theMALC

Three Buttons Down & Kenpo

By Richard Matthews
Published on Mar 1st, 2010

While growing up in the North East of England, the very first bit of Self defence advice I remember getting was from my Mother, a lovely but tenacious little women from Dingle in Kerry was, "if a bad man grabs hold of you son kick him as hard as you can in the shins, stamp on his foot and then run like hell!". The second bit of memorable advice came in my early teens from my Dad a true Geordie and a really genuine man who did not advocate violence at all but who was a realist about how situations can occur, any way his advice to me was, "if you ever have to fight a "Big Fella" then punch him as fast and as hard as you can aiming for his third shirt button down, if he is still standing then run like hell!". This simple advice from what seems like an age ago was I suppose my introduction to the Martial Arts from a Self Defence point of view.

These two gems of information are aimed at passing on knowledge in such a way that it can be stored and used when needed. Kicking someone in the shins and then stamping on their feet could possibly cause enough pain for the assailant to loosen his/her grips as well reduce their ability to run after you. The three buttons down advice is actually passing on information about one of the body's natural weak points the Solar Plexus's and if it is struck fast, hard and accurately then it will definitely have a detrimental effect on the person receiving the blow.

It is my experience that Kenpo, as designed by Ed Parker, if fully embraced allows the practitioner to gather analyse, retain, use and share knowledge. The system contains inter linked and overlapping tools, formulas and processes for progressive training. For example, by giving self defense techniques names it allows the practitioner to immediately resource a "chunk" of categorised information. To highlight this I will use a technique with the rather odd sounding name of Twisted Twig.

RETENTION OF KNOWLEDGE Twisted Twig, is a defence against an attempted wrist lock, it contains the methodology for the practitioner to drill and internalise wristlock applications, releases and counters. This technique is grouped in category that encompasses the 16 basic Lock and Choke defences.

PROCESSES. To further develop and analyse this technique the Three Phase Process can be used. The Tree Phases are

  1. The IDEAL PHASE, this is basically technique performed by the book or as it should passed on, a basic level.
  2. The WHAT IF PHASE, this logical introduction of a problem eg "they grab you with two hands instead of one".
  3. The FORMULATION PHASE, coming up with practical solutions to the perceived problems.

The THREE PHASES can be enhanced by employing the THREE POINTS OF VIEW PROCESS, which is actively (as opposed to passively) taking the view point THE ATTACKER, THE DEFENDER and THE BYSTANDER to gather more practical information to improve "your" execution and understanding of what you are doing.

FORMULAS. My basic FORMULA for correction and adjustment of Technique is as mentioned in the previous blog is IDENTIFY and JUSTIFY followed by "FIX", you can begin THE CORRECTIVE ADJUSTMENT process by utilising the first Five Kenpo PRINCIPLES OF MOTION which are

  1. POSTURE
  2. BALANCE
  3. RELAX
  4. SPEEED
  5. ACCURACY

Probably the most useful Formula that can be applied to SELF DEFENCE analysis is the aptly named EQUATION FORMULA which is to any BASE move or moves you can

  1. PREFIX A MOVE
  2. SUFFIX A MOVE
  3. INSERT A MOVE
  4. RE- ARRANGE THE MOVES
  5. ALTER TARGETS AND OR WEAPONS
  6. ADJUST RANGE AND ANGLE
  7. REGULATE SPEED, FORCE OR INTENT
  8. DELETE A MOVE

Personally I think that number 8 Delete should slot in at the number 5 position to make the formula a little easier to remember or even split it into two sections of a 5 and a 3 to create two more workable units. (Whoops I have gone off on one, seriously if anyone would like to hear more on the expansion and application of this formula or any other area I have touched on let me know).

All of the above information is all well and good, the Theoretical side of any Art Form is very important but without regular realistic training and practical practice it will be of little use. Even though I use prescribed technical methods as part of the training process, my aim is the development of "PERSONAL TECHNIQUE" within the individual which will be internalised and not just memorised.

So keep training and if you do get into a sticky situation remember to "Kick them in the shins, Stamp on /their toes, punch them as hard as you can Three Buttons Down and then .....Run Like Hell.


Filed under Instructors and Teaching

Author Bio :: Richard Matthews

Richard Matthews is currently a 7th Degree black belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo. Richard is Director of Operations for Europe for The Martial Arts Learning Community. Mr. Matthews can be contacted at rich@themalc.org

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