Glossary of Terms I-M


– I –

Ideal Phase – The first analytical process of dissecting a technique. It entails structuring specific and fixed moves of a selected sequence of movements which take into consideration the anticipated reactions that can stem from them.

Ideas – Moves in Kenpo are taught to be no more than ideas which can vary with each changing situation.

Inside Block – When blocking on inside of attackers arm the block should be between the wrists and elbow (Delayed Sword, Sword of Destruction, five swords)

Inside Downward – A particular method of blocking below your waist that requires your blocking arm to travel from outside in.

Instructor Qualifications – Each qualification is given a minimum of one year after the practitioner aquvilent rank.

Internal Power – Force from within developed via Chi.

Intuitive Awareness – Refers to paranormal perception.

Internal Organs – Refers to interrelated parts of the human body that function together to maintain life. These diverse organs are composed of the heart, kidneys, lungs, spleen, brain, nervous systems, eyes, etc.

Inward Parry – A blocking method (usually with an open hand) that requires your blocking arm to travel from outside in as it redirects a blow or kick by riding or going with the force.

Iron Fist – A term used after years of conditioning on a Chuan Fa bag, tree, ground, or wall. To ‘punch’ with no effort or to ‘drop’ the punch into the target with force. This lets the weapon devastate the opponent.  This can be any weapon of the body. [also Iron Hand]

Iron Shirt – Conditioning of the body. To receive intended strikes, punches, and kicks to traditionally where one would wear a shirt.


– J –

Jamming – A special method of blocking that crowds or forces an opponent’s natural weapon back and against his joint to prevent it from moving or functioning. It can also be accomplished by forcing an opponent’s limb against other parts of his anatomy.

Jeet Kune Do – Jeet Kune Do (JKD) is built around the philosophy and hybrid systems of Bruce Lee. It means ‘Way of the Intercepting Fist’. JKD uses the four ranges of combat [kicking, punching, trapping, grappling] and economy of motion [efficiency, directness, simplicity].

Jiu-Jitsu – An oriental form of wrestling known as the “body art”. It involves twisting, spraining, dislocating, breaking, and using other like means to the joints and pressure points of the anatomy. Throwing is also an integral part of the art.

Judo – A more gentle form of oriental wrestling. Referred to as the “gentle way” it employs grabs, hip and shoulder throws, in addition to arm or leg locks and holds.

Jump – A manoeuvring method which involves moving forward, back, or sideways by vigorously springing or leaping to avoid or execute an attack.


– K –

Kajukenbo – An offshoot of William Chow’s original methods of Kenpo Karate that was created by Adriano and Joe Emperado in Hawaii.

Karate – A recent term used by the Japanese to describe the oriental boxing systems of Japan and Okinawa.

Karateka – A student of the Martial Arts.

Kata – A Japanese term for the word form which is used in American Kenpo.

Kenpo – As spelled, is a modern term describing one of the more innovative systems of the Martial Arts practiced primarily in Hawaii and the America’s. Ken means fist and po means law. Thus Kenpo means fist law. [also Kempo]

Kenpo Karate – The term used by William Chow to describe the art he was teaching in Hawaii during the 1930’s to 1970’s. As described and taught by Parker, it literally means “law of the fist and empty hand”.

Ken To – The Japanese term for boxing. Ken means fist and to means fight. Thus, Ken To means fist fight.

Ki – A Japanese term for Chi.

Kiai – A loud noise caused by the rapid expulsion of air from the diaphragm of the body. This expulsion of air creates stability, increases force, fortifies the body and can have a psychological effect upon your opponent. Kiai originally meant “breathing exercise”.

Kill or Be Killed – A method of combat learned by the military during World War II. It was a condensed form of combat utilizing Martial Arts concepts concentrating on techniques that brought about instant disability or death.

Knife – Any short range blade, single or double edged.

Knockout – Is a term used to describe a victim in an unconscious state. It is also a term used by some of the professional karate tournaments who allow competitors to literally knock their opponents out.

Kung Fu – Kung Fu is an art that uses circular patterns to strike pressure points. It means ‘Something Well Done’ and its philosophy is to work and train hard to achieve greatness. Obviously, there is more to the traditional art such as throws and reaps. [also Gung Fu]

Kwan Dao – A long range wide blade and spear, opposite end to the blade, weapon. Although predominately a defensive weapon, the Kwan Dao was used for cutting the legs of a horse and returning to decapitate the rider as they fell. Meaning ‘Reclining Moon Blade’, the Kwan Dao is the pinnacle weapon of Shaolin Kempo. The weight of the blade and leverage of the pole allows this weapon to cut through chainmail. [also Guan Dao – meaning ‘Elephant Knife’]

Kyoshi – Bestowed on the eighth degree/dan as a martial artist who can quite capably teach the philosophy of the martial arts. He/She is now an ‘associate master of the arts’.


– L –

Lance – Refers to a knife attack as used in a technique.

Launch Pad – Typically known as waiters palm; self explanatory. The true meaning is to launch from a starting point. In self defense, the launch pad can ricochet off the attack to effect a very powerful strike.

Laymen – Beginners in the Martial Arts.

Leaves – Refers to the fingers as used in a technique.

Leap – A springing type jump for purposes of evasion or attack.

Left To Left – A freestyle technique where your left foot, which is forward, is opposite your opponents left forward foot. Obviously, left to right is when the front foot is opposite to your opponents. Traditional stance is left foot forward and Southpaw is right foot and hand forward.

Lifting the Veil – This is when you discover more insight or in depth annalysis of what you are studying. To make known what is known.

Light Contact – Usually occurs in amateur karate tournaments where competitors are not allowed to make heavy contact. Only light contact is allowed. Infraction of these rules can mean disqualification from the match and/or tournament.

Linear Movements – Moves that are direct and follow a straight path.

Line of Attack – The path that an opponent follows when he is attacking. This line of attack can come from any direction based on the clock principle.

Line of Sight – The path of a moving target brought into alignment.

Lock-Out – A type of check that is used to slightly detain the action of your opponent. It involves striking a target with a natural weapon and having the weapon remain on the target for a time before retrieving it.

Locks – Moves that lock the joints or body parts of your opponent to restrain him from taking further action. It combines methods of pushing and pulling.

Long Range Encounters – Action that occurs at arm length or the length of a leg.

Long Staff – A ‘stick’ approximately six foot in length. This weapon can be defensive and offensive with both ends of the staff, and is customed for two hand use.  The staff can be tapered or the same diameter the full length. In old Okinawa, the staff could come from a broom, tenbin, or mop. [also Bo]

– M –

Mace – Refers to a punch as used in a technique

Major Moves – Strong and positive moves which cause immediate devastation.

Manoeuvres – Ways you can move your feet, arms or body to initiate or avoid an attack i.e., to close or extend one’s range.

Margin For Error – Means less chance a block will miss, i.e. more room on our block.

Martial Arts – Is the term that is generally used to describe the self-defence systems of the Orient, most of which are Chinese in origin.

Martial Artist – An individual who is an actual practitioner of the Martial Arts.

Master Key Move – A single move that can be used in more than one predicament with equal effect. For example, a rear heel kick, shin scrape, and instep stomp can be used for a full nelson, bear hug with the arms free or pinned, rear arm lock, etc. Or, an arm break can be applied to a cross wrist grab, a lapel grab, or hair grab–application of the arm break would remain constant, but the methods of controlling the wrist would vary.

Mathematical and Geometric

Symbol Concepts – This concept can be paralleled with the clock principle and, therefore, each method can be used interchangeably thus providing similar results and benefits.

Mechanic of Motion – One who can dissect motion, inspect it, understand it, and reassemble it.

Mechanical Stage – Is that stage of learning where movements are clarified and defined thus, giving them meaning and purpose. Movements at this stage, however, are applied mechanically and a student is more equipped to verbalize answers than to physically utilize them.

Meditation – A brief period of mental relaxation used in Kenpo to eliminate outside distractions from the mind in order to fully concentrate on activities that are to be learned in class. Taking the time to do this helps to avoid unnecessary injury which might otherwise occur.

Mental Speed – Is the speed at which the mind selects appropriate movements to effectively deal with the perceived stimulus.

Meridian Points – These are imaginary lines running on the outer edges of your body that can be manipulated by touch effecting the human organs.

Method – Is the underlying move(s) in which a block or strike can be executed. There are only two basic methods with which to execute a move–linear (straight) and circular (curved). All others are variations of these two. This is another of the ingredients that make up the analytical study of motion.

Methods of Execution – The manner in which a move is executed to insure maximum results. Such moves can follow a direct, dipping, looping, hooking, or roundhouse path.

Minor/Major Concept – The concept that a minor move is subordinate and although not devastating, it can cause ample damage and/or delay to allow the execution of a major move to occur. Major moves are strong and positive moves which cause immediate devastation.

Minor Moves – Subordinate moves which, although not devastating, cause ample damage and delay to allow for the execution of a major strike, blow, etc.

Mount – Invariably used in ground fighting, to mount is to be on top. A full mount is when you are sitting on your opponents stomach with a leg either side.

Mumbling Motion – Movements that are not distinct in application. They can be compared with words that lack diction.

Muscular Systems – An assemblage of fibre cells that can contract or expand upon a signal from the nervous system to produce body movements. To have muscle memory is to be repeatative in action and do so without conscious thought.

Mushin – This is when the body reacts subconsciously, and without hesitation, under duress in combat because the mind is free from anger, fear, or ego. Can be termed as ‘of no conscious thought’. This can also happen in everyday activities.