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Although the principles behind Zen Kenpo MMA are conceptual and will change from student to student, the following key points are noted:


  1. The art essentially functions from an open handed style to incorporate grabbing, holding and grappling and for versatility. Looseness and relaxation in the muscles will encourage loose, quick muscle movement.

  2. There is strong emphasis on the student finding what works for them and learning to listen to their body, understand how to recognise strengths and realise the potential of their ability. For example: the syllabus includes high level kicks but this does not mean that the student must employ that technique simply to please their ego if their body does not allow it. Listen, learn, understand and use what is useful to YOU.

  3. Regardless of the amount of techniques available in the syllabus, emphasis of self-expression is key to avoiding the possible onset of the ‘log jam’ effect. There is a story which summarises this point perfectly:

    • "Two cats were talking about how to avoid being caught by a fox. One cat said “I know 50 different ways to avoid being eaten by a fox.” The other cat said “I only know one.” At that moment they saw a fox close by stalking them. The cat who knew one way to escape ran up the nearest tree and was safe. The other cat, whilst pondering which of his 50 ways of escape to use, was eaten by the fox."

  4. The term ‘self-protection’ is used instead of ‘self-defence’ because one cannot only defend themselves in a live situation and expect to triumph. Sooner or later they must escape or attack. Therefore to ‘protect’ oneself is a more correct phrase. The self-protection aspect of Zen Kenpo MMA will always follow three principles which must be demonstrated in practice and during a grading:

    • DISTRACT the opponent to create opening or buy required time to attack/ escape

    • DEAL with the opponent as required. This may be via escape or by swift and hard attack.

    • DISAPPEAR or DETAIN. Do not hang around to admire your work. Do not continue to attack if opponent is no longer a realistic threat or unconscious (we must consider the law). Only detain and call police if sufficiently skilled, safe and confident to do so.

    • NOTE: Use only those techniques with which you are familiar. Remember the principles of Zen Kenpo MMA We practice to simulate live situations and anything goes as long as it can be justified as reasonable force: stamping, shin kick, groin kick, eye gouge etc.