seem very effective. With groin strikes, eye gouges etc etc.

    However, when we spar in the class, its so hard to pull of any techniques as other pupils all are in the same stances etc etc and its more of a free for all.

    The question i have is as i have never ever been in a fight, luckily i hasten to add. Does the martial arts training help in a real street scenaria. ie does the person on the street attack you with one large punch or grab that you can apply some areas of your training too. Or do they guards up as if sparring.

    Im just after some insight in the eyes of the agressor on the street and generally how they tend to attack you at the start.

    Without going out to cause a fight its hard to find if what we learn will help.

    Thank you in advance
  2. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    i did kenpo for a number of years as well. i can tell you the best way i found to figure out kenpo's effectiveness is to have a partner who is willing to attack you with real force. not someone who will LET you do anything. really earn the technique. you'll find some things change- stance, timing, distance, entry, etc. sometimes you'll just have to abort a technique altogether. make sure you freestyle too! i suggest wearing some protective goggles and equipment.

    have fun!
  3. Tigersan

    Tigersan New Member

    Thank you for a quick response, i will see if i can find anyone out there who wants to hit me hard hehe.

    When you tested kenpo in this scenario did you find it effective? I know its a very fast style and, it does seem to work, no fancy kicks etc all straight to thepoint attacks. It looks good in the class thats for sure ;).

    But the street is a whole new ball game.
  4. SifuJason

    SifuJason Valued Member

    IMHO, some kenpo techniques are overly elaborate and often exposes one to takedowns and chokes. A lot of other techniques are very useful, however. As mentioned by others, the best way to test your training is to spar and moderate to full contact against someone resisting fully. That will most realistically show you how your skills will fair out in the real world.
  5. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    agreed. you can basically refine your technique and whittle away the inessentials. i like being attacked randomly. i try not to say, "ok, now grab me this time!" just let the guy try to get you.
  6. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    I just have to ask, couldn't you have saved some energy and simply said everything? I'm not trying pick a fight here but surely the defining point of a martial art is to learn how to do those things and if it isn't teaching you that then its a bit, well, daft.

    To the OP, maybe you should try training in some other arts, try Judo, BJJ, Muay Thai or other arts that have a rep for doing hard sparring and see how your training stands up in those environments. I have to say though, if your asking the questions, I don't think it will go well for you. Some people are good and confident, some people are bad and confident, some people aren't confident or good, but I've literally never met someone who's good but not confident. Not trying to be a jerk at all here, just saying I think having to ask the question in the first place is really kinda telling.
  7. Tigersan

    Tigersan New Member

    I see where you are coming from as im not a confident person, im usually quiet, shy, reserved type. Ive achieved my black belt in kenpo and love the art. I took on martial arts to boost my confidence which it has helped slightly.

    But not ever being in a fight you still doubt if it will work. Surely though if you lack confidence in yourself, this would go out the window when it came to the crunch? If not then would you say martial arts is not doing its job? Or do i need to somehow train in confidence building.

    Hard one to call to be honest, but in the class it feels fluent and would stand me in good stead if ever attacked. BUt again thats just my oppinion with no hands on experience which was why i felt i need to ask.
  8. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    if you practice forms and techniques in ideal circumstance (best way to learn a technique) your entire MA career, you never get to work on application. Tigersan has taken kenpo, which trains imo pretty traditionally. so, i made an assessment- he needs to wake up his training. your statement may be true, that practicing in the first place without those intentions can be silly...however, how is it constructive to the OP?

    tigersan, you have many of the tools you need after years of training. not it is time to put on the work gloves and see how they work! :) what's the use of making a blade sharp, if you never intend to cut anything down?!! you'll find if you practice correctly and with intent, your self esteem will boom!

    good luck!
  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    From experience it is the guy with the strongest fighting spirit and who can go from zero to 100% attack in an instant who should win. Techniques must be multiple and pragmatic.

    regards koyo


    I worked with gangs in Glasgow Scotland for many years.So I have been there done that.Still best to avoid if at all possible.
  10. Nuck Chorris

    Nuck Chorris I prefer North South

    I can be thinking of flowers and puppydogs and still kick most people's okoles. Fighting spirit isn't required.
  11. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    I don't know that anything I do works in a real fight, depending on how you define it, but through the process of training and testing my art in the various levels of sparring we do in club and through competition, where I know the other guy is going all out to stop me, i can be reasonably confident about my ability to grapple with someone and throw them from standing or control them or choke them on the floor.

    Progressive resistance here is the key, you start off with no resistance to your technique to learn the movement then you move up to more and more resistiance opponents in more and more intense sparring.
  12. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Well, my point for the OP was that they need to consider the fact their kenpo training may be virtually useless for fighting as it is. It's not really a nice thing to say to someone though.
  13. Mikey Triangles

    Mikey Triangles Neo-Ninja

    this is what happens when you don't train live in any style. If you train techniques in a live manner you will be able to perform them... however many styles adopt techniques that are too complicated and unrealistic to perform live; others simply don't work when you try to do it on someone that isn't letting you, so those can pose a problem

    SPIKE THE RAVEN Valued Member

    ...i find it hard to believe that anyone could study ANY martial art for eight years and not be at least better equipped for a "street" fight than he or she was when they began studying ...executing thousands of punches , kicks and other techniques has got to at least leave you with SOME kind of automatic or instinctual ability to fight back ....i hope...hard sparring , if you do it , certainly must help with your fighting , and ability to handle the old adrenalin dump me , thinking too much can be a major obstacle helps to know you can take a helps to know you can deliver a technique with good power ....simple is often best ....avoiding a fight is , of course, the best defense of all ....but if it cannot be avoided , strike first and often ...
  15. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    standing across form our partner and trading tentative jabs with the hand and foot is not an effective way to train for a real fight.

    Put our partenr in some protective gear and have them attack you as if they were enraged and had little regard for anything but taking your head off. Now you will see if there is any Kempo in you that can come out when you need it.
  16. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    All kenpo is not created equal.
    This may sound rash. But if you've been training in a art for 8 years, have a black belt, and still doubt your abilities to fight, something is seriously wrong. Like many people have said, "live training" is essential.
    Confidence is pretty easy to build. You simply challenge yourself. And then meet the challenge. Once you can actually do something over and over, you will have the confidence in your ability to do it anytime you need to.
    All techniques work in the air. All techniques work in slow motion. All techniques work against a compliant partner. So if that's what gives you confidence, then it's a false confidence.
    You got to spar/grapple live against partners of varying sizes and abilities. No point fighting rules. Expect to get punched, kicked, tackled. Or attacked by multiple opponents, or armed opponents. Good solid contact is also necessary. And most importantly, don't try to use every technique you know. Just use the one's you need.
    There are many live drills you can adapt. Here is just one of the one's we use.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
  17. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Whatever you do, it has to work at an instinctive level. If you literally "can't do it in your sleep" then it is probably too complex for you to use it in real world.

    What is ingrained in your body memory is the aspect of your kenpo training that will come out under pressure situations. The only way to know what that will be is to have the experience from real world and training.

    IMHO, kenpo is all attack. In training you should reach a point where you are not trying to hit your partner, you are trying to blast right through them. In order to do this safely is where people can differ in their training. In some schools you will find that there is always resistance (past the basics), meaning you are blocking or getting out of the way (trying not to get hit) in all training and you are striking through the target and partner to stun or unbalance them... this is done with control for safety and things are slowed down as needed. To refer to my BJJ training as an example, a lot of the training is done at "half speed" with full resistance.

    You also have very few schools that just go out full contact, but limiting the target areas for safety and maybe using padding for protection (but some are still bare knuckle NHB too). Here again you blast through your partner.

    On the other hand, there is what I call "demostration" training. This is basically going through techniques to show others what it looks like full speed. Punches are pulled and the opponent is semi-compliant. Moves are often scripted out. In my opinion, if all you train in is "demonstration of technique" then you are taking a big gamble. Depending on your other experience and your attitude, you could end up a decent fighter or you could end up a "paper tiger" that can't fight your way out of a wet paper bag. It is a gamble you take because your stuff might be "untested." Nothing wrong with demonstration, but demonstration is NOT how you train, it is how you show.


    I was taught in this order of importance:
    1. Experience (appropriate real world or equivalent experience)
    2. Attitude (fighting spirit, will power, aggressiveness, determination, etc.)
    3. Skill

    4. Everything else

    ah so sweet :p And whats more, I believe that to be true with you. :)

    Isn't it Professor Bono that is always talking about breaking the "spirit" of opponents. So whether you have fighting spirit or not as per whatever definition we want to define that as, you still come out ahead more often than not if you break the spirit of the enemy, IME.
  18. Nuck Chorris

    Nuck Chorris I prefer North South

    The idea is to be a machine. Fighting spirit should be removed and avoided. I think BGile would post something in here about the Musashi's book of 5th chapter of the Book of Five rings. So you can think about being mean or a fighter or whatever, but that won't make you any better.
  19. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I think even the meaning of "fighting spirit" is suspect to multiple definitions. Maybe it is cultural differences, but "having great fighting spirit" such as what koyo referred to is the equivalent to being a finely tuned machine. Meaning that one is cool under pressure and acts effectively instinctively. It has much less to do (under this definition) with emotions or philosophy or higher levels of thought. But has everything to do with what someone is made up of on the inside, their character. It is the state of mind to never give up, to literally "wash through" opponents -- whether tired, stabbed, bleeding, etc... never give up.

    Fighting spirit on the other hand, can mean philosophy to some. So they may have the idea that they are bad ass, but this turns out to be false confidence that breaks under pressure. This kind of fighting spirit is like brain washing and should be removed and avoided as you say.

    One of the firsts tests of "fighting spirit" in the dojo when I started martial arts was to volunteer to uke. Sensei would ask for a volunteer and you were to be the first one to volunteer. This often meant getting hit and thrown about, a real sense of danger. Those that did not volunteer had there reasons, but some of them lacked fighting spirit because they were afraid or lazy and this is why they did not immediately volunteer. In your definition, they should have been more like a machine and thus things such as fear and laziness would be removed. I think we have similar ideals but use different terminology to describe the same things.

    Another clarification is some view "machine" as "robot." This is not good. Robots can be deadly when they act as programmed but a robot is not necessarily a good fighter because they only follow their programming -- they often lack creativity and become predictable. Being a machine does not mean becoming a robot.
  20. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    I have lost count of the times that Budo Damashi has been mentioned to me by japanese shihan. Warrior fighting spirit.Fighting spirit is the term used rather than simply spirit so as to underline that there are no "spiritual" conotations. You get knocked down 8 you get up 9.In a real fight you "attack at all times, show a superior fighting spirit (attitude) and destroy the spirit of the attacker".I have heard this from aikido kendo karate and judo shihan.If you do not have the spirit (courage determination) for a fight you have already lost.

    regards koyo

    how are you doing rebel?

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