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I'm curious to see who jumps in on this one. Here goes my 2 cents (and that's about how much it's worth.)
1 and 2). Too many/not enough techniques: I'm not a big fan of teaching techniques that have little value as application but promote concepts, principles, and theories i.e. category completion. That's why I like AKKI techniques, most work right out of the box. I don't think we need more empty hand but I would like to finish off the knife and handgun techniques. I would also like to see Mr. Paul's take on long guns (I've had one shoved in my face) and two handed weapons, baseball bats, pool cues, crowbars, etc. If you have ever been involved in a gang fight or worked the door with a partner, the idea of choreography involving multiple bodies is ludicrous. I would like to see hit and move techniques in a mass attack environment.
3 and 4) Drills: Using my Kali/Arnis and BJJ background as a reference, I would like to see more partner drills. Universal Set and Centerline Set have changed my whole way of applying sets as a teaching tool. The FMA guys call it “aliveness” yet we are not locked into the pattern. When you incorporate movement and techniques into the sets, you begin to understand why Mr. Paul called it Universal Set.
5) Too many techniques per belt: Doesn’t matter to me. Unlike Combatives, Kenpo is a career martial art that requires one to be diligent in its study and practice. If you want to knock it down to fewer techniques, then call it Kenpo Lite. There is validity to the argument that more time should be spent on attribute training and drilling (go navy) and less on learning a myriad of techniques. Like it or not though, Kenpo is a MARTAL ART and as such, tends to offer much more than a punch to the nose or a kick to the nads.
6) Gun and Knife: See above. I like the separate curriculum approach. As to when it’s taught, it’s up to the instructor and his take on his students. I work with a lot of law enforcement so they get an intro. quickly. Mr. Paul has built so much weaponry into AKKI Kenpo that students are learning knife and club on their very first technique and form.
7) Sets: Do we need more? No, but I can’t wait to see the next set Mr. Paul develops.
8) Self Defense: Other than what I mentioned above, I’m very happy with what we have. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel all over the states and Europe. Any and everywhere I went, I visited Kenpo schools. In my experience, there was more bad kenpo out there than good kenpo. Most instructors seem to be happy in their own little worlds teaching people that don’t know any better. Even when they have access to quality instruction, they choose to say inside their comfort zone. I also saw phenomenal kenpo and came to realize that it wasn’t so much lineage that determined quality but the individual that decided to do it right. The AKKI has it’s own unique method of movement that while obviously AK is still a little different. I like the difference and some people don’t. Like I said, there is great kenpo out there and it’s not all AKKI. The foundation is there in ALL American Kenpo but bottom line, it’s still the individual that will make it work, or not.