The design of the I.K.K.A Crest was completed in 1958 when the art of American Kenpo was gaining international notoriety. Highly symbolic, the crest design represents the more modernized form that the art was transforming into while at the same time acknowledging its roots in traditional Chinese and Japanese martial arts.
Designs on the Crest
- Represents physical strength and the early stage of a martial artist’s learning.
- Represents spiritual strength and the later stage of a martial artist’s training. The dragon is placed above the tiger in the crest to symbolize the importance of mental/spiritual strength over physical strength. This does not mean that physical strength is unimportant. What it does imply is that martial artists need to think first before acting physically.
- The circle represents continuity.
- Dividing Lines
- The lines within the circle represent the original methods of attack first learned by ancient practitioners of the Chinese martial arts. They also demonstrate the pathways which an object could travel by.
- The colors are representations of proficiency within the art alluding to the colored belt ranking system. The white represents the beginning stages and progresses through to black (expert level) and then red (professorship).
- Oriental Writing
- The writing acknowledges the art’s oriental roots. The characters on the left of the crest translate to “Law of the Fist” and “Empty Hand” a.k.a. “Kenpo Karate.” The characters on the right translate to “Spirit of the Dragon and the Tiger.”
- The shape of the crest represents the structure of a house. The walls and roof are curved to keep evil from intruding. The ax at the bottom of the crest is a solemn reminder that should a martial artist tarnish the reputation of the organization they will be “cut off” completely.
- Huk Planas Lineage Patch
- Mr Planas was one of the creators of the system of Kenpo we recognize today. Mr. Planas along with Ed Parker and Tom Kelly http://www.tomkellyskenpokarate.com/biography.php were the original creators of the system design in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and wrote the manuals used today. In 1994 Mr Planas began forming his own lineage qualifying you as an instructor that was recognized by his own logo called “The Patch”, this is a small patch that Mr. Planas grants only to the students that posses knowledge and can perform the system to his satisfaction. There are around a dozen active students that have this patch today in the world.
- Chuck and Bruce Epperson were some of the 1st of Huk’s students to test for this patch in 1994. To this day they wear it with honor and dedication to the art.
- A word from GM “Huk Planas”
- The Comparison of Rank And Knowledge
- “The relationship between rank and knowledge varies from one martial art system to another. Many times, especially in Kenpo, it varies from lineage to lineage; sometimes from school to school. As I travel around the world I see people being promoted all the time to all sorts of ranks. I feel people need to know what the main requirements are for being promoted; time, age, and most importantly knowledge.
- In many cases people are being promoted without meeting the minimum time requirements for the rank. In Kenpo, the minimum time between First Degree Black Belt to Second Degree Black Belt is two years. Then there should be three years between each rank from Second Degree to Fifth Degree. Finally, five years between each rank from Fifth Degree and up. Again these are minimum time requirements, not maximum! You are eligible after you have met the minimum time. It’s like when you get hired for a job and they say in six months you’re eligible for a raise. This doesn’t mean you will get the raise. You have to do a good job otherwise there’s no raise.
In addition to the time requirements there are age requirements to be considered for promotion. Thirty years ago a Black Belt meant a lot more than it does today. Now every ten year old is a Black Belt of various degrees. Originally it was established that a student must be sixteen years old to wear a Black Belt which at that point would be considered a Junior Black Belt. They would not be a Full Black Belt until the age of eighteen. As for the higher ranks, the age requirements were tied into the time requirements. It was said, “The gi just doesn’t get old, you do along with it.” Another consideration is the titles for each rank especially at the higher levels. At Fifth Degree the title begins to include the word Professor. That would suggest the individual bearing that rank would reflect the appropriate age. You rarely hear of a twenty something year old Professor!In addition, you do not hear of a Grammar School Professor. This leads us to the most important requirement for being promoted; knowledge. Professors are found at the highest levels of education and once again the title would infer an appropriate level of knowledge. I see that there is a lack of knowledge in Kenpo. People need to learn the rules and principles. The main problem is they are not aware of what they don’t know. They never completed their schooling. It’s like a doctor can’t drop out of medical school and call themselves a doctor. They need to complete the entire schooling to get the degree. However it’s important to note that the person with the lowest grade to graduate from medical school is still called a doctor. “By Huk PlanasWith all of that said, it really comes down to there simply being two kinds of Black Belts; good ones and bad ones. Which one do you want to be?