Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Laws of Kenpo: Law 1 The Circle and the Line

The Law: The first law of kenpo states that when your opponent charges straight in and attacks, you should use your feet to move your body along a circular path. You should also consider moving your arms in a circular pattern to deflect the oncoming force.
When your opponent attacks you in a circular fashion, however, you should respond with a fast linear attack —along a straight line from your weapon to his target. Just as the circle can overcome the line, the line can overcome the circle.

Grey Commentary: I think Circle and Line makes some sense from the most basic of positions. If the opponent steps in with a jab roll over the lead hand to cover the face shuffle step around to their side and then follow with a jab to the temple or a body shot or even a side kick the options are near limitless. That being said there may be instances where such a tactic is not the wisest option where I do not want to count them circling with a linear strike and then be inside their reach and instead circle around with them to maintain a fix on their position possibly circling with them will also allow me a position near an exit to allow me to escape in a street scenario or I may just not want to get close to them by going with the linear attack. Always have options.

The comments of circular blocking motions like parrying or circular outward/inward blocks has its place but I feel this is also relevant to linear fighting as well. I believe that checks and parry’s would be more applicable to circular movements as the goal is speed and not power where as a linear block would be more solid and have more power behind it.

The idea of the line overcoming the circle is a practice found in other traditional asian martial arts like wing chun which is a very linear style of fighting with regard to the centre line concept and its striking styles these styles can also found in parts of kenpo. I feel that both have their place but the reaction to a circle does not always need to be a line nor a line a circle.

This law need not also be applied from the movement of the body but from the angles of a strike, liner strike blocked by a circlular block, followed up by a liner strike of your own circling into another strike of your own followed by one more linear strike. Like the old boxing adage of head, body, head, body

Here is a video from Kenpo Master Larry Tatum. The video is a clip from one of his DVD’s and cuts out near the end but still offers some commentary on the law from a striking application. In this video Master Tatum reacts to a right straight punch with a right handed inward block, followed by a ridge hand to the neck, followed by an elbow to the face, followed by a hammer fist to the liver.  

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