The System of American Kenpo

Note:  This is an explanation of the reality of American Kenpo–the system we teach and learn at Miller’s Kenpo Karate.  This is the description of what is taught to our adults–hence the reason it is in the adult program members section and storm team section.  The child programs are approached differently to stay age specific in nature.

American Kenpo is a modern combative system based on logic and reason. Unlike traditional martial arts, American Kenpo progresses and evolves to effectively and efficiently handle the realities of modern combat and street survival. Unconstrained by archaic modalities and inflexible mindsets, American Kenpo examines every move, concept and principle in the light of logic and experience, allowing for a constant growth and refinement of the system. Based on the laws of the universe, which are best described through physics and geometry, American Kenpo examines total body domination by penetrating through the physical mass and controlling the body hinges.  Through the analytical systematic breakdown of motion and anatomical and physiological study, every movement of each practitioner is articulate and natural, accurate and powerful, swift and fluent.

American Kenpo is tailored to every individual practitioner for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in application. Through fidelity to a core set of principles constituting the essence of the system, the expression of motion can be adapted to a style that best suits the physical structure and mentality of the individual. American Kenpo is a thinking persons’ art based on science, teaching each practitioner to be independent thinkers and become self-correcting.  Unlike traditional martial arts, in American Kenpo you not only learn how to do things properly, but also why things are done a certain way as a reference to build from.  Everything in this system has a rational purpose.

Kenpo combines circular and linear movements into one continuous and overwhelming flow of motion. No motion is wasted; every movement has meaning. The reaction and positioning of the enemy are simultaneously determined by and provide the catalyst for every action of the Kenpoist, acting instinctually and extemporaneously through an attack the attack modality with proper intent. This ability to act from the subconscious is achieved only after the rigors of proper reality based training, evolving personally through the embryonic and mechanical stages of learning, arriving finally at the ability to effectively defend oneself spontaneously.  Being a reality based system, American Kenpo studies all ranges of combat including the farthest distance on your feet (vertical plane) to the different ground positions (horizontal plane) one may find himself in during an altercation.  Although categorized as a striking art, one also learns the realities of grappling for street, not sport.

A matrix is created from the basics, sets, forms, and idealized self-defense techniques that constitute the primary training curriculum of the system. By conditioning the basic, fundamental aspects of American Kenpo, the groundwork is laid for effectively combining them to dominate any attacker. Techniques provide the case studies of self defense and motion that allow the practitioner to combine the basics in a meaningful way, highlighting the concepts, principles and theories that define American Kenpo. The understanding and use of these tools, both physical and intellectual, are further sharpened and refined by the forms and sets of the system.  The forms act as a roadmap of movement, which in turn produce a blueprint of motion from all planes. They also serve as the skeletal structure of the self-defense techniques.  The sets isolate certain movement to further refine proper execution of the alphabet of motion. The synthesis of all of these aspects of American Kenpo lead the practitioner to ever-higher levels of understanding and proficiency in execution of the art, until it becomes internalized in a perfect harmony of mind, body and spirit.

Realistic movement, proper training methods, and the cultivation of the warrior spirit are the three essential elements that American Kenpo combines, making it a truly realistic, effective and devastating combative system. Primarily known as an empty hand art, American Kenpo evolves itself in its advanced stages into stick, knife and firearms both defensive and offensive.

Through the development and expansion of the foundation offered by Kenpo, the practitioners of this art are transformed into warriors and scholars living in perfect harmony with themselves and the world, yet capable of unleashing a violent torrent when this harmony is disturbed. American Kenpo is a journey on which knowledge and skill never cease expanding, leading to unlimited potential and growth.

Written by: Jason Wood and Michael Miller