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Talking Kenpo

Does anybody know of any other martial art that has it’s own dictionary?

Ed Parker in his wisdom decided to write a book explaining the terminology he made up to explain his kenpo, I remember reading through some of it and laughing out loud. In fact on the days when I was a little down and unmotivated I found that dipping into the book, just opening it at a random page and reading, usually cheered me up and elevated my mood.

I have a theory that Ed Parker was a very intelligent bloke (of that I have no doubt) with a wicked sense of humour (again, I know this to be true from stories my instructor, Shay MacNamee was a direct student of Parker), so he included this in his teachings and his texts. Yet many people hang on every word he said and missed the joke completely.

And now, there’s a whole new generation of instructors, people who were taught by the people that were taught by Ed Parker, like myself. The problem is Parker is no longer around to explain his jokes and while the first generation students have but their own twist on his jokes and most of the second and third generation students are just not getting it.

And of course everything you read must be true, so the books are treated like holy texts.

The upshot is, these newer instructors are passing on the biggest load of twoddle to poor unsuspecting students who don’t know any better. The joke has become the law.

Paul and I have seen this happen in many arts, the Filipino’s are notorious jokers and constantly take the piss while training. I know several fma “instructors” who have passed on information that was given to them in jest as if it were gold. Just look up the Blind Moro Princess story or look out for black belts in the Doce Pares Whip.

But only Parker added his humour to his books.

Maybe it was on purpose, a test, to keep the students on their toes. Oh if only he could see the results, he’d be in stitches! I also find it amusing, that is until I get students coming to me with strange ideas that they pick up from other instructors, and I have to spend the entire class undoing the damage.

Goes to show the old saying: Don’t believe anything you hear, half of what you read but everything that you see.

Well thats my two pence worth for today. If only kenpo instructors trained as much as they talked, we wouldn’t be tarred with the reputation we have.



Wild Geese any cause but our own

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