Originally Posted by LA Guy
Good, practical style. I've never understood why it has two spellings though: Kenpo and Kempo. The school I went to spelled it Kenpo.
Because in Japanese, when you have an "n" before a bilabial consanent, it is pronounced "m" like "tenpura" sounds like "tempura." Since the Japanese language doesn't use roman characters, there is really no saying whether or not it's officially an "n" or an "m" as the sound of that particular symbol depends on if it is attached to a bilabial sound (np, nb) another vowel (na, nu, no, ni, ne), or at the end of a word (pan [bread], which sounds like "pang," or yarujan, which sounds like "yarujang"). However, the symbol is most commonly referred to as the "n" symbol, so, from a most technical standpoint and not from a directly phonetic standpoint, Kenpo is more correct, as is Tenpura, etc.
I think Chinese Kenpo is beautiful. Southern style Chinese martial arts, in general, are way underrated as being effective, beautiful and powerful. I learned a Longfist form, and then a Southern Fist form... I much preferred the wild and more powerful style of southern.
Japanese Kenpo, I think is practical mostly because it doesn't have such a traditional basis as Shotokan Karate, so it involves a lot of practical streetfighting techniques.
IMO, one should learn Chinese martial arts before anything. They require the most flexibility, endurance and the training is the most intense - at least in my experience (yes, more intense than Muay Thai, just less getting hit). Also, it's good for kids because they can extend their flexibility at an early age and there is generally no fighting involved so there's no risk of injury.