Kenpo Karate freestyle sparring is a type of sparring that is designed to simulate real-world self-defense situations. It is a form of sparring that allows practitioners to apply the techniques and principles they have learned in a more dynamic and fluid environment.

In Kenpo freestyle sparring, the participants are allowed to use any of the techniques they have learned in their training, including strikes, kicks, blocks, joint locks, and throws. The sparring is typically done with protective gear such as gloves, shin guards, and a mouthguard, to ensure safety for both participants.

Kenpo freestyle sparring is designed to be as realistic as possible, and practitioners are encouraged to use their training to defend against a variety of attacks, including strikes, kicks, and grabs. The sparring is also designed to be unpredictable, with the attackers using different types of attacks and varying the timing, distance, and angles of their attacks.

Kenpo freestyle sparring is not only a way to test and improve fighting skills but also a way to develop strategy, timing, reflexes, and adaptability. It can help practitioners to become more comfortable and confident in dealing with real-world self-defense situations.

It's important to note that Kenpo freestyle sparring is not a competition and the goal is not to defeat the opponent but to improve oneself, practitioners should always practice with respect and safety in mind. Also, sparring should be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor to ensure proper technique and safety precautions are followed.

The purpose of sparring is to promote the use of sparring as a vehicle for learning. If you are serious about training in the arts then you must incorporate sparring as part of your training regime. Kenpo has 2 forms of sparring, street freestyle, and tournament freestyle.

One of the advantages of sparring is that if your goal in martial arts is that of the combat aspect, sparring is the first step to take to see how much you have developed in your body mechanics and what you need to work on.

There is no "cheating" in how you perform. This is where you can find out the truth if your "stuff’ actually "works". However, the disadvantage is obvious; there is a chance of someone getting hurt. Let me be the first to say, SPARRING CAN BE DANGEROUS!

Especially if you are training with people who like to go that bit heavier and hit that bit harder. Not everybody should take this step in his or her martial arts training. First off, I would like to say that it is not a wise decision to just walk out there using little or no pads for protection.


Available books on Kenpo

Kenpo 21: Priority Principles

Kenpo - Eye of the Storm: Club Techniques A Beginners Guide

Kenpo - How to Survive Life: Concepts and Principles

Certain steps can be progressively taken to better prepare you for freestyle fighting. First, watch a couple of fights and decide is this something that you would like to pursue. If it isn't DON'T DO IT.

If you don’t believe that your skills are adequate, find someone that has them, preferably someone that has done this type of fighting or training before, and learn from them if that is what your goal is. Remember that the magic words are, "IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE IT".

Assuming that you have the skills, or are learning them, and you feel ready to take the next step, here are some ideas for you to work on. Before you start, order some good quality sparring gear, the dipped foam variety or proper boxing type gloves are ideal, set some basic rules, like when one guy says stop, you stop.

Discuss and decide on how much contact is involved, it is no good if one person is fighting light with little contact and the guy is fighting and landing heavy punches. That is not the purpose of training, you save that for a real fight on the street where you have to defend yourself.

Now start working on the drills you have been practicing in the air and in your classes, go at it for about two minutes. The tricky part here is that you have to be realistic and have a realistic training partner. Realistic meaning that both participants are visualizing that this is a real fight and in realizing this you are both not taking risks and doing unrealistic things. Assuming of course you are preparing yourself for a street fight and not a tournament.

After you have done this a few times start by working individual drills with a single move, and progress into multiple moves in your workout.

For example, you can isolate a right punch and add in angle # l. One guy can feed nothing but the first punch and first angle, eventually progressing to the same angle as a follow-through or as a retracting jab. Eventually, you add feints. After you have got a pretty good feel for this combination try moving to kicking drills only and work the same progression.

Next try the same combinations using fakes, follow-through, jabs, and some footwork. You can then work through all the angles this way if your picking up fast and have the time to work on this. Each step is a building block on your previous move and will take some time to master. Remember, everyone is different and learns at a different speed, so take your time and you will progress.

If you like, you can even take the same course of action using kick punch combinations. Work on these types of drills as long as you feel you need to. At no time should you step out on the mat if you don’t feel comfortable in the skills that you will need to protect yourself. There is no lying here, just the guaranteed truth as it stands for you.   


Do you have a weak point in your defensive skills?
Do you have a weak point in your offensive skills?
Are your kicks accurate?
Are your punch’s accurate?
Do your kicks have enough power?
Do your punches have enough power?
Are your punch’s weak?
Are your kick’s weak?
Are your elbows too high exposing your ribs?
Are your elbows too low exposing your head?
Have you got hit on your left hand or elbow yet?
Have you got hit on your right hand or elbow yet?
How about your rear leg?
How about your front leg?
Are you open to being swept?
Are you open to being grabbed?

You should be considering all of the above as you start to work on developing your offensive and defensive skills. Remember that throughout all of this it is still nice to go back to the BASICS so you can "try" new things and not get hurt doing so. The main thing is that you reach your goals and become realistic about what you are doing and the reason for doing it.

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