Family Martial Arts Center

The Use Of Natural Weapons

Mr. Parker defined natural weapons as "The use of body parts as offensive weapons" (Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, Vol. 1, Glossary of Terminology, pg. “x”).  Indeed, all of the martial arts involve the use of hands, feet, arms, and legs as tools for various strikes and kicks.  What sets American Kenpo apart from other martial arts is Mr. Parker's logical analysis of how these tools can be formed and then applied in combative situations.


One example of Mr. Parker's analysis of our natural weapons is his use of the fist. Since the term “Kenpo” translates into “fist law”, it seems appropriate that this discussion focus on how Mr. Parker believed the fist should be used.


Straight (Horizontal Punch)


The straight punch is formed by striking with the front two knuckles of the fist.  It travels along a straight line from it's point-of-origin to its target.  Since it is the most basic handstrike, it is the first one used in the Kenpo forms - introduced in Long Form #1 along the "+" pattern of the form.  It's application can be seen in techniques such as Destructive Twins.


The figure used above is that of a left fist, the first weapon used in the Kenpo forms.  We will use the left fist, from the student's point-of-view as a reference for the additional examples used below.


Hammerfist Strike


The hammerfist strike is formed by using the left side of the left fist.  This strike is introduced in Long Form #2 of the Kenpo forms, along the "+" pattern of the form.  Its application can be observed in techniques such as Thundering Hammers.


Chopping Knuckle Punch


The chopping knuckle punch is formed by using the bottom part of the fist.  This punch is first seen in Long Form #2, along the "x" pattern of the form, and is not used in any of the standard 128 Kenpo techniques.


Stiff-Arm Lifting Back-Knuckle Punch


The stiff-arm lifting back-knuckle punch is formed by using the top part of the fist (striking with the front and back portions of the first two knuckles of the fist).  It is introduced in Long Form #3 of the Kenpo forms, along the "x" pattern of the form.  Its application is observed in techniques such as Defensive Cross.


Reverse Hammerfist Strike


The reverse hammerfist is formed by using the right side of the left fist (i.e., the flat area of the fist created by the thumb and first finger.  This strike is used to complete the category of motion we are exploring (i.e., using the fist as a natural weapon.)  Although the reverse hammerfist strike does not formally appear in the Kenpo forms or techniques, this part of the fist is used defensively as an inside-downward palm-down block.


Summary of These Natural Weapons


If we were to take the five previous handstrikes and arrange them in a relational order, we  would end up with the summary figure above (now using a right fist as a reference.)  As the figure demonstrates, there are five sections of the fist that we use as natural weapons in American Kenpo.  We can strike with: the front of the fist (straight punch), the top of the fist (back-knuckle), the bottom of the fist (chopping knuckle punch), the right side of the fist (hammerfist), and the left side of the fist (reverse hammerfist).


Using this template, you can now look at your open hand and your foot and determine which strikes/kicks can be formed as the weapon travels straight, up, down, to the left, and to the right.



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