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#221228 - 01/10/06 04:51 PM Kenpo (Ed Parker's...)
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello:

Recently finished a curious book interviewing famous/senior Ed Parker Kenpo practitioners. In it they described a very odd ritual which with each tell became more and more powerful regardless of whom was describing it. I am hoping someone might be able to explain a) WHY, b) the ideas behind the action.

To hear it told (I was not rhere) they describe Mr. Parker KICKING them as the final act/action as a PART of their testing proceedure.

Can someone please explain this (sic. very strange) idea to me...?

J

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#221229 - 01/10/06 05:11 PM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: Ronin1966]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
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Yes, that is true. Custom in AKK belt promotions is touching your head to the new belt (transfering the knowledge into the new rank), and being hit at the end of the belt test (experiencing the pain of being "born" into your new rank).

This starts progressively with a fairly gentle heel palm to the abs on your first promotion. Which later becomes a full punch. By brown belt, you are expected to be able to receive a full power kick to the midsection.

Mr. Parker was known to kick all ranks, but his control was such that he would not hurt the beginners. But they did usually end up on the floor.

The custom at my particular AKK school was that ALL the black belts got to hit you.

I have video of my own BB test where my instructor kicked me, and I might upload it, if I can ever figure out how.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#221230 - 01/11/06 02:27 AM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: MattJ]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
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Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
To add to what Matt said, the Pain of Birth was also introducing you to a higher level of contact for your new belt, and before I left my old school, you had the option of allowing someone who had influenced you in the pursuit of your next rank to administer a strike. There's actually something quite fullfilling in it, and if I ever teach, that is something I will probably use.

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#221231 - 01/11/06 05:38 AM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: MattJ]
Gavin Offline
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Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
And I thought our gradings were harsh! Jeez, I'm sticking with my wussy Go So Kempo thank you very muchly, the hand shake and bow at the end is far nicer!
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#221232 - 01/12/06 11:20 AM Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: MattJ]
Ronin1966 Offline
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Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello MattJ:

First let me begin by apologizing for my horrible lack of editing, spelling on my initial thread posting. Genuine apologies about that...

<<being hit at the end of the belt test (experiencing the pain of being "born" into your new rank).

Symbolic hitting, ok, small ritual.. careful, fast lite striking... I understand completely, if someone insists upon it. But these descriptions were of folks being kicked so hard they ended up ELSEWHERE, meaning off their feet, on their backsides and such... That cannot be healthy to take a blow like that... unable to react/respond to it at all. I was hoping it was hyperbole, increasing the ~myth~ so to speak as several clearly appeared to be doing in their interview.

<<By brown belt, you are expected to be able to receive a full power kick to the midsection.

Why ????????

(ie I might love you (generic), but I won't let you take a free shot FULL power unanswered, no matter how much love, respect I possess...)

<<Mr. Parker's control was such that he would not hurt the beginners.

I suppose... as...as an outsider can you understand my severe reluctance to consider that kind of activity even remotely "bright" in a sense? No disrespect to Mr Parker or anyone else, but it strikes me (forgive the unintended pun) as foolish to in such a blase manner disregard someones powers by letting them strike that way, even merely once. I have too much respect for their ~potency~ so to speak... a fundamental act of core self-protection if you will. In a parallel manner I would not allow some clown with a live bladed sword to chop watermelon off my belly, kick vegetables out of my mouth, etc. Different presentations but the same type of "unnecessary", avoidable danger.

<<I have video of my own BB test

Yes please...

<<The custom at my particular AKK school was that ALL the black belts got to hit you.

We also, but call that exercise, those ~blows~ free sparring

Jeff

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#221233 - 01/12/06 11:24 AM Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Bushi No Ki:

Your description, ok that <shrug> at least I like the sound of your ritual. Still not wild about the core concept I suppose but at least your ~flavor~ seems more palitable ritual somehow...

J (Wondering why that is...)

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#221234 - 01/12/06 07:13 PM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: Ronin1966]
sunspots Offline
oldtimer/newbie
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 650
Loc: Southern Oregon, USA
We take the kick after a promotion in my AKK school as well. All Black Belts present at the promotion ceremony are allowed to kick, the most I've seen at one time being to my friend Amy who took 6 after her Blue Belt promotion. The kicks do tend to get harder as you advance, in my own experience, but we are proud to be "belted and kicked."

We've had a few beginning students drop out after seeing their first promotion, as they were not willing to be kicked. So be it. Perhaps AKK was not for them.
_________________________
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#221235 - 01/12/06 07:46 PM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: Ronin1966]
TeK9 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 2257
Loc: Northern California, USA
Hello,

I am curious about american kenpo and shaolin kenpo. I myself am a TKD practitioner. Looking to practice one of these kenpo styles soon. Doyou think you can give a description of your black belt test? Requirements, ammount of technies, sorts of techniques. Verbal test, written tests? perhaps give an over view of your own BB test? thanks,
-TeK
_________________________
"Poor is the pupil who
does not surpass his
master" - Leonardo Da
Vinci

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#221236 - 01/12/06 07:59 PM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: Ronin1966]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote by Ronin1966 -

Quote:

I suppose... as...as an outsider can you understand my severe reluctance to consider that kind of activity even remotely "bright" in a sense? No disrespect to Mr Parker or anyone else, but it strikes me (forgive the unintended pun) as foolish to in such a blase manner disregard someones powers by letting them strike that way, even merely once. I have too much respect for their ~potency~ so to speak... a fundamental act of core self-protection if you will.




Point taken. There is indeed a fudamental danger to the practice of martial arts, yes? I can not argue the morality of that particular ritual, as I did not come up with it. However, if you accept as a point of reference that AKK is meant to be a contact system (ie; partner practice, not just solo forms practice), then it follows that some acknowledgement to the reality of getting hit must be made.

If a student is not prepared to take a hit as part of practice or ritual, how well might they be expected to do in a real situation, where the opponent truly means them harm?

Quote:

In a parallel manner I would not allow some clown with a live bladed sword to chop watermelon off my belly, kick vegetables out of my mouth, etc. Different presentations but the same type of "unnecessary", avoidable danger.




Again, I do see your point. But I think there is a huge difference between "some clown with a live bladed sword to chop watermelon off my belly" and someone punching you in the abs. I mean, it's not like people are getting kicked in the face, either.

It sounds a lot worse than it is. Perhaps you have participated in a judo class or an aikido class where you may indeed have "...too much respect for their ~potency~ so to speak...", but you allow yourself to be thrown to the ground (risking a broken neck), or have powerful joint locks put on you to the point of damage (tapping).

This ritual (and the subsequent partner practice) is along the same lines as the types of partner practice in many other systems. Brutal and un-necessary? Really depends on how you look at it.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#221237 - 01/12/06 08:36 PM Re: Kenpo (Ed Parker's...) [Re: TeK9]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Tek9 -

Requirements for AKK black belt vary somewhat from school to school. My school tried to follow as closely as possible the requirements that Ed Parker set out for the system. Our school requirements were as follows:

* 202 self defense techniques including 2 man attack and weapons (24 per belt level, except for the first level which has 10) - done on a partner

* 10-12 solo "sets" (forms focusing on basics)

* 8 solo forms (focusing on self defense techniques), plus one of your own creation, to demonstrate understanding of the principals and concepts of the art

* A written "thesis" on a given aspect of American Kenpo Karate

* 200 hours of floor time and 50 hours (can be done concurrently) of teaching time between 1st degree brown belt and 1st degree black belt

* Sparring which may include full-contact or multiple opponent

* Board and/or concrete block breaking

* And of course, the dreaded "pain of birth" into your new rank

My last AKK belt promotion was in 1997. So, things may have changed a bit, but this should be fairly close. Here is a link to my former instructor's AKK school for a better idea:

http://www.jfkenpo.com/html/charts.html

Hope this helps.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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