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American Kenpo

Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate

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American Kenpo and Children

  • May 25, 2010
  • by

My daughter, a few years back, thought it would be fun to try something new.  We were by a local playground and saw a karate studio that advertised a free 3 class trial with purchase of a uniform for only $19.95.

We thought that it would be good for her to try it and if she liked it, we would make a decision about whether or not to continue with classes.  She loved it and she did it an went on for 3 years to achieve the "little dragon" white / black belt, which is the highest rank for the 4 - 7 group of kids.

Things we found from her trying the karate class and continuing on for almost 3 years was improved social skills and self-respect.  When she was 4 she seemed pretty shy and would let kids run her over on the playground, push her away from a line and butt in front of her.

After a short while in karate, we found that she was standing up for herself somewhat.  She wasn't extremely loud about it, just stood tall and told kids cutting in front of her that she was in line first and they needed to move to the back of the line.  Before, she would cower, not know what to do, start appearing to sucking a thumb or index finger and run to mom or dad telling us what had happened.

With classes, we found her to become more able to speak in front of a group, empowered by being a leader in her class when selected to lead her group in activities.  The martial arts aspect of it wasn't so much about hitting and kicking, but rather giving self-esteem to the younger kids with the self-defense as a backdrop and we feel it did our daughter a terrific service.

Knowing that she could use some of her skills if needed to get away from someone trying to kidnap her or possibly hurt her has empowered her at school as well.  There are always bullies, but she is able to better help herself knowing to back away or things to say.  Karate is a very last resort, never used "just to show off" and she adheres to that very well.

I think it was one of the best things we could provide for our daughter.  She recently elected to get out of karate, as she was wanting to spend more time at home, playing and as she put it, she got her black belt and reached her goal.

Who knows, maybe in a few more years, she might be back to the school to work on more of the defense side, maybe not.  But, the experience she has had from being 4 to now 7 have given her a great base line to work with, strength to stand up for herself and the knowledge that she can do it, if she tries.  It's been great to be a "karate mom" watching from the sidelines, practicing the katas with her to help her master her moves.  I wouldn't change our experiences for the world.

If you have a martial arts facility in your area, it might be something to check out for your child, as I feel with the right instructors, your child really can blossom from the items they learn, the discipline and the positive encouragement.  (Mind you, if you have an instructor like the mean karate school instructor from Karate Kid the original movie, run like crazy...that's not the type of person you want to emulate!)

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May 25, 2010
Thanks for sharing this review. It seems your daughter got a wealth of benefit from this experience so I was wondering why you gave the topic only 2 stars?
May 25, 2010
Ugg....thanks for the catch...must have been a slip of the mouse. :)
More American Kenpo reviews
review by . May 18, 2010
   A local practice in an area where I live is the American Kenpo karate style as originated by Ed Parker.        I find that this style is not recognized in a lot of karate circles, nor am I able to find it being certified.      Should one continue on the cash cow of karate when it's not nationally recognized?      It's great exercise and it's good for self-defense, but, to what end?  Has anyone heard …
About the reviewer
Kim Johnson ()
Ranked #429
Ilike writing, when Ihave time, enjoy trying new things and I love sharing my opinions about products. My family is pretty active with an almost 7 year old just getting ready to test for her Black/White … more
About this sport


American Kenpo or Kenpo Karate is a system of martial arts created by Ed Parker, characterized by the use of quick moves in rapid-fire succession intended to overwhelm an opponent. It is largely marketed as a self-defense system, and is derived from traditional Japanese martial art and other martial arts such as Southern Chinese kung fu found in the cultural melting pot of Hawaii.

Parker introduced significant modifications in his art, including principles, theories, and concepts of motion as well as terminology, throughout his life. He left behind a large number of instructors who teach many different versions of American Kenpo as Ed Parker died before he named a successor to his art.

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