Glossary Of Kenpo Concepts & Principles
Analogy of Bumper/Truck – To some, Focus is when all sources of power have been conveyed to the weapon itself so that when contact is made it is only the weapon, like a projectile, and the target that are in Focus with each other. In Kenpo, however, Focus is the concentration of mind, body, breath and strength culminating at the exact instant when blocking or striking a specific target. It isn’t just the mass of the natural weapon as it strikes the target, but rather the entire mass of the whole body synchronized with, and enhancing that natural weapon, that maximizes power. Stated simply, The entire body, not just the weapon, must be in Focus with the target to fully utilize mass. The mass of the natural weapon does start off independent of body mass, but developing velocity, it culminated upon impact with the other elements. Mass takes in the entire body, and not just a portion of it. Using a ten ton truck as an analogy, it is not the bumper of the truck that is in Focus with the wall when striking it at forty miles an hour, but the entire mass of the truck.
Angle of Incidence – The angle at which a weapon, when delivered, strikes perpendicular or at a right angle to the target or surface intended, to bring about maximum results.
Back-Up-Mass – The use of body weight that is directly behind the action that is taking place. For example, (1) a punch delivered when the elbow is directly behind the fist, or (2) the bracing of one finger directly behind the other when delivering a two finger chop to the throat, etc. Back-Up-Mass is greatly enhanced when proper Body Alignment is achieved. Body Alignment gets Mass into proper perspective and allows the body to take full advantage of channeling weight and energy while traveling in the same direction (Directional Harmony)
Body Alignment – This is the coordination of body parts in order to harmonize their angles of travel. So that they all move together, in line, and in one direction. This principle, when followed, automatically triggers the principle of Back-Up-Mass where body weight enhances your action.
Body Momentum – Body weight used to increase the force of your action. It involves the coordination of mind, breath, strength, and body weight so that all forces are moving in harmony in the same direction (Directional Harmony). There are three basic ways to obtain body momentum; (1) by shuffling forward or reverse on a horizontal plane, thus employing the dimension of depth; (2) by utilizing gravitational marriage on a vertical or diagonal plane, which fulfills the dimension of height; and (3) by torquing the body to create body rotation, thus completing the dimension of width. All three methods of acquiring body momentum can be applied singularly, in partial combination, or when combining all three methods of body momentum. It is a great contributor to Back-Up Mass which places body alignment in proper perspective.
Borrowed Force – An opponent's force which is used against him. This can be accomplished by going with the opponent's force, or on occasion, going against his force. The concept allows your opponent's force to enhance the effectiveness of your action.
Chinese Fan Principle – Principle that teaches how reaction can beat action by simply moving the target first, and not the blocking arm. This principle takes advantage of the time it takes for a weapon to reach its target. Since the target is the last contact point that an opponent must reach, moving it out of the way first, helps your reaction to beat your opponent’s action.
Clock Principle – A method used in teaching, which was developed by Ed Parker to help students to visually imagine the direction in which they are to move. Students are generally asked to think of themselves as being in the middle of a big clock facing 12 o'clock with 6 o'clock to the rear, 3 and 9 to their right and left and all other number in their respective locations.
Contact – The joining together of target and weapon. The colliding of fist and face, foot and groin, elbow and jaw, etc.
Contact Deviation – The employment of any defensive move, which when contact is made, deflects the action of your opponent.
Contact Manipulation – The fourth stage of the FOUR STAGES OF RANGE. It entails the orchestration of control, once contact is made, to contour, leverage, takedown, restrain, twist, sprain, lock, dislocate, choke, etc. to increase the effectiveness of your action. These same techniques could be used to cause greater damage or injury to you as well, therefore, making every effort to be the victor.
Contact Penetration – The third stage of the FOUR STAGES OF RANGE. It refers to the distance in which a weapon can effectively penetrate the depths of a target, thus magnifying the damage or injury that can occur to you or your opponent.
Departure – A term used in the title of some of the self-defense techniques that indicates the use of optimum angles of escape to assure a safe distance from your fallen opponent(s).
Dimensional Stages of Action – The viewing of the space or gap between you and an opponent from all aspects of height, width, depth, and direction, with regard to the distances that are necessary in maintaining, closing, controlling, and opening the gap. Each view or stage logically requires long, medium, and close range techniques while closing in on an opponent, or when covering out. Of particular interest is the staggering number of alternatives that exist when employing close range techniques. They include not only strikes, but various methods of CONTOURING, LOCKS and CHOKES, TWISTS, DISLOCATIONS and HOLDS, and TAKEDOWNS.
Directional Harmony – Having all of your action moving in the same direction. This principle aids in obtaining maximum results. It is a requirement when executing BODY MOMENTUM that residually triggers BACKUP MASS.
Economy of Motion – Entails choosing the best available weapon for the best available angle, to insure reaching the best available target in the least amount of time, while still obtaining the desired result. Any movement that takes less time to execute, but still causes the effect intended. Any movement that inhibits or does not actively enhance the effect intended is categorised as WASTED MOTION.
Eight Considerations – The eight factors involved in freestyle or combat that must be considered or anticipated in order to be victorious. Listed in the order of their importance, they are: (1) environment, (2) range, (3) positions, (4) manoeuvres, (5) targets, (6) natural weapons, (7) blocks, and (8) cover. Skip Hancock refers to ttitude as the ninth consideration, which should come first.
Environment – Conditions that confront us on a daily basis. It involves social and cultural conditions, objects around us, thoughts that are in us, condition of our bodies, weather conditions, ability of your opponent, objects which an opponent may use, and all other factors that influence our chances of survival. It is everything around you, on you, and in you at the time of confrontation.
Equation Formula – This is a special formula that one can follow to develop specific, practical, and logical fighting patterns. The formula allows you a more conclusive basis for negotiating your alternate actions. It reads as follows: To any given base, whether it is a single move or a series of movements, you can (1) prefix it add a move or moves before it; (2) suffix it add a move or moves after it; (3) insert add a simultaneous move with, the already established sequence (this move can be used as a (a) pinning check using pressure against an opponent's weapons to nullify their delivery, or (b) positioned check where you place the hand or leg in a defensive position or angle to minimise entry to your vital areas; (4) rearrange change the sequence of the moves, (5) alter the (a) weapon, (b) target, (c) both weapon and target; (6) adjust the (a) range, (b) angle of execution (which affects width and height), (c) both angle of execution and range; (7) regulate the (a) speed, (b) force, (c) both speed and force, (d) intent and speed; and (8) delete exclude a move or moves from the sequence.
Family Related Moves – The use of the same move or moves against a number of predicaments that are basically similar in context, but so often overlooked as being similar in principle. For example, the answer to a wrist grab can (via slight alteration) be the same answer to a hair or lapel grab. The basic action is to control the opponent's wrist while striking against the joint of his elbow. The answer to a "rear bear hug", arms free, can also work if the arms were pinned, or if the hug was converted into a "Full Nelson".
First Cousin/Second Cousin Moves – These moves can be best understood by discussing Family Groupings. Family Groupings are movements that are similar in context, and/or movements that can stem from the same source, origin, or reference point. They are somewhat related to Associated Moves, and are often referred to as Family Related Moves.
Think of your family structure. From your point of view you are the central figure, and the family kinships are in relationship to you (your mother, your brother, your cousin etc.). The central core of your family consists of yourself, your parents, and your brothers and sisters. Your extended family consists of your more distant relatives with whom you are less familiar (your aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws).
In self-defense you are, once again, the central figure. "Me", "my", and "I" are the most important pronouns. You must think of yourself first; think of what you must do to protect yourself; contemplate the benefits of such movement for yourself, etc. In Kenpo we can think of the initial defensive positioning of your arms as father/mother movements. A left inward block would be a father movement and the positioning of your right arm would be the mother movement (right arm hanging naturally at your side, cocked at the hip, cocked at the ear, etc.). It is the initial move that protects you. Just as your parents come first so do the protective blocks. Thus, a technique such as Dance of Death has a left inward block as its father, and the naturally hanging right arm is its mother. Flashing Wings, likewise, uses a left inward block as its father, and the cocked right arm at the hip as its mother. The technique, Five Swords utilises a right inward block as its father movement and the left checking hand as its mother movement.
In a crisis, your true brothers and sisters quickly come to your aid; likewise, after your initial block, you can counterattack with your right or left arm. If your counterattack is executed with the opposite arm of the one that blocked, then it is a brother movement. If you counterattack with the same arm that blocked, then it is a sister movement. And so, the techniques Dance of Death and Flashing Wings, after their initial father/mother movement, counterattack with a brother strike; Five Swords counterattacks with a sister movement.
Therefore, techniques such as Dance of Death, Thundering Hammers, and Sleeper may be seen to be Family Related. They use the same father/Mother movements and counterattack with a Brother strike. The techniques Attacking Mace and Flashing Wings are Family Related to each other because they have the same father/mother movement, and the same brother hand is utilised to counterattack. Dance of Death and attacking Mace both use left inward blocks as their father movements. These father movements are brothers to each other. Therefore, the right hand counterattacks of the techniques are "cousin" to each other.
The left inward parry used in Leaping Crane is very much like a left inward block. It is said to be "cousin" to the inward block. The techniques initial right hand counter is then "second cousin" to techniques such as Dance of Death or Attacking Mace. The ultimate purpose of Family Groupings is to provide spontaneous action through association and familiarity; to help free you from a series of prearranged ideas, and to unite them as one single idea with associated variations. For example, the techniques Attacking Mace, Flashing Wings, and Circling the Storm all have the same father/mother movement, as well as the same brother counterattack. They may then be used as one single idea that may be varied as the situation dictates. Your ability to extend the relationships between family groups will create larger and larger families, and thus fewer single unifying ideas, with a larger number of variations, creating greater spontaneity.
The study of Family Groupings can enhance your spontaneity tremendously. Remember that Family Related Moves should be tailored to you. If you perceive a logical association of movements, then you can group them; if that grouping makes you more spontaneous, and it works, then use it. You may also, through your training, discover aunts/uncles, orphans, adopted moves etc... as stated above. Please remember that Family Groupings was never meant to be an all-encompassing model for the system. Its use should not be stretched so far that it becomes trivial and nonfunctional.
Four Stages of Range – Stages of range, within the "gap", that are crucial in combat. Listed in order of proximity they are (1) OUT OF CONTACT, (2) WITHIN CONTACT, (3) CONTACT PENETRATION, and (4) CONTACT MANIPULATION. Refer to all four under their separate heading. Also review the DIMENSIONAL STAGES OF ACTION.
Gravitational Marriage – The uniting of mind, breath and strength while simultaneously dropping your body weight along with the execution of your natural weapon(s). Timing all of these factors with the dropping of your body weight greatly adds to the force of your strikes. This combined action literally causes a marriage with gravity, and makes vertical use of BODY MOMENTUM while employing the dimension of HEIGHT.
Hammering – A particular method of striking which resembles the action of a hammer pounding a nail from various angles.
Height-Width-Depth – Three important dimensions that are essential to understanding the scientific classifications of the Martial Arts.