By now you have probably heard me say that Kenpo is in a constant state of flux. But what exactly do I mean? Our Kenpo standards are based on one simple premise. What can we all do to constantly improve our art? This is not to say that tradition is not important. Tradition is our roots and if we were to forget our roots our art would simply stagnate. I see tradition as a starting point of training and not an end or destination that we, as martial artists seek. In my opinion, tradition should guide us into the future, not lose us in the past. Thus we will never stagnate but continually strive for a higher goal. This is exactly what Mr Parker wanted for his art.
By constantly trying out new ideas you will find what works for you. More importantly, if something does not work, you will be able to look at ways you can make it work and still stay safe. With Kenpo, one size does not have to fit all. We are all different. When I look back to last weeks lesson one of my new recruits, Laura had her photograph taken with me. To say that there was a height difference was an understatement but it made me think how our training liberates us from being limited by tradition or our physicality. Agreed, being the big oaf that I am and weighing in at over 16 stone I certainly can get away with overpowering an opponent but Laura will still be able to pack one hell of a lot of power by utilising proper form, stances and technique.
The fact is if it works, use it, and if it doesn’t, work to make it work. The best example of this, possibly globally, is my friend and instructor, 8th degree Miss Jaki McVicar. I have been floored by this lady more times than I care to remember and she stands just a smidge over 5ft tall!
Always keep an open mind, become a free thinker. Beginners are a great source of new innovation. I have always learnt a great deal from listening to the thoughts of new recruits and help to refine them into something that works for the individual.
We must never neglect the past, for to neglect the past is to be condemned to repeat it.