The Kenpo Continuum is a collection of stories about Kenpoists from around the globe. This is a sample story of Amy Long, with information on how to submit YOUR story for volume two of The Kenpo Continuum. If you are a Kenpo Black Belt with at least ten years of training time on the mat, you qualify.
Several years ago, I released the first volume of "The Kenpo Continuum'. The book is a collection of stories about kenpoists who have devoted their lives, or at least spent a whole lot of years, improving their Kenpo karate. I'm currently in the process of putting together volume 2 of the book and am seeking submissions. To qualify, you must be a black belt in http://www.kenpocontinuum.com Kenpo Karate and have at least ten yrs. of time on the mat. Your lineage isn't important, as far as qualifying, because I am looking for people from all different lineages. This isn't about horn-tooting or showing off, it's about remembering our Kenpo roots and keeping track of where the many branches have gone.
My Kenpo karate tale started in 1979, when I was 11 years old. My good friend at the time, Roben, was taking a kenpo class and because I My idea worked; we were close buddies for many years.) I had no knowledge about the style, but was blessed to end up in an American Kenpo school, which was held at the Belmont, CA YMCA. My first teacher was Vinton Koklich. I trained at that school for a little over 4 years until my family moved to Sacramento. The class was once per week and since I never practiced, I left there a purple belt with one stripe. But -- I was hooked.
I took time off from kenpo to become adjusted to the move, but after a year or so, I began looking for a Kenpo school. I did a short trial at a few schools till I found one I liked. One day, when I was stretching before class, I noticed a black belt on the floor stretching, who I hadn't met before. I smiled and said hello and told him my name, after which I proceeded with my stretching, then katas.
He watched me intently for a bit, left the workout room, came back in, picked up my technique list, then instructed me to follow him. He brought me into one of the private curtained sections, and said, "I'm your instructor now." Uh, okay. His name was Ray Arquilla.
I developed my fascination for Kenpo from Vinton, but I think I formed my passion for Kenpo because of Ray. He cleaned up my basics and showed me how to train. And BOY, did we ever train! I was 17, so the three hr. twice-weekly training sessions had been easier to handle then. We did some over the top workouts. One particular one that I remember specifically was the 5in the morning, crack-of-dawn, dead of winter, up-in-the-hills, on a Sunday workout, nearby the river. For the grand finale of the killer workout, he announced, "I want you all to do what I do -- no hesitation." YES SIR! Then, he took off down the hill, through the brush and dived headfirst into the freezing cold river! I was clearly a little whacked in the head then too because I took the dive. (GOD, I DESPISE cold water!) The other student helping us on the other side said that my head poked up so high from the river that I looked like a turtle.
One of the best things about attending Bob Lyle's dojo was that I was able to participate in a seminar taught by, as well as being an uke for, Mr. Ed Parker Sr., the year before he died. I later made the move to Marin County, where I found Marin Kenpo, becoming a student of Richard LaFave. I was forced to leave before he passed because I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease (Lymphoma). I was deathly ill for about eighteen months, with an additional year or 2 for overall recovery. I checked out a couple of different Kenpo schools during my healing, but none proved good for me.
Eventually, I came across Darryl Liner's school, at which I trained for about one and a half years, leaving when I found a bun in my oven. One child became 2 and before I knew it, it had been six yrs. since I had been without my art.
I returned to Liner's school, from which I eventually was awarded my black belt. The quest for black belt only took two and a half decades (total). I felt entirely prepared had been training solidly for that test, but, as life would have it, my 220lb. instructor fell heavily on my knee sideways during one of the first few techniques for the test. I hobbled through the rest of the test (as well as the next half a year). Not the kick-butt impression I dreamed of making!
The hardest thing for me about being at Darryl's school was that I didn't have anyone to workout. I did a whole lot of Air Kenpo. Through the forum, KenpoTalk, I met Tara Turnbull. Darryl's school was smack dab in between, so I asked her to join me for a workout as well as help teach my class.
As it happened, she is a very capable Kenpoist as well. We rapidly formed a bond and shortly after my second degree black test, decided to break away and open our own school. Sacramento Kenpo Karate was born.
I was with no instructor for, but once having gone to quite a few camps and seminars, I found a whole group of people who offered me help. The Majority of my instructors have been of the Tatum lineage and Tara's has been in the Planas lineage, so we have a great deal to draw from. Our dojo (and me personally) were very fortunate to have had Ron Nakamoto join us in 2008. He is currently a 4th degree black belt in American Kenpo and has not only enhanced the quality of our dojo, but of my personal life as well.
At SKK, we have made use of many different dvds, including Larry Tatum's and Mike Lambert's,and I have found Lee Wedlake to be a fountain of generous knowledge. For the last several years, Dr. Dave Crouch has been my instructor (and very good friend) and I have found our kenpo philosophies to be most similar. I can sincerely say I've developed more as a kenpoist from him, in my relatively-small amount of mat time, than I had learned in the many years at my previous dojo. He teaches kenpo in a conceptual way, which I can apply to every technique in the system. As Dr. Dave says, Kenpo is HOW you move, not the moves themselves. He is one of the very best kenpoists I have ever had the good fortune to be working with. In Sept. of 2011, Dr. Crouch honored me by promoting me to third degree black belt.
Our website is the http://sacramentokenpokarate.com Sacramento Kenpo Karate. If you you are a Kenpoist, then you are family. Stop by anytime be part of a class. We would appreciate to have you.