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We hope these questions are among those you would have
asked. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask them here. If
they fall into the category of Frequently Asked Questions we will be happy to
add them to this page. It might take some time so please be patient. In the
meantime if you watch our thirty-minute Preview Video, we feel most of your
questions will be answered during that time.
1. How long does it take to get a black belt in the
This is a fair question. Unfortunately there is no set answer.
It would be like asking, "how long does it take to learn to play the violin?"
Who could answer that? Naturally, it all depends upon the amount of time the
individual is able to devote on a weekly or daily basis and the given talent of
the student. I wish we could give a number of months or even years but we can't.
It would also depend upon previous training. Some students come to us a
Black Belts from other schools of Kenpo. Their rate of learning is uncommonly
fast. Others come with Black Belts from other styles or systems of Karate. Their
rate is usually very quick as well. Then there are those who have no previous
Martial Arts training what so ever. They can run the gamut as far as time is
concerned. Where do you fit into this puzzle?
2. Do IKCA folks practice/test/train with shoes on or
We train with our shoes ON for a very specific reason. We wear
them the rest of the time and if we were to train with them off it could change
things if and when we need to use our Art. If you are not accustomed to wearing
them when you train it could easily change your speed and how you move in
combat. If you are used to wearing them while training they will make no
difference to you on the street. Also, shoes are the best protective equipment,
for the feet, that we have. The most vulnerable part of the body in freestyle is
the toes, which have a propensity for getting broken all too easily. Another
reason we like the use of shoes in the dojo is the fact that, they allow us to
become comfortable with using more of our power when kicking into a physical
target such as a life size dummy, thereby helping us develop more powerful
3. Why do folks in the IKCA wear black uniforms?
It's just a matter of preference. I wore a white gi for the
first twenty or so years in the Art and Mr. LeRoux for probably the first
fifteen. When Black became available we gave them a try and found them more
comfortable than having to watch everywhere we sat or what we leaned against,
trying to avoid getting a spot on our fresh white uniforms and eventually having
to trash them because of stains, when they were still serviceable. I guess it's
more a matter of practicality than anything else. Much like the system itself.
If it isn't practical, don't do it.
4. Does the IKCA system teach ground fighting? (If no, then
why not? Isn't this stuff important for a real fight?)
The IKCA does not teach ground fighting on video for the simple
reason that it can't be taught effectively on video. It requires sensitivity and
the only way to learn it properly is to have an instructor right there with you,
preferably on top of you, during your training because everything changes with
the slightest of movements. Isn't this stuff important? It certainly is! And the
IKCA uses its own members, who are highly trained, to train our other members
when they are available. For a much more in-depth view of this subject please go
to IKCA Newsletter Articles here on the web site and click on Stand-up fighting
- vs. - Ground fighting. Click here for a direct
5. Can an IKCA student be tested at an IKCA seminar?
Unfortunately, no. For several days before and after and the
entire day of the seminar our time is always much too committed to allow us to
do any testing.
6. How can I demonstrate the various techniques for testing
if I don't have a training partner?
This is one of the toughest questions of all. Doing blocks and
strikes in the air without a live body to show their relationship to the targets
goes against the method of testing we have established, which has proven itself
overwhelmingly successful for over ten years. We want to see that you know what
the targets are and that you are capable of hitting them. There is only one
other acceptable method and it must be approved on an individual basis, before
the testing commences. Plus, we reserve the right to cancel it at any time if it
isn't proving effective for a particular student. That method is doing the
techniques on the Ultraman dummy. Even though the dummy doesn't react like a
real person, we are familiar with how they do react. We are also familiar with
the restrictions they offer. It isn't exactly the same as a live partner but in
some ways it's even better. Using the Ultraman allows us to evaluate many
things. We can see the targets being struck with power and we can see that a
physical object is not slowing the moves. We can see that the targets, which are
available for any given technique, are actually being hit, which are the
majority We wish we could make striking the dummy an additional requirement for
every test but that would force all of our students to purchase an Ultraman,
which we feel is a costly and therefore an unreasonable demand. If on the other
hand, it's absolutely the only way you have of getting a partner, in all
likelihood we will allow you to begin that way and proceed if it proves
effective for you.
7. Can I be a member of the IKCA and another Kenpo
Absolutely! Nothing in the IKCA Bylaws prohibits a member from
membership in other organizations or clubs.
8. Can I teach a martial art or style other than IKCA Kenpo
if I am an IKCA Black belt?
Again - Absolutely! Please refer to the
IKCA Bylaws for complete
information on the subject.
9. How can I teach the yellow belt techniques to kids if I
didn't have to learn them myself?
The Yellow Belt techniques were designed for children under
twelve. The Yellow Belt Video also teaches the Basics in a slightly more
fundamental manner. It was done this way to give kids five easy-to-learn
Techniques as an introduction as well as a double dose of basics, because the
basics are repeated at the Orange Belt level and included in the test. If you
are a Qualified Instructor and intend to teach the Yellow Belt Techniques all
you have to do is get the Yellow Belt tape and learn them yourself. It should
take any Qualified Instructor all of about twenty minutes.
10. If I'm an IKCA certified instructor can I charge
students a fee over and above the video testing fee?
To begin with, the official IKCA colored
belt testing fee is $65.00 and if
you are a Certified Instructor it means that you have already Qualified by
taking a student of yours through the program to Black Belt so there is no
longer any necessity to pay testing fees to the IKCA. You are only required to
do so with one student. The exception of course are promotions to Black Belt.
When each of your subsequent students is going for their Black Belt they must
test through the IKCA in order to become a Sanctioned IKCA Black Belt. As to
charging a fee over that of the IKCA's, if you are teaching and giving extra
time to a student in preparation of an upcoming test you must charge what you
feel is fair for that time. The IKCA charges for time spent and it is only
reasonable for you to do the same. In fact, because of the amount of time
expended upon such promotions the IKCA Black Belt tests and promotions have
recently been raised to $225.00. Complete rules concerning and governing rank
are here on the web site under, IKCA Bylaws. Click here for a direct
11. Are there additional
requirements after black belt?
There are many things to be
learned from the Karate Connection, once you have achieved a Black
Belt. Things, that are not required to become an IKCA Black Belt.
These things are also not required to attain degrees in Black Belt
with the IKCA, they are optional. These are subjects that our
students have requested further knowledge in and we are happy to
oblige. This is generally done on a student-by-student basis.
The primary concern and
goal of the Karate Connection is to give our students the best
standup fighting system available and to make them as natural and
spontaneous within that system as possible - in other words - turn
out the best Kenpo Black Belt's we can. And to do it within as short
a period of time, on a student-by-student basis, as possible. For
more on this subject please read the IKCA Philosophy.
12. Has the system
evolved since the videos were initially produced? If so, how do you
present the changes?
The system has evolved in
many ways since the videos were initially produced but it has
changed very, very little since that time. We know that can be
confusing so here's what we mean by that: The system was created,
using over fifty years of combined experience, by Mr. LeRoux and
myself. As you may know, it took us right at about two years to
complete the plan. (See the Newsletter Article - In the Beginning for further details) In that two years we had to decide where,
within the system, to present certain elements and we had to keep
examining the overall plan to see what, if anything, we had
unnecessarily repeated or possibly didn't emphasize enough. But
above all, we also had to review and examine, with the proverbial
fine toothcomb, every technique we had ever learned and what we
wanted to teach. Therefore many of the techniques had to be revised
and in some cases eliminated completely because upon stiff scrutiny
we found they didn't really live up to what they were suppose to
accomplish. The system has evolved because we have placed more
emphasis on certain things such as breathing and the use of the Kiai
as well as covering out and blending, borrowing and combining at the
end of a given technique, as well as greater emphasis on stance and
stance change in general. All of these things are in the original
videos but we didn't place as much emphasis on them as we have come
to want to see from our students. Those are only a few of the
elements that have been punched-up over the last ten years, since we
began the video-testing program. We were extremely fortunate that we
had the background and the time to plan as thoroughly as we did.
Because of the degree of planning that went into the system we have
something that has proven itself time and time again over the past
ten years. All anyone has to do is visit an IKCA Seminar or
Tournament to see the results. So, as far as change is concerned, we
haven't had to make any substantial changes because it simply hasn't
been necessary and like the man said, "If it ain't broke don't fix
it. There have been two modifications to techniques that I have
personally made. However, in both cased I make those changes
optional and as far as the Master form is concerned either is
acceptable, in both competition and for promotion. They are not so
much changes as they are just a slightly different approach to the
technique. A change of weapon in one case and a different method of
delivery in the other. And in both cases we wait until Black Belt to
make the suggestions and leave making the changes up to the
individual. The last part of the question is - how do we make the
changes? Easy - we do it when we talk to the student at the end of
his or her video test and physically demonstrate what they did
incorrectly or what could be improved upon and show them what we
expect to see the next time. We make it no secret, that if a person
buys the entire video set and studies it diligently, they are still
only getting half, or less, of the system - the rest of it comes
through the interactive video correspondence we have with the
student. The one on one, if you will. And remember, we never said it
would be easy, we just said we could make it possible!
13. How does the IKCA
Kenpo compare to Ed Parker's American Kenpo?
The basics that were taught
to us by Ed Parker which constitute the heart and soul of Kenpo and
the basics we teach on the video series and to in-person students,
with just a couple of exceptions, are identical. They are pure
Kenpo. The similarities and differences between IKCA Kenpo and Ed
Parker's Kenpo are primarily theoretical.
14. I am a third degree
Blackbelt in another school of Kenpo. Can I cross test for Black
Belt? Where do I start?
This isn't going to be
easy. We hate telling Kenpo Blackbelts that they must start at the
beginning and work all the way through, just the same as a beginner.
Except, they are not beginners and their rate of progress is usually
like a comet by comparison. The only reason you will have to start
with the basics is for us to make certain you have them the way they
were intended in the beginning. Sometimes when a person learns from
a fourth or fifth generation Kenpo Blackbelt, or often even further
from the source than that, things can get lost or misinterpreted
along the way. It doesn't take many changes within the basics, to
throw the rest of the system into a real tailspin.
Once the basics check-out
there is the matter of learning the fifty-five techniques that make
up the rest of the Karate Connection system, which for a Kenpo
Blackbelt should be absolutely no problem. When the fifty-five
techniques are in place, so is the Master Form and therefore the
system. Learning to blend, borrow and combine and pulling it to all
together in that special spontaneous Karate Connection way is
another matter. That's what takes the real time and effort. Knowing
it and being able to do it spontaneously and upon demand are all too
often two different things.
15. I have a bad hip
joint and I have trouble kicking with my right leg. Can I still test
and get my Black Belt?
16. I have been
partially paralyzed by a stroke, left side, can I still test and
become a ranked Blackbelt?
We have put these questions
together because they have the common denominator of a physical
issue. Each case is different, because each individual is different
and if we can see a way for a person to proceed in the Art and
progress, we will work with them to the full extent of our
abilities. That's the beauty of getting to know you on video. Each
of our students is considered on a personal and individual basis,
exactly as it would be in the dojo. People confined to wheelchairs
have received their Black Belts. In fact I was told that such a
person now runs a school in the West L.A. location that Ed Parker's
dojo once occupied and is doing very well there. I don't know what
style he teaches.
Getting your Black Belt
involves much more than being able to do specific moves to a
particular level of proficiency. Certainly, that's the first thing
that's looked for but physical conditions and many other factors
have to be taken into consideration so that we can make Kenpo work
for you. Ed Parker was fond of saying that "Kenpo is like a fine
suit made from exquisite fabric and it should be tailored to you".
Every intelligent person instinctively knows that if two men of
equal knowledge, abilities, talent and experience (if you could ever
find two such people) were to meet on the field of battle, and one
was five feet tall and the other six feet tall, the six-footer with
superior strength and reach would have a natural advantage. So to
say that a man in a wheelchair is equal in mobility to a man with
his natural ability to maneuver, would be ludicrous. Could the man
in the wheelchair have superior upper body strength? Yes he could.
Could the man in the wheelchair have superior fighting knowledge and
strategies, having learned how to make the chair work for him,
instead of against him? Yes he could. Would these be enough to
assure him a victory? It would surely make a huge difference in his
chances. Would he be better off with practiced fighting skills and
strategies than without them? Of course he would. So why would
anyone wish to deny him those tools, just because he doesn't fit the
If the man in the
wheelchair were to put forth the same effort the mobile man puts out
and if the man in the wheelchair were to replace his weaknesses with
strengths and, with our help, modify the system to work for him,
would he not be deserving of receiving a Black Belt for this
extraordinary effort. We think the answer is, yes. In fact,
considering those obstacles we might even say, more deserving. We
have not had the opportunity to work with a case like this but we
would certainly be available if it should ever present itself.
17. I would like to take
all the tests up to black and for Black Belt fly out and test in
person. If this is possible, what would the cost be and how much
advanced notice would you need.
This has been done in the
past. The charge for a Black Belt Video test is $225.00 the fee for
an in person Black Belt Test is $325.00. There is unavoidably more
time devoted to an in-person test than there is to a video test. The
video lesson done at the end of the test has to be done live and
that also runs into a lot more time. The fee would be even higher,
if we were to figure it literally but we know people like doing it
and we enjoy it as well, so we have kept the cost as reasonable as
we possibly could.
18. Do you and Mr.
Sullivan teach private lessons and if so, what is the fee?
Time permitting; we do
occasionally take on students for private lessons. The fee we charge
is $20.00 per half hour lesson. Each lesson we teach is video taped
so the student has a reference at his or her disposal after the
actual lesson. That way we can teach more material per lesson
because we know that when the student shows an understanding for
what is being presented at the moment we don't have to wait for them
to get it completely, because they have the video to go back to.
It's like getting two or three lessons at once.
We don't necessarily limit
each lesson to a half hour. If a student travels a long distance to
get to us and their stay is not going to be a long one and they want
more time at each session, it can be arranged, using the $20.00 per
half hour as a base.
When we teach a half hour
lesson it is a full half hour of instruction. One of the saddest
stories I have ever heard was from a student of mine who moved from
our area and couldn't make the classes any longer. As a substitute
he found a teacher near him. I won't publish the instructors name
but let's just say that he is a high-ranking Black Belt and was at
that time as well. My student told me that at each half hour lesson,
the instructor was consistently five or more minutes late and never
offered an apology. My student is an attorney and he told me that
another irritating habit of this instructor was to spend about the
first ten minutes, of what was suppose to be his lesson time,
getting legal advice, for which he never offered to pay. Then, to
add insult to injury, after about ten or twelve minutes he would say
that he had to get ready for his next lesson and leave the workout
room telling him to work on what he had just taught him.
My lawyer friend swore to
me that he never had a lesson with the man that lasted a full
fifteen minutes. Needless to say, he didn't stay with him for long
and what he was being charged, at that time, was staggering.
19. Will Mr. Sullivan or
Mr. LeRoux travel to our school and do a seminar and if so what is
Again, time permitting, it
is possible for Mr. LeRoux to travel to your school and do a
seminar. The fee he
charges is one thousand dollars and a percentage of the gross for a
three-day weekend, plus expenses. Given enough lead-time the IKCA
Newsletter will promote the event so that all members will know of
the Seminar and be able to participate.
20. Does the association
sell franchises and if so how much are they?
The IKCA does not sell
franchises. What is offered is a School Membership. What a school
membership does for a school owner or the operator of an after
school program or private club is to make them a part of an
International Organization enabling them to promote their students
and have them recognized world wide. The IKCA keeps promotion
records for each school and the promotions are published in the
quarterly IKCA Newsletter. A School Member may purchase IKCA
materials such as the videos, patches, t-shirts etc. at wholesale
prices for sale at their school or to their club members or after
school program students.
For more on School
Membership look at School Affiliation, here on the web site under
21. Can more than
one-person work off one set of the videos or do we have to buy a set
for each person to test?
There is no limit as to how
many people can work off one set of videos. You can do it as a group
at your workouts or pass them from one individual to another within
the group. What you cannot do is make copies of them for each other.
That's a violation of U.S. Copyright laws.
22. Do we have to be a
member in order to test?
No. Membership is not
required to test for rank with the IKCA. However once you become a
sanctioned Black Belt membership in the Association is a requirement.
23. Is there a discount
for more than one person testing?
No. The test fee is $65.00
per test, per person up to and including Brown Belt. The test fee is
$225.00 for Black Belt and $150.00 for Degrees in Black Belt.
24. Can I put three
tests on one video when testing?
No. With the price of a VHS
Cassette at not much more than a dollar these days and with each
test coming back with a private lesson to each individual, it
behooves each student to have their own cassette. In fact, most
people just keep sending all of their tests in on the same cassette
so they run concurrently.
It becomes very confusing
for us to handle multiple tests on one cassette and if we make
mistakes and it requires more time on our part it will necessitate a
raise in the price for future tests. Something, which we would like
to avoid, as we are certain you would as well.
25. Do you accept 8mm
and VHS-C videos for testing?
No. If you have 8mm or
VHS-C you also have the facilities to transfer the contents to a
regular VHS tape. Practically no one these days has only those
formats without having a standard VHS Cassette recorder as well.
The same condition is
present here as in the previous question. It's all a matter of time.
Transferring tapes takes our time from other more important elements
of our day and if we have to do these things or hire someone to do
them, it has to be paid for. No one can afford to work for free, so
it means we would have to raise the price for testing across the
board, which we have said, we don't want to have to do.
26. Can you tell me if
there are any IKCA students in my area that I can work out with?
We can run a zip code
search of IKCA students through the database. This service is
reserved for IKCA Members only.
27. Does your
Association have a school in my area?
Again, we can run a
database search for schools as well. This service also is reserved
for IKCA Members only.
28. Why in the videos,
do you wear red tops with black pants while everywhere else you wear
The reason we wear red tops
in the videos is to be seen better on video with our background.
There seemed to be a better contrast with red on our background,
than black or any other colors we tried. That's all.