Bok Leen Pai Kenpo’s Lethal Legs


by Glenn C Wilson

Bok leen pai is a kenpo system recognized for its hand speed, kicking power, and traditional martial arts values.

The "fist law" has many faces and natures to it. In their diversity kenpo disciplines find similarities. Some prefer a harder execution while others favor a softer deliverance. The majority of kenpo disciplines prefer to mix these two natures. A rhythmic deliverance of techniques, some hard and some soft are played out developing a very beautiful lethal system of martial arts.

You will find a certain loyalty among kenpo practitioners toward their particular discipline of kenpo and kenpo in general.  Among such unique systems of kenpo as kosho, shoreiryu, kajukenbo, shaolin kenpo, Chinese kenpo, shorinji, won hop kuen do, American kenpo, kara-ho, and Tracy's kenpo, lies a secretive and time-proven system of kenpo - bok leen pai.

Bok leen pai, the "White Lotus Family" system of martial arts, is a blend of the disciplines of the Byakurenji Temple training and the Pai Family chuan fa. This blend took place in the early 1900s thanks to sijo Pai Po Fong. The rigorous, and at times brutal, training of the Byakurenji set the foundation of Pai lum tao training in general. With the test of time, a style or system will ultimately be as good as the teachers that promote it. Book lee pai's history tells who and what they are.

Recognizing Bok Leen Pai

The characteristics of bok leen pai kenpo include:

  • Strong, yet mobile stances;
  • Blending of circular and linear strikes;
  • High level of chi development;
  • Stiff arm punch with relaxed body;
  • Sideways "dragon" fighting stance;
  • Lightning-fast hand combinations and strikes;
  • Blocking and striking with the same hand;
  • Kicks to ribs, done with intricate leg maneuvers;
  • Rapid success of hand strikes over the entire body;
  • Stalking in a circle while fighting; and
  • Spirit Shout - "Hey Chi," chanting - "OM," Acknowledgement - "Ush"


Great grandmaster Daniel K. Pai once said, "More than just technique is required to be a master. A master must also be deeply involved in philosophies. A master must seek the truth and allow no boundary to set limits on their search. This is the way of the master, one who is always beginning at the beginning regardless of his years of experience."

What is Bok Leen Pai?

When the bitter cold blows in from the North, the snow engulfs Mother Earth sending all into a state of hibernation. The lotus flower blooms, sharing its beauty to all. The endurance, beauty, durability, and strength of the white lotus have made it a symbol of reverence throughout Asia. These are the virtues upon which the bok leen pai system of knpo was built. Bok (white), leen (lotus), and pai (family) is recognized by its fluidity, power, solid stances, intricate footwork, lightning fast handwork and deep traditional values.

Students are trained from the ground up - stance leads to posture and posture leads to technique. Once the foundation is established the intricate formulas for movement are put into action. The practitioner has now embarked on a fascinating voyage, which will take him through 72 self-defense fist sets, 16 forms, a multitude of blocks, punches, kicks, jointlocks, pressure point strikes, throws, and weaponry. The average time to achieve a black belt is five years of diligent study. The philosophies of mind, body and spirit encompass the teachings and disciplines of bok leen pai.

Where Are The Kicks?

Traditionally, bok leen pai kenpo is about 75 percent hands and 25 percent feet. Stories told of the hand techniques of bok leen pai are well-earned. Yet, don't concentrate too much on those mystical hand movements or you won't see the bok leen pai's thunderous kicks.

Kicks are targeted to the rib cage and down. The execution of the kick is to cut, crush or disrupt. Hidden behind the barrage of intricate hand techniques are lethal and sometimes seemingly invisible leg strikes.

Key factors such as power, speed, conditioning and deliverance are the ingredients of success. Bok leen pai kicks are used to lead the barrage, break down the root, dislodge weight distribution, intercept assaulting techniques, trap and disorientate, as well as finish a confrontation with crushing and slicing techniques that penetrate and cut through the attack.

Kicks are delivered with extreme power and execution, and feature in-depth penetration to pinpoint target areas. Power kicks begin with hours of slow, disciplined kick execution. Kicks are done in an easy isometric fashion until the proper muscles, tendons and ligaments are properly conditioned. One then begins to develop power with "the bag". This entails starting with drills into sawdust and sandbags. The power developed through sandbag training is incredible. It is not uncommon for a Pai lum tao practitioner to shatter the leg of a wooden dummy in half with a shin strike.

Some basic standards for kicking are:

  • Never leave the groin exposed;
  • Shift weight to the supporting leg prior to the kick;
  • Exhale when kicking, matching the breath with the kick;
  • Perform kicks from the waist down;
  • Kick to, into, then through the targeted area;
  • Relax the body for maximum Chi flow;
  • Dragon waist whipping for maximum penetration and power;
  • Keep supporting leg 'foot' flat on the ground;
  • Kicks should always quickly retract to the original position;
  • Chop the opponent's base or foundation; and
  • Whipping and snapping must be mastered.

Thousands of kicks will be executed to the air in front of the mirror partner. This helps the kick flow freely and relaxed. This modern form of training has proven its worth many times over. Speed can only be mastered in one's kicks when the body relaxed. Proper breathing patterns must be practiced to relieve the body of stress and tension. The kick should explode from a set position to maximum penetration in the blink of an eye.

Leg strikes such as monk's spade, knife edge, roundhouse, wheel, front snap and side heel are popular within the leg striking series. These bok leen pai kenpo leg strikes are unyielding in the execution. They have been called deceiving, distracting, irritating, confusing, invisible and always lethal.

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