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How To Learn Kenpo Karate at Home (3 Best Ways)

In this article, you will learn the different ways you can learn Kenpo Karate at home with minimized risk to health while also embracing the flexibility of learning a martial art on your time that supports your schedule.

You might be considering learning Kenpo but may be wondering if it’s possible to do so from home in a more private setting, especially in this day and age where access to in-person group sessions may be restrictive based on disease control measures in your geographical location or your schedule or, perhaps, your personal health concerns.

Well, you can rest easy that there is indeed a way to learn Kenpo at home.  In fact, there are three basic ways.

But before we get to them…

Can You Really Learn Kenpo Karate at Home?

There are three basic ways to learn Kenpo at home, none of which change the fact you have the potential to learn and advance within a Kenpo style from your own home-based dojo.

You may be wondering if you’re crazy for questioning if it’s really possible to achieve this at home.

You’re not.

But to prevent further delay, let’s get into the meat of those different ways you can learn Kenpo at home and bury any doubts you may have.

How To Learn Kenpo Karate At Home (3 Different Ways)

Kenpo Karate Black Belt performing a front kick at home

The three essential ways you can learn Kenpo at home boil down to:

  • Have a private instructor teach you face-to-face in the comfort of your own home or even backyard.  It’s like having a tutor come over to teach you piano.  Or a personal trainer over to run you through your physical fitness paces.  Or having a private message therapy session, only not as pleasant sometimes.
  • Receive instruction interactively, only virtually online through a website or web-based application.  This can include live streaming sessions with an instructor from a specific school or a certified instructor offering private lessons like a tutor in English or History.
  • Study books and videos, essentially mimicking what’s presented to you but without the benefit of real-time feedback, or possibly any actual instruction at all.  This is also known as “the hard copy” approach.  It is perhaps the hardest way to learn, since there is no feedback or corrections to your techniques, nor are you really able to demonstrate what you’ve “learned”.

Each has its own positives and negatives. And each offers you flexibility based on the demands of your everyday schedule. Essentially, the good news is, you have choices for Kenpo Karate home study!

So, three ways to choose from or, even, combine all three to form your personally tailored Kenpo syllabus.

Let’s take a look at all three, what they involve, and things to consider when making your decision on which path or paths to pursue to ensure the best use of your time learning at home.

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Side Note: These choices will tend to focus more on the Kenpo Karate style, vice Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu style.  Both are more than assessable in face-to-face settings like private home instruction.  However, Jiu-Jitsu is a bit harder to learn virtually or from books or videos.  Put frankly, it’s hard to demonstrate submitting something invisible.

Face-to-Face at Home

Kenpo Karate teacher showing a student how to punch

This choice begins with your decision that you want to learn from an instructor where the interaction is literally face-to-face. So, the steps should be:

  1. Find a school that teaches Kenpo at home in your area or an independent instructor.
  2. Ask about the cost and whether you have to sign a contract.  A lot of schools or private instructors do require contracts (usually quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) but some don’t.  And the vast majority either offer an introductory period or the first belt without a contract in place.
  3. Make your decision.
  4. Learn and master at home.

With one-on-one at home, you have hands-on training with the instructor alone, which can facilitate faster learning by focusing on strengths and weaknesses with undivided attention, while also being tailored around your schedule.

The flip side to this convenience is the instructor has a schedule, too.  Also, the cost might be higher than what you would pay if you went to a school.  This is where solid reviews and referrals will come in handy.

Virtual Interactive Study

Perhaps you don’t have the time or money to pay for face-to-face classes.  You need something flexible at a lower cost but still, have the burning desire to learn.  In that case, a choice to learn Kenpo at home online may be the ideal path.

With technology ever-evolving and many more people working from home and conducting meetings online, a world of virtual learning has opened for the masses to learn at home.  This doesn’t just apply to online degrees or certifications.  It has also found a home amongst the martial arts.

Modern technology has allowed virtual training to become a major player in basic instruction in Kenpo techniques.  This involves one-on-one instructional lessons, similar to personal sessions offered at a face-to-face class, just online via webcam.  This also involves you providing demonstrations to your instructor via the same medium.

Of course, what you lose is the physical contact of face-to-face instruction.  You can’t block a virtual kick.  Or put your hands on someone to demonstrate what a technique looks like with an actual opponent (unless you make your friends or kids volunteer).

The point is, virtual lessons are here to stay, are effective for learning, and are more than adequate if, say, you just want to learn the techniques and demonstrate them to your teacher for belt recognition.  Or perhaps you’re already qualified and want to do refresher training while traveling for business or pick-up studies after time away from training.

In cases like these, interactive virtual learning is a perfect solution for someone willing to learn.  It may actually take more effort because of the lack of physical human contact. But learning Kenpo this way is more than achievable.

Kenpo Home Study Through Books and Videos

Kenpo Karate student learning from a book

Studying Kenpo Karate via books and videos is probably the most affordable but hardest path to learn from.  It’s possible, but you’re relying on written narrative and pictures in regards to books and recorded demonstrations in regards to videos to be your instructors.

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Both of those mediums equal quality information but lack the interaction and correction you’ll receive from the other two choices above.  Also, it’s inherently difficult to do something you haven’t been instructed on.  Essentially, you can practice what you’ve read and seen but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it correctly.

And how would you know?

That being said, if you’re a previous student of Kenpo Karate, then books and videos can be effective in terms of refreshment training and new learning (in that you already understand the basics, as noted above).  You already understand how techniques are formed.  It might just take longer to put them together on your own.

How Do I Start Kenpo?

Kenpo Karate student performing a block

How to start Kenpo goes back to the three primary paths and the fact that you have to make some choices.  Right now, let’s take a look at the basics that apply across all three, and what you can expect from the start no matter what choice or choices you make.

The Basics

Before getting into the ways to learn, you should probably first understand what you’re getting into and what to expect.  What is nice is, all of these can easily be learned at home.

In the case of Kenpo for a new student, it boils down to:

Types of Blocks

  • Inward
  • Outward (Vertical and Extended)
  • Upward
  • Downward

Types of Kicks

  • Front (Snap, Thrust, and Knife Edge)
  • Side (Snap, Thrust, and Knife Edge)
  • Back (Snap and Thrust)

Types of Hand Strikes

  • Straight Punch
  • Back Fist
  • Ridge Hand

Types of Stances

  • Neutral
  • Horse
  • Cat
  • Bow (Hard and Soft)

From these basics, self-defense techniques are formed.  But before you learn any techniques, most training (whatever the way they deliver the training) starts with the above.  From there, you’ll learn combinations of these basics (such as a front snap-back thrust kick) and, eventually, techniques that reinforce and exploit those same basics.

And by the end of a belt, you’ll have usually mastered about 30 techniques (schools also vary in numbers).  Then you’ll have your belt test to demonstrate to the instructor your proficiency of that belt’s requirements (something you won’t do with a book or video learning unless a special arrangement has been made).  And hopefully, you get promoted to the next belt, where it all starts afresh with more techniques to learn.

What is the Best Way to Learn Kenpo, Period?

Kenpo Karate fighter performing a spinning kick

Well, for this writer (and former Kenpo instructor), the best overall way to learn Kenpo (Karate or Jiu-Jitsu) is in person at a local school.

Face-to-face lessons, whether they be one-on-one with an instructor or in a group setting, or a combination of both, are hard to beat. With one-on-one, you have hands-on training with the instructor alone, as you would with private instruction at home.  But at a school, you now have the element of group training.  In a group, you’re competing for eyeballs but probably have multiple instructors kicking your ass.

In addition, you’re also competing. That’s the beauty of group sessions. You’re forced to discover exactly where you stand compared to other students, what you’re strong at, and why your head gets rocked for not paying attention.

However, even with face-to-face study, what you learn is ultimately mastered at home. You don’t leave what you learned at school. You take it with you and practice with the goal of perfection.

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Learning Kenpo Karate at Home FAQ

Now has come the time at the end where the hot questions are hopefully anticipated and answered.  Ready?

What are the Best Kenpo Techniques?

Once you’ve amassed enough techniques under your *cough* belt, you’ll start to pick what you consider the best Kenpo techniques are and drill those more than most others.  It’s really a practitioner’s choice.  Some prefer speed over power.  Some prefer devastation over evasion.

It’s like a buffet of pain to choose from.

Personally, this writer was trained and instructed under the Tracy System of Kenpo.  So, all of the techniques had cool names, like “Fangs of the Cobra” or “Thundering Hammers” or “Prayer of Death”.  And believe it or not, memorizing the names and associated techniques made it easier to remember what belt they were associated with.

As for the best for this writer, nothing beats “Kimono Grab”.  It’s an early Orange Belt technique, true, but it provides defense against a two-hand grab, incorporates a throat chop, foot shuttle, an elbow smash to the head, a hammer fist to the testicles, and then a back thrust kick to finish it off.  It should take only about five seconds to demonstrate and with the speed and fury, it incorporates, it’s not just effective, it’s fun to watch at a demonstration.

Can You Learn Kenpo Karate Online?

It’s entirely possible to learn Kenpo Karate online, with emphasis on the Karate part.  Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu, though, would be difficult to learn online if you are learning alone.  However, if you’ve got a family member or buddy who is partnering with you, then learning Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu online is possible, too.

Is Kenpo Effective in Real Life?

Kenpo is absolutely effective in real life.  It is a martial art designed for real-life defense, especially in a street or urban setting and especially against hand-held weapons.  With its short, quick, powerful, and incapacitating techniques, it’s hard to say you’d find a better martial art more effective in a close-quarter situation against an attacker.

Is Kenpo a Good Martial Art?

Kenpo is a good martial art, but Kenpo’s various styles should be examined before you make a choice about which form of Kenpo you want to learn.  Whatever the choice, you will be learning a true martial art.

Is Kenpo Good for Self-Defense?

Kenpo is excellent for self-defense.  Its emphasis on street defense, speed, efficiency, and power makes it one of the best arts to learn for personal defense on the street and other urban settings.  If it’s effective in real life, then by default, it is good for self-defense.

Final Thoughts

In the end, learning Kenpo at home is very modern and attainable.  Private at-home instruction is probably the most effective way to learn at home, but learning virtually online is perfectly suited for studying the basics and learning and demonstrating techniques.

And hey, it beats learning from a crumby paperback book with black and white photos trying to demonstrate techniques.  Photos that would have been better off in a Kenpo flip-book than a paperback.  Alas, that is a bygone era when people once believed martial arts could be learned by reading.

This is just one article from our What is Kenpo? series, where our very own Kenpo Karate Instructor, Erik from MMA Hive, teaches you more about this significant martial art.

About the Author

Photo of author

Erik is a former naval officer and defense contractor (but he's not allowed to talk about it). He is also the author of Demon, Guardian, Bigfoot Crank Stomp, and numerous small press works and short stories. He's also a certified Kenpo instructor in the Tracy Kenpo Karate system. You can find out more about him and his drivel at his blog.

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