Various rules and principles of martial arts, mainly derived from Kenpo, are covered on this site. Here we list those rules and principles.

Main Rules

Get On Top: The rule for grabs is that when someone grabs you, you get on top: Pin his hand, grab his arm, etc.

Inside Rule: When you are in your opponent’s center-line, the rule is to break his height zone; meaning, bend him at the waist. This is generally achieved by kicking him in the groin, but is achieved in other ways too.

Never Chamber as a Separate Maneuver: You don’t chamber before you strike, because this wastes motion and energy and telegraphs your moves; telegraphing happens when your opponent can see your next move coming. Therefore, your strikes (and blocks) come from their points of origin, where they already are; and if you do chamber, you make that movement do something; like claw his eyes as you chamber.

Diversified Zones: The rule is, never hit the same zone twice (in a row). The idea here is that he will cover the area that you last hit or hit at. Also, it is harder for him to defend when he doesn’t know where the next hit is going.

Cover Until You Can Check: Covering is anticipating motion. Checking is preventing motion. Generally, your hands are up, covering targeting, until you are in range or otherwise able to check your opponent’s movement and attacks.

Establish Your Base: This in fact is the first rule of Kenpo. You cannot defend or attack unless you have a base to work from.

Main Principles

Point of Origin: Movement comes from where your limbs or body already are. For instance, if you block outward you can come inward with a strike straight from where you hand already is.

Hinge Principle: This involves manipulating the opponent using the hinges on his body, like the hip joint, elbow joint, etc.

Checking: Checking is preventing motion through various means, mainly by grabbing but can also be accomplished through such things as striking and pinning.

Zoning: This involves moving to an area in which you are out of reach of the opponent’s back-up weapons.

Economy of Motion: This involves movement that is effective without using more motion than is necessary.

Offensive-Defense: In Jeet Kune Do, this is referred to as a stop-hit. It means you attack your opponent before or as he attacks to stop him, thus defending yourself with an attack.

Main Power Principles

Marriage with Gravity: This is power generated with downward force behind a strike.

Borrowed Force: This is making use of the power already generated by the opponent or force you create using the opponent.

Back-up Mass: This is power generated with your weight directly behind and in line with the attack.

Opposing Forces: This is power generated by two things moving in opposite directions.

Main Angles

Angle of Disturbance: This is an angle used to put the opponent off-balance to leave him vulnerable to strikes and throws. It generally, twists his body and disturbs his base. The idea is that you’ve disturbed his base while maintaining your own posture and balance, giving you an advantage.

Bracing Angle: This is the positioning of the body and it’s parts so that you have stability and balance. By creating Angle of Disturbance, you take away the opponent’s Bracing Angle. Also, positioning yourself or the opponent where the opponent has no Bracing Angle (where he has no base) aids you in taking the Bracing Angle away, disturbing his base and throwing him or otherwise taking advantage of his position. This is often done by opening his center-line.

Angle of Execution: This is an angle you use for your movement–strikes, sweeps, kicks–that renders maximum results. It requires, also, a line of entry to a target.

Angle of Incidence: This is basically hitting the target square so that it penetrates the target and doesn’t deflect off.

Angle of Deflection: This angle, when used, causes the weapon to deflect off of the target. Generally it is an angle not used but can be useful in some circumstances when used properly.

Angle of Cancellation: This is an angle that will nullify the opponent’s actions.

Other Topics

Family Groupings: These are sets of Kenpo techniques that are related because they have the same first couple of base moves but after those initial moves have alternative moves for various reasons, either due to environmental conditions or for the purpose of making a category completion or cross-reference in the system.

Mandatory Step Techniques: These techniques involve a move in which it is required to make the opponent step to cancel his weapons and/or put him in position where his targets are available.

Category Completions: These are moves in techniques meant to be used as a cross-reference to moves in other techniques, to finish out a category. For instance, using the forearm to strike: One technique will show you how to do it vertically downward, another will show it vertically upward, another one will show the forearm strike done horizontally.

Range, Timing and Position: This is generally a very important subject because to pull off technique successfully, you must have timing and control range and distance, and know what can be done in certain positions in relation to how your body is positioned and where your opponent is; how far away he is and how he is positioned. Getting yourself in position to pull off a technique is one of the main objectives in a fight.

The Formulation Phase: This involves altering, changing, modifying techniques to fit the specific situation as it changes.