Glossary of Terms A-D


– A –

Accumulated Force – The amassing of diverse sources of power which, when properly synchronized, produce an accumulative solitary force of proportional effectiveness.

Accumulative Journal – An extensive notebook comprised of information on history, basics, descriptions of self defence techniques as well as forms, terminology, anatomy, pledges, etc.

Action –  Every action committed has a negative or positive reaction!

Active Chi – The total unification of MIND, BODY and SPIRIT working in synchronized harmony.

Add – The adjoining of a weapon or move immediately after the BASE move.

Adjust –  A part of a formulation equation that allows you to alter a move, or moves to allow motion to flow sequentially..

Aikido – Translated as ‘the Way of Harmonious Spirit’, Aikido is a Japanese form of self defense and martial art that uses locks, holds, throws, reaps, and the opponents own movements.

Alphabet of Motion – Each move learned in Kenpo, whether used defensively, offensively, or to serve both purposes, is viewed as part of the alphabet of motion.

Alter – Part of the formulation process where you can vary the weapon, target, or both.

Alternating Zones – General rule is to strike different zones, or alternate zones to get `rocking’ effect. Glancing Salute is a good example.

Anatomical Positioning – Calculated striking of vital targets to force an opponent into preconceived postural positions that will make the next target of your choice readily accessible for a successful follow-up.

Anatomical Week Points – Essential body parts which can be rendered helpless or have a fatal effect when struck.

Anatomy – The study of the human body structure, which aids in determining the vital striking areas on an opponent, as well as determining those body parts which could be readily used as natural weapons or defences.

Anchor – Generally refers to the weighting down of the arm or buttocks. For example, the elbow is firmly fixed at a much lower level than the fist when executing the right inward block. This principle, when applied, gives greater force and allows a greater margin of error. In short, it gives one greater protection.

And – A word in our Kenpo vocabulary that is eliminated by the more adept. It involves time and therefore is contradictory to economy of motion, a principle well worth following.

Angle of Deflection – On high block keep arm bent at a 45 degree angle above our head to get Angle of deflection to keep strike from pounding on our arm or hitting us.

Angle of Delivery – the positioning of one’s natural weapons that makes the execution of same accurate and effective.

Angle of Departure – the most desired angle of deviation when fading or covering out and away from an opponent.

Angle of Disturbance – That angle which, when a move is executed, does not necessarily injure, but rather upsets an opponent’s balance by redirecting or altering his angle of entry.

Angle of Execution – Any angle which, when an attack is executed, produces maximum results.

Angle of Incidence – Refers to your weapon making contact with your target on a perpendicular angle (right angle to each other) that will render the greatest effect.

Angle of No Return – Refers to the position and angle of the upper body and hips while delivering a front kick or forward motion, making it awkward, difficult, and illogical to attempt to return to your starting position. Because of the awkwardness and the time needed to return to your original position, exposure of your vital areas would work in your opponent’s favour–not to mention your inability to render an immediate counter.

Angles of Attack – The 8 directions from which you or an opponent can attack.

Angles of Travel – Entails a more precise and acute viewpoint of direction. They describe direction as degrees of measurement. Angles of travel employ the “compass principle” where a student is made to visualize specific degrees on the compass to view motions of attack and defence.


– B –

Back Up Mass – When striking, the back up mass is the bodies’ mass moving in line with and increasing velocity of the part of the body that makes first contact.

Ba Gua – In Ba Gua, movements are focused on a circle pattern and the defense of eight points around that cicle. It is the balance of yin yang. [also Pa Kua]

Balance – Two triangles, head and chest. If they point in different directions, balance is off.

Basics – Simplified moves that comprise the fundamentals of Kenpo. They are divided into stances, manoeuvres, blocks, strikes, parries, kicks, punches, etc.

Belt Ranking System – A colored belt system used to grade the students’ ability and proficiency. This judgment is determined after a student undergoes a performance test.

Black Dot Focus – Our Kenpo concept of focus. We visualize a black dot on a white background representing total awareness. Our concern is not only to maximize power, but protection as well (compare to White Dot Focus).

Block – A defensive manoeuvre used to check or hinder an attack.

Bob and Weave – Body manoeuvres used to avoid an attack. A “bob” involves a vertical movement of the body. A “weave” is a horizontal side to side movement of the body.

Body Alignment – This involves the placing of angles into perspective. It is the coordination of body parts in order to harmonize the angles at which they travel. All parts of the body are aligned to travel in one direction. This principle, when followed, automatically triggers the principle of back-up-mass where body weight enhances your action.

Body Fusion – A concept in which body parts move as a unit prior to relaying action to other parts of the body. These body parts are literally fused together in order to function as a single unit. Body fusion can occur any time during the course of a sequential flow of action.

Body Momentum – The utilization of body weight to increase the force of your action. It involves the coordination of mind, breath, strength, and body weight while shuffling forward or in reverse so that all forces are moving in unison.

Borrowed Force – An opponent’s force which is used to defeat him. This can be accomplished by going with the opponent’s force or, upon occasion, going against his force. The concept allows your opponent’s force to enhance the effectiveness of your action.

Borrowed Reach – You can have Borrowed Reach without Borrowed Force, but not the other way around. Use Borrowed Reach to get Borrowed Force. A kick to the groin, gives you Borrowed Reach (bends attacker over and gets them closer to us) but we don’t get Borrowed Force until you follow the kick with a strike.

Bracing Angle – The positioning of the body to strengthen and support the execution of a defensive or offensive move in anticipation of impact upon contact.

Branch – Refers to the leg as used in a technique.

Broadsword – A heavy wide sword primarily for ‘hacking’. Shaolin Kempo uses the Chinese single edged broadsword.

Buckle – Methods used to force the opponents leg to bend in or out, forward or back. Its use can unbalance, twist, sprain or even break an opponent’s leg.

Bushido – A code of honour, courage, loyalty, and morals, meaning the ‘Way of the Warrior’.

By-The-Numbers – Methods used to teach beginners the basics. Each step is given a number. This is similar in principle to using phonics.


– C –

Capoeira – An excellent Brazilian method of self-defence. Experts of Capoeira resemble graceful dancers. They employ cartwheels, handsprings, ground techniques, and takedowns to effectively subdue their opponents.

Catches – Involve the use of either the hand or the armpits in stopping or delaying the continuous action of a Conchaku for purposes of quickly changing hands and/or directions.

Catching – A method of stopping and detaining an opponent’s strike or block.

Category Completion – Techniques can be grouped according to levels of difficulty or danger. For each of these groups, a single technique can be run. For example; Lone Kimono, Raking Mace, Twin Kimono, Mace of Aggression and Cross of Death deal with grabs – single, double, push, pull, and choke. They are essentially the same technique, altered to account for distance and position.

Chakra – Described as the centre of life force or vital energy (Chi) running through the body. Can be charted for vital points in the physical body, ie. major arteries, veins, and nerves.

Charting – How to describe and track any meridian lines and chakras down the body. Can be used for skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems as well.

Check – To restrain, hinder, or repress an opponent from taking action. This is accomplished by pressing, pinning, or hugging an opponent usually at the joints so that it minimizes his leverage and nullifies his actions.

Chi – A Chinese term used to describe the powers that can be generated when the mind and body are totally unified. It involves total complete synchronization of mind, breath, and strength to achieve maximum force. It is that extra inner force created by the precise synchronization of the conscious and subconscious mind, along with an individual’s breath and strength.

Chin Na – A mechanism to seize, break control or lock an opponents limb  manipulating the joint, muscle, and/or tendon in the wrong direction. The opponent is neutralised so he/she cannot move. [also Qinna]

Chi Points – Six points on the anatomy that energy (Chi) flows in and out of the body. [centre of palms, sole of feet, top of head, bottom]

Chi Sink – When all energy (Chi) has been taken from you, and you cannot do everyday activities. For example, Push Hands.

Chop – the execution of a cutting blow to an opponent or object which generally employs the knife-edge of the hand as the weapon.

Chuan Fa – The Chinese interpretation of Kempo, meaning ‘the Way of the Fist’.

Circular Movements – Moves that predominantly loop or follow a curve. Such moves can be used defensively or offensively.

Classical – Traditional methods and moves used by the so called pure system of Martial Arts. Many of the movements associated with these systems are not practical in our present environments, since their methods were created for the types of defence found prevalent during ancient times.

Claws – Refers to the fingertips as used in a technique.

Clinch – Close quarter grappling by embracing your opponent.

Close Range Encounters – Action that occurs within elbow and knee distance.

Combat – Realistic fight which excludes control and rules.

Combination – A series of blows executed as strikes, throws, and manipulation.

Complimentary Angle – A strike or block that follows a path or angle that parallels an attacking weapon, a defensive posture, the contour of an opponent, or a given line. Following these angular paths allows clear entry to desired target. Taking advantage of these angular opportunities helps to produce maximum results as well as cause greater damage.

Conchaku – Newly innovated nunchaku developed by Francisco Conde.

Conditioned Response – To conform and respond instantaneously to a given variable.

Conscious Mind – A section of our mind (brain) that we use on a daily basis which allows us to think while we are awake.

Contact Placements – Predetermined knowledge of the targets which you plan to strike using the weapon of your choice.

Contouring – Known as contouring the body, this is demonstrating a blow or controlling their balance that contours over the body shape of your opponent to the next target. For example, Captured Twigs for strking Thundering Hammers for checking.

Control – The regulation of force to produce accuracy but not injury. For example, a punch which is thrown to a specific target but does not hurt or injure. It may or may not touch the target intended. Also, the use of various techniques employed to restrain your opponent from taking all out action.

Controlled Focus – When a strike or punch is controlled so the full focus is at contact. This enables the hit to have more depth in the strike.

Coordination – (1) Refers to the synchronization of your moves with the moves, timing and direction of your opponent in order to take advantage of attacking him. (2) Movements brought into order to act as a whole.

Corkscrew Punch – A torquing, twisting punch, which makes contact at the time the clenched fist is facing palm down.

Cover – The repositioning of your body into a protective pose while creating distance between you and your opponent. This is usually done by shifting the forward leg to the opposite side as you turn and face the opposite direction.

Counter Manipulation – That stage of motion that is utilized just prior to employing the principle of opposing forces to its maximum.

Creed – A modern code of ethics authored by Ed Parker for Martial Artists in today’s environment. It reads as follows: “I come to you with only Karate, empty hands, I have no weapons, but should I be forced do defend myself, my principles or my honour, should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong; then here are my weapons, Karate, my empty hands.”

Crescent – A path of action that can be compared and paralleled to a hooking type manoeuvre.

Critical Distance – Crucial distance that places you in reach to be effectively struck or to effectively strike your opponent.

Cross Body Position – When in side control, your head and shoulders are on the opposite side of your opponent’s torso to your legs and hips.

Cross Out – The removal of your body from a set self defense move by stepping across your body and out.


– D –

Dantian – This is the energy (Chi) centre of the body of balance and gravity. Also known as the ‘Sea of Qi’, the dantian is a focal point for meditation from which energy is drawn on, and self-cultivation excercises are derived. For example, Tai Chi Chuan. [also Tan-tien]

Dark/Darkness – Refers to attacks from the rear or flank (coming from the unknown) as used in a technique

Dead/Live – A grab is a Dead attack, a push is Semi-Live, and a punch is Live

Deflect – To deviate the course of an attacking weapon.

Deflecting Block – When we move straight back we use a deflecting block to get Angle of incidence (Deflecting Hammer, Retreating & Hugging Pendulum)

Depth Cancellation – Getting in close to an attacker. We decrease the distance between them and us.

Depth Perception – The ability to judge the distance of objects.

Depth Zones – One of the categorical zones of protection. It entails the protection of approximately four to six basic zones depth zones. These are vertical zones viewed from the side. The first four are: hand to elbow; elbow to knee; knee to shoulder; and shoulder to head.

Deviate Weapon/Target – Move away from where strike is coming and/or parry/block the strike.

Dimensions of Travel – Are concerned with the height, width, and depth of motion, or the height, width and depth that can be created and controlled by motion.

Direction – Refers to the direction from which opponent’s or your action may stem. It is one of the ingredients that make up the analytical study of motion.

Directional Change – The ability to switch or alter directions while keeping the momentum of your body flowing constantly so as not to interrupt the initial motion started.

Directional Harmony – Body movement that increases depth of power at the precise moment of the striking impact, controlled by breath [Chi].

Di Sempai – At second degree/dan, the artist is now the head instructor.

Diversified Targets – Striking of varied targets to insure multiple effects.

Double Factor – It entails utilizing dual movements to defend your self. These moves can incorporate any combination of blocks, parries, and checks. It also refers to sophisticated moves which are dually defensive and offensive. Reverse motion is an integral part of this concept.