American Kenpo (/ˈkɛmpoʊ/, pronounced KeMpo) is a martial art characterized by the use of quick and powerful strikes delivered from all of the body’s natural weapons, powered by rapid stance transitions. The beginner is introduced to numerous basics that comprise the system taught through the vehicle of scripted ideal scenarios that give instructors a platform from which to introduce the concepts and principles that Ed Parker emphasized in his teachings of American Kenpo.
The purpose of training in this manner is to increase coordination and continuity with linear and circular motion, each basic movement when executed correctly loads the next move, keeping the adversaries’ dimensional zones in check, limiting their ability to retaliate. If the adversary does not react as the technique sequence anticipates, the skilled Kenpo practitioner is able to seamlessly transition into an appropriate action drawn spontaneously from the subconscious state.
Founded and codified by Ed Parker, American Kenpo is primarily a self-defense combat system. Senior Grand Master Parker made significant modifications to the original art of Kenpo that he learned in Hawaii, throughout his life, introducing or changing principles, theories, and concepts of motion, as well as terminology. He emphasized tailoring Kenpo to the individual and encouraged his students to explore those martial areas not yet fully explored.
He left behind a number of instructors who honor his teachings by teach many different versions of American Kenpo, as Senior Grandmaster Parker decided not to name a single successor to his art, leaving each of his senior students to carry on his teachings in their own way.