Posted by: balladofyoko | November 9, 2007

Empty Hand

I’ve now taken 3 classes in kenpo karate.

Why am I doing this? In aikido, we had a seminar in punching and kicking. The instructor had several years experience in tae kwon do, and I’ve always admired how he moves and conducts himself. During this seminar, he emphasized how a correct attack– one with power and intent– is essential for one to perform a proper technique in defending against it. I figured it would be good for me to learn more about punching and kicking, and get a different perspective on defense. After doing some research in the karate and tae kwon do dojos around the area, I decided upon this one because they seemed to have a good philosophy.

Some observations:

-The instructor is very patient, very skilled at the martial art, and a very good teacher. He can explain things in different ways until I get it. And he is very encouraging.

-The classes I go to are small– there have been three people at the most in one class. That allows for one-on-one training, which is great. The people who go to the class have been beginners, but more advanced than I am. They’re friendly and good to work with.

-It is amazing how, despite having studied another martial art, that in new situations like this, I still have trouble recognizing which is my left and which is my right. Beginner’s mind, indeed.

-I need to work on gaining some more flexibility in my hips for kicking.

-The inevitable comparisons and contrasts to my aikido practice: there is more emphasis on physical conditioning for kenpo, which I like. Some of the techniques are similar enough to aikido that I recognize what the intent is, but different enough that I need to aware of the details.

-I now am very aware that in aikido practice, people’s attacks often fall very short. I hope to begin to correct this in my classes.

I haven’t decided how far I’m going to go with kenpo yet. But so far, I’m enjoying it.



  1. I found that, once I get a good grounding in one martial art, learning a second one led to leaps and bounds in learning and awareness. Have fun!


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