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Principles of Kenpo

Selected Principles of Kenpo


as described by Ed Parker Sr.

The Below list of terms should not be interpreted as a complete list of Kenpo principles.


Many of these principles were selected because they’re representative of several similar terms. For example, Accumulated Force is similar to Confluence of Forces, Correlation of Forces, Harnessing the Force, Integration of Forces, and Intersecting Forces.  Other principles, like Contouring, represents many related principles, all of which should be studied individually.


A complete and thorough study of Mr. Parker’s Encyclopedia of Kenpo is highly recommended.

Economy of Motion:

Any movement that takes less time to execute, but still causes the effect intended.


Stabilize Your Base:

Where you strengthen your stance so that it is both firm and strong, with a stress placed on balance.


Back-Up Mass:

The use of body weight directly behind the action that is taking place.


Marriage of Gravity:

The uniting of mind, breath, and strength while simultaneously dropping your body weight along with the execution of your natural weapons.


Rotational Force/Torque:

Moves that use revolving action to contribute to their power.



The regulation of force to produce accuracy as well as regulate the degree of injury. The ability to curtail your opponent's actions, or guide and control your opponent.



Is the sophistication and punctuation of rhythm, which is a regular occurrence of movements that follow a natural flow.



To restrain, hinder, or prevent an opponent from taking action.



This concept involves using the outline of your, or your opponent's, body as a guide to accomplish certain feats.  The two major categories of Contouring are Body Contact & Non-Body Contact.


Outer Rim:

Confining defensive movements, never to overextend, nor over-commit.



There are three categories of speed - perceptual, mental, and physical.


Opposing Forces:

The directing of two moving forces so that when collisions occur the impact is greatly increased.


Borrowed Force:

Utilizing an opponent's force against him.  Accomplished by going with, or against his force.


Accumulated Force:

Diverse sources of power synchronized to produce an accumulative force.



Is the result of the entire body working as a unit at the very instant a target is struck.


Body Fusion:

A concept in which body parts are literally fused together in order to function as a single unit.



To weigh down the elbow or buttocks for better leverage, coverage, or control. 


Angles & Positioning:

A specific degree of approach followed when delivering a weapon to a target.  A specific viewpoint from which you or your opponent can be observed.



A term used to describe a method of Contouring where the body of your opponent is used as a fulcrum, and your limbs are used as a lever to enhance the effectiveness of your action.


Continuity of Motion:

The principle that no move passes from one position to another without being utilized effectively.  Continuity is a counterpart of Economy of Motion.


Defensive Offense:

Execution of a move which is both protective to you and simultaneously injurious to the opponent.


Contact Manipulation:

Control over your opponent, once contact is made. You may contour, leverage, takedown, restrain, twist, sprain, lock, dislocate, choke, etc. in order to increase the effectiveness of your action.


Anatomical Positioning:

The striking, forcing, or controlling of your opponent's vital targets, which will force your opponent into preconceived positions, and make the next target readily accessible for a follow-up.


Directional Harmony:

Having all of your action moving in the same direction when following a line, or path of action.


Pursuant Aggression:

Persistent and continued follow-ups while attacking.


Simultaneous Action:

Recurring, doing, or existing at the same time.



The blending of one technique, completed or not, into that of another. 

Hidden Moves Moves that remain concealed until you activate them within the sequential flow of a technique.


Equation Formula:

To any given base, whether it is a single move, or series of movements, you can:

Prefix  -  Suffix  -  Insert  -  Rearrange  -  Alter  -  Adjust  -  Regulate  -  Delete

Tailoring Adjusting your physical, mental and emotional attitudes to fit each situation.


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