Ed Parker's versus Geoff Johnson's American Kenpo



 
 
When creating Geoff Johnson's American Kenpo Karate, my goal was to stay as close to Ed Parker's system of Kenpo as possible, while improving the practicality of the art and addressing ground fighting.  You can visit the Belt Requirements link in the sidebar to see the material for each belt level in my Home Study Course.
 
 
Summary of Differences 
  • I have re-ordered the techniques in each belt level so that all of the defenses are grouped according to the type of attack (e.g.Grabs and pushes, holds and hugs, chokes and locks from the front, side, and behind; ground fighting; strikes, weapons, and multiple opponents).
     
     
  • I have removed and re-worked several techniques I felt were impractical.  I also created a few new techniques.
     
     
  • I incorporated some basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to address ground fighting, and created my own, more practical, defenses against knives and guns.
     
     
  • I removed all of the forms.  Although they are a wealth of knowledge, I prefer to train my muscle memory for instinctive responses to attacks I am likely to encounter.  The forms distract me from this goal.  Besides, many of the techniques in the forms were the ones I removed from the system for being impractical.
     
     
  • I have altered the ranking system slightly.  In my system there is only 1 degree of brown belt.  I did this so that the base techniques are completed by 1st degree black belt, and the extensions are studied in 2nd through 5th degree black belt.
     
 
 
 
Detail of Differences 
 
The differences between my system and EPAK may appear subtle based on what I have on youtube.  Much of the beginning material is the same.  You will notice that I have removed a few techniques throughout the system that I felt were not practical.  Those techniques certainly have merit in the study of category completion, but I wanted to focus on those techniques that are worth ingraining into muscle memory for instinctive self defense.  Below is a list of the techniques that I removed from EPAK when creating my own system.
 
 
Removed  
Orange
repeating mace
 
Purple
captured leaves
charging ram
calming the storm
gift in return
twin kimono
 
Blue
twist of fate
broken ram
circling the horizon
 
Green
brushing the storm
menacing twirl
circles of protection
circle of doom
capturing the storm
cross of death
 
3rd Brown
rotating destruction
glancing lance
dominating circles
destructive fans
thrusting lance
blinding sacrifice
snakes of wisdom
entwined lance
 
2nd brown
fatal cross
escape from the storm
circling windmills
reversing circles
circling the storm
unfolding the dark
unwinding pendulum
piercing lance
escape from darkness
prance of the tiger
defying the rod
twisted rod
 
  
These techniques do have value, but in the effort to focus on what is most practical, I felt it better to address ground fighting issues.  You should notice the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques in every belt level.  I also created several new techniques.
  
 
  
New 
Orange
thrusting knee
destructive wing
bridge and roll (bjj)
reach back (bjj)
scissor sweep (bjj)
 
Purple
capturing the branch
riding high (bjj)
cowboy to side mount (bjj)
establishing guard (bjj)
 
Blue
knee to elbow (bjj)
knee push (bjj)
key lock (bjj)
 
Green
the guillotine (bjj)
scissor sweep from side mount (bjj)
hook the head (bjj)
pushing to mount (bjj)
knee through the gap (bjj)
 
Brown Belt
spiraling lance
defying the lance
falling lance
spiraling rod
desperate rod
elevator sweep (bjj)
mayflower sweep (bjj)
get to knees (bjj)
 
1st Black
slashing lance
reversing lance
escaping the lance
bending the rod
entangled rod
folding the rod
entwined rod
escaping the rod
rnc escape (bjj)
key lock from side mount (bjj)
 
2nd Black
arm triangle from mount (bjj)
gift wrap from mount (bjj)
 
3rd Black
arm triangle from guard (bjj)
gift wrap from guard (bjj)
 
4th Black
back roll to foot lock (bjj)
 
5th Black
arm bar from guard (bjj)
arm bar from under side mount (bjj) 
 
 
  
I have also reworked several techniques throughout the system.  Most of the changes are very minor, but important (perhaps "preferences" would be more appropriate than "changes").  With these techniques I stayed as close to the original as possible, while improving their practicality. 
  
 
 
Reworked 
 
Yellow
grasp of death
captured twigs

Orange
crashing wings
  
Purple
snapping twig
twirling wings
crushing hammer
shield and mace
 
Blue
snaking talon
tripping arrow
securing the storm
flashing mace (major changes)
  
Green
conquering shield
heavenly ascent
intercepting the ram
glancing wing
retreating pendulum
 
Brown
falling falcon
glancing spear
unfurling crane
circling fans
leap of death (major changes)
raining lance (major changes)
capturing the rod
broken rod
grasping eagles
the bear and the ram
gathering of the snakes
 
1st Black
defensive cross (major changes)
bowing to buddha
twirling hammers
dance of darkness
entwined maces
destructive kneel
marriage of the rams
 
2nd Black
clutching feathers ext
gift of destruction ext
locking horns ext
obscure sword ext
grip of death ext
thrusting salute ext
shielding hammer ext
buckling branch ext
  
3rd Black
snapping twig ext
parting wings ext
darting mace ext
crushing hammer ext
sleeper ext
 
4th Black
begging hands ext
gift of destiny ext
bow of compulsion ext
wings of silk ext
repeated devastation ext
defying the storm ext
securing the storm ext
hugging pendulum ext
flashing wing ext
flashing mace ext
 
5th Black
conquering shield ext
encounter with danger ext
twirling sacrifice ext
escape from death ext
glancing wing ext
retreating pendulum ext
kneel of compulsion ext
circling destruction ext
clipping the storm ext
   
  
Everything else in Geoff Johnson's American Kenpo Karate remains unchanged from Ed Parker's system.
 
 
 
Unchanged
  
Yellow
delayed sword
alternating maces
mace of aggression
sword and hammer
sword of destruction
checking the storm
deflecting hammer
attacking mace
 
Orange
triggered salute
clutching feathers
lone kimono
glancing salute
crossing talon
gift of destruction
twisted twig
locking horns
obscure sword
grip of death
locked wing
scraping hoof
five swords
thrusting salute
shielding hammer
buckling branch
dance of death
reversing mace
obstructing the storm
  
Purple
parting wings
hooking wings
darting mace
striking serpent's head
thrusting prongs
obscure wing
cross of destruction
circling wing
flight to freedom
spiraling twig
squeezing the peach
swinging pendulum
thundering hammers
sleeper
leaping crane
shield and sword
evading the storm
 
Blue
thrusting wedge
destructive twins
raking mace
begging hands
gripping talon
gift of destiny
bow of compulsion
entangled wing
fallen cross
crossed twigs
wings of silk
repeated devastation
squatting sacrifice
defying the storm
hugging pendulum
gathering clouds
  
Green
encounter with danger
broken gift
obscure claws
leap from danger
twirling sacrifice
escape from death
detour from doom
returning storm
kneel of compulsion
back breaker
taming the mace
circling destruction
clipping the storm
 
Brown
deceptive panther
protecting fans
falcons of force
parting of the snakes
 
1st Black
desperate falcons
thrust into darkness
fatal deviation
courting the tiger
reprimanding the bears
the ram and the eagle
 
2nd Black
triggered salute ext
lone kimono ext
glancing salute ext
crossing talon ext
twisted twig ext
locked wing ext
scraping hoof ext
crashing wings ext
five swords ext
raining claw ext
dance of death ext
reversing mace ext
obstructing the storm ext
  
3rd Black
hooking wings ext
striking serpent's head ext
thrusting prongs ext
cross of destruction ext
circling wing ext
twirling wings ext
flight to freedom ext
spiraling twig ext
squeezing the peach ext
swinging pendulum ext
thundering hammers ext
leaping crane ext
shield and sword ext
shield and mace ext
evading the storm ext
 
4th Black
snaking talon ext
thrusting wedge ext
destructive twins ext
raking mace ext
gripping talon ext
entangled wing ext
tripping arrow ext
fallen cross ext
crossed twigs ext
squatting sacrifice ext
gathering clouds ext
 
5th Black
heavenly ascent ext
broken gift ext
intercepting the ram ext
obscure claws ext
leap from danger ext
detour from doom ext
returning storm ext
back breaker ext
taming the mace ext