Swinging Pendulum (EPAK Purple #4)

Technique: Swinging Pendulum
Attack: Right Roundhouse Kick
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Kicks
Family Group: Kicks
Official (24 Tech) Location: Purple #4
32 Tech Location: Purple #9
16 Tech Location: Blue #4
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Chopping the Log

Swinging Pendulum is the 4th required technique to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Swinging Pendulum is a defense against a right roundhouse kick from the front, placing it in the Kicks category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Kicks Family Group in the family groups striking division.

In Swinging Pendulum you learn how to overcome a powerful kick and its subsequent followups by moving up the circle into a zone of sanctuary with the delivery of a universal block.  Your opponent’s kick reaches it maximum potential at the apex of the circle, your moving up the circle, shortens the circle causing your opponent’s kick to travel past the apex where it now loses momentum as well as puts him past an angle of no return leaving a weakness in his defense. Your knowledge of reverse motion allows you to counter his actions borrow his momentum and nullify any further action.


Swinging Pendulum – defense for a right roundhouse kick.

  • Step 1
    • Slide your left foot counter clockwise toward 4:30 to form a right neutral bow stance facing 10:30.
    • Deliver a universal block to the inside of your opponent’s right leg (preferably at the knee).
  • Step 2
    • Shuffle (push-drag) forward toward 10:30,
    • Deliver a right outward downward hammerfist strike to your opponent’s groin,
    • Simultaneously deliver a left vertical outward block to check high
  • Step 3
    • Slide your left foot counter clockwise toward 1:30 into a right neutral bow facing 7:30,
    • Deliver a right rear vertical snapping obscure elbow strike (obscure elbow) to your opponent’s chin.
    • Left hand covers the middle area.
  • Step 4
    • Crossover and cover out toward 2:30.

Additional Information


The term ‘pendulum’ is used in American Kenpo to refer to a downward block or hammerfist strike. In this technique your second move resembles the swinging motion of a pendulum on its downward path to your opponent’s groin.


In the ideal phase, you are already in a right neutral bow and your attacker is directly in front of you (12:00) in a left neutral bow. He then proceeds to deliver a full strength right roundhouse kick toward you.

A roundhouse kick is a versatile kick and if delivered off of the rear leg can be a tremendously powerful kick as it generates a lot of momentum as it travels toward its target.  The kick may be delivered off the front or rear legs, often called a wheel kick when delivered from the front leg.  Targets can vary from your feet to your head and it can be delivered from a stationary position or while in motion.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Left Sliding
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Universal Block
  • Forward Shuffle (Push-Drag)
  • Left Vertical Outward Block (Positional)
  • Right Outward Downward Hammerfist Strike
  • Right Snapping Obscure Elbow Strike
  • Crossover
  • Cover Out


  • Right Leg/Knee
  • Groin
  • Underneath the Chin

Concepts & Principles

  • Angle of Deviation
  • Angle of Deflection
  • Apex
  • Body Alignment
  • Borrowed Force
  • Changing of the Guard
  • Contouring
  • Double Factor
  • Drawing
  • Obscure Zones
  • Orbital Change
  • Path of Action
  • Reverse Motion
  • Shortening the Circle
  • Upside of the Circle
  • Zones of Sanctuary


  • What if …
    • your opponent kicks high?
    • your opponent kicks low?
    • your opponent fakes a low kick then delivers a high kick?
    • your opponent fakes a roundhouse kick and throws a hook kick?
    • your opponent throws a right front roundhouse kick?
    • your opponent plants his foot back instead of going full force?
    • your opponent plants forward and follows with a left hook punch?
    • your opponent plants forward and follows with a right punch?

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • In the 1975 Accumulative Journal this was purple belt technique #17.
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal has you
    • slide your left foot toward 4:00 during the initial move
    • Shuffle forward toward 11:00 during the second move
    • Slide your left foot toward 2:00 during the third move
    • depart towards 2:00

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

SWINGING PENDULUM (front roundhouse right kick)

  1. Standing in a right neutral bow (fighting stance), slide your left foot counter clockwise to 4 o’clock and strike with a right inward block simultaneously with a left downward block (universal block) against opponent’s kicking right leg preferably at the knee.
  2. Shuffle (push drag) toward 11 o’clock as you deliver a right downward hammerfist to opponent’s groin. (You’re still in a right neutral bow with your left hand checking high.)
  3. Again shift your left foot counter clockwise to 2 o’clock as you deliver a right upward vertical elbow strike to opponent’s jaw.
  4. Right front crossover and cover out to 2 o’clock.



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