Standard 5 #1


Standard 5s (Five Count Techniques) are crowd favorites for American Kenpo practitioners.

The technique Five Swords is one such example of techniques like Standard 5s. In the Tony Martinez Sr. lineage we practice variations of Standard 5s to explore variations in weapons, targets, and intents within the same general flow.

The Technique


Defense Against: a step-through right-handed punch – can be against a “hay maker” or a straight punch.

  1. The attacker steps in with a Right-Handed Punch about head level
  2. You step in toward 1:30 and executes an Inward Block with the right hand – your left hand is checking low in a Neutral Bow
    • Stepping off the line of attack creates a margin for error in avoiding getting hit by the incoming punch
    • The block should make contact below the elbow to prevent the attacker’s arm from wrapping around the block
  3. Execute a Backfist to the attacker’s temple with the right hand
  4. While twisting to generate torque with the Backfist execute a left Heel-Palm strike to the attacker’s chest as you shift into a Forward Bow and you chamber your right hand for an Uppercut
  5. Unwind into a Neutral Bow as you execute right Uppercut to the attacker’s solar plexus, the left hand is checking at head height
  6. Shift into a Forward Bow as you execute a left Heel-Palm to the attacker’s chest and draw the right hand back to check attacks coming in on your right side as well as setting up for a Hammer-Fist
  7. Unwind into a Neutral Bow as you execute a right Inward-Downward Hammer-Fist across the attacker’s jaw
  8. Settle your weight forward into your Neutral Bow as you execute a right Outward Hand-Sword to the attacker’s neck
  9. Cover out toward 7:30

Other Notes

With vs And

One of the things we strive for in American Kenpo is to eliminate the word “and” and substitute the word “with” – the difference being “with” implies happening at the same time while “and” implies action one after another – as with all rules in Kenpo there are exceptions but this should be the general mode of thought as an application of Economy of Motion.

Note the act of executing the Heel-Palm to the chest as you draw the right hand back to setup for the Hammer-Fist to the jaw. Pulling the hand back helps create more torque in the direction of the Heel-Palm.

Anticipated Reaction

American Kenpo techniques use the idea that the body moves away from pain (or to prevent pain) in order to create speed in execution and overwhelm the attacker’s ability to orient and respond to counter strikes.

Note the placement of Inward Block in anticipation that the orbit of the fist will be cancelled. As well the Uppercut to the solar plexus should cause the attacker bend forward slightly, exposing their jaw. The twisting of the head compromises the musculature of the neck amplifying the damage of the Hand-Sword to the neck.

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