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The History and Purpose of the Star Block Set

By

Ron Chapel, Ph.D.

(First posted on the KenpoTalk forum)

The “Star Block” was a variation on a Five Animal Blocking Routine, and was the beginning of all sets. The original Finger Set followed it almost immediately. Ark Wong was a major influence on Parker and is also the root of his understanding of structural integrity, internal energy, and nerve applications that I use.

In all honesty although I studied with Ark Wong for several years, it was not until I actually met Ed Parker did he begin to explain what I had learned in a manner that I could really understand. I came to him with a great deal of information, but not truly understanding the applications because it was out of context until he began to enlighten me.

The Chinese martial arts community was a “closed shop,” with real information not generally taught to outsiders, and for the most part still is. They liked and embraced Ed Parker and even expressed their feelings of how much they liked him to his son after he passed.

Parker never really left “Chinese Kenpo,” but he Americanized it for his own consumption and personal art, and than he created a commercial version for the vast majority of his students from the last couple of years or so of the sixties and seventies on.

Unfortunately, the complexities of the Chinese Sciences are not easily taught, nor were they intended to be, in general, available to most. That hasn’t changed. The level of knowledge required to teach is extradordinary. Although some put the label of commercialization of Kenpo at the feet of Ed Parker, it was actually the Tracy’s who started first and at least initially arguably were much more success because of the astute business acumen of Al Tracy.

As you can see below, this was how Star Block was presented in the original manuals of Mr. Parker, which doesn’t tell you much. All of his technical writing were done this way in “outline” form, to give a general idea of what was to be done. But the real knowledge had to come out of Mr. Parker’s head, unless you studied with Ark Wong, and even if you did the info came with little explanation not only because of the tradition of teaching, but elements of a language barrier as well.

As example, the Star Block, which later became known as Blocking Set 1, not only contained the basic blocks but secrets of alignment and block relationships, as well as the built-in models of extrication for limb seizes and indexing. But, none of that information was ever committed to codification by Mr. Parker. What is below is pulled directly from the yellow Belt Manual.

Followed by the Finger Set, which too had nothing to do with using the fingers as weapons, but was originally an “Index” set taught by Ark Wong. I use the word “index” where Sifu Wong and Mr. Parker spoke of “position” and “posture.”

Anything else sir?

BLOCKING SET 1

(STAR BLOCK)

(BOTH SIDES)

a. Contains:

 

Sequence of blocks that are as follows: (up, in, extended outward, down, re-cock, pushdown)

1. Right upward block for a left overhead club attack or chop.

2. Right inward block for a right punch to the body.

3. Right extended outward block for a left punch to the face.

4. Right outside downward block for a left kick to the groin.

5. Right hand re-cocks (a right back elbow block) to your right hip for a left roundhouse kick to your right kidney.

6. Right push-down block for a right knee kick to the groin.

 

b. Teaches:

 

1. Five (5) major blocks in addition to one (1) hidden block.

2. Sequence of blocks that promote Continuity of Motion and preserve Economy of Motion.

3. Correct manner in which to use your major blocks.

4. Blocks that protect all three (3) “Zones of Protection”.

5. The execution of these major blocks while in a stationary position.

6. Maximum cover of head and upper body areas.

NOTE: REPEAT THE SAME SEQUENCE ON THE LEFT SIDE. on the KenpoTalk forum)
The “Star Block” was a variation on a Five Animal Blocking Routine, and was the beginning of all sets. The original Finger Set followed it almost immediately. Ark Wong was a major influence on Parker and is also the root of his understanding of structural integrity, internal energy, and nerve applications that I use.

In all honesty although I studied with Ark Wong for several years, it was not until I actually met Ed Parker did he begin to explain what I had learned in a manner that I could really understand. I came to him with a great deal of information, but not truly understanding the applications because it was out of context until he began to enlighten me.

The Chinese martial arts community was a “closed shop,” with real information not generally taught to outsiders, and for the most part still is. They liked and embraced Ed Parker and even expressed their feelings of how much they liked him to his son after he passed.

Parker never really left “Chinese Kenpo,” but he Americanized it for his own consumption and personal art, and than he created a commercial version for the vast majority of his students from the last couple of years or so of the sixties and seventies on.

Unfortunately, the complexities of the Chinese Sciences are not easily taught, nor were they intended to be, in general, available to most. That hasn’t changed. The level of knowledge required to teach is extradordinary. Although some put the label of commercialization of Kenpo at the feet of Ed Parker, it was actually the Tracy’s who started first and at least initially arguably were much more success because of the astute business acumen of Al Tracy.

As you can see below, this was how Star Block was presented in the original manuals of Mr. Parker, which doesn’t tell you much. All of his technical writing were done this way in “outline” form, to give a general idea of what was to be done. But the real knowledge had to come out of Mr. Parker’s head, unless you studied with Ark Wong, and even if you did the info came with little explanation not only because of the tradition of teaching, but elements of a language barrier as well.

As example, the Star Block, which later became known as Blocking Set 1, not only contained the basic blocks but secrets of alignment and block relationships, as well as the built-in models of extrication for limb seizes and indexing. But, none of that information was ever committed to codification by Mr. Parker. What is below is pulled directly from the yellow Belt Manual.

Followed by the Finger Set, which too had nothing to do with using the fingers as weapons, but was originally an “Index” set taught by Ark Wong. I use the word “index” where Sifu Wong and Mr. Parker spoke of “position” and “posture.”

Anything else sir?

BLOCKING SET 1

(STAR BLOCK)

(BOTH SIDES)

a. Contains:

Sequence of blocks that are as follows: (up, in, extended outward, down, re-cock, pushdown)

1. Right upward block for a left overhead club attack or chop.

2. Right inward block for a right punch to the body.

3. Right extended outward block for a left punch to the face.

4. Right outside downward block for a left kick to the groin.

5. Right hand re-cocks (a right back elbow block) to your right hip for a left roundhouse kick to your right kidney.

6. Right push-down block for a right knee kick to the groin.
b. Teaches:

1. Five (5) major blocks in addition to one (1) hidden block.

2. Sequence of blocks that promote Continuity of Motion and preserve Economy of Motion.

3. Correct manner in which to use your major blocks.

4. Blocks that protect all three (3) “Zones of Protection”.

5. The execution of these major blocks while in a stationary position.

6. Maximum cover of head and upper body areas.

NOTE: REPEAT THE SAME SEQUENCE ON THE LEFT SIDE.


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