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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Philosophy » Smell That? It’s Kenpo Funk

Smell That? It’s Kenpo Funk

Dear Sam,

I’m you. Plus quite a few years of seasoning, experiences, and hopefully wisdom. I’m sending this letter to you to help get your head out of a dark spot. (Don’t get caught up in the details of how. It’s not important right now.) You’re about 16 and just competed in your first Kenpo tournament. While you did fine, you’re dwelling on comparing yourself to the other, higher-rank Kenpoists. See? Told you I knew what was going on in your head.

Don't get the Kenpo Funk by trying to progress too quickly

Don't get the Kenpo Funk by trying to progress too quickly

I remember what you’re thinking. Those guys moved so well, were very fast, and knew so much. Desiring what they had, you started pushing too hard in your own training. Wanting it all right now led to frustration. This downward spiral in your head has a name: the Kenpo Funk. It fills your head full of stink.

This letter to you is to help clear your head of the Kenpo Funk. If you hang out too long in the dark place, you could burn out and fall off the martial arts path. Which, of course, is no good.

One of the appreciations that comes with age is a respect for the Kenpo sayings. And one of the most important ones is the first necessary for orange belt. Let time be your measurement to skill and expertise. When we first memorized it, we were like “yeah, whatever.” But there’s a reason yellow belts have to learn it so early in the curriculum. By the time you earn your yellow belt, you’re likely a Kenpo addict. And ready to climb the Kenpo mountain.

But you can’t. Understanding the layers of kenpo principles takes time (lots of it). Creating the necessary muscle memory takes time (even more of it). Putting the two together takes time (even, even more of it). As much as you (we) want it, the Kenpo journey can’t be done overnight. Time really is the measurement for your karate progress.

At a young age understanding and having patience is tough. I certainly remember that. But you (we) do understand faith: faith in your instructors. In our journey we’ll have many instructors, both formal and friendly. Trust in their judgement of your progression. They’ll have a more even opinion than you will. Have faith in their perspective.

Your thinking is stinking, and you’ve got the Kenpo Funk.  This letter is to help get rid of the funk. It’s hard and takes a change in perspective.  Understand up front the martial arts journey is going to take time.  There aren’t shortcuts. But also have faith in your instructors to guide you correctly and give an honest evaluation in your progress. This the best advise the future you can give the now you.  Be hungry for more knowledge, but be patient in getting there and you’ll clear your head of the Kenpo Funk. Oh, one more piece of advise.  You’ll meet a girl later in high school.  Keep her happy.

Happy journey,
You

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Hat tip to Claire.

Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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