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White Tiger Kenpo

"The Peace of the Open Palm, Balanced by a Well Formed Fist."

Shihan Jim Rathbone copyrighted© 1993

Kenpo Terminology

Adjustment Step:
This is a step to either gain or loose distance between you and you’re attacker.

The process of where you can vary the weapon, target, or both.

To tell a story that will help you understand what you're doing IE when you’re going to hit something with your truck you don’t just use the bumper you use the whole truck.

Angle of Attack:
The angle at which your attack will provide the maximum results

That is where the person can have mobility and power when executing a technique through proper body alignment without having balancing at all times you can not be effective at all times. If hips and shoulders are not aligned then you have no balance

Using the hand or part of your body as a base to provide maximum results when applying a wrist lock

Simplified moves on mechanical level that are the foundation of the Martial Arts. They are usually divided into Blocks, Strikes, Kicks, and Stances.

Belt Ranking System:
A colored belt system used to grade the student based on their proficiency on the techniques that they have learned. A student is increased in rank after undergoing a performance test.

Belt Ranking Order:
The order of rank in the White Tiger System is as follows: Yellow, Orange, Purple, Blue, Green, 3rd Brown, 2nd Brown, 1st Brown, Black Belt.

Defensive maneuver used to hinder or check an opponent’s strike.

Bob & Weave:
Body maneuvers used to avoid and attack. When you “bob” you use Vertical movement. “Weave” is a horizontal side-to-side motion. Body Momentum: To use ones body weight to increase the force of your action. IE while shuffling forward or in reverse so that all forces are moving together.

Body Shaping:
It is when you set your opponent up for your next strike to get the maximum results form a technique.

A form of salutation that is used before starting a technique to practice with a fellow student or before you begin sparring. It is used as a sign of respect.

This is where you push your opponent back with a forearm to off balance or back him or her up.

By The Numbers:
Method used to teach students by giving each move a number.

Category of Techniques:
To put techniques into groups based on the attack, level of difficulty or danger.

The 6-8in of your body that you want to protect, Face, Throat, solar plexus groin

The position you bring your hand or leg into before striking or kicking during practice.

To restrain, or hinder an opponent from taking action by pressing or pinning an opponent so as to minimize his leverage and nullifies his/her action by robbing balance.

Check Position:
To have a hand up and on opponent to check an opponents arm or to have it ready to block.

Using the arms, hands or legs to prevent you opponent from breathing are receiving blood supply to the brain.

Chow, William:
Studied with Ed Parker under James Mitose, he is also the founder of Kara Ho Kenpo

Circular Fighter:
A person who fights using angles instead of only going forward and back

Circular Movements:
Moves that mainly use curves or loops; these can be used for either offensive or defensive action.

Circular Power:
Using the hip and the torque of the body to generate power

Clock Position:
Using the time zones on a clock to teach students angles of motion and of attack

Close Range Fighting:
Motions of defense and attack using elbows and knees

Continuation of Motion:
Not to stop a strike or block after you are done but following through with the action to strike or block again to build up speed and power

To have your attacker in a position where you are in charge and no longer threaten

To reverse what your attacker has done to you and you know become on the offensive

To position your body or hand in order to protect while performing a technique or while you are creating distance

Critical Distance Line:
The point at which you're opponents can become effective against you

Undetectable forward movement or moving into your opponent’s critical distance line with them being aware of your actions

Crescent Step:
To move your leg in a half circle motion to get behind your opponent

Cross Step:
Take either leg and step in front of other leg, this is used to either to loose or our gain distance

Dan Rank:
The rank of Black Belt or higher is considered Dan rank

Deceptive Speed:
It is your opponent thinks your fast but really you are just sneaky about getting in when we move to the side or back. Learning to initiate so opponent is unaware you have moved.

Protecting ones self from an attack

This refers to the position were an attack is coming from or the new position you are going to move to.

Downward Block:
You will start from your ear and block down towards the opposite knee

Japanese term for schools were you practice the Martial Arts

Drop Of Body Weight:
To drop body weight as you use a downward strike

The rules and formalities of a school or Dojo

Exaggeration of Motion:
To over do a motion when practicing so when you do need the technique it will be there

Explosive Speed:
To initiate as fast as possible to jump the gone on your attacker

This movement is an attempt to decoy they opponent to adjust his defense, so that you may take advantage of an opening

A way of practicing techniques so as not to hurting yourself

Fighting Stance:
A stance so that you may use all four weapons and have mobility & equal reach with both hands

Finishing Moves:
A move that you do or put on an attacker to end the fight

Fist Law China hand:
The English translation of Chuan Fa Tong Sho also known as Kenpo

To go from one move to the next with no jerking action or stopping in mid flow.

After you finish a technique you add some other move to it to complete the technique or end it.

This is a short story of motion that is both offensive and defensive maneuvers that is incorporated into a dance for the propose of learning transitional moves; flow as you move from one technique into the next.

Free Style:
Term used by martial artist meaning to spar with one or more opponents using spontaneous action.

Full Contact:
Is a method of sparring where making contact is an accepted rule

Gag Reflex:
By pushing on below the larynx the person reacts suddenly by gagging and moving their head back.

Refers to a handshake as used in techniques.

Is a form of fighting that involves wrestling chokes and locks, close quarter fighting.

Hand Form:
The position of your hand and the way it looks is very important when fighting and when doing kata.

Hand Shaping:
To set your hands up for your next strike or block so that you get the maximum speed, power and most of all timing.

Hard Bow:
Is used for linear strikes by throwing the weight forward and locking out the back knee.

Heel Toe Relationship:
This term is referring to the way the feet should be positioned when in a proper fighting stance.

Is a strike that boxers use it travels on the down side of a circle

Is where contact to a block or strike is made on the down side of a circle or return of the circle in which your weapon travels.

Horizontal Strike:
A strike that runs across the body, IE striking to the rib cage

Horse Stance:
This is a training stance used to practice blocks and punches.

Hot Plate Method:
An analogy used when you need step in & out as quickly as possible, image the area you are stepping into is a hot plate you get in and get out

Independent Motion:
Is where you move your weapon first, and your body second. Bruce Lees says, “Like a cobra, your strike should be felt before it is seen

Initiation moves:
This is the first move you do and is designed to set you up for future moves

The inside of the body or something moving towards your centerline

Instructor Rank:
This rank is giving to individuals who are qualified to teach from the board of White Tiger Kenpo Jujits. This is a privileged rank and can be revoked.

Introductory Course:
This is a four-lessons or classes that give new students a chance to see how we teach and how the system works.

Inward Block:
A block that moves in towards the centerline to block a strike

This term means to crowd a kick or punch by not giving it the room to be effective  

Joint manipulation:
To turn a joint to a certain angle to get your attacker to move or fall where you would like.

A generic term used to describe the Martial Arts it means empty Hand.

A Japanese term, that means combining several techniques or moves into a pattern also known as a form.

Is a modern term used to describe our style it means, “fist law” and is part of the Mitose lineage

Kyu Rank:
Is a term used for ranks below Black, it is the way the Japanese count IE. 3rd Brown is Sankyu 2nd brown is Nikyu and 1st Brown is Ikkyu.

Japanese term, which means to fight

Leading Center:
A motion that gives your initial move away when fighting, your attacker will see this and be able to counter your attack IE. Stop moving rights before you throw a kick or punch

Lead Hand:
The hand that is in front when you are facing your attacker in a fighting stance

Lead Leg:
The leg that is in front when you are facing your attacker in a fighting stance

Linear Movements:
An attack or defense that moves forward or back

Linear Power:
The power that is developed when using a linear action such as a hard bow

Line of Attack:
The path that your attacker follows during the attack, the attack can come from anywhere in the clock position.

Light Contact:
This is when you are fighting or practicing your techniques you make contact with your partner so that he/she knows they have been hit but not hurt

Moves that lock up joints or other parts of the body so that you may control and restrain them from taking any further action as well as to manipulate the body so you can move them where you want so that you are at a better advantage.

Long Range:
This is a term used to show at what distance you are fighting; this range is made up of kicks or weapons.

Miles Per Hour or how fast can you get from point A to Point B

Martial Arts:
A term used to describe a self-defense system, most of that are Chinese origin

Martial Artist:
A person who studies the Martial Arts

Mechanical Stage:
This is a stage of learning where students as memorized motion but does not really understand the concept behind them and movement is not spontaneous.

Method of Execution:
The manner in which a move is executed for maximum results

Middle Range:
The range of a fight were hand strikes are used and a few kicks off the lead leg

Mitose, James:
Founder of modern Kenpo karate and the instructor of William Chow, who in turn taught Ed Parker

Neutral Stance:
To stand upright feet together in a relaxed manner

Offensive motion:
To attack someone after you have blocked an attack or to make the first move in a threatening situation

Off Balance:
To not have power when blocking or striking, as well as not having mobility caused by a poor stance or position.

Moving away from the centerline of the body to flank your opponent

Parker, Edmund K:
The father of American Kenpo, he brought Kenpo for the first time in the mid fifties there was a commercial karate school in southern California.

Parry Block:
To use an open palm while blocking to the inside or outside of a strike in cross body motion

Patting Out:
To slap ones leg or opponent’s leg when you feel pressure or pain while in a lock or choke

Pattern Recognition:
To recognize a motion or set of motions before they are fully executed

It is the extension of power beyond the selected target to insure the desire force and to compensate for distance, if your attacker was water your strike should go at least six inches into the body for maximum results.

Peripheral Vision:
This is the ability to see 180deg to the side from your centerline.

To turn on the ball of your foot or use move your hips to set up for a circular strike.

Physiological Stage:
The stage of learning at which everything is spontaneous & initiation becomes deceptive.

Point of Contact:
The point at which a strike would hit you

Point of No Return:
The point in your motion in which you cannot change it but must commit to it

Is the culmination of several principles: the sum total of which maximizes the expenditure of energy. It magnification of force aided by concentrated focus

Practical Kenpo:
The use of logical moves in the Kenpo System that is realistic and not fancy or impractical moves

A person who learns or teaches the Martial Arts

Pre-Set movement:
Movements that are methodically thought out prior to their application which usually work as they were conceived

Pressure Point:
A point on the body where if you apply pressure the attacker will feel pain

Pre Positioning:
To place you’re self in an attack situation so it is safer and easier to block, slip or strike.

Push & Pull:
To push or pull your attacker while doing a technique to keep them off balance

The level at which a student has achieved based on proficiency of the techniques

The distance between you and your opponent

To return your kick or strike back into a chamber position

This is when you back kick a leg out from someone

Reverse Punch:
A punch that comes off the backhand while you are in a fighting stance

A way to get out of locks and take throws without getting hurt

A Japanese term meaning to fight with multiple opponents

A series of moves or gestures you do before class or a tournament as a sign of respect, you also do them before and at the end of Katas.

To shift the body, forward or back to close the distance

Side step:
To move to the left or right forward or back of a strike

To use the knife-edge of your foot or hand to use a slicing action through your target or skimming the surface

Soft Bow:
A stance used for circular action, drop of body weight or downward strike

Space Kills:
A term used when grappling, the more space between you an the attacker the more chance of injuries and loosing control

Spatial Summation:
This means by hitting more the one spot you increase the pain level, which makes it harder to ignore

A term meaning the position your feet will be in when doing a certain move

Step Drag:
This is you step with one foot and let the other one drag behind

Step Through:
To take your back leg and step forward as your throwing a kick, punch, or strike

A thrusting action used to strike a target near or on the ground with the foot.

Where you hit anybody with any part of the hand except the front knuckles

An American term, meaning a place where martial artist goes to practice

To take an opponents leg out from underneath them with your foot

Take Down:
To take your attacker off there feet and onto the ground

Target Areas:
Vital areas on you or your attacker that can cause series if not permanent damage when struck

These are mock up situations for attacks with one or several motions involved to defends one self

A term used to mean that your attacker through body motion, facial expression, is letting you know what he/she is going to do before he/she executes it

A motion or a action done right before you execute a technique that will warn your attacker that you are about to attack or defend

To take an attacker off there feet and into the air before the land on the ground

A term that means to use a body limb to act as a track for another motion to insure accuracy when setting up you're next move

Moves within moves or between moves

Transitory Stance:
A stance that was not meant for you to fight from, IE hard bow, cat stance

Any action that is designed to catch a neutral weapon to prevent it from escaping

Triangulation Point:
The point at which your opponent becomes off balance

Two Touch Block:
A block were you use more then on initial block but you follow up with either another block or a parry

Unintentional moves:
Accidental moves by you or your attacker, when unchecked or not anticipated can defeat your purpose

Universal Block:
A block the covers the entire centerline of the body it is usually used against kicks, it also means that a block can be used for a left or right punch with changing your block

Vital Areas:
Major weak points of the body

Weight Distribution:
The positioning of the weight while in a stance

What If Phrase:
A process of dissecting a technique by adding other variables into it expected as well as unexpected actions from your attack

A Japanese term meaning doll, the term in the Martial Arts mean to person you are demonstrating a technique on.



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