Sunday, April 15, 2018

American Kenpo Crest

EPAKS is proud to announce to the public that an initiative has been underway for some time to come up with a modern version of the American Kenpo Crest. This blog is the first public display of the outcome of that initiative.

Please take the time to read this write-up. It explains why and what this new American Kenpo crest is about and how you can go about getting your own copy of the image. This image can be used at your own discretion and without the worry of litigation. It was specifically developed for all practitioners of the art to proudly use, display, wear, and/or promote as they see fit.

Getting the image:

Below are links for viewing and downloading the image in various formats. Clicking on a link will take you directly to the view of the image, in the format requested. Once viewed the image can then be save saved to your computer.

Vector graphic formats:

These formats can be scaled to any size without any loss in quality and are used by printers for banners, patches, etc. SVG is also a new standard for web design.

Universal format:

This format is generally considered a universally accepted format. It was developed by Adobe for being an all-purpose format and is also widely accepted by printers.

Raster graphic formats:

These formats are generally used on websites, etc. - but loose quality if enlarged too much. They are the primary formats used for online and digital documents.

Write-up about the new crest:


The purpose of this design is to create a modern image which honors the history of American Kenpo; summarizes the foundational principles, ideas, and concepts at its core; is as distinguishable and unique as the art itself; and can be used and displayed with pride by any and all of its many practitioners – regardless of affiliation, lineage, and / or political alignment.


The overall theme of the new image is to show respect and highlight American Kenpo's history - from its original Chinese / Indian origins up to present day, and to do so in a manner that is concise, symbolic, thorough, and unique.


American Kenpo crest – a.k.a. The Kenpo Solidarity crest / The Kenpo Unity crest


This is a summary composition of the major elements of the design. There are many more historical and subtle meanings which are purposely omitted from this write-up and left up to the observer to discover by themselves; but which may be further delved into in separate documents / discussions.


full shape
A distinct, but historically familiar shape which represents the unity of the Kenpo community, the inclusion of all who practice the art, and an honoring of both its Asian and American roots.
  • The top section is composed of primarily circular elements, which represent the more advanced (or higher) motions of the art
  • The bottom section is composed of primarily linear elements, which represent the more basic (or lower) motions of the art
  • The top section is supported by the bottom section, which represents the concept - "where straight lines end, circles begin, and visa-versa"
  • The rounded points and sloping arches of the top section represents the concept that the ultimate aim of a Kenpoist is to round off corners and elongate circles
  • The upward and outward arches of the top section express the general shape of the pagoda; which represents the warding off of negative, evil, and / or malicious intentions, thoughts, and actions
  • The bottom section also contains the most advanced element of the design, the flame, which represent alpha and omega - i.e. both the beginning and the end of one's Kenpo journey


  • White - Represents the foundation of the art, the non-initiated and / or white belts and those we are duty bound to protect
  • Black – Represents the goal of physical perfection of the art
  • Red – Represents the goal of wisdom and mastery of the art, from a spiritual and mental aspect
  • Gray – Represents the reminder that the physical aspects of our art are always controlled by the mental aspects

Interior Shapes:

  • Triangle / Circle / Square – Highlights the 3 primary shapes of Kenpo
  • Compass Rose / Dharma Wheel
    compass rose
    • Highlights the 8 primary angles of the original hand movements
    • Highlights the 3 primary symbols in Kenpo – the '-' (line), '+' (plus), and 'x' (diagonal plus)
  • Lines / Circles – Highlights the understanding that all motion is a line or a circle


  • American Kenpo – Honoring the art we practice
  • Chinese – Honoring the origins of the art (translations follow): upper left = hand / upper right = dragon / lower left = tiger / lower right = fist

Symbolic elements:

  • Flame
    • Represents the flame that burns in every practitioner to achieve wisdom, mental, and physical perfection of the art - a goal for which one must always strive, but can never fully achieve
    • Highlights the 3 levels of advanced achievement – instructor, professor, master
    • Rests inside the white plain of the triangle, not the black, to remind the advanced practitioner from where they began
    • Touches the bottom of the triangle (the base) but never quite reaches the top (total mastery).
    • Is not solid and monolithic, and incorporates the white color all the way through it, to highlight that even the master practitioners still contains elements of and rely upon the novices
  • Triangle
    • Represents the 3 levels of physical / mental acumen and experience of practitioners of the art
    • The strongest of foundational shapes which supports the entire structure of the art (the top part of the design)
    • Highlights rule #1 of self-defense: establish a base
    • Highlights the concept of brace angle
  • Fist
    • Represents the physical aspect of the art
    • Placed in a gray field as a reminder that all of our physical interactions are governed and controlled by our minds
  • Circle / Square / Circle
    • Highlights the concept: "the square in the circle and the circle in the square" and "zones of sanctuary"
    • The gray of the square never fills the enclosing circle, highlighting the fact that one never achieves full mastery of the mind
    • The 2 circles highlight the 2 primary physical ranges 'close' and 'far'
  • Compass Rose / Dharma Wheel
    compass rose
    • Exposes the concepts of: opposite (white / black) and reverse (directions)
    • Exposes the advanced movement of the figure 8 (shape of the points - combined)
    • Represents the internal compass that all practitioners should have to use their skills for good and righteousness
    • Highlights the concept of Dharma – which embodies conduct, virtues, duty, law, and cosmic law and order
    • Recognizes that the original practitioner that brought the martial arts to China originated in India


Who created the crest?

The design was put together by a cadre of community minded Kenpo practitioners, with a combined total of hundreds of years' experience in Kenpo. The group agreed that the final product was to be released under the EPAKS brand. EPAKS was chosen because of its outstanding reputation for releasing quality products to the community and its community minded goals.  The participants agreed to volunteer their time and expertise only if no single individual would get credit and that when the project was completed the final design would be made available to the Kenpo community for use without hassles and/or royalties, forever.

How did the design come about?

The design started from scratch with a list of important elements that needed to be included due to their historical and / or conceptual relevance to and the development / understanding of Kenpo. Then each element was carefully composed into the final design with each location / placement and inclusion debated and defended. This process took many weeks of back and forth discussions until the entire design group agreed that the final design was complete. Many individuals outside the group were also contacted about the project and exposed to the design while it was still under development, to get ideas, feedback, and opinion; and to help with the acceptance of the overall goal of the project.

Why wasn't the existing Association Crest just copied and modified like most everyone else's crest / design?

The design was specifically created so as to NOT be a copy of the Association Crest. But, rather a completely unique and modern design with each and every element of the design portraying some element of either Kenpo principles, theory, concepts, or ideas and / or Kenpo history. The entire group respects the original Association Crest and felt that it was and is a distinctive symbol of Kenpo's American origins and should be left as such.

Why create a new design?

For various reasons, an ever growing number of practitioners, groups, associations, and organizations are deciding to move away from the use of the Association Crest. Concern for long-term unity of the Kenpo community was the nexus for this project. We all respect the art, have a shared goal of perpetuating it, and want to see it stay as a united and admired martial art, worldwide. The intention and hope of this design is to create a common way in which we all can proudly show our unity and commonality, in addition to or in place of the current Association Crest and / or other, more specific, crest(s). In summary, this new design is the result of a desire to allow all Kenpo practitioners, regardless of affiliation or association, to proudly display a unifying symbol of their distinctive martial art in a non-political and non-commercial way.

Can I get a copy of the design and use it on my own products, materials, equipment, etc...?

Yes! The graphic is made available, in many different formats, to anyone who requests it. It was specifically created for use by and for the Kenpo community, without charge.

Can I modify the design for my own purposes?

Yes. But, we are hoping that the community finds that the design is strong enough to stand on its own, without modification. The design is rich in symbolism and meaning, in both the elements and their placement, as well as the design overall. All we ask is that you first take the time to understand the importance of each element of the design, as well as its placement and relative position to other elements of the design, before modifying it. But, in the end, it is up to the individual / group to decide if they want to make a change to it. But, please remember that the intention of the design is for the entire Kenpo community, not a specific group or entity. So, we kindly ask that any modifications not be used as justification to make a claim to the entire design, but instead be executed with the same open intentions of this rendition of the design.

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