When we talk about Kenpo Technique Structure you will have no doubt heard your instructor refer to, “the base technique”. This is a reference to a Kenpo technique structure learning point of origin where specific principles & concepts are contained. A technique is merely a collection of basic moves acting together as a vehicle allowing students the experience of manifesting those principles & concepts physically.
The “base” or “fixed” technique is taught or created in the IDEAL PHASE (or PHASE 1). In this phase a combat situation is analyzed using the 3 points of view. Everything in this phase works as it is designed to; your opponent attacks at a given pace with a given weapon to a given target. You move in a given manner at a given time to a given angle, and so it carries on. Everything happening in a prearranged method of execution, from your blocks and counter strikes to your opponent’s attack and subsequent reactions. This is so the student may physically learn the lessons a Kenpo technique structure contains or create a technique of their own to provide a physical experience of the answers they seek.
When we begin this process of analysing a combat scenario we also begin the 1st stage of THE 3 STAGES OF LEARNING.
The WHAT IF? PHASE (or PHASE 2) is just what it says, “what if” something unexpected happened? In this phase you ask yourself questions of a nature that will alter the base technique. In phase 2 again with the aid of THE 3 POINTS OF VIEW, we find situation that could have critical consequences should they occur in reality, your experience here and in PHASE 3 with many different variables will equip you for the unpredictability of combat.
When we find a scenario that could possibly leave us open to a secondary attack or an involuntary reaction we take it into PHASE 3, THE FORMULATION PHASE.
working within THE FORMULATION PHASE (PHASE 3) we FORMULATE a possible solution to the “what if?” by employing the EQUATION FORMULA. (This is also called “THE FIGHTING EQUATION”)
Through the use of the EQUATION FORMULA in PHASE 3 a student can find answers to scenarios of unexpected attack angles, unpredictable reactions or unusual environmental influences. The objective being one of practicing the scenarios thereby giving the student a practical working knowledge and experience of the unexpected.
As you find each answer to each scenario you once again enter the 1st STAGE OF LEARNING, then subsequently progress through the 2nd and into the 3rd stage. The difference you will find is because of the diligent work you put in at PHASE 1 you will be spending less time in learning stages 1 & 2 before entering learning stage 3. This is the same for everyone, White belt to Black belt, when we learn something new we all start a stage 1. (I like to personally call it the “FORMULATION EQUATION” owing to its use in the FORMULATION PHASE)
When in a combat situation you cannot rely upon any of your techniques, IDEAL or WHAT IF to work exactly as you have trained them. These are just examples of what could, but not necessarily will happen. In combat you inhabit the FORMULATION stage completely and constantly, re assessing your environment, the ebb and flow of the conflict. You have to think on your feet and react instantly to the stimuli presented to your senses. This is where your work on Kenpo technique structure will pay off by providing you with a multitude of survival options. Sadly we CANNOT predict any specific outcome favourable or detrimental, it is purely how you personally interact with the stimuli presented at that moment in time, and feel your way through rather than try to think it out.