Kenpo, or American Kenpo Karate, is an extremely effective system of self defense. The art is known for its rapid, multiple strikes and low kicks. Using these techniques, the Kenpoist seeks to break down the aggressor from head to toe, not allowing them to mount an effective attack.
“I come to you with only karate, my empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor; should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong; then here are my weapons, karate, my empty hands.”
— Ed Parker – March, 1957
Utilizing both circular and linear movements, Kenpo emphasizes the use of the proper weapon (fist, foot, elbow, knee) to strike the proper target. The Kenpoist do not seek to out-muscle the attacker, but instead uses effective technique and control to prevail.
The practitioner of Kenpo is encouraged to take their knowledge of the discipline and adapt it to best fit his or her body type and mindset, as well as the situation at hand. These traits make Kenpo accessible to anyone regardless of size, strength, gender or age. It demands the practitioner to move beyond learning a complex system by rote and create a style of their own.
Often referred to as the University of Martial Arts, American Kenpo Karate demands not just learning the “moves” of the system. The practitioner is expected to contribute to the art as a whole. At the intermediate ranks, the student is required to create and defend their own form for their promotion. Some of these forms then become a part of the curriculum of Kenpo. This deeper, scientific examination of Kenpo and its ideas help the art to grow and improve.
Those students who have previous experience with other disciplines are encouraged to merge that knowledge with the system of Kenpo, making their system truly unique.