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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Personal Stories, Seminar Notes » Reflections on the 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference

Reflections on the 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference

Sometimes the Kenpo community comes together for a truly awe inspiring event. This past weekend was one of those times. The 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference was put on by Lee Wedlake and Steve White at Rancho Cortez in Bandera, Texas. It really was one for the history books.

2014 Texas Kenpo Camp group - Photo by Peter Tas

2014 Texas Kenpo Camp group – Photo by Peter Tas

Like the 2012 Kenpo Senior Conference, classes were taught by the 4 lineage heads: Sigung Stephen LaBounty, Mr. Bob White, Mr. John Sepulveda, and Mr. Lee Wedlake. Some of their lineage’s chief lieutenants also taught classes. Attendees had their pick of multiple classes beginning Friday afternoon and running until Sunday late morning. These are the classes I attended:

Mr. Felix Indest (2nd Degree) What School Owners Need to Know About Sex – Mr. Indest has many years working in law enforcement, specifically on the topic of sex offenders. He gave us information on what a sexual predator is, tips on how to identify them or their victims, and how all of it applies to a martial arts school. It’s a session every school owner should attend.

Mr. Bob White (9th Degree) Faster and Stronger / Effective Coaching – Mr. White taught 2 classes: Faster and Stronger Friday night and Effective Coaching Saturday morning. Each was fantastic in their own right, but something he said in the coaching class has resounded in my head in the days following. If you don’t have enthusiasm for what you’re doing, do something else. The applications for that wisdom extend far beyond Kenpo.

Mrs. Rebecca Knight Cudgel class - Photo from Rebecca Knight facebook page

Mrs. Rebecca Knight Cudgel class – Photo from Rebecca Knight facebook page

Mrs. Rebecca Knight (5th Degree)  The Cudgel (staff) – This was our first opportunity to meet Mrs. Knight and train with her. She’s the real deal. Her session was on taking the maneuvers out of Staff Set and applying them as drills. 4 or 5 staffs were broken during the class due to how well she was teaching to apply power principles with a staff in your hands.

Mr. Brian Duffy (8th Degree) Applications of Staff Techniques – One of my teachers, Mr. Duffy taught applications of techniques with a staff. He took traditional techniques and showed us how to use them in staff vs staff situations. As everyone became more fluent in the motions, the energy level really kicked up high. It seemed everyone really saw how truly devastating the staff can be in the hands of someone who knows how to use it.

Sigung Stephen LaBounty (9th Degree) Rough and Tumble Alternatives to What If?– The rough and tumble attitude was ever present in Sigung LaBounty’s session. His “What If” variations dealt heavily with the harsh reality of being up close to your opponent. He spoke with love from the heart and demanded we train like we had to win.

Mr. Brian Duffy staff technique class - Photo from Lee Wedlake facebook page

Mr. Brian Duffy staff technique class – Photo from Lee Wedlake facebook page

Mr. Lee Wedlake (9th Degree) Armed to the Teeth -Mr. Wedlake’s street clothes class was jam packed with information, but had an overall theme of paying attention. Every time we broke into drills, it was with a new training partner. At the end, we had to describe the details of what our partner looked like and was wearing. Really drove home the point of having to observe your surroundings, including the people.

Mr. Steve White (8th Degree) Model Explosion of Kenpo Techniques – Mr. White took concept of every motion, principle and concept having a forward, opposite, and reverse and had us apply it to the technique Raining Claw. We approached it so many ways to see how the technique flowed (morphed) into other techniques. What an eye-opening, thought-provoking, great session.

Mr. Graham Lelliott (8th Degree) Zone Applications in Storm Techniques – Mr. Lelliott ended camp with a fantastic class on club techniques. He took the universal pattern, showed us the zones in it, and how to apply it in many of the storm techniques. Great way to wrap up the camp.

Other sessions were taught as well, running concurrently with these. Very disappointed to have missed some of the additional classes, especially Mr. John Sepulveda‘s Bear Hugs, Mr. Graham Lelliott’s Long Form 2, Mr. Glenn Haley‘s AKTS Workout, and Mrs. Barbara White’s Improving Survival Skill for Women (though my daughter made this class).

Another secret to this camp being such a great event: the training partners. Every Kenpoist I was privileged enough to work with in each class was hard working and extremely friendly. Multiple lineages were represented at the camp and everyone was on the same page for helping the community get better at Kenpo. Sweat, laughter, hard work, and camaraderie was all around.

All the camp instructors - Photo by Peter Tas

All the camp instructors – Photo by Peter Tas

For me the best moment of camp didn’t occur on the mats. My 15 year old daughter, Serra, attended the camp with me. Saturday night I asked her which class she liked the most. Her response was the classes taught by Mrs. Rebecca Knight and Mrs. Barbara White. When I asked why, she said because they’re (Kenpo) women, and she wants to be like them. That’s the stuff right there. As a teacher and father, goosebumps kick in when you hear positive words like those.

It’s easy to get lost in the “awe” of the Senior’s reputations. Lord knows I did at the 2012 edition of this camp. But events like these give you a chance to understand some of the best Kenpoists (ever) are even better people. Should you get a chance to meet and train with any of the Seniors or their Lieutenants, don’t pass on the opportunity.

Sam Bowley
Bowley Kenpo Karate in McKinney, TX

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Reflections on the 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference
Reflections on the 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference
A recap and thoughts on the 2014 Texas Kenpo Conference held at Rancho Cortez in Bandera, TX May 2014.

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