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SL-Kenpo FAQ: Why is Martial Art Movement So Complicated?


Ron Chapél, Ph.D.

When dealing with the physics of human anatomy the relationship between the many parts of the body are “infinite” when it comes to movement. In my lessons this is what Mr. Parker meant and how he explained it to me, and why he chose the titles for his last series of books.

The human body has (in general) 206 bones, (more if younger, less if much older). They are all attached, (except one) through tissue of various viscosity densities, and therefore maintain various degrees of relationship fit or “tightness” to each other predicated on the body movement and posture. It is the bodies ability to vary this “tightness of fit or structural alignment,” that allows it to perform actions that are NOT always structural sound.

In other words, humans align and misalign themselves constantly to suit the purpose at hand, and to allow fluidity that is difficult to re-create in machines. It is also why humans have the capacity to injure themselves by doing things inefficiently, whereas a machine cannot and will only work within set parameters of their mechanical design. Humans can lift heavy objects with their back muscles, when they should be using their leg muscles as the primary muscle group. We have the ability to make conscious decisions as to “how” we perform learned movement.

So the relationship between the many parts is truly infinite, and therefore possesses an infinite amount of variables that may not be accounted for with some “universal or singular movement.” It is anatomically impossible.

However, there are some movements that by nature occur more frequently than others, and Mr. Parker described them using his unique language analogy as “vowel movements.” He continued, “Using the parts of speech as an analogy to physical movement is appropriate.”

He used a similar thought process with his “motion kenpo” vehicle when he spoke of “phonetic, printed, and cursive or scripted “motion” in general terms.

The sentence structure and parts of speech analogy is more labor intensive and requires a stricter understanding of biomechanical martial postures and movements, but nevertheless is still quite appropriate. So he, in essence, had on one level promoted an understanding of “motion,” and on another an in-depth understanding of “movement.” One is general, and the other specific.

The general view allows for “universal concepts,” while the other does not. That is why in “motion” terms, he might suggest, “throwing a punch to the ribs.” Than in “movement” terms he would define the physical “subject,” “predicate” actions, followed by the smaller verbs, nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections that make up the movement in its entirety.

The parts of the (movement) sentence are a set of terms for describing how people construct (movement) sentences from smaller (movement) pieces. The closest we come to a universal concept is some movements occur because of the similarity in action because of human limitations. These groups of muscle movements are called “Index Points” to the “Subject Movements.”

Like the parts of (movement) speech, however, the parts of the (movement) sentence form part of the basic vocabulary of (movement) grammar, and it is important that you learn and understand them if movement is to be sound as you also seek to be (biomechanical) grammatically correct. Unfortunately most do not speak or move correctly in many areas.

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