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The universal pattern is a three dimensional pattern of movement that can be done from the centre of the circle and is related to many martial arts. It involves direction, method, dimension and angle. The concept allows the martial artist to move in any direction and place they want from the centre of the circle however they want. The pattern relates to every move done in Kempo. The pattern was created by Mr Parker who is the founder of many Kempo styles especially American Kempo.
Direction involves moving toward or away from something it involves stepping forward, back, to the side, up down and any combinations of these. In the pattern it is represented by the straight lines. Kempo starts this in Kempo kata number two by stepping out in all directions and changing direction. Aikido techniques involve change of direction for example the fourth move of the shi shi na hon ura waza this is a kata learnt at blue belt that involves change of direction to uproot your opponent.
Method involves how the martial artist moves. This involves liner and circular methods. The liner method is preferred by martial arts like karate or singi. The circular method is preferred by bagua and aikido. Kempo uses both beginning with liner and when more competent using circular. The interrelationship between the two is important to Kempo and Tai chi. This relationship allows the concept of the returning fist and circular moves to become linear and vice versa. For example a straight punch can fold and become an elbow then circle back to the hip and become something else.
Dimension involves height, width and depth. Crane form is a good example of using dimension in Kempo. Crane form involves many heights from low stance to high crane stance. Crane form also has different depths with long and short range techniques. This involves the ability to defend from whatever the difference between your attackers. This allows you to step a long distance which is preferred in Kempo or a short distance which is preferred in aikido and choi quang do. It gives you ability to take you situation you get and deal with it appropriately. If you have limed space for example have been backed into a corner or you opponent is close you can use moves like elbows and close punches. If they are further away you can use stepping and stance like lunge punch. Height is the ability to successfully defend from lower or higher than your attacker. It can involve getting higher, defending, retaliating to different targets and getting your attacker down to your height. Defending and retaliating to different levels could involve blocking the head and kicking the groin. Getting your attacker down to your level could involve techniques that make them bend in Kempo these include kick to the groin or knee to the solar plexus. This also includes swallows dive. In Aikido this concept is also used with pressure techniques uprooting the (person who is taking the ukemi or break fall) and getting them arching back or on the ground. Flying kicks, jumping, changing stance or reaping are Kempo ways used to change height. In choi quang do the favoured way of changing height is by dodging by moving the weight to the other foot. Aikido changes height by kneeling on one leg. In most martial arts break falls and rolls are used to change height.
Angle is sometimes expressed in degrees and other times as hours of a clock, being the 12:00 the area in front of us when beginning the movement or combination. This allows us to defend from anywhere around ourselves. For example if your opponent is at 6.00 you step so that your opponent cannot hit you. This is a rudimentary concept in all martial arts. This avoidance gives you enough space to block, parry or redirect the opponent’s energy or attack then retaliate or execute a technique. In steps of Kempo number 2 angle starts to be explored with techniques going to many different angles. Crane form uses many of the angles on the clock. This is also utilised in clockwork patterns and body shifting. In aikido this is expressed as compass points or in front behind to the side etc. This is especially used in the onsoku where movement is happening to many angles.
The Vertical Line is the initial foot manoeuvre learnt it moves us either forward or backward along this line. Many moves use this direct line for example in Kempo front kicks and straight punches use this line. The vertical line is used throughout steps of Kempo number one. This vertical line is use throughout wooden snake, sai form and single staff form with the downward strikes. This is a staple of aikido. In aikido the first technique of the randorino Kata which is the first basic 17 moves of aikido uses this concept this technique. Shomen Ate uses opponent’s weak line to do the technique. This technique involves stepping offline (opening move) block inside hand, outside hand, inside hand palm to chin step forward. During this technique you step straight into the opponent week line which is in between the legs and push through.
The Horizontal Line is the third foot manoeuvre we learn as martial artists. This moves us either forward or backward along this line. This involves stepping side to side which is another staple of aikido avoidance. In Kempo this is done by stepping into horse riding stance and other stances to the side. In Kempo Kata Number 1 the first move uses this line by stepping up to a formal attention stance. This is also done in Kempo by side kicks and backfist to the side.
The plus design is the reference point of the middle of the circle it is the start of the foot pattern. It is the start of the movement. This point is where you come back to at the end of a form. Most forms in Kempo come back to the same position at the end of the form.
The "x" design may be thought of as a partial reference foot pattern and the "x" pattern can represent the four corners of the room that are referenced by the position of your centreline. This eight pointed design would represent the four walls and four corners referenced. This is abundant in Kempo with four corner sets and body shifting. This pattern is abundant in crane form with 3 four corner sets. It is also the path travelled by an outward block. This is also important in Kempo kata number two as it involves attacking and defending to four corners of the room.
The Diamond in the centre of the Universal Pattern is a diamond shaped square. This diamond could represent the inward diagonal path created by an inward block.
The Triangle is made by dividing up the diamond into several triangles, a pattern that can be used to reference both handwork and footwork. This is used in many moves in wooden man especially the first move which involves a wedge block which is striking to the face with both hands in a triangle shape.
The Circle is used in many different ways. From the large circle found in many returning fist techniques or small circles found in the twists in techniques. In advanced Kempo techniques the figure 8 is a frequently occurring pattern. The circle is very popular with bagua. There are 3 sizes of circles in this diagram the small ones the medium ones and the large one encompassing the whole pattern. The large circle is used double staff form when the pitchfork technique and also in wooden snake with the moves in which you are twirling the nunchku around the head. It is also used in flight to freedom which is a white belt self defence technique from a headlock that involves going under the persons arms and making a large circle to get out of the headlock. The small circle is used in the twists in techniques. The medium circle is used in clutching feathers which is a defence from a left hair grab. In akido the large circle is used in number 12 of the basic techniques which is a wrist throw called kote gashi. This technique involves stepping offline rowing the lower arm tacking a big step back and sideways while the hand comes over the top of the hand onto the back big step to the back big rotation of the hand uke goes into a forward roll.
The flower in the middle represents crescent step. The way that the foot is moved to ensure that the attacker is averted and forms a good reap as you advance. It is bringing the foot around the opponent to be able to be strong and grounded front on and be able to move at the last minute if something unforeseen happens. This also represents the stepping on the last movement of the onsoku in akido.
The heart represents love, peace and harmony between soft, hard, linear, and circular. This is especial relevant in both Kempo and aikido marring the soft and the hard together to get a technique that is very effective. It represents the perspective that training in a martial art is a way of learning how to prevent a fight. The heart is popular in bagwa stepping.
The figure of eight is a common move used in the Chinese techniques especially in forms like spear form and double staff form. It is also used in the in the four corner sets and conditioning.
The lines on the edge are stepping to different angles in a liner fashion after the first step. This is important to Kempo and aikido because it involves body shifting. Aikido this concept is really important because the first step is avoidance and the second step is through the uke (person who is taking the ukemi or break fall) weak line and is how the technique is carried out. In Kempo this is used the self defence technique 5 swords with the pivot when the knife hand is going into the neck and again when the rear thrust kick.
The universal pattern is important to martial arts. The universal pattern is a three dimensional pattern of movement that can be done from the centre of the circle. It involves direction, method, dimension and angle. The concept allows the martial artist to move in any direction and place they want from the centre of the circle however they want. It allows for the use of techniques, stepping and avoidance.