The Three-Phase Concept
Kenpo techniques are taught with a three phase formula where the student is expected to learn the technique as defined in the syllabus, then go on to play with the possibilities. The Three Phases are, in order, the following:
In the Ideal Phase the student learns the technique “by the book”. This means the attack is specified, the defense is applied and the attackers reaction is known.
In the What-If Phase the student(s) experiment with different possible scenarios for the attack and attackers reactions.
With the Formulation Phase the student tears apart the technique, explores its principles and develops alternate, spontaneous, reactions all with the aid the equation formula.
It is important to apply “Concepts” to the art of Kenpo; the understanding of these concepts cannot be achieved if you practice the moves alone, it is through the living of Kenpo that one becomes intuitive. Concepts and Rules are the ‘Theory’ of Kenpo and are designed to allow the student of the arts to discover deeper meaning in what they practice.
Self Defense Techniques
Kenpo techniques are groups of basic moves arranged in a pre-defined sequence to illustrate a possible defense for a given scenario. They are taught with the “Three phase concept” which views the techniques in 3 stages: Ideal, What-if, and Formulation. In a “real” situation, the Kenpo practitioner isn’t expected to complete a whole specific technique. One never knows exactly how an opponent may react to any block, check or strike. For any given technique one can apply the equation formula to fit the reactions of their opponent, or perhaps the practitioner has a comfort level with certain movement and prefers to use the basics with which they are the most capable.
Some people believe that the techniques are the heart of Kenpo. They are. Unfortunately, too many people lose sight of why. Always remember, the techniques are vehicles for learning the principles of Kenpo. That is their lesson.