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Forms & Sets

In Ed Parker Kenpo System, forms are essentially a dictionary of motion, a catalog if you will, of one’s basic skills in Kenpo. There are also a variety of sets that work with specific basics such as blocks, kicks, etc. An example is Blocking Set 1, also referred to as Star Block. This is a stationary set in which a variety of blocks are performed to catalog these basic skills. Forms go far beyond a catalog and contain fighting maneuvers of all kinds, becoming much more lengthy and intricate than the sets.

Depending upon the school, forms and also the instructional section of class begins with a formal salutation:

Forms begin and end with the Formal Salutation

  • Start at the Attention Stance – raise the right arm out to right side, elbow bent at 90 degrees, fist up, palm forward. Left arm straight out to side, hand open, palm forward.
  • Right foot forward into a Right Front Twist stance as left hand comes around to meet right hand in meditating position (body facing 3:00).
  • Left foot steps forward into left Cat Stance while extending arms, pushing them forward so the right fist (warrior) is exposed as the left outward handsword lays along the right fist covering the thumb area on a 45 degree angle. This extension is done as if doing a punch and in unison with the left foot touching the ground with its step.
  • Then, opening hands (downward) so that the backs of hands are together and fully open.
  • Turn hands down toward body, brushing the sternum with the finger tips as the hands ‘flower’ palm up and turn into fists as left foot steps back. Right foot back, feet together, while pulling the fists into waist.
  • While stepping to left into Horse Stance, open hands, circle hands outward to side and up over head creating a triangle with index fingers and thumbs.
  • Slowly moving triangle down, meditating hands (the warrior and scholar again), praying hands (the finger tips are approximately chin level ), up to Attention Stance.

The Formal Salutation has meaning in both defense and offense as the salutation is performed. This will not be shown at this time, but there is a verbal meaning as well that goes along with each movement of the salutation, which was given to Dr. Tindall by Grandmaster Parker while on a trip from California to Dale Petitt’s Salt Lake Kenpo Club in the mid 1970s.

The verbal salutation is:

We the warrior and the scholar, come together as we go forth to fight, back to back, to bring our country together. We have no weapons, we conceal our treasure and pray for forgiveness if we are forced to use it.

The treasure Master Parker revealed were your skills in using Kenpo, since for those who have the highest levels skills, the treasure would be as valuable or, more so, than a loaded .45 caliber pistol.

Kenpo forms have both a ‘short’ and ‘long’ delineation.

The first 4 forms (Short & Long 1, Short & Long 2) are drill forms showing us methods and motion.

Long Forms 3-6 are technique forms.

Long Form 7 is also a technique form, but is performed using Kali sticks.

Long Form 8 is the ‘Double Dagger’ form and one that you should not perform initially using real knives. Also, the knives used are sharpened on both sides thus, good skill is necessary when using them to prevent cutting yourself badly. This is Dr. Tindall’s favorite form because of the challenge required and, he initially performed this form with real knives, although later admitted it wasn’t the best move in the play book.


  • Short 1 - Drill form - Blocking while retreating
  • Long 1 - Drill form - Blocking & countering while retreating
  • Short 2 - Drill form - Blocking & countering while advancing
  • Long 2 - Drill form - Blocking & countering w/multiple strikes while advancing
  • Short 3 - Technique form - defenses against grabs, hugs and holds
  • Long 3 - Technique form - defenses against grabs, hugs and holds - left & right sides
  • Long Form 4 - Technique form - the longest and most complex form
  • Long Form 5 - Technique form - techniques involving takedowns
  • Long Form 6 - Technique form - techniques involving weapons (constant motion form and nicknamed the ‘flowering hands’ form)
  • Long Form 7 - Double Kali-stick form
  • Long Form 8 - Double dagger form
  • Staff Set - Also called Bo Staff Form; it is more a form than a set and very intricate

Sets (these will be explained more fully later)

  • Blocking Set #1
  • Kicking Set #1
  • Finger Set #1
  • Coordination Set #1
  • Strike Set #1
  • Stance Set #1
  • Coordination Set #2
  • Blocking Set #2
  • Strike Set #2
  • Stance Set #2
  • Kicking Set #2
  • Finger Set #2
  • Two Man Set
  • The Book Set

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