Kenpo Karate

A Traditional Martial Art taught with Modern Scientific Principles with a focus on practical personal protection and everyday applications.

Kenpo Karate is a modern martial art – a system of study that focuses on developing an individual with characteristics of a leader and an athlete. Its foundation is in practical self-defence with a continual recognition that a great warrior also needs to be a great person. Kenpo was developed as a multi-dimensional system that incorporated striking, grappling and the use of weapons in a manner that allows the potentially smaller and weaker individual to successfully stop the perceptually more dominant individual from hurting him (or others).

Kenpo Karate is a system that focuses on the use of scientific principles to overcome an opponent over physical exertion. It incorporates a fluidity of inter-related movements that, combined with principles of motion and those of self-defence; allow a practitioner to control a fight in a strategic approach. As an art, it tailors its exercises (forms, sets, and techniques) to the attributes of the practitioner promoting the concept of extemporaneous (action through just-in-time thought) action to meet the context of the conflict.

A Kenpo instructor focuses on sharing the art, stimulating the ability for each student to express themselves intelligently, following pragmatic formula incorporate attitude, logic, basics and fitness. It is an approach that builds the individual, the self to stages of self-empowerment, self-development, self-discipline and of course self-protection.

Kenpo is a combination of ancient fighting techniques and modern scientific principles. An unending flow of motion. A force which can overwhelm any attacker. Every move creates a specific reaction in your opponent. Each reaction leads to your next move. Every strike is a block, every block is a strike. Each move flows into the next. The logical flow of action is the essence of Kenpo. To control the power of Kenpo, you must first control yourself. You train your spirit as you train your body. Inner strength, balance and harmony develops as you learn. To master Kenpo is more than to be an expert in Karate. To become a martial artist you must learn to master become a master of yourself.

Ed Parker

Ed Parker

Father of American Karate

Our martial system was formulated by Edmund K. Parker, a prolific author, teacher and practitioner of the martial arts. Mr. Parker was a student of boxing, Judo and Kenpo which he studied under the tutelage of William Chow (whose art is now known as Kara-ho Kenpo). Mr. Parker began his study of Kenpo in the 1940’s, earning his Black Belt in 1953. Ed Parker was also a 3rd degree black belt in Judo and captain of the 1956 Brigham Young University Judo club. Mr. Parker opened his first club in 1954 and opened his first professional location in 1956; establishing the first stage of development towards our modern Kenpo system.

Throughout the next several decades Mr. Parker would continually develop and refine his system of Kenpo into an art with its own unique characteristics and considerations. Mr. Parker would advance the art through his own experiences, those of his students and collaboration with other martial artist. Mr. Parker would employ numerous analogies, scientific principles, and illustrative concepts to help students better understand the art in addition to the refinement of effective self-defence and freestyle techniques.

A prolific educator through seminars, classes and magazine articles, Mr. Parker was frequently referred to as a key source in leading martial art magazines. Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated quotes Ed Parker’s Kenpo as being “America’s logical and unstoppable fighting system … Discovered in America, it’s Karate’s gold mine of motion” Inside Karate stated, “”You don’t become the father of American Karate by being second in line.  Universally acknowledged as the man who introduced Karate to America some twenty-nine years ago, Ed Parker has been one of the most innovative and successful influences in the development of the Art in the new environment” and Black Belt magazine stated, “Many Kenpo stylists refer to Ed Parker as the last word on the proper way to do their techniques.”

It is not the aim of Kenpo to merely produce a skillful as well as powerful practitioner,
but to create a well integrated student respectful of all.

Ed Parker

Founding Grandmaster, American Kenpo Karate

Focal Points of Kenpo

Striking with the Entire Body. Kenpo is first and foremost a striking art, further emphasized by the use of the term Karate. Student’s use all parts of the body to strike targets and vital areas on an attacker in order to stop the fight in the shortest time possible. Kenpo incorporates a variety of kicking techniques, strikes using the knees, and elbows but is well-known for its hand strikes. Kenpo, historically has been referenced as Chinese Boxing in historic documents.

Grappling while Standing or on the Ground. Kenpo is a multi-dimensional martial art that includes stand-up striking (kickboxing) in addition to grappling methods while standing or on the ground (similar to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu). These methods are collectively known as manipulations and include chokes, joint locks, leg locks, sweeps, buckles, and other close-in fighting methods found in arts such as Judo, Jujutsu and Chin Na.

Combative Weapons. Kenpo incorporates a variety of weapons as part of its teaching curriculum. Student’s learn how to use as well as defend against a variety of modern weapons. As student’s develop in the art they will be exposed to the use of clubs (or sticks), bladed weapons, staves, and nunchaku. Weapons training is both practical (how to use and defend against weapons in a street altercation) as well as a tool for positive development of non-weapon skills.

Problem Solving. Problem solving is an important aspect of the art. Students are provided a series of tools that help them understand, break apart and then resolve the problem (initially physical confrontations) in an effective and logical manner. As student’s advance in the art, the problem increase in complexity with the goal of having students solve problems just-in-time. Student’s explore problems in 8 areas: grabs and tackles, pushes, punches, kicks, holds and hugs, chokes and locks, weapons, and multiple attackers.

Applied Logic. Kenpo was developed by the late Ed Parker to be a martial art that followed scientific principles that could be used to implement practical actions in an intelligent and effortless manner. Kenpo recognizes the use of principles, concepts and theories to answer questions regarding who, what, how, why, when and where as applied to conflict as well as everyday activities. Kenpo is well known for its use of physics, geometry, bio-mechanics and other elements of logic in relationship to the martial arts.

Sayings, Stories and Analogies. Kenpo teachers use a vast collection of saying, stories and analogies to convey information in an educational and entertaining manner to help promote understanding and retention. A collection of sayings frequently used in our martial art was published in a book called “The Zen of Kenpo.”

Martial Art Lifestyle. Mr. Parker intended his system to develop great fighters that were also great people. Training in the art includes lessons, exercises and ideas that help bridge the fighting aspects of the art to everyday activities. We learn how the attitude, logic, basics and fitness are applied to help all aspects of our life including public speaking, goal setting, other physical activities and much more.

Start your Journey on Martial Art Mastery

Give us a call or send us an e-mail and get started on your journey in the Martial Arts and American Kenpo. We look forward to sharing our art with you!