Do you this know this technique? Do you know that technique? How many techniques are required for that belt? What is that technique for? Oh, and by the way what constitutes a technique anyway? We use the term technique on a daily basis In Kenpo. Ask any Kenpo stylist what makes our system unique and he will quickly answer "the techniques". But what makes a technique different from a series of movements or combinations of movements?
In order to be a good instructor or for that matter an effective martial artist, you must be able to answer those questions. And what is more, you must be able to answer from both the physical and philosophical perspective. Grand Master Mitose stated that there are three physical disciplines as well as three philosophical disciplines in Kenpo, namely, the War Time Arts, with which we are all familiar, the joint striking and Push Pull Arts, Jujitsu If you will, and the Evasion Arts, which all prudent martial artists should endeavor to master.
Regardless of the discipline you are using, there are certain elements which must be present to constitute a technique, These are:
1. You must NEUTRALIZE the attack.
2. You must POSITION for advantage.
3. You must then administer some sort of SOLUTION.
4. And then you must ESCAPE,
NEUTRALIZE: To neutralize you must block, parry, evade, break the opponents balance, in the case of a hold, or strike the opponent first. When you strike first, you strike to injure, disable or to kill. if you do not neutralize the attack then none of your other skills will do you any good.
POSITION: To position for advantage you must move to a spot where you are on balance, so that you can generate power, and in a position where you can strike with minimal probability that you will have to endure a strike.
SOLUTION: This can take the form of a strike to injure, disable or kill. Or you may disable by breaking a limb or joint (we do not use pain compliance in Kenpo) or rendering the opponent unconscious by choking or through a nerve strike.
ESCAPE: In Kenpo we always finish any technique by disengaging contact with the opponent. We do not hold on, no matter how effective the hold, due to the possibility of additional opponents attacking while You are engaged. By the way, you can use this part of the technique, evasion, to neutralize, position, solution and escape all at once if you wish and if it will provide an acceptable resolution to the confrontation.
Those are the elements that make up a technique, So then we come to my favorite question, when have you finished a technique? I hear martial artists complain that "I did all the movements but he kept coming at me." Or better yet "I couldn't finish my technique, he went down on the first strike." I have visited schools where they will fall a student on a belt test If he does not "cover out" when he finishes the technique, to which I ask again "When have you finished the technique?"
The answer is that you have finished the technique when the opponent is on the ground, drawn up in the fetal position, and he has stopped quivering. But honestly, you may have done all of the movements in a technique, or you may only be part way through and the conditions change due to his maneuvering. This necessitates the administration of what Is call FREE FORM or TECHNIQUE BLENDING, You simply transition to movement that will be effective against the conditions then facing you and keep on striking until the issue is resolved. Then disengage and prepare yourself for whatever else may come,
Remember, what makes Kenpo unique and effective is the fact that we have a response, a technique, for every conceivable situation, unlike boxing, wrestling, Judo, Kickboxing, or even "reality based fighting" all of which predispose that you are facing one opponent in mutual combat in a finite arena. Self defense, as I can attest to from numerous experiences, takes place against any number of opponents, anywhere, at anytime, using any weapons and the only prize at stake Is your life.
You can e-mail Ted at email@example.com