Join the IKKO Kenpo Organization
  • HOME
  • Tribute to 
Edmund Kealoha
Parker Senior
  • IKKO Info
  • KenpoTube
Kenpo Videos
  • American Kenpo
Family Trees
  • Kenpo Links
  • American Kenpo
Forums & Chat
  • IKKO Store
Coming Soon!
  • Directory
of  Kenpo 
International Kenpo Karate Organization
"Instructor Tips"
What is a true Kenpo Instructor !

                  The passing on or "teaching" of our Art (American Kenpo) as a system is an
             integral part of all of our studios today. Even so, when we appoint someone to
             teach, we often do so without considering their ability to convey philosophy,
             basics, self defense techniques, forms and sets, history, sparring, training drills,
             principles, etc. Wearing a different colored belt, uniform, or even a patch that
             distinguishes you as a special person doesn't mean you are qualified to pass on
             the System of Kenpo.  We all believe that it is essential for our students to
             become true "Kenpo Instructors," and to this end we have them teach so that
             they can learn how to teach. But many studios have students teach (or should I
             say show) other students without proper instruction or at least an understanding
             of the material, rules, or philosophy being taught- the "what, where, when, how,
             why, etc." In most cases students' only "instructor training" is to recall what they
             have been taught (mirroring and modeling) and to try to duplicate experiences
             from memory. While mirroring and modeling your  instructor is normally a good
             thing, it is based on an assumption that the "instructor" we are using knows what
             he/she is doing and why. Just because he/she taught us one thing does not mean
             that the best method to teach others is to do the same thing in the same way
                (tailoring). I am not referring to the standardization of material, but to how it is
             taught and why. To further illustrate this point let us examine our current edu-
             cational system".  We all must go to grade school and fininsh high school to
             achieve our diploma (12 years in all).   If we want a "professional job" in the
             teaching field, we must then go an additional four  years to college!  Yes, four
             years Plus, ....... just to teach Kindergarden or 1st Grade!  If this is what is needed
             to be able to teach young children (which, by the way, we do ) should we be any
             different in our approach teaching both physical and mental skills?  I beleive not!
                Hence to be considered a true instructor, you need acutely developed skills in
             several facets of Kenpo.  Until you achieve them, you are not an instructor; you
             are an instructor trainee.  Let us examine some of those skills.

The Teacher
                  First, the "Trainee" must be a teacher- one who introduces material that has
             not been covered before. Knowing the correct amount to introduce (so as to not
             starve or overwhelm the student) is as important as the manner in which it is
             presented. To Quote Ed Parker, "What is truth for one may not be truth for
             another."   The material must be taught to the student at his or her level of
             competence in the Art and the teacher must be able to comprehend and
             communicate the general idea that underlies material. To be successful at  this,
             the trainee needs constant guidance and help from an instructor who understands
                exactly how to teach Kenpo. The trainee needs to know how much to teach and
             why particular information is to be taught at this way, at this time. Clearly, the
             trainee must know the gross movements of Delayed Sword, but must know a lot
             more besides.
The Coach

                  Second, the trainee must be able to coach. This means to enhance, refine,
             explain, and tailor material that has already been taught. Obviously, the coach
             follows the teacher in sequence, improving on the student's form, angles, and
             principles. Technical training points must be continually "coached" and watched
             for correctness and improvement. If the left-hand rib check disappears during the
             first move of Delayed Sword, the coach needs to reimpress the student with its
             function and importance. There are numerous ways of doing this; the coach needs
             to know them. Once the student recovers from the coaching tip, the coach goes
             back to observing and commenting.

The Trainer
                  Third, the trainee must be able to train-to drill and ingrain material that has
             already been taught and, usually, coached. Students improve when a trainer drills
             them on the material over and over, so as to etch the material permanently in the
             student's muscle memory. The importance of this should not be underestimated:
             extemporaneous response in the street usually cannot be any better than the con-
             ditioning the student has received in the movements. To Quote Mr. Parker:
             "Conditioning and guts (courage) take over where knowledge and skill end." It is
             a truism that you react in the street as you react in the studio, and that is precisely
             why the studio must inculcate good reactions. As for repetition, the trainer needs
             to keep in mind that "Practice makes permanent, not perfect." It profits the
             student not at all to repeat Delayed Sword meaninglessly or incorrectly, without
                timing or an appreciation of the angles and the use of weight. If this is done, the
             "benefit" of the practice becomes merely a disadvantage that subsequent drilling
             must eradicate. And it takes longer to un-train than it does to train. Improvement
             is the result of repeated practice with coaching and constant adjustment. Thus, a
             rainer needs a clever eye in conjunction with the other skills to achieve optimal
The Innovator
                  The last step to complete the process of becoming a "True Kenpo Instructor" is
             that the trainee must be able to create or innovate. As Mr. Parker said:  "The man
             who knows how will always be a student; the man who knows why will continue to
             be the instructor." We have been given an excellent Base System to work with, but
             we have to remember that Mr. Parker was a constant innovator; he always looked
             to improve the System of American Kenpo whenever he could. Remember all the
             alterations or improvements and adjustments over the past five decades. Always
             keep in mind: "Progress is possible; provided that knowledge is transferred, ass-
             uming that motivation is present and innovation takes place."  As with the other
             areas I have discussed, students have varying abilities to innovate-to use a solid
             understanding of numerous details to achieve a new solution. Opportunities for
             developing inherent skill at this occur much less frequently than opportunities to
             teach or to coach or to drill, but a trainee who spends enough time working with
             students will sooner or later be forced to innovate or fail. The key is to provide the
             trainee with enough experience;  this increases the probability that a situation
             requiring innovation will arise.
The True Kenpo Instructor
                  The study of Kenpo is a continual process. It is sometimes possible to bring
             trainees along sequentially: having them teach, coach, or train. Putting them in
             situations that force them to innovate is more difficult, but it can be done. Mon-
             itor your trainees for progress in the art of teaching as well as adherence to the
             facts of Kenpo. Often, situations will come up to make trainees become, for a
             moment, an innovator, extending their skills as teacher, coach, or trainer. These
             moments are crucial to trainees' development, and you have to make sure that
             the lesson is not lost, that they do not simply revert to what they were doing
             before without understanding the new level they have momentarily glimpsed. This
             is difficult to do, and almost impossible to do systematically or on a schedule. It
             requires careful observation, followed by explanation and support. But it can be
             done and it has to be if we are to create true Instructors to succeed us and to
             continue developing, not just merely teaching, the Art of Kenpo.  All of us need
             to take self inventory constantly, to see where we can improve ourselves in Kenpo.
             To quote an old phrase:   "Time will either promote you or expose you."

             Dennis Conatser AP
             Life Kenpo Student
                Copyright 1998
                All rights reserved.








Home      Back to Top      Kenpo Videos       IKKO Blog        About Us        Legal       Contact Us     Webmaster

Web design by Copyright 2009


Have questions or comments


 this site?
 Send them

to the:
Golden Dragon