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TMA UnderGround >> Good snapshot of kenpo lineage!


12/9/09 8:42 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/09/09 8:54 PM
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 Here are some "truths" I've gleaned.

1. Parts of Kenpo/Kempo training methods are viable - AND, as much as you do alive training with a resisting opponent you will functionalize your moves. BUT, if you look at any of those guys (from back then) sparring, you'll probably laugh (compared, to today, at least). Modern Kenpo/Kempo may very well have improved. One way to test is how quickly they accept new moves from outside the system. (like wrestling or BJJ moves, or grappling moves). Many TMA refuse to go outside the system. Not good.

2. There are guys in almost any/every MA who are big, strong, hard to hurt and can fight. It's based on their attributes, and probably very little on the training or techniques of your typical TMA-based system. (at least back then).

3. The stories of Parker being able to land multiple strikes are probably not true (I'll explain why I think that). Unless you have a real disparity of skill it is difficult to land more than one strike=one counter. Yes, people throw combinations, but the opponent isn't just standing there immobile. Many boxers can defend three punch combinations. It's even possible to defend double-up jabs, and fast double stick strikes (you treat them as one blow). But Parker's concept was, for the most part, lacking.

4. The kinds of moves that Parker was doing was based on this complex ideation of the opponent's body structure and pressure points and (imo) an overelaboration of theory. THIS occurs mainly when people don't know what they're doing, but they're obsessive, so they make up a facade that looks for all intents and purposes that it is valid and ahead of its time. Parker did this.

5. There's every evidence that Parker was in a bit of 'awe' of BL, and, I think he was afraid of him. I believe Parker saw that BL had a true speed advantage and could -actually- do what, for Parker still was in doubt. YES, Parker could probably do some of this to his students. That's not the same as proving it against anyone of nearly any size.

Now, I'm not saying BL was some kind of god. He was clocked at being about 2-3x faster than most people, and he studied an art which had 'simultaneous defense and attack' (such as a tan sau and a simultaneous straight punch). At the time Karate and Kenpo/Kempo was still doing mostly 'block and then strike' (typically a Japanese style response).

I think BL was fast enough (and I don't think Parker understood Chi Sao) that Parker probably couldn't really tell what he was doing some of the time. We don't know for sure how Parker vs Lee would have turned out. He was a tough guy. I think he felt BL was not someone he wanted to tangle with.

Watch the outtakes from Game of Death (from 'A Warrior's Journey'). BL does a double punch and strike against Jae Han Ji, that you really can't follow unless you use slow motion.

So, again, some of Parker's stuff had important application - overwhelm and blitzkrieg style attacking will improve your neuro-physical response times, and might even be incorportated into a 'kill-switch'. But as a 'fighting art' as in cage combat (versus standing start SD in a bar, for example), it had some flaws in the training. And, I think it lacked some of the economy and structure that BL had in Wing Chun, or early JKD. Some of his moves were downright 'fanciful'.

$0.02
  
12/10/09 11:06 AM
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Ogami Itto
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One correction - a lot of kenpo dudes were competing in the point fighting and other full contact of the day. FWIW, you may not think much of te karate competition circuit of the late 60s and 70s. I only throw that out there because you said "if you look at any of those guys (from back then) sparring, you'll probably laugh."

But I am not an expert!
12/14/09 10:03 AM
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BushHog
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I met Ed Parker and i can tell you the man was fast, strong and could be a mean mother fucker. LOL at him being afraid of Bruce. He was facinated but had an 80 pound weight advantage. Old Kenpo guys really set the standard for tougness. Most let thier shit go bad (thus all the great photo's of old kenpo guys smoking outside the dojo with big bellies). The techniques were there to practice different scenerios. We also sparred hard as fuck at times. No one ever thought that one would have to pull off a technique in real life. It was combinations of movent drilled in over thousands of hours. I never tried or pulled off a tech in the street but i could hit some one and or parry like a motherfucker. waaay to quick for most. I think this was Ed's point.
12/14/09 10:44 AM
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de braco
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God knows i'm no fan of Ed Parker but i agree the chances are slim to none he was afraid of Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee=L Ron Hubbard
12/14/09 1:21 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Maybe 'afraid' was too strong a word. BL could do for 'real' (fast hand combos, simultaneous block and strike, blinding speed with real ability to hit a target) what Ed Parker fantasized about.

Much of what Parker did was ornamentation - he put together this fantastic pseudo-science about Kenpo/Kempo, with all these goofy theories. Was he big (heavy) and tough? Sure. DId he fight for real? Who knows - my impression was he was a bit of a bully and fought when he had his boys with him to help out. I don't know Ed, and am just giving an opinion. Yes, he was a legendary figure in American Karate. But...many legendary figures we now know were a lot of smoke and mirrors and couldn't really fight.

e.g. Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 2: Physical Analyzation I (uh, sorry Ed, Analyzation is not a word in the English language)

I've talked to some people who were on the receiving end of BL's punches and kicks (Jesse Glover), and they were more than impressed, and were as big as Parker (who, incidentally, was only a couple inches taller than Lee). It is my honest impression that Ed would not have crossed hands with BL.


12/14/09 1:53 PM
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de braco
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Edited: 12/14/09 5:42 PM
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I think Parker was a whole lot of smoke and mirrors, Bruce Lee was that x2. Many years ago i was at a camp with several 1st generation jkd people,their tales were completely delusional.At the time i practiced Kyokushin,they told me Lee had looked at it and thai boxing,then declared it very unsophisticated and he would just trap them and beat the shit out of them.This was the party line.Shortly thereafter,they experienced thai boxing leg kicks first hand from a thai and it became one of their conerstones,along with the death art,silat.

edit: I forgot to mention that now (30+ years later) their story is Lee saw the usefulness of muay thai from the getgo.
12/14/09 10:05 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Any community has its loons, but I think a lot of the Bruce Lee hype is legit.

A couple years ago, Roy Harris was training Dan Inosanto as one of his weekly BJJ coaches. Some days he'd get a good story from Guro Dan and fire it off to me via text message. The best ones he saved to tell in person.

Short version: Bruce trained like a fanatic. He had a work ethic that nobody could match. It was like GSP going from "no wrestling" to "amazing wrestler" in only a couple years... Guro Dan told stories of how obsessed Bruce became with individual techniques, and would train them FAR beyond what most of us could imagine.

So one day, Roy asks Guro Dan if he ever caught Bruce with a good shot in sparring. Guro Dan replies, "Well, one day I was throwing a combo, and the hook sorta grazed him..." That was the end of the story.

Sure, people talk about him today like he was shooting lightning from his hands and whatnot, but there ARE still folks around who were there, and who trained with him. I'm taking their word for it when they talk about specifics.
12/15/09 2:02 AM
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de braco
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Of course Inosanto is going to say ridiculous bullshit like that,It's in his monetary interest as the keeper of the flame to keep the myth alive.
12/15/09 12:26 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Edited: 12/15/09 12:32 PM
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What you see on screen about BL is not how he actually fought, though I believe some pieces were shown, especially in the real GoD movie.

I've emailed Jesse Glover several times, and James DeMile a few times. I asked Jesse specific questions and he said that no matter what you see on screen, it's completely different experience facing his punches and kicks coming at you. Jesse said he had an incredible ability to 'read' your intent.

It was reported that he could put a finger through an old style coke can (not the flimsy aluminum kind), dent a heavy duty fencing mask with 1/4" wire weaving with a straight punch, and we all have seen him break 4 boards taped together, and hanging free (on the HK TV show). But kicking was not really his 'strength' - it was in his hands.

After he left Oakland, he started 'hiding' his path to development. Had be been alive, I do not think the Tao of JKD would have been published revealing -some- of his methods. JKD would still be a mystery in a sense.

I do NOT think he was capable of standing with a world-class boxer, nor do I think he'd have had any chance against a BJJ fighter, (say the smallest of the Gracies). Marcelo would tie him up and choke him out in seconds.

BUT, BL's forte was in 'standing start' SD. He trained to be able to bring his full force, full intent (read: kill shot) against the opponent and overwhelm, blind and kill him in 2-3 seconds. He developed the ability to go from normal to 60mph rage by using a self-programmed 'kill word'. (note how he does this in ETD and his other films).

Parker had NOTHING for him. Period, end of story. He was afraid of BL - though he might not have admitted it. BL had all of what Parker wanted to think he had, but -for real-.

Could BL defeat a real fighter? No. Any top  boxer, judo guy, MT champ his weight class could have beaten him in a sporting event. But any TMA guy would have been taken out quickly in any venue, including Chuck Norris.

Truth is he may have been a better trainer than 'fighter' (I don't think you can say he was a fighter - more like a SD expert) if he had shared or been willing to share his training secrets. He had an incredible ability to mimic what he was seeing and improve upon it, and he had a very good ability to strategize. His game had HUGE holes in it. He did not like judo and didn't train in it and he had literally NO groundfighting ability (it was JJJ-like at best), despite what few things you see in EtD.



12/15/09 2:21 PM
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de braco
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His kill shots didn't have much effect on the busboy,despite what you see in dragon.
12/16/09 11:49 AM
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WidespreadPanic
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de braco - His kill shots didn't have much effect on the busboy,despite what you see in dragon.

 You're thinking of Peter Sellers.

12/16/09 12:55 PM
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de braco
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I would bet on Sellers
12/16/09 4:43 PM
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dragonflycruz
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Do you guys care if I jump in on this thread, because I have some questions regarding kenpo
12/16/09 8:03 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Bring 'em on! :)
12/17/09 12:42 PM
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Ogami Itto
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Yeah, dragonfly, go.

Widespread: great BL post. What was his "kill word?" "Watahhh?"
12/17/09 1:16 PM
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dragonflycruz
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Ok # 1

Why is it that when I meet people who know kenpo, every now and then I will come across a guy who says he has a black belt in at least 10 different styles of kenpo. To make matters worse, each time I meet a guy like this, their age is usually under 30. How is this even possible. Are these guys simply self-proclaimed, or are there really that many different styles of kenpo? And if so, is the curriculum so simple that you can aquire a Black Belt quickly? Some of the styles that have been spouted off to me I don't even recognize, or remember for that fact to research the origins.

I'm not trying to step on any toes, I'm just trying to understand.
12/17/09 1:28 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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Ogami Itto - Yeah, dragonfly, go.

Widespread: great BL post. What was his "kill word?" "Watahhh?"

 You're not serious, but it might have been anything, even a mental image. My mentioning it is to show that he had levels which were not readily apparent when just viewing his films. But, if you watch there are several scenes where he goes from normal to fighting mad in a second or two. Of course, some might call it 'acting'. They both spring from a similar source. Note how long it takes most people to 'call up the rage'. Powerlifters also use this method (they also do other things - watch a meet sometime).


12/17/09 2:01 PM
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twinkletoesCT
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Ogami Itto - Funny story: Another story that Guro Dan told Roy Harris was about the origin of the "Bruce Lee Noises". Apparently, it started out because Dan would play around in class and make all those "woop! watahh! woop!" noises while they were training. He thought he was being really funny, because Bruce was so serious.

Bruce got him back by putting those noises into the films. When Guro Dan saw the first one, he nearly fell out of his chair when he heard Bruce making the noises! So apparently, it was a major inside joke and he was goofing on Guro Dan by doing it.

Dragonfly,

Those guys are pretty much all self-proclaimed. Now, don't get me wrong: there are dozens of organizations claiming their own style of Kenpo. Personally, I'd wager that on about 90% of cases, the differences are so insignificant that you could become skilled at one and, if you had a good memory, learn the curriculum to another quite quickly.

The real question is "WHY would you do that?" It seems silly to learn "a bunch more techniques and forms" just to get "another black belt in the same art."

I know one gentleman who did it in a way that made sense to me: he earned a black belt from our school, and then, while continuing to train and teach with us, also went and studied the Parker system. He wanted to experience the differences, and he found them considerable. After earning his black belt in the Parker System, he was satisfied that he had gotten a second perspective on his Kenpo training.

On the other hand, I know another gentleman who used to train with us, earned his black belt, and taught for one of our satellite schools. I hadn't seen him for a few years, but now he has popped up claiming to have invented his own style, is getting "authorized and recognized" by some traditional jujutsu 10th dan in Germany, and described it as "I went beyond our old Kenpo by mixing it with my personal interpretation of Bruce Lee's teachings". Naturally, I asked (without thinking first) if he had trained with any JKD instructors, and he replied "No, but I read a lot."

Chances are, most folks that you meet like this are more like my second example. They might just be trying to make a buck, or they might really believe their own hype, or they might never have really broadened their training horizons beyond the ol' "learn move, show move, receive belt" to know that there's so much more out there.

Some Kenpo orgs have actually built a business model around the idea that "it's just learning and repeating a bunch of stuff". In my area, we have the "United Studios of Self-Defense" chain, which used to have frequent television commercials offering "Black Belt in 2 years, or the rest of your lessons are free."

When you have schools like that, it's not hard to imagine a 30-year-old with several black belts.

~Chris

PS - I'm not ragging on 30-year-olds with several black belts. I'll be thirty soon, and I'm getting close to my third and fourth black belts (JJJ and BJJ). But none of those ranks have come quickly at ALL! :)
12/17/09 4:20 PM
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de braco
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widespreadpanic "But any TMA guy would have been taken out quickly in any venue, including Chuck Norris."

LOL.Compared to TMA guys like Bluming,Draeger and Jim Harrison, Lees skills were nothing,like a 12 year old lecturing on sex,he might have some educated guesses and talk a good game,but overall there are much better sources on actually doing it.
12/17/09 4:48 PM
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Ogami Itto
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WidespreadPanic -
Ogami Itto - Yeah, dragonfly, go.

Widespread: great BL post. What was his "kill word?" "Watahhh?"

You're not serious, but it might have been anything, even a mental image. My mentioning it is to show that he had levels which were not readily apparent when just viewing his films. But, if you watch there are several scenes where he goes from normal to fighting mad in a second or two. Of course, some might call it 'acting'. They both spring from a similar source. Note how long it takes most people to 'call up the rage'. Powerlifters also use this method (they also do other things - watch a meet sometime).




Actually, I was serious! I think I get what you're saying, though. Might not have been a word exactly but maybe just a trigger thought or concept?
12/17/09 4:49 PM
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Ogami Itto
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Twinkletoes: DID NOT KNOW THAT! LOL!
12/17/09 5:08 PM
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de braco
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Whatever happened to Grandmaster Fred Villari? I always heard he was the first kenpo millionaire.
12/18/09 12:49 AM
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dragonflycruz
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 twinkletoes, thank you so very much for taking the time to discuss.  The reason I asked was because I am a 2nd Dan BlackBelt in ITF Tae Kwon Do, and I also hold a BlackBelt in Kenpo.  My training in the martial arts began with kenpo.  I love the style.  Getting involved in the martial arts changed my life for the better.  Unfortunately I have no local schools I can go to to further my training in kenpo.  Anybody I have come across within an hour drive I simply don't trust because I get the runaround about the styles and such.  I've seen so many modifications of parting wings, for example.  A sidekick is still a sidekick, no matter who feels their "personal pizazz" makes it look better, it's still a sidekick.  Some people try to "re-invent the wheel".  I have no problem building on a foundation, but it irritates me to see someone put a pretty bow on the package and call it a new style. 

I do understand what you are saying, and I suppose that unfortunately, in any style, we will be blessed with the presence of people trying to change things.  It is what it is.

But again, thank you for your time!
12/18/09 5:03 PM
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WidespreadPanic
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de braco - widespreadpanic "But any TMA guy would have been taken out quickly in any venue, including Chuck Norris."

LOL.Compared to TMA guys like Bluming,Draeger and Jim Harrison, Lees skills were nothing,like a 12 year old lecturing on sex,he might have some educated guesses and talk a good game,but overall there are much better sources on actually doing it.
On the contrary. Jon Bluming, Donn Draeger and Harrison all fought 'for real'. They trained alive in many respects. They don't qualify as a 'TMA guy'. I think Harrison had some skill, and he claimed BL was 'not all that', but guys like Lewis, Stone and Wall don't go and train with a guy and give any respect if he doens't have some skills. I've talked to Jesse Glover, James DeMile, so I like to think I have an informed opinion.

Chuck could definitely beat BL in point karate - he knew the game. Guys who are a lot bigger, Bluming, et al., were just more durable. I stipulate that BL was probably lacking in durability, untested chin. So to that degree, we just don't know. We do know some of his attributes and I trust what Glover and DeMile had to say, first person.


 
12/18/09 6:09 PM
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de braco
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Those guys were all tma,the difference is they were ass kickers with well rounded skills instead of actors with fortune cookie quotes.

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