Mankind’s avoidance of conflict is based on the simple fear of pain, injury, even death. Man found use of basic defenses: rocks, stones, and clubs. As man grew in intellect, the defenses became more elaborate. Throwing rocks evolved into bolas, clubs into maces, and stone into bladed and edged weapons. As man evolved, so did the realization that weapons were needed for defenses. Just as hand held weapons progressed, so did using empty hands as weapons: Karate.
Edmund K. Parker’s American Kenpo Karate was the first American martial art developed by an American for Americans in America. Borrowing the circular and linear movements of the Asian martial arts, Mr. Parker developed an “Americanized” art that could be applied to modern situations. American Kenpo is an art that emphasizes logic and continual motion to overtake and overwhelm an opponent while concentrating on soft tissue strikes. Mr. Parker wanted American Kenpo to be “the self-confidence and character building vehicle of self-protection so needed among [the] citizens youth today (Parker 1:41).”
“All creatures have an innate drive to survive (Bleecker 1).” This same belief can be applied to a human being confronted with a conflict. Self-preservation, the need to survive, seizes control of the individual and instinct takes over. A person will choose to do whatever necessary when the conflict is threatening to personal well being, and American Kenpo offers many choices to the practitioner.
A beginning student of American Kenpo first learns the basics: stances, blocks, parries, strikes, finger techniques, kicks, and foot maneuvers (Parker 2: 43). Like the English language, Kenpo can be considered a language. The basics are the letters of motion and when letters are combined, they can become words (Parker 2: 31). When the student learns how to form words, as in grammar, there must be proper “pronunciation, enunciation, and diction…...