Glossary of Terminology


Adjust- where you can guage the range, angle of execution, and / or both.

Alphabet of Motion- every single move in Kenpo, be it defensive or offesnive or both, is viewed as an alphabet of motion. Allows us to grow with it and build words and phrases.

Ambidextrous- the ability to perform on both the right and left sides.

Anatomical Positioning- the calculated striking of vital targets to force an attacker into positions that will make the next target readily available.

And- a word not found in our Kenpo vocabulary. It involves time and therefore is contradictory to the Economy of Motion.

Angle of Disturbance- the angle of a move which upsets an attacker's balance.

Angle of Execution- any angle which produces maximum results when an attack is executed.

Angle of Incidence- refers to the perpendicular angle of a strike on its target. This angle will give the greatest effect.


Back Up Mass- a power principle using body weight directly behind the action taking place.

Basics- the fundamentals of the martial arts. These moves are separated into categories such as stances, blocks, strikes, and kicks.

Belt Ranking System- the colored belt system utilized in grading students' ability. Colors: White, Yellow, Orange, Purple, Blue, Green, 3rd Degree Brown, 2nd Degree Brown, 1st Degree Brown, 1st Degree Black, and on up.

Block- a defensive maneuver to hinder or check an attack.

Body Alignment- involves the coordination of body parts to harmonize along the angles which they travel. Automatically triggers back-up mass.

Body Fusion- a concept where body parts move as a unit prior to the relaying action. Body parts are fused together together in order to function as a whole.

Body Momentum- using body weight to increase the force of an action. Involves the coordination of mind, body, breath, to move harmoniously in the same direction.

Borrowed Force- this occurs when an attacker's force is used to defeat. This concept allows the attacker's force to enhance your effectiveness.

Branch- In Kenpo, we refer to our legs as branches.


Catching- a method of stopping and detaining an attacker's strike or block.

Check- There are numerous variations of checks, but all negate the action of another.

Circular Motion- moves that predominantly loop around or follow a arcing pattern. Can be used definsively or offensively.

Clock Principle- a method of teaching which was developed by Edmund K. Parker to help the student to visually imagine the directions which he is to follow. Think of yourself in the middle of a big clock. 12 o'clock is in front of you, 6 o'clock behind you, 9 o'clock to your left, 3 o'clock to your right. Also the 45-degree angles such as 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30.

Close Range Encounters- actions that occur within elbow or knee distance. See also: Long Range Encounters.

Complementary Angle- a strike or a block that follows a path parallel to an attacking weapon, a defensive posture, or the contour of an attacker, or any other given line of attack. Allows for clear entry to various desired target areas.

Conditioned Response- to conform or respond instantaneously to a given situation.

Contact Placements- predetermined knowledge of the targets which you plan to strike using the weapons of your choice.

Contouring Principle- the concept that involves using the outline of your attacker's body as a guide to accomplish certain feats. Divided into two categories: (1) body contact, or (2) non-body contact; each with many sub-divisions.

Counter Manipulation- the stage of motion that is used just before the principle of opposing forces is employed.

Cover- the action where you move your body into a protective pose while creating distance between you and your attacker. Usually done by stepping the front leg in front of the rear into a crossover.


Depth Penetration- the concept of going beyond the point of contact when striking with a weapon.

Depth Zones- one of the Zones of Protection and a part of the Dimensional Zone Theory. This one entails approximately seven depth zones, which are vertical zones viewed from the side.

Destruction- In Kenpo, when we say destruction, we are referring to the left side.

Dimensional Zone Theory- created to teach American Kenpo students to use their imagination and visualize dividing their attacker into vertical and horizontal zones. These four zones are depth, height, width, and zones of obscurity.

Dimensions of Travel- concerned with the height, width, and depth or motion, or the height, depth, and width that can be created or controlled by movement.

Directional Change- the ability to switch or alter directions while the momentim of your body flowing constantly so as not to interrupt the initial motion started.

Double Factor- entails duel movement of defense which can encompass any combination of blocks, parries, and or checks. The term also refers to sophisicated moves which are duelly defensive and offensive in nature. An integral part of this concept is reversing motion.


Economy of Motion- the concept of not over-moving. Relates to Point of Origin. Also relates to doing as much as you can saying as little as possible.

Embryonic Moves- also known as the simple basic movements which are usually singular in action and purpose. See also: Sophisticated Moves.

Environmental Awareness- the ability to observe conditions and surroundings and make prompt decisions to avoid danger or take advantage of the opportunities involved.


Family Related Moves- the use of the same move or series of moves against a number of similar but different predicaments. They are similar in context, but often overlooked as similar in principle. Example: the response to a wrist grab can be the same as a lapel grab with minor adjustment.

Feint- a misleading move used to deceive an attacker.

Fitting- applying the shape of a natural weapon to fit the target being struck.

Form- Or Kata. Literally they are a short story of motion.

Forumlation Phase- the third analytical process of dissecting a technique. Involves the actual application of your newly found alternatives to the original ideal phase. See also: What-If Phase.

Frictional Pull-


Glancing- a method of striking that is similar to a slice. The major difference of greater depth of penetration.

Grafting- the combination of a series of moves and principles within the flow of a single action. For example: a hammering motion may conclude with a thrusting motion. (2) the term also applies to combining of self-defense techniques without disruption.

Gravitational Check- a form of contouring where the parts of an arm or leg rests on an attacker's body surface to prevent them from obtaining height or leverage. This action can detain or prevent an attacker from taking action.


Hammering- a particular method of striking which resembles the action of a hammer.

Height Zones- one of the Zones of Protection and a division of the Dimensional Zone Theory. Zones in this category are in three levels viewed horizontally.


Ideal Phase- the first analytical process of dissecting a technique. Entails structuring specific and fixed moves of a selected sequence of movements which take into consideration the anticipated reactions. See also: What-If Phase, Formulation Phase.

Ideas- The moves in Kenpo are taught to be no more than ideas which can vary with each changing situation.


Jamming- a method of blocking that crowds or forces an attacker's natural weapon back and against your attacker's joint to prevent it from moving or working.


Kata- see also Form.


Lance- In Kenpo, we refer to a knife as a lance.

Leaves- In Kenpo, we refer to our fingers as leaves.

Linear Motion- moves that are direct and follow a straight line.

Locks- moves that lock the joints of an attacker to restrain them from taking further action. Combines methods of pulling and pushing against the joint.

Long Range Encounters- actions that occur at arm or leg length. See also: Close Range Encounters.


Mace- In Kenpo, we refer to our fist as a mace.

Major Moves- strong and positive moves that cause devastation. See also:Minor Moves.

Maneuvers- ways you can move your arms, feet, or body to avoid or initiate an attack.

Marriage of Gravity- a power principle of our applied body mass on a vertical plane.

Master Key Move- a single move that can be used in more than one situation with equal result.

Mechanical Stage- the stage of learning where movements are clarified and defined. Students will often be more equipped to verbalize answers rather than physically utilize them. See also: Primitive Stage, Spontaneous Stage.

Method of Execution- the manner in which a move is executed to insure maximum results.

Minor Moves- secondary moves which, although not as powerful, cause ample damage and allow for the execution of a Major Move.

Mumbling- motion that is not distinct in application. Can be compared with words that lack diction.


Natural Defenses- the use of body parts as defensive deterrents.

Natural Weapons- the use of body parts as weapons.


Object Obscurity- the use of your limbs to hide an action from another limb.

Obscure Zones- A division of the Dimensional Zone Theory in the areas of space that are outside the boundaries of sight. These zones are blind spots.

Open End Triangle- refers to the positioning of you rbody parts so that they form an open-ended triangle. These body formations can help you wedge, trap, or prevent an attacker from hurting you.

Outer Rim Theory- a visual aid of an ovular shaped pattern that begins at eyebrown level and ends slightly below the groin. This concept aids you in confining your defensive and offensive moves to those areas within the circle.


Paragraphs of Motion- series of moves, offensive or defensive, that are used consecutively without interruption.

Phonetics of Motion- learning step-by-step. This is a teaching method where moves are taught in stages until the whole of the technique is learned.

Physical Preparedness- preventive planning used to avoid a confrontation.

Pinning Check- a check where you use pressure against your attacker's weapons to negate their action.

Point of Origin- the source, or beginning of any movement. The natural position of your body and natural weapon at the time action begins. See also: Economy of Motion.

Positioned Check- a check where you place your hand or leg in a defensive position or angle to minimize entry to your target areas.

Preparatory Considerations- planning preventative measures to avoid danger. Example: walking with friends instead of alone.

Primitive Stage- the stage of learning where moves are crudely executed. See also: Mechanical Stage, Spontaneous Stage.

Principles- comprehensive and fundamental rules that are based on theories which analysis indoctrinates them.

Psychological Strategy- the ability of one to use the brain instead of brawn to deal with an encounter.

Pulling- (1) bringing an object or person to you. See also: Frictional pull. (2) the ability to control a strike so as to come within a fraction of an inch from hittin the target.


Quadrant Zone Theory- this theory is concerned with specific areas of the body that need to be protected. It divides each of the zones: height, depth, and width, into two areas. A vertical rectangle is superimposed over the height and width zones to create four quadrants.


Raking- the execution of a natural weapon in a sweeping manner so that it grazes the target area with penetrating force. Force of a rake is greater than a slice.

Range- the distance between you and your attacker.

Reverse Motion- returning a move on the same path of the initial move.

Ricochet- a move that uses ricochet to add power to a second move. Can be two blocks or a block followed by a strike.

Rod- In Kenpo, we refer to a gun as a rod.

Rolling Check- a check where you use pressure by rolling against your attacker's weapons to negate delivery of the weapons.


Salutation- a series of movements in Kenpo that designate respect to one you are greeting.

Sentences of Motion- same as Paragraphs of Motion, only not as long.

Set-Up- refers to the conditioning of your attacker to react in a desired manner that corresponds with your strategy.

Shuffle- the shifting of the body to close or increase the distance between you and your attacker. Often a push drag, step drag, or step through.

Signify- a gesture using your fingers to indicate which form is about to be demonstrated. One finger means Long Form 1, one knuckle means Short Form 1.

Slice- a move where a natural weapon skims the surface of the target area being struck. Usually a minor move used to set up a major move.

Sliding Check- a special pinning block that travels on an attacker's body by sliding from one leverage point to the next. This is technically a form of contouring.

Sophisticated Movements- single moves with multiple results. See also:Embryonic Moves.

Sophisticated Simplicity- basic movements that, though appear singular, are in fact, multiple in action.

Spontaneous Stage- stage of learning where the student's reactions are natural. See also: Primitive Stage, Mechanical Stage.

Step Drag- stepping forward or back with one foot as the other drags to meet it. One of three methods of executing a shuffle.

Step Through- the movement of one full step forward or back.

Strike- the delivery of a natural weapon in hitting targets.

Style- a term used to describe an individual's application of the system they have learned.

System- the unification of related concepts, ideas, principles, and facts of a particular school of Martial Arts.

Switch- changing from one stance to the other while in place. Can involve jumping in place, or the feet stepping forward or back to meet and then swap places.

Sword- In Kenpo, we refer to a knife-hand as a sword.


Tailoring- fitting moves to your body size, shape, and strength in order to maximize the effectiveness of your physical efforts.

Target Areas- vital areas on your body and your attacker's body which can cause injury or damage when struck. Often called vital targets.

Theory of Proportional Dimension- this theory teaches you how to use movements which are in proportion to your body. Applying this theory assists you in fitting the moves to you body.

Three Phase Concept- teaches you to view self-defense techniques in three phases: Ideal Phase, What-If Phase, and Formulation Phase.

Torque- a power principle where we get added power from rotational force. Example: unwinding from a twist stance.

Tracking- a method of contouring. Utilized when one limb acts as a track for another so that the accuracy of the strike is guaranteed.

Transition- stage between moves; or moves within moves.

Transitional Response- instantly evolving from one position to another for offensive or defensive purposes.

Twig- In Kenpo, we refer to our arms as twigs.


Unintentional Moves- accidental and/or unplanned moves which you can be defeated. These are the normal reactions of your attacker that need to be checked and/or anticipated.

Universal Pattern of Motion- the three dimensional pattern of movements developed by Grandmaster Edmund K. Parker to aid students to have a directional key to motion. Also designed to aid in the understanding of the relationship between linear and circular motion.

Unuseful- movements that may not be useful in one situation, but cay be used in another.

Useless- not the same as unuseful. Useless moves are not effective under any condition.

V, W

Web of Knowledge- a spider web pattern used to give priority to self-defense and organize an curriculum according to the degree of difficulty expended in handling the attack.

What-if Phase- second analytical process of dissecting techniques. This one takes additional variables that go beyond the Ideal Phase. Expected and unexpected actions are all taken into account. Leads to Formulation Phase.

Width Zones- one of the Zones of Protection and a category in the Dimensional Zone Theory, this entails four vertical segments.

Wing- In Kenpo, we refer to our elbows as wings.

With- a very useful word in the Kenpo language. Instead of and, this gives you duel movements and ecomonizes motion.

Words of Motion- refers to a combination or a sequence of moves. Smaller than a Sentence of Motion.

X, Y, Z

Zone of Protection- the act of shielding the three main zones of the body: height zones (or horizontal), width zones (or vertical), and depth zones.

Zone Theories- this process is when you visualize imaginary boundaries or zones of height, depth, and width superimposed on a body.

FastCounter by bCentral