Is combination 14 really effective?

Sideblade kick

What are the chances that two people will be in the exact position to make 14 truly effective? Why would you, with good foundational training in key fighting concepts and strategy, decide to jump into the air when two attackers are so close to you? It seems to defy the very strategies and principles of Kempo as learned to the point of introducing this technique. Like my discussion on the redundancies of Combination 8 and 9, I posit that Combination 14 is due for an overhaul.

Again using the inspirational work of Prof. Nick Cerio’s Master’s Text book, he is after all in our line of grandmasters, to find something simple yet effective. What really shines is his Tiger technique. I learned a simplified version of it that I prefer to teach in my school and think that it would make a great replacement for Combination 14.

One of the first things I like is the forward advancing step.  This direction is sadly neglected in other techniques yet provides combat benefits. You are right in the opponent’s face and in a great spot for some powerful strikes.

We often learn in Kempo that there are several directions you can step to defend against an attack. The least effective but most common is directly backward to 6:00. More effective and reasonably common are stepping to 8:00ish, 9:00 and 10:00ish. Other options are 2:00ish, 3:00, and 4:00ish but these are uncommon. In ninjutsu they have techniques that attack at 12:00 angle and they take a lot of confidence and courage to execute.

My point is adding a technique at Blue Belt level that steps to this uncommon area is both beneficial and important. Kempo is successful because of its font of techniques that can be effortlessly pieced together in the chaos of combat. The more tools the fighter has, the better they will be. Shaolin Kempo Karate needs to take a cue from FMA by addressing the angles of attacks equally both in terms of footwork and incoming attack angles. The key word there is ‘equally’, in the sense that all angles should have an equal amount of emphasis.

The bottom line is this, should Combination 14 be changed to something more effective and realistic? Put your answer in the comments below.

Why are combination 8 and 9 so similar?

They both start with a block, a front kick and then a round house kick. Nine has an additional side thrust to the upper ribs. Questions I ask myself as an instructor: “Why spend so much time on basically the same move? Wouldn’t another technique provide additional skills?”

Right jab and left cross punch

The technique is no more important or effective than others. It would be better to modify the curriculum and provide another simple yet effective technique in place of combination 8? The Shaolin Kempo Karate purists are probably coughing up a lung right now in righteous indignation. I’m sure there is a reason for the similarities but I don’t think it justifies such a repetition.

What technique should take its place? A perfect example is Prof. Nick Cerio’s battering ram technique found in his Master’s Text book. It has an angled retreating move—it’s not the same step back or cat stance move so prevalent in early combinations. This same right retreat move is found in combination 20 and provides an introduction or foreshadowing of that technique.

It uses the back fist strike or upper cut, which is often neglected at early ranks. Finally, it provides a solid elbow strike to the head—a truly effective and basic move. This technique has the same number of movements and can be adapted to include other material. For instance, I utilize block 10 which is a high block against a haymaker. This in itself is a benefit for intermediate students who are now too accustomed to attacks presented as a straight front punch. It changes the attack and makes them think.

What’s more frustrating is other techniques are likewise very similar. Combination 89 and 90 are so similar that they don’t deserve to be presented as distinct techniques. I understand the value of using variations of techniques and codifying them for the curriculum. That has value and we use it both in Punch Counters and Kempo Punch Techniques. This value is supported by giving them different identifiers such as 18A and 18B. I see the Combinations as the core of SKK. These are the roots or key elements that make SKK distinct and teach the proper way to defend one self. By loading the core with filler techniques is not the way to develop effective students.

Perhaps a better way of codifying the core combinations is to base them on Master Key moves, the fundamental elements of a Shaolin Kempo Karate defensive technique regardless of initiating attack.

What are your thoughts? Put your answer in the comments below.

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The International Black Belt Club

What is the Black Belt Club?

Students committed to the goal of Black belt comprise the Black Belt Club (BBC). By the rank of Orange belt, a student should set a goal of Black Belt and join the Black Belt Club. Over 80% of our students are BBC members or BBC Graduates. The Black Belt Club is the inner core of the school, and best represents the ideals of Golden Leopard Kempo.

The Black Belt Club is both a club and a program for people who have set Black Belt as their goal. You may have noticed the Black Belt Club members in your class. They wear the Black Belt Club patch on their sleeve and wear the belts with the black stripe running the full length. Black Belt Club members participate in many areas of Kempo Karate training that aren’t in regular classes, such as Kobudo training, breaking, and an advanced kata set Halawa.

Who can qualify for the Black Belt Club?

To qualify, a student must be a Gold belt or above and have their instructor’s approval.

How do I get recommended?

To qualify for advanced training beyond your trial year, you must:

  1. Have set a goal of Black Belt.
  2. Have regular belt exam participation.
  3. Be A-rated in Kempo, school/work, and at home.
  4. Demonstrate the qualities of Black Belt Excellence in and out of the school.
  5. Have a high level of enthusiasm for Kempo class.
  6. For students still in school, a good report card on conduct and attitude from parents and teachers.
  7. Support school functions and events.
  8. Have good attendance and eagerness to make up absences.
  9. Be current with tuition payments.
  10. Have the full support of the family.

What are the benefits of the Black Belt Club?

Golden Leopard Kempo is a Black Belt school, and when a student commits to earning Black Belt, they are past the trial stage. They become part of our school with the following privileges.

  1. Discounts on all special events.
  2. Special weekly seminar/workout for Black Belt Club members only
  3. Lowest possible tuition rate through the Black Belt with no yearly increases
  4. Special Black Belt Club patch
  5. Special Black Belt Club belt
  6. Opportunity to wear the black uniform of the Black Belt Club

How do you join the Black Belt Club?

Upon earning your Gold Belt, you enter the Black Belt Update phase of your training. Your instructors will conduct a series of evaluations and tests to determine if you qualify for advanced training in the Black Belt Club. Eligible students get invitations to join the Black Belt Club. Train hard and good luck!

How to control your enemy

Setting up for an arm lock

Setting up for an arm lock

One of the keys to a successful self-defense situation is controlling the enemy. Here are more principles from the brilliant mind of Sun Tzu.

21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.  Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.

24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

If the enemy is powerful and ready, he will soon attack. If he is obviously better than you are, get away. These are ways to control the enemy by knowing their next move. Bait them with smack talk if the enemy looks easy to make angry. As stated in the last post, fake being weak and injured to make your enemy feel superior. That will often make them choose to attack with fewer defenses up — committing more to the attack than necessary or safe.

Also, if the enemy it knocked off balance or tired, continue a relentless assault to finish him off. Likewise, a group of enemies must be attacked one at time. We use the rule of two, hit each opponent twice and then move on to the next one. Attempt to devastate the opponent as visually amazing as possible. Make it gory, thematic, and audible — scream a lot. You can also divide up the enemies by closing doors or blocking others out while you finish off an isolated opponent.

Another rule of martial arts is you can’t defend all areas at the same time effectively. Therefore, there is always a weak spot in their defense. The trick is to find that area and attack it. Attack in a way that they are not expecting.

Whatever you think of or implement, do yourself a favor and don’t tell anyone. The best military advantages are secret, so keep your secret too.