Please call me Michael. I consider you a friend. By the way, you definetely have it (the power, speed, kick the hell out of somebody stuff). I found that out in Florida this past February. You are one heck of a powerhouse. Anyway, I understand your point of view. And, yes, we have the same instructor, but a different journey. Running a full time commercial Kenpo studio makes me study the "system" and "Art" much more than just the fighting principles. If I didn't make Kenpo my career, I am sure I would be most interested in the combative state of Kenpo. I will say that my personality is much like Mr. Kelley's when it comes to paying attention to detail. Some people look at that as a curse, but I look at it as a blessing.
Looking at Kenpo from a neutral position there is a lot more to it than fighting. Looking at it from your own point of view you will form an opinion based on your own personal journey. Your opinion based on your journey is that "you feel" it is about the fighting, because that is what is most important to you. I feel the system has much more to offer than just combative principles.
Let me just express my view here so it is clear. Ultimately, I "train" to be able to efficiently protect myself on the streets. So I always think in terms of self-protection and what makes the most sense for the streets. So yes, it is about finding what works best for you in terms of combat. When I teach, I teach with that philosophy of "Whatever we do, we need to drive the attacker into the ground." I keep this mindset always and instill that into their heads. However, for every principle, concept and theory there is an oppostite and a reverse. That is a very important statement to remember.
So since Kenpo ultimately is an art based on science we learn more than just combative state (although our ultimate aim is to, as you say, "drop the bastard.") The thing is I think it's in terms of primary goal versus everthing else involved. The primary goal is about success in combat, but we learn many methods of trying to avoid being faced with that. We also learn the intellect behind things to be able to communicate the system to all types of individuals. We must learn how and why we do what we do. In the system we learn what to do and what not to do. We learn how to work the universal pattern and how to understand the concepts, principles and theories. You don't need to know what the universal pattern is and you don't need to dissect the forms finding many answers to a very big puzzle to be able to protect yourself. That is all part of learning the scholar portion of the art. Every form, set, and technique teaches a lesson.
Anyway, I can't wait to work with you again, brother. I was just giving my position and I honor yours. You are right, none of Mr. Kelley's students move like him, but remember that we are to move like us, not like Mr. Kelley. What works for him may not work for us.
Michael Miller, CKF
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