Wednesday, September 30, 2015

(from Sean Kelley's Facebook page, posted in memory of photo taken September 30th, 1987)

In Blessed Memory of 'Papa Angel' Chester Sliwa (Curtis's father) he was 91 years young and is now above the clouds with the other Angels looking over his many family members who love him. Here is a photo taken in the 1980's in New York with myself, Harry Krebs, Curtis Sliwa, Ed Parker, Mark Schiffman, and Chester Sliwa....that colorful smile will always be remembered. I enjoyed his stories about knowing Ed Parker and the times being in the Coast Guard. He also spoke of Bruce Lee and James Lee as well...a wealth of knowledge and a heart for loving loving anyone he came into contact with. I will miss him.

Jury awards $7.7 million to United Studios of Self Defense in lawsuit against Z-Ultimate


Irvine, Calif.–After a four-week trial, an Orange County Superior Court jury returned a $7.7 million verdict in favor of United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) in a case against Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios, LLC, Z-Ultimate Martial Arts Supplies, LLC and their individual owners.

USSD had argued that Z-Ultimate illegally rebranded USSD licensed dojos into Z- Ultimate studios without USSD’s consent or knowledge (United Studios of Self Defense, Inc., et al. vs. Kris Eszlinger, Hans Prosch, Frank Ley, William Clark, Russell Clegg, Paul Taylor, Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios, et al., Case No. 30-2010 00404621, Cross Complaint, Orange County Superior Court, October 7, 2010).

The jury awarded $6.5 million in compensatory damages on Sept. 13 and an additional $1.2 million in punitive damages on Sept. 18.

The jury decided unanimously in favor of USSD in almost every cause of action against Z-Ultimate companies and its owners (former USSD executives) Paul Taylor, Kris Eszlinger, Hans Prosch, Frank Ley, William Clark and Russell Clegg.

The charges included breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, Penal Code 502 (destroying computer records), trademark infringement and civil conspiracy. In addition, it found against Mike Hatleberg, manager of Z-Ultimate Martial Arts Supplies, LLC, for misappropriation of trade secrets and found against the owners of Z-Ultimate companies for malice and fraud.

“Z-Ultimate started this long legal battle in 2010 when its owners sued USSD as they attempted to unlawfully take over USSD schools,” says A. Barry Cappello, managing partner of the Santa Barbara law firm Cappello & Noël, LLP and the lead attorney representing USSD.

Each of the defendants were trained and mentored by Charles Mattera, 10th degree black belt and USSD’s founder, and eventually each ran numerous USSD schools. “Because of their breach of fiduciary duties and a collective conspiracy against USSD, they were able to illegally seize control and convert over 80 USSD locations,” explains Cappello.

USSD proved at trial that the defendants, during and after the takeover attempt, misappropriated USSD’s trade secrets including the Shaolin Kempo-style training system exclusively owned by USSD. They also took confidential corporate financial records and other confidential business materials. Defendants were found to have infringed the USSD logos and trademark.

In September 2010, the defendants announced in letters to investors and students that “select USSD locations will be joining the professional ranks of Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios.” “Their tactics misled students and investors into believing that USSD was still involved,” says Lawrence J. Conlan, USSD co-counsel with Cappello. “The defendants arrogantly believed that it would be okay to change the names of the USSD studios overnight and use USSD trade secrets and trademarks without suffering the legal consequences.”

“We are very happy with the jury’s decision,” says Mattera. “We thank USSD investors, instructors and, most of all, our students who have remained loyal to United Studios of Self Defense over these past two years.”

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mr. Bob White on issues facing kenpo today

(The following is a post from Mr. Bob White's Facebook page dated September 24th, 2015 with follow-up comments by Mr. Sascha Williams.)

I am very much looking forward to filming a television show today hosted by Kevin B. McDonald about the state of American Kenpo. Many of you have asked why I re...signed from the American Kenpo Senior Council and what are my feelings about KAM IV, what do I think about the ridiculous amount of 10th degrees, and what do I feel about the selling of rank around the world to line the pockets of the seller? I speak for myself and I do not represent any organization. These will be my observations and possible solutions to obvious problems. 

 I travel quite a bit and teach all over the world and not one trip comes around where the subject of 10th degrees and high belt promotions does not come up. There are law suits and litigation going on where thousands of dollars are being spent on attorneys where one meeting and working for a solution could solve the problem. The money spent on attorneys can be used to do good things around the world rather than trying to make a point. I know an organization that could put that money to good use helping abused children by the way.

 The Serenity Prayer;

 God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

 I don’t really know if there will be any change as a result of this show but I believe to sit back and not say anything is cowardly. Believe me when I say I can stay in Costa Mesa with my students and be quite happy with the wonderful gifts we have at our school and God willing that will continue, BUT there are major problems that need to be addressed.

 If you are interested I will post viewing information as I receive it.


Mr White, this is Sascha Williams. I would like to respond to your post.

When it comes to the 10th degree, I don't share the same panic everyone seems to be cultivating. Is it sad? Yes. Can it be fixed? I doubt it. Does it matter? Not really.

First, I don't think this has any impact on public opinion. The process of talking about how embarrassing this is, THAT can make us look bad.

But take a detached look. If there were 200 Kajukenbo 10th degrees, why would that be interpreted as a negative by the public? They don't know if it's a good or a bad thing, UNLESS we interpret that for them. So ironically it's the FOCUS of the conversation that's harming our reputation, not the mere existence of a given number of 10th degrees.

If there were 200 Kajukenbo 10ths, it would look good if they all looked good and did good Karate, and it would look bad if they didn't.

We wouldn't be privy to how they obtained those ranks. We are talking about a subject that might be important to high ranking black belts, but really nobody else, unless influenced by one (or many).

In other words, we are our own worst enemy.

Next,some of the people who are making themselves 10th, have spent so much time pursuing rank, and didn't match that with an equally intense and commited effort to become "Grand Masters of the Art", it's like all they wanted was the belt. I think that is what has everyone upset. Most of these guys don't even think of themselves as grandmasters, they just think10th is better than 9th, which is better than 8th, etc.

I think we should stop counting and recognizing these people. Most of them were in obscurity. I think we should leave them there. The ones that are legit (like Frank Trejo for example) already have something more valuable, and that is their history and reputation.

One of the suggestions (by me and others) for a remedy that has gotten traction is: Years in the art. That's the only one that works. And it's the main one that matters. If a guy made it to black belt legitimately, what makes me respect him more is the time he spent training since then. For example, I hold you, Mr White, in a higher light as many other black belts who hold 9ths, simply because of how long you have been doing it, as well as your obvious drive and thorough attitude and the fact you were trained by Mr Parker.

So all that to make the point that "Years in the art", or "training since 1979" is not only the most honest statement, but also would prevent everyone from focussing on the issue and then draw attention on a negative. I can develop a deviant plan to cheat on my time and grade requirements, but I can't change the amount of years. Especially not if someone remembers me as a white belt.

Now when it comes to public opinion, I think our biggest problem is "instructors" (especially on youtube) who make Kenpo look bad. And that is a real problem. And THAT is what the public sees. But that we can do something about. If we want the public to be able to discern good Kenpo from bad, we can show them how good Kenpo looks like. We can also show them how to obtain better results in their training. Most of these "10th degrees" aren't even prominent. Most don't know them. So why elevate or "legitimize" them by talking about them?

So that's what I think about the 10th.

That, and the fact that the entire Pasadena studio packed full of Ed Parker black belts in 1991, 2 months after his passing voted to retire the 10th. The vote was unamimous (Mrs Parker ran the meeting, Mike Pick was one of the most persistent voices for retiring the 10th, stating that "9th was a reasonable expectation in a lifetime"), some of the people there were Mike Pick, Harry Silva, Jeff Speakman, John Sepulveda, Skip Hancock, I still have the group picture in my garage somewhere. There was at least 50 of us there. I too voted to retire the 10th, and I stand by that.

And I don't really care if the rest do.

For those of us who have been teaching for more than 3 decades, we really only need that higher rank so that we can continue to promote our own black belts.

Tom Kelly, before he died, shared with me that he regretted accepting his promotion to 9th. I'm not divulging why, but it reflects that for most people, the destination has become the goal, which to me means they are missing a VITAL lesson of martial arts, to enjoy the journey and focus on personal growth. - 
Sascha Williams

Saturday, September 26, 2015

American Kenpo Karate belt system

artwork from Ed Parker Jr.'s Facebook page

James Masayoshi Mitose

December 30, 1916 – March 26, 1981

Instructor to notable students such as William Kwai Sun Chow, Paul Yamaguchi, Thomas Young, Bruce Juchnik, and others.

William Kwai Sun "Thunderbolt" Chow

July 3, 1914 – September 21, 1987

Instructor of notable martial artists such as Ed Parker, Adriano Emperado, Ralph Castro, Sam Kuoha, Paul Pung, and others.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Ed Parker and Elvis

(date and location unknown)

Bruce Lee in Ed Parker's home

Per Ed Parker Jr. on his Facebook page these photos were taken in their family's home in Pasadena, their first home before they moved to the Las Robles home.

The little girl is Darlene Parker.


(from the Striking Distance Facebook page 8-22-17)

Bruce Lee with Ed Parker during Christmas break of 1963-64, at Parker's home in Pasadena, California.

Bruce made good use of his semester break at the University of Washington to take a long road trip visiting martial arts colleagues along the way. Together with his new girlfriend Linda Emery, he first traveled south to Oakland to visit James Lee. Bruce and James had become close collaborators i...n the short time that they knew one another, resulting in the publication of Bruce's book (the only he would ever publish in his lifetime) - Chinese Gung Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense.

Next it was on to southern California to meet with another recent colleague - Ed Parker. (Actually, Bruce had told Linda that they were traveling south to see the Huskies in the Rose Bowl, when really....that was just an excuse to visit Parker.) A kenpo practitioner who had emerged from the robust martial arts melting pot of Hawaii, Parker was a key figure in the burgeoning martial arts landscape within the U.S., and had plans for a major event in the coming year. In fact, while everyone was in town, Parker took them out to visit the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium.......the site for what would become Parker's inaugural Long Beach International Karate Tournament in August of 1964.

Parker's event would have a fateful significance on Bruce Lee's life and career.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

To change or not to change kenpo

(from Rich Hale's Ohana Kenpo Karate Association Facebook page)

I find all the squabbling about what “is” and what “is not” Ed Parker’s American Kenpo to be both amusing and frustrating. I’ve read where people say to be Ed Parker’s American Kenpo it has to “change”, because Mr. Parker always advocated change. Others say to be Ed Parker’s American Kenpo it must be performed exactly as it’s laid out in the Accumulative Journal and Volume 5 of Infinite Insights ...into Kenpo, because this is what Ed Parker said.

Although the below quote, by Ed Parker, won’t “fix” anything, it should be of some benefit to those who are interested in what Mr. Parker had to say on the subject. This quote is from: Black Belt Magazine, Feb. 1975 V-13 No. 2 And In The Beginning There Was Ed Parker - by Gilbert L. Johnson

“You’ve got to know how to vary things,” he (Parker) says. “A lot of the techniques I’ve worked with, they’re ideas, they’re not rules. At any given time, any of my moves can change from defense to offense, offense to defense. Martial artists, and Kenpo people especially, become so involved in doing the techniques exactly right in such and such amount of time, that they get caught in a pattern that they can’t break. That’s not what they’re for. Specific moves, specific techniques are based, like the ABC’s in the English language or standard football plays. You have to have a point of reference and from there the combinations are endless and limited only by universal laws, laws that you can’t change.”

Black and white photos of Mr. Parker in the early Pasadena days


“Because of the philosophy that is occurring on the streets today which is, it’s not always who’s right but who’s left that counts, karate is becoming a very interesting and sought after martial art experience.” - Ed Parker