The martial arts are great and every art has something positive to offer. Before I chose an art to study I questioned many martial artists from a variety of styles (mostly black belts).Just about all of them were pleased with the style that they were involved in but said that if they had to do it all over again with what they now know, would have chosen Kenpo.
I took their advice and launched my martial art career in Chinese Kenpo Karate / Kung Fu. I thank them all for their guidance.
The kenpo karate system is largely based on self defense techniques. There are numerous self defense techniques that address any type of imaginable attacks that one may encounter in a street defense situation including but not limited to;
Front or rear bear hugs / full nelson attacks / lapel grabs (one handed or two) / front or rear wrist grabs (one handed or two) / headlocks of various types / front or rear choke holds (one handed or two) / and pushes,
grabs, pulls, punches, kicks, of all imaginable types. Kenpo is the type of art that would allow the practitioner the ability to defend themselves in a phone booth.
Each self defense technique is a lesson in itself that not only teaches the practitioner how to counter the moves of an attacker then disable the him, but also what parts of their body can be used as a weapon (elbows, knees, feet, fingers etc…) and the vulnerable areas of the body to be attacked with these weapons.
Yes, all styles of martial arts will provide this type of teaching but not nearly to the extent that kenpo does.
My peticular system of kenpo teaches 240 self defense techniques from first belt (orange) to the last (black). Some systems of kenpo will use less.
The form sets or “kata” taught by kenpo are extremely long (and graceful). There are a total of 16. Two of them being staff sets, and one a sword set. The staff may be one of the most useful weapons that the arts has to offer. If one has staff skills anything that resembles a stick may be skillfully used as a weapon (broom, mop, pool cue etc…). My choice weapon would be a stick 3 to 4 feet long.
Kata teaches graceful movement, how to make the feet as friction free to the earth as possible. Pivoting , torqueing, transferring body weight, and eliminating excessive movement is integrated into the practitioner until they no longer resemble their “old self “. Performing kata can have a spiritual aspect to it due to the fact that one has to empty their mind of clutter (the worries of the day etc…) in order to keep the pace of memorizing the vast amount of intricate moves and synchronizing the body to them. It takes total concentration.
Kenpo also contains a large list of basics which include kicks, blocks, punches, kick-punch combinations as well as all the spinning & jumping techniques (involving kicking, punching, elbows etc…) that the martial arts has to offer. It is a complete system of self defense.

The Con;
The major rebuttal to this claim from other styles of martial arts (Japanese, Okinawa, Korean) is that all those numerous, intricate self defense techniques are not necessary for self defense. A point well taken.

The Pro;
Kenpo is a system that seems to draw even a older crowd of people. The self defense techniques allows the student ample opportunity to develop a fighting style that best suits their body design and natural abilities. A kenpo student has the huge advantage of choosing their favorite “bread & butter techniques” from the exceedingly vast amount offered by the system.
Kenpo, as well as the other Chinese systems (known as soft styles) has a tendency to stress snapping & recoiling kicks & punches opposed to the thrusting & locking methods stressed by the hard styles (Japanese, Okinawa, Korean). As a result the soft styles will boast a lesser stress on the joints of the body thus longevity in their martial art career.
As a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist I have worked on many martial art injuries and have found truth in this claim. The constant thrusting & locking of the joints is not a natural body flow. Years of thrusting & locking can (and does) lead to damage to the joints that gives birth to arthritis. Over the years I have had many hard style practitioners come to my kenpo schools seeking to study a soft style art due to the joint damage caused by their hard style training.
As a owner and operator of several kenpo schools I have signed up many aged, and or professional people who have stated that they were drawn to kenpo because of the self defense techniques that kenpo offered. They liked the easy going method in which they could study self defense via the science of body mechanics as offered by the kenpo systems self defense techniques.

If you are a Christian and concerned that self defense or the study of a martial art could be a violation of scripture you are invited to read:
“Karate and The Christian, The Parchments, A Fifth Degree Black Belt Thesis” (316 pages) also found on our web site.

Author's Bio: 

Kenpo Master Herb Patus (7TH Dan)/ Nationally Certified Massage Therapist / Christian.
Now spends most of his time writing books, producing Instructional DVDs and teaching (all on Kenpo), and studying the Bible.

Author: Kenpo Master Herb Patus,
E-mail: info@kenpoconnection.com
Phone: (619) 261-4094