Wilton: Kenpo builds body awareness 

  • Vinny Anfuso of Greenfield, front, leads Caleb Gammon, 7, of Wilton, Aiden Gammon, 7, of Wilton, and Kooper Hindle, 6, of Milford during a American Kenpo class in Wilton.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari —Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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  • Kooper Hindle, 6, of Milford, practices Kenpo at the Rise Up! Center in Wilton on Tuesday night.  STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

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Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, January 05, 2017 7:2AM

Unlike many of its martial arts counterparts, American Kenpo bases its movements off the human form, rather than those of animals.

Vinny Anfuso, who runs the Universal Kenpo East Coast Regional Training Center, a school teaching American Kenpo, also known as Kenpo karate, said that the form of Kenpo he teaches is considered the first American system of martial arts, developed in Hawaii.

“It’s a form of martial arts very similar to karate, but it’s more modern and fits the needs of people now,” said Anfuso, of Greenfield.

What Anfuso means by that, he said, is that the forms are based on the English language, and that they incorporate physics and kinesiology, and that the moves stem from the natural movements of the human body.

“A lot of Asian martial arts were created by mimicking animals and not humans, so the physical platform is not anatomically correct,” said Anfuso. “A lot of the older classical systems lack natural anatomical alignment, whereas in American Kenpo, the focus is starting out maintaining that natural alignment.”

Anfuso’s own love of the martial arts began at a young age, he explained, when an uncle introduced him to Kenpo at the age of 12 or so. He opened a full-time school in 1990 and has been teaching ever since, most recently in the Rise Up! Center in Wilton, where he teaches classes for adults and children. Kids can start taking his classes at about 6 years old, he said.

At that age, it’s mostly about building awareness – both physically and mentally. Although, he added, sometimes that’s a lesson his adult students need to learn, too.

“You’d be surprised how many adults never think about their heart rate – the connection between their pulse and their body. It’s sometimes surprising to find that sometimes what a child or adult needs from a teacher can be the same principle. When you boil it down, we all need the same things,” said Anfuso.

Anfuso is still accepting students of all ages for his classes at the Rise Up! Center, held on Tuesday nights. For more information, contact Anfuso at 547-5226 or vanfuso@hotmail.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244.