Frequently asked questions

Do I have to register my hands when I become a black belt?

No, that is an urban myth. Martial artists are not required to register their hands.

Do I have to be in good shape before I start?

No, you will get into shape as you train. We have a series of exercises that you will learn as you progress through the ranking system which will enable you to perform the self defense techniques. We also stretch at the beginning of each class to help you increase your flexibility.

I am 31 years old, am I too old to start martial arts?

No, you are not too old to begin martial arts training. Kenpo regularly has students start from adolecense through their 50's and older. Kenpo is a practical and effective martial art that does not incorporate gymnastics and any physical limitations can be easily accomodated. Since Kenpo values itself as a practical art, it is therefore essential that we be able to work with all abilities and limitations.

What is the difference between Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo? What about Karate? Kung Fu?

Tae Kwon Do (TKD) is a Korean martial art that focuses primarily on kicking techniques. Some TKD schools also teach Olympic style fighting. Kenpo is a practical self defense system which trains the student for modern day self defense encounters. Kenpo students are taught to use their hands and feet with multiple strikes to multiple targets on each attacker, in a multiple attack situation. Karate in present day America is generally used the same way we use the word "Kleenex" for tissues. It usually implies just any martial art. In the traditional use of the word though karate, literally meaning empty hand in Japanese, is used to mean Japanese martial arts. There are many different kinds of karate from Japan such as shotokan, judo, jujitsu, etc. Shotokan is what most traditionally think of when they hear the word karate, and is known for it's deep stances and very standarized and traditional forms. Judo is known for its throws and jujitsu traditionally known for ground work and locks. There are many different flavors of kenpo as well, the ISKA has a really good write up here, see FAQ #3: Another good read for explaining what differentiates kenpo and also comparing it to kung fu is this article:

I am very busy with my work schedule, how much time do I need to devote to kenpo classes?

Two 1 hour classes per week are recommended, as is practicing at home. As you progress through the ranks if you want more 1:1 attention we offer 30 minute private lessons which can further help hone your skills.

How long does it take to get a black belt?

In Kenpo Karate, it takes approximately 5 years to reach student black belt.

What sort of things should I consider when choosing a school?

My instructor Master Professor Bill Grossman has a great write up about choosing a martial arts school on his website here:

What do the words Kenpo Karate mean?

Karate (空手) literally means empty (空) hand (手), which is why many Japanese arts use this in their name. Kenpo (拳法) is usually translated to mean law (法) of the fist (拳) based on the meanings of the characters.


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