My teacher has many great concise ways to explain concepts and theories of shaolin kempo. One phase he uses is “Stun, Balance, Control”, to explain the basics of shaolin kempo core theory. The Villari SKK poster explains it as integrating the “four ways of fighting “ ( with your hands, with your legs, felling, and grappling)into one. The old Okinawan masters used the phrase, “Enter, Counter, Escape”. All essentially the same concept, and none mention blocking. Naturally, anyone will protect themselves from getting hit by avoidance or some method of stopping the offending limb from making contact. However, the elevation of blocking to a high level of importance can lead to a misunderstanding in the development of protection skills.
We all teach blocking. I teach the various blocking systems that are part of Shaolin Kempo. I am terribly picky about the movements of the blocks, the position of the elbows, the covering of the center-line, activation of the waist…etc., as I am sure most instructors are. I have always found it interesting that we call them blocking “systems”. But I digress, a little.
We teach most of our techniques with the beginning move as a block. The conceptual disadvantage of this is another topic. However, the teachings of the masters mentioned above do not speak of blocks. I often compensate for the seeming discrepancy by emphasizing how blocks “cover” the center-line. There is so much to say on this topic, but I will return to Shaolin Kempo fighting theory.
Combination #3 is one of our master key techniques. It encompasses set techniques and targets while embodying principles for the students to assimilate.
Combination #3 as I have it is:
Left leg steps forwards to 11 o’clock with right front 2-knuckle punch to the groin ( block 4 optional).
Left inverted hammer to the instigator’s center over their arm
Right back 2-knuckle to the head.
Right hand reaches behind the instigator’s neck to grab the opposite side of the neck as the left hand slides to grab the near shoulder.
Left hand pushes and right hand pulls the instigator. Twisting counter-clockwise. Right foot moves towards the left
Left leg steps out to a horse stance facing 6 o’clock as you pull the instigator down.
Left front 2-knuckle punch to the face
These movements embrace the four ways of fighting and teaches emphatically, the folding aspect of our system. Block four is optional because the original counter was tested against a boxing type of attack, for which such a “block” used as a block is problematic. I learned it against a step-through punch and the block works. The block checks off the other weapons turning the instigator. The punch to the groin pushes the pelvis backwards. The back-2-knuckle the the right side of the head creates another fold and of course the twisting of the shoulders nicely adds to the pretzeling. Then the finish pile drives them into the ground.
So, we clearly have folding and the four ways of fighting as a technique. If we take that optional block four and enter with a hammer to the head, we stun the instigator. The strike to the low center, pushing back the pelvis disrupts the balance. The same hand motions from the inside (in front of the neck rather than behind) can create an excellent strangle to render him/her unconscious or continue with the take down.
We can use that block four from a clinch situation to slip to the outside of the instigators arm, skip the punch but use a knee to the inner thigh to both disrupt the balance by attacking the “pillar” and still effectively pull the shoulders over the center of gravity. The knee strike will prevent the re establishment of balance and leads nicely into a takedown. Or, instead of a knee strike sweep / drive the leg backwards for another type of throw.
Same sequence but instead of a knee strike, step behind the shoulder of the instigator after using the shoulder twist to compromise balance. Once in position, you can apply a choke, do something bad to the spine or end with a hip throw.
A video to help illustrate what I am saying will follow soon.
All of this follows, “Stun, Balance, Control” and “Enter, Counter, Escape” while utilizing seamlessly the four ways of fighting. I consider combination # 3 a true master key of the Shaolin Kempo system.