Instructor's Thoughts

Economy of Motion

It’s not who is fastest, but who gets there first.

Bruce Lee

A key to speed is to eliminate wasted motion, if you cover less distance you can still arrive first even if your strikes are “slower.” This is why we don’t do a “John Wayne” wind up for punches.

For the younger readers, in John Wayne movies when there was a fight John Wayne would wind up before punching someone – this was so the audience could see the punch coming – realistically this would allow the target of the punch to see it coming as well.

Rapid Fire

American Kenpo is primarily a striking art, meaning we rely on percussive methods to win. The basic idea is to overwhelm the opponent by striking a variety of places on the body with such rapidity that they can’t orient to any one strike and become able to counter the sequence.

Kenpo relies primarily on using the closet weapon to the closet target, as well there are other movement rules such as:

Point of Origin – where a weapon starts is where it needs to return to.

Where a line ends a circle begins, a where a circle ends a line begins.

Anticipated Reaction – The body pulls away from pain.

Single-Hand Wrist-Grab

To illustrate these rules lets look at the first technique we learn:

Single-Hand Wrist-Grab

An opponent does a straight-across, single-hand, wrist-grab.

We respond by executing a hammer-first with our other hand to the opponent’s Radial Nerve – the RN is the closest target that will neutralize the grab, so we hit it with the hammer-fist of our free hand.

As we hit the RN with the hammer-fist we step back with the same side leg that was grabbed as we twist the grabbed wrist free and position it to cover low just in-case the opponent responds in a way we’re not expecting.

From there we bring the hammer-first back up and execute a back-fist to the opponent’s temple. Bringing the hammer-first back up is point of origin. However we use a slightly circular path on the way back up to help smooth out and speed-up the transition to the back-knuckle.

As we pull the back-knuckle back to the point of origin (in a straight line) we also pull our lead leg back into a Cat Stance and execute a front snap-kick to the opponent’s groin (a close weapon and a close target), we land in a Neutral Bow (where the foot started moving from) and execute a snapping punch, to the the now bent forward opponent’s nose (the body pulling away and naturally covering the groin, brought the opponent’s upper body forward).

Retracting the punch, we cover away from the opponent.

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