What is Kenpo?
Although it is a martial art, Kenpo is not about fighting, it is a way to efficiently end an altercation once the Kenpoka is attacked.
Kenpo training emphasizes a scientific approach to combat and features techniques influenced by a number of different arts. It is through this scientific approach that Kenpo is used as a defence based system.
Training in Kenpo is done almost exclusively as a stand-up style rather than a ground based art, this is due to the fact that it is a reactionary art based on counters and defence rather than an offensive one. The techniques practiced are performed using various hand strikes, kicks, elbows, knees, throws and in some cases, joint locks.
Kenpo was originally brought from China to Japan around 700 years ago by the Yoshida Clan and was quickly adopted by Japanese clans as it was well suited to defend against the various unarmed Japanese martial arts of the 12th Century. Over the next 7 centuries few modifications were required to ensure that Kenpo could compete with other martial arts that were developed throughout the period. Although there were very few changes made by practitioners in Japan, over the same period however practitioners in China changed the art to the point that it was no longer considered to be Kenpo effectively removing its Chinese lineage.
Kenpo continued to be exclusively practiced In Japan until Great Grandmaster Master Kiyoka Komatsu brought the art to Hawaii teaching Japanese students. It wasn’t until later years that non-Japanese students were allowed to be taught, which allowed for the spread of Kenpo and the first non-Japanese student to achieve the rank of master.
It was from this point that Kenpo begun to be taught in mainland America and eventually expanding to the rest of the world.
Within Kenpo there is one main organisation that governs Kenpo and its practitioners; this is the International Kenpo Karate Association. Their role is to ensure that the lineage of Kenpo is kept recorded and make sure that the practitioners are being instructed by professional and knowledgeable instructors.
Within Kenpo there is a grading system that starts with beginner ranks of white and yellow and goes up to black belt, signifying an expert. Once a black belt has been achieved however a student is able to practice further through 10 ‘Dan’ levels until they reach the rank of Grand Master