Kenpo karate comes either from Japan, or from China through Japan -- depending on what expert you ask. People do agree that it passed through Hawaii on its way to the United States and that Edmund Parker, an American martial arts expert, developed kenpo karate. A blend of different techniques formed in a cultural melting pot, it can be considered the first American martial art. There is no substitute for live instruction from a qualified teacher, but those who don't live near a kenpo school can get started learning at home from DVDs.
Choose which of the two main branches of kenpo you wish to study: Tracy or Parker. Both are equally effective. Due to copyright issues, however, you will find more free information available about the Parker branch.
Order a yellow belt training video from an online DVD retailer. There are several to choose from, but most cover the same techniques and kata.
Set aside approximately 100 square feet of training space. Unlike many other arts, it's possible to practice kenpo in a relatively small area.
Focus on one technique at a time. Kenpo belt level curricula consist of a series of self-defense techniques. Practice that technique until you can do it effectively without consulting the DVD.
Check online for advice and further detail. Kenponet, San Jose Kenpo and Kenpo Talk are all forums frequented by kenpo stylists. Many kenpo seniors, most notably Larry Tatum, make video tips available on their home pages and video-sharing websites.
Look consistently for live instruction. If you can't find a class in your area, look for seminars and workshops to attend.
- "Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, Vol 1 - V"; Ed Parker; 1985
- Dave Coffman; Kenpo Instructor; Hillsboro, Ore.