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Rich Hale Seminar Notes

These are the notes I jotted down after a three hour seminar with Rich Hale at Oscar Steele Studios. This was the third Rich Hale seminar I’ve attended, and I highly recommend making your way to his class any time he teaches. (For all the Kenpo Police out there, these notes are not the definitive ways to do these techniques, but more ideas to try.)

Rich Hale seminar at Oscar Steele Studio

Rich Hale seminar at Oscar Steele Studios. Photo by Rich Hale.

Concepts & Thoughts:

Use height, width, and depth to take away opponent’s height, width, and depth.

Whenever you can use you hips to add power, you should.

We don’t multitask well. When doing your forms focus on fixing one thing at a time. For short form 1 we did repetition fixes of no feet fidgets, power on the rear elbows, looking before pivoting, looking eyes straight ahead through the whole form.

Big circles equals big troubles.

Lance techniques work against attacks without the knife. You should also practice empty hand techniques where the opponent has a knife. We did Glancing Salute that way.

Mr. Hale told a story about one of his private lessons with Mr. Parker. Mr. Hale asked to work on the advanced material and wanted to learn the secrets of Kenpo. Mr. Parker chastised him for thinking he put his best material at the end of the system. Mr. Parker said the curriculum in Orange Belt, Purple Belt, and Blue Belt were where the heart of the system is.


Clutching Feathers – Use a minor shuffle to increase power with an anchored elbow instead of an extended arm after the heel palm strike.

Evading the Storm – The off angle, upward block arm is a check, and the goal is to get the round house kick inside before the club swings all the way through.

Tripping Arrow – Anchor the elbow and sink weight before striking the ear.

Hooking Wings – The right hand doesn’t stop and “whips” back in for the strike after clearing the pushing hands.

Broken Ram – The rear foot steps to 3 o’clock in order to give a more damaging elbow break.

Flashing Wings – Flashing Wings is like Five Swords on the outside of the opponent’s body. When striking with the right hand, hook the neck and bring your right elbow in to anchor it in to the your body (just like in Five Swords).

Thundering Hammers – The inward block should be hard enough to turn your hips allowing a greater swing on the shuffle-in strike to the mid-section. (Lots of hip torque)

Spiraling Twig – As you step out of the bear hug, remember to pin and try to break the opponent’s arm with your elbow. Also keep your elbows anchored as you unwind.

Gift in Return – Slip your left forearm on top of the opponent’s arm and sink your weight down (similar to Darting Mace), then drive forward with your whole body. Use your shoulder as much as your arms. Only then do your slide your arm around to grab the opponent’s hand.

Flight to Freedom – After doing the rear kick, put the foot on the ground to pivot and swing your opponent’s arm. Try not to do the pivot and arm rotation from a one-legged stance as there is less stability.

Thrusting Prongs – Don’t step back, step down. Stepping back forces your shoulders back too much giving too much of an opportunity for you to go down. Stepping down lowers your center point and keeps the shoulders forward.

Fallen Cross – After the knee kick, step forward with your whole body into the elbow break. Don’t just try to push and pull with your arms.

In addition to attending as many martial arts seminars as possible, I also recommend taking notes. Collecting your thoughts into an organized format improves retention of the information. And as we all know, the older you get the harder it can become to remember.

“Remember kids, the only difference between Science and screwing around is writing it down.” – Adam Savage of the Mythbusters.

Sam Bowley
Bowley Kenpo Karate in McKinney, TX

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Rich Hale Seminar Notes
Rich Hale Seminar Notes
A few quick notes following a Rich Hale Kenpo Karate seminar at Oscar Steele Studios in February 2014.

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