Curriculum Layout

Connected Response (CoRe) Kenpo is a system of Kenpo developed by Master Casey Clayton based on his training under SGM Ed Parker and his accumulated experience and advanced research in Human Bio-Mechanics/Kinesiology.


Please Note: Master Clayton and I have been going back and forth on how things will be laid out in terms of progression/belts, but this is the overall structure of the curriculum (so things may change).

The basic idea is that what’s necessary for an effective Kenpo system can actually fit into a much smaller commitment than current systems do – or as Master Clayton likes to refer to it: Kenpo in a Thimble.

Basic Strikes/Kicks/Maneuvers

  • Bases (stances)
    • Striking
    • Kicking
  • Strikes
    • Hook Punch
    • Backfist
    • Uppercut
    • Hammerfist
    • Straight Punch
  • Elbows
    • Inward
    • Outward
    • Upward
    • Downward
    • Reverse
  • Kicks
    • Snap
    • Heel
    • Hook
  • Roll and Recovery

Attack Groupings

  • Incoming
    • Hook Punch
    • Straight Punch
    • Uppercut (sucker punch)
    • Kick to the Groin
    • Front Push
  • Grabs
    • Choke
    • Front Shirt
    • Rear Shoulder
    • Arm
    • Arm Twist
  • Holds
    • Side Strangle
    • Rear Strangle
    • Trunk
    • Front Tackle
    • Single-Leg Takedown
  • Fall and Recovery
    • Falling Down
    • Front Pin (the mount)
    • Arm/Leg Grab
    • Rear Body Hold


CoRe Kenpo uses a standard American Kenpo belt layout:

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Brown
  • Black

The requirements for each belt are the following (note that lower rank curriculum requirements are cumulative):


The basics are grouped into two sections:

  • Strikes
  • Kicks/Roll

The student needs to demonstrate the ability to properly (within a connected range of motion) execute the strikes/kicks/roll in order be promoted.


A purple belt student needs to be able to escape from various situations without being hurt, or you need to be able to neutralize an attack (a disruption of attacks it not required at this point, but bonus points if you can). The basic goal is to be able to keep yourself safe.


A student must be able to demonstrate not only effective neutralization of attacks but must also demonstrate effective disruptions against the attacker for two attack groupings. The disruptions must be effective within an inhale/exhale time frame. The student must respond to attacks not just withdraw. The point is to work toward conditioned responses.


The green belt student must be able to neutralize and disrupt continuous attacks of the same kind, but with variations (right vs. left hand, different angles). Again the student doesn’t not have the option of escape, and they may or may not have inhale/exhale time frames in which to respond to attacks. This level of proficiency must be demonstrated for three attack groupings.


At brown belt, the grabs and holds groupings become a single grouping as it creates a more realistic flow in a confrontation. The student is expected to handle any attack within a single category at a time. The focus is on being able to respond to increased variability in responding to attacks.


A black belt (Shodan) student is expected to be able to handle any attack at moderate speed but with control, similar to a real self-defense engagement.

The student must also write a monograph discussing and analyzing the CoRe Kenpo methodology. The student must use their own words, and must compare and contrast CoRe Kenpo with other styles of Kenpo and martial arts as whole. The student must explain their understanding of the system, its training methodologies, and how they’ve developed as part of going through the system. The student must also discuss how they think the system could be improved.

The essay should not be derogatory toward the compared styles, but should be an honest assessment. Older and more academically inclined students will be expected to write longer and more thoughtful essays.

Beyond Black

Requirements will be decided on by the instructor based on the student’s performance. For 2nd (Nidan), 3rd (Sandan), and 4th degree black belt (Yondan) – generally based on things they excel at or have particular difficulty with. There are also time-in-grade requirements.

5th Degree (Godan) – A research paper or thesis demonstrating that you’ve attained real mastery of the arts by doing something truly original with what you’ve learned.

6th Degree (Rokudan), 7th (Shichidan), 8th (Hachidan), and 9th (Kudan) – Based on what you give back to the arts, such as training a proficient black belt or developing an effective training methodology for allowing larger class sizes while still being able to maintain high standards of competence.

10th Degree – You’ve created your own branch of Kenpo/martial arts. This would also included recognition by other high ranking black belts/marital artists.

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