Evolution of Blended Kenpo

To put it simply, its just movements. I was reading an article in Black Belt magazine, where an old Shotokan master said to really learn an art you need 40 or 50 years. I am a true believer in the more you do something the better you understand it, but 50 years seems like a long time before you innovate.

What is the proper amount of time? I don’t know, but I am pretty confident you can innovate before 50 years. If everyone followed this train of thought we would not have Jeet Kune Do, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or American Kenpo.

Bruce Lee was very innovative, always searching for the truth. He studied all he could from all the arts he ran across, used what he thought useful and threw away the rest. His studies covered a wide range, from western boxing to fencing. He tried to get something useful out of every art.

Depending on what book you read, Carlos Gracie is said to have learned Jiu-Jitsu for 2-6 years under Mitsuyo Maeda (AKA Count Koma) part time. The Gracie brothers practiced full time, but Count Koma was traveling all over Brazil establishig a Japanese colony, so he was not able to give Carlos Gracie daily instruction. After years of dedicated practice amongst themselves, and with Helios genius innovation, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was born.

The Kenpo Ed Parker taught in the 1960s doesn’t even compare to what American Kenpo is today. They are as different as night and day. Ed Parker took the Kenpo he had learned and his mind raced with new ideas, transforming Kenpo to something that is unrecognizable to the 1960’s practitioner.

So why not add boxing and thaiboxing with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to Kenpo? If it makes the system more applicable for self defense then are not you doing a good thing? Some people teach the Jeet Kune Do of the Seattle days, preserving what Bruce did not want preserved or this is how Ed did it. The Gracies seem to be less held to tradition, understanding that everyone is different with a different game and body type. So shake off the shackles of the old and experiment and enjoy the new. It does not take a genius to figure out what to do and when to do it. Just experiment with live goes, full contact sparring and have fun.


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