It is hoped that the reader can see that there are many differing and contrasting ideas within the definitional term "kenpo". There are as well some relatively consistent themes in many but not all of the definitions. For example, many origins will agree that "kenpo" is a dominating art of fast, hard hitting hands. Some other definitions will agree that "kenpo" is an art of "no body contact" whatever that means to them. Just in these two summary ideas alone, one can see how history will be reflected to dismiss and to embellish the origin idea.
The authority of a kenpo system or curriculum then is based upon either endorsement of a lineage or of objection/destruction of a lineage. Both are sometimes evident and necessary to fund, individualize, and command public acceptance. All of these systems still command the utilization of the term "kenpo" that will tie them in some manner, direct or indirect, as an ideological ancestor to James Mitose. The usage of basic product and service considerations are necessary as "kenpo" in whatever form represents a business product or service. It has to be consumed to continue its tradition.
Endorsement of Lineages I: Product branding of kenpo systems
Lineage is crucial as it endorses James as having learned something real and tangible. It gives the authority of time to the knowledge, acting as a reference in the obtainment of a public endorsement. It is known that given choices that humans will prefer what they know over what they do not. If I read an article about a product and am told that it is a company that has produced quality machinery for the past 25 years, I am more likely to buy that product over its new creation competitor. This is the importance of branding to a marketer and to a product.
The endorsement of a lineage yields such product branding. It also yields credence to disrupt those that will alter the product, effectively violating the warranties. It is critical that there is a matching of the brand identification elements so that the public is aware of the quality; and essentially diminishing the perception of quality in non-branded curriculum products.
Endorsements of Lineages II: Service branding of kenpo curriculums
Like product branding, service branding seeks time as its critical element to gain public endorsement. Service branding utilizes lineage to promote an experience as opposed to a tangible product. The endorsement is enhanced if the consumer can believe that the services are outside of modern knowledge, stemming often from an ancient time of a knowledgeable human society.
Service branding is critical to develop the peripheral aspects of martial art study such as inner peace and confidence even. It has been my argument for many years that service branding is the most critical element in the obtainment of martial art students. The switch to product branding is often most effective once the student, consciously or subconsciously, realizes that they must also purchase real products to support the desired services. This is the most typical experience in the martial arts whether on purpose or through unknowing action of the service brand.
Destruction of Lineages I: Brand creation in dominant markets-origin of modern systems
The destruction of lineages are also critical to brand development and creation. For example, if I want to market something new and innovative it would be best to show how the current brands and lineages do not address the modern times. One would correct, fix and remove ineffective elements to modernize the tradition. The new product brand is then created based upon the destruction of or misalignment to the traditional brands.
Whilst in the destruction of a lineage a new tradition can be produced, it should be understood that this brand is a juvenile and potentially unreliable. The destruction of tradition is not necessarily innovation. It may in fact be regressive. This is one of the seen side effects in the creation of a brand through the destruction of tradition. Older generations of martial artists will point out the often crude skills and mechanics. The young buyers of the brand will point to its aggression and the self-image they see in the rebellion. Whether the new brand succeeds is a question of time. Most brands, even the traditional brands, came from these roots.
Destruction of Lineages II: Brand destruction based upon objection-ethical dismissals
Brand destruction may also be based upon overt dislike or objection to the product or service brand. This is common to see based upon the methodology of the instruction, for example the "overkill myths", or based upon the instructors or participants, for example James Mitose himself. This destruction of lineage is fundamental as it deals with ethical, moral, religious, and philosophical lines of contrast.