Way back when I first started in the Hawaiian Martial Arts, the first one I tried was Lima Lama (I later transitioned to Kenpo). That was a really cool – flowing martial art where I was first exposed to self-defense techniques. One would learn how to defend against a right cross or a club attack. The attacks and defenses seemed to go on forever from my beginning karate mind.
I recall telling my instructors that these techniques were really complex and when would I ever use one? I mean after you blocked – you then counter punched, kicked out the leg and dropped a knee and punch. That was a lot to remember and even back then – I did not believe if someone threw a right cross – I was going to do all of that.
In this post we will ask and hopefully answer the question of why we learn complex self defense techniques and are they relevant. But first watch this example of one such technique.
Before I get too far into this I should say that techniques are taught from both a form and function point of view. I tend to come at this from more of a function point of view but others want to highlight the flowing art. Generally the art form (art) point of view work ok in kata competitions.
This girl went through a complex system of moves for a weapon attack that must have included 10 to 15 moves. The beginning moves were done ok – one could believe that she could block the club attack, do a quick strike I’m guessing, knee the guy and throw him down.
The second part of the technique would have worked too but you could have never told that from the flowing moves that never made contact with his body. So I would classify this technique as more form than function – even though it is a good solid technique.
So my beginning Kenpo self would have asked why was the technique so complex? I mean just a block, chop, grab and knee, throw and a stomp would have been more that enough! Right?
Yep if you were just trying to teach a quick move for a club attack – striping down all of the moves would have been fine.
But wait – that girl was wearing a gi. I suspect she was a karate student that wanted to learn how the kenpo karate system moved and transitioned in a fight. What the world of possibilities were in a given situation. I think the girl did not merely want to learn self defense but an actual martial art…. Kenpo Karate in this case.
Would I ever use a whole Kenpo technique in a fight? Probably not but I would use bits and pieces. After doing Kenpo techniques for almost 40 years – the moves are part of who I am. If someone grabs me – I can easily escape – all the while counter attacking my assailant – all without thinking. Once you know all of the moves and have to teach them to someone else – or practice them, your body and mind just knows what is possible.
I would suggest practicing the moves in staccato like – complete moves so you body does not get too artsy on you in a fight. Remember you will fight the way you train.
There are a lot of Martial (fighting) schools out there that claim to do self-defense better than anyone else. Some are also great methods but I would caution you to include Kenpo Karate into your school search because I do not know of any other school that have this level of self-defense techniques for a students benefit.
So while it is true that Kenpo self-defense techniques do not work for sport karate, mma, or any other contest (too many rules). If you are learning a martial art to defend yourself – Kenpo Karate self-defense techniques are an ideal way to learn advanced fighting methods that are second to none!