Patterns in the Basic Forms of Kenpo The basic Forms of Kenpo do not demonstrate an imaginary fight. They are the dictionary forms. They are Short Form 1, Long Form 1, Short Form 2, and Long Form 2; they illustrate the rules and principles of motion, and show students that every action has an opposite and a reverse, and provide examples of these rules. The long forms add to the thoughts presented in the short forms, and the hand isolations are used as previews of coming attractions that will be seen in later forms.

The primary pattern seen in the basic forms is in the blocks: inward - outward - upward - downward. In the higher forms, the difference seen is in what is added at each additional level. How the blocks are executed are also similar. In Short Form 1 and Long Form 1, the forms step back with the blocks. In Short Form 2 and Long Form 2, the blocks are executed by stepping in. The key difference between the forms is seen in how we get to our first downward block. In Short Form 1, we move away, and in Long Form 1, we move into it. In Short Form 2, we once again move into it, and in Long Form 2, we move away from it.

To sum it up in a generalization though, in the 1-Series, we retreat, and in the 2-Series, we advance. In these Forms, we establish a pattern and finish the pattern before we start a new one. In the basic forms, upward blocks are always used for an attacker from behind us. We also introduce twist-throughs in the 2-Series, rather than the 1-Series. The purpose for most of this is to teach principles of motion. By stepping back, we need to use torque and a proper forward bow when we counter. We also use proper torque when executing blocks, which shall be covered below. By stepping in with a block, we begin to add other power principles and utilize those power principles together or one after the other. In Short Form 2, the power principles are combined and then shown separately. In the initial move, we step in with our block and drop into a wide kneel with an outward handsword, using torque with marriage of gravity. In the second section (the outward block), back-up mass takes precedent over torque. For the downward block, we step through with a palm strike, which is strictly back-up mass.

In regards to the blocks and torque. Inward blocks require torque, but outward and downward blocks can use either direct torque or countertorque. Rotation is not relevant for upward blocks. In the second part of Long 1, we add blocks with the rear hand; in order to do so we use a forward bow from the waist up for hand / body alignment. In the 1-Series, outward blocks are done as vertical outward blocks, rather than more-used extended outward blocks, until we reach Short Form 2. In Short Form 2 and Long Form 2, the use of extended outward blocks are added but do not replace the vertical outward blocks. As a tip when doing vertical outward blocks, you should never extend your vertical (or extended, even) outward blocks beyond your own shoulder. By doing so would put you into a position to be thrown backwards.

Other ideas found in the basic forms are to never pivot on your heel as it creates a coffee break that is not needed. The same applies to the V-Step. You should never V-Step away as it is not needed; V-Step to move in as you pick your line of entry. As a note: many beginners are taught to V-Step away as a teaching tool; it helps them keep the angle they need.

To sum up, the primary pattern seen in these basic forms is that of the in - out - up - down motion. It is used in every form; just added upon to give new material.