In My American Chúan Fa/Kenpo System there is by design like most, defined footwork for various applications of offensive and defensive maneuvers. However, one of the things emphasized in our basic training is that all forms of footwork have distinctive predictable functional points of engagement to optimize their applications.
These points of engagement are numerical and allow the teacher to be specific in application with regard to the upper and lower platform synchronicity thus defining basics even more, relative to applications and the understandings thereof of the “how” in execution.
Much like my teacher, the late Ed Parker Sr. who created the concept of the “Clock Principle” to better help students and teachers alike to understand directional applications, I feel the American Chúan Fa Footwork Points of Engagement, will be just as revolutionary in the teaching, learning, and strict codification of the system to contribute to its longevity as a system itself.
By better defining what you do, and ensuring each generation learns the system properly, the system survives and insures generational access to the original information as taught to First Generation Practitioners. This is “old school training” where the student is given information and is expected to learn and execute as instructed.
Physical limitations are compensated for by high-level instructors who will make decisions on “tailoring” for individuals who need it, and those adjustments will remain philosophically within the parameters of the system mandates. However, these individual “adjustments” will not be allowed to become a part of the system even though it may be a part of a necessary interpretation for a particular individual.
Preservation of the system is the number one priority, followed by effective training applications for the students. If you take care of the first, it insures the second will be best served for the many. Contrary to the popular philosophy specifically created for commercial applications, “tailoring” does not belong in the hands of the novice nor is everyone’s body different. In medical school, they teach just the opposite, and anomalies in human physiology are rare so that philosophy, while valid from the perspective of allowing a commercial self-defense product to be “sale-able,” does not prolong longevity in a system or its students creating perishable skills.
While this lays a foundation from generation to generation, it does not mean there isn’t room for evolution but, in our system change flows from the top down as necessary, not from the inexperienced and unskilled who think they know best how to “tailor” for themselves. Although we are speaking of footwork here, this philosophy permeates every physical manifestation of the system. The Science of Human Movement forms the basis of “how” we do everything, while the philosophy of the art gives us the “what” and the “why” the science is executed.
However, back to the topic, explaining Points of Engagement. As an example, “drag-step” forward and reverse is a basic footwork taught to all students in the beginning. Nevertheless, footwork without context creates some very large holes for “Interpretive Applications This is discouraged in students who lack the ability to interpret properly and within physical and philosophical mandates of the system.
In “drag-step,” each physical movement is assigned a numerical designation. This allows the teacher to bring the movements of the upper body into sync with the lower body in the learning process. “Drag-step” has six (6) Points of Engagement whether moving forward or reverse. By being able to specifically pinpoint what the upper body and hands are doing with what the feet are doing, gives students what they really desire and need; a definitive way to execute they can practice over and over without variation, and thus arrive at potable physical skills. Then, much like a worker on an assembly line, they become highly skilled through proper and correct repetition.
Mr. Parker used to say, “Practice does not make perfect.” This is an old phrase with which he took issue. He would say; “Perfect practice makes perfect.” “But,” he continued, “Perfect practice makes perfect, but it also makes permanent.”
These are reps that actually count. Anything else has no longevity in the dynamics of human martial interactivity.