Friday, August 26, 2016

Last Man Standing seminar

(photo from the Tracy's Kenpo Karate Facebook page)

Al Tracy speaking at this week's Last Man Standing three day seminar held in Dallas, Texas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mr. Parker getting ready to demonstrate

(photo from Ed Parker Jr.'s Facebook page, date and location unknown)

This is a pretty cool and funny photo. Looks like Mr. Parker is getting ready to unleash a devastating move.

I hope the other guy was ok after this demonstration.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Memorial "Internationals" program

A special commemorative program from the first Long Beach Internationals after Mr. Parker's passing away on December 15th, 1990.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Was Big Red the first kenpo instruction manual?

(from a discussion on

nelson - Was Big Red the predecessor of all kenpo manuals?

 Are there some schools that still use this manual/guide?

For all you kenpo historians who wrote Big Red and when?

michaeledward - My understanding, the material which eventually became Big Red was completed by Ed Parker, Tom Kelly and Richard Planas.

When Mr. Kelly and Mr. Planas were invited to participate, Mr. Parker already had the Orange Belt material completed. The three worked through the rest of the material, up through the first 36 extensions (Orange Extensions and 12 Purple Belt Extensions). This work was completed after hours on Friday and Saturday nights, with only these three in attendance.

My understanding may be incomplete, but it was received, first hand, from Mr. Planas in private and semi private conversations.

bdparsons - Big Red appears to have the fingerprints of Misters Parker, Kelly and Planas all over it, especially Mr. Planas. I find that scenario far more likely than the premise that Mr. Pick had anything to do with it. Watchmaker vs. Ironworker. Just doesn't look like Mr. Pick's handowork. I do not mean that derogatorily, just an observation.

doc - Anyone who knew Mr. Parker well would know, rarely would he put anything in the hands of a couple of people. He usually sought a much broader spectrum of input from various sources on any project. Additionally, Huk Planas was Tom Kelly's student, (who was under Steve LaBounty), with Tom Kelly coming over from Tracy's first, followed by Huk, who was either green or maybe brown at the time. Mr. Parker opened up projects to many people to get their input, opinions, and ideas. So, many people contributed to what ultimately over time became Big Red. That being said, if you had to put fingerprints on "Big Red," certainly the most prominent would be Sibak, (Big) Tom Kelly and Rich (Huk) Planas in any scenario associated with the project.

Most Kenpo Lineages associated even loosely with Ed Parker sr. have used Big Red in its entirety or parts thereof for years from the beginning. Mostly because he was the first to actually write something down codified in this fashion, so it was easier for most.

But Big Red wasn't the first, and was in many ways a collection of a great deal of material that already existed. The first "manuals" were called "Belt booklets." Each Belt Booklet corresponded to a particular colored belt, and contained a list of all of the material needed to pass to the next level Belt Booklet. There were no descriptions of what to do, only a list of requirements and a set of checkoff boxes that indicated a student had been "taught," and "tested" for the individual categories. Once your Belt Booklet was full, you moved on the the next booklet. The Booklets were kept at the school and not distributed to the students, but instead were contained on a rack on the wall. When a student came in, they retrieved their Belt Booklet and presented it to the teacher who could immediately see what a student had worked on, been tested on, and where they needed work.

But also keep in mind, this was the early days of commercialism when a large percentage of student classes were conducted as "private" lessons one-on-one. Even if a student ultimately ended up in a group class, they had to go through a series of private lessons before they could get into the group class. This was a sales tactic borrowed from the Arthur Murray Dance Studios Operations Business Plan.

The actual outline technique manuals didn't exist at that time. Originally when they were starting to come together, they were designed to be given to instructors, and even when they ultimately were put together in Big Red, it too was an operations manual for school owners and students were not allowed to have any of that material. Big Red contained not only the expected Kenpo Outlines of technique, forms, and sets but sales material on how to answer the phone and even a list of questions and answers when talking to people making inquiries on the phone or in person. Do's, and don'ts, certain words to use and avoid, positive phrases, etc. It was a "corporate sales and operations manual" on how to run a studio. A studio owner would be given the Big Red Binder with dividers for various categories, and has he completed his training and instructions, he would be given material so that his personal Big Red might be somewhat different than someone else's.

Slowly, the technique manual portions of Big Red began to filter to students, and became an additional revenue stream as they began to be sold. There were two original binders made for Big Red. The first edition had the Kenpo Karate Crest embossed in raised relief on the cover. The second version saw the crest simply printed in full color on the cover. There are some who have the original binder. I have both versions, and even have the complete collection of the original Belt Booklets in my archives, that only went from Orange to Green. Later a one-sheet Yellow Booklet was added thanks to Tom Kelly and the creation of the yellow Belt. Certainly there would be no greater authority on most of the material from that perspective than Huk Planas, but keep in mind even Big Red was evolving, and some material was added over time that like myself, Huk did not agree with either.

The official name of the system is as you see it. Many have chose to call it other things after his passing, but Mr. Parker made it quite clear on many occasions what he named the system. It's not nor has it ever been Ed Parker's American Kenpo, American kenpo Karate, Ed Parker's American kenpo Karate, or EPAK.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mechanic of Motion

A practitioner whose knowledge is such that he can analyze, dissect, and assemble techniques. With this ability he not only gains a greater understanding of their principles and counterparts, but can teach as well. - Ed Parker Sr.'s Encyclopedia of Kenpo

"My main purpose in breaking things down, and that's why even during a course of a technique I want you to visualize the principle that occur during the course of your actions. Because if you understand principle but most importantly the tailoring of the principles, then what I wish for you to become (as I pointed out to Frank Trejo over there) is to make Mechanics of Motion out of it. Which means you can then go into motions, dissect it, take a part and put it back together again so that it works. Hopefully when you are doing up with this you end up becoming engineers of motion, where by you can go in there and say, "hey?" If I make this slight modification I can do this, this and that."

-Ed Parker Sr.

Click here to buy your copy of Ed Parker's Encyclopedia of Kenpo

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This must have been some night

(photo from Ed Parker Jr.'s Facebook page)

Frank Trejo, David Lee Roth, Ed Parker Jr., and Charles Gonzalez.

No information was given with regards to location or what was the occasion. (date on the photo looks to be July 13th, 1997)

I knew David Lee Roth studied the martial arts, I'm not sure what style, but I think I read somewhere that he took some private lessons from Mr. Parker although I don't think it was for an extended period of time.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mr. Parker and Danny Guzman

(location unknown)

The date of this photo should be fairly early due to Mr. Parker's dark hair and white gi.

Cool photo for sure.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Some information on Short Form 3

James Wing Woo

The reason "Short Three" has a different "feel" is because it was the first and and last form of the "Chinese Kenpo" era, and it was a collaboration between Mr. Parker and Mr. Woo, with additional input by others. Mr. Parker always solicited opinions and input from as many sources as possible on any project. It was the last of the "real" forms not influenced by a need to flesh out the new Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate and provide "competition" forms for his association members to compete with in his IKC tournament. Its companion form was the "Black Belt Set," also known as the "Two-Man Set," and was featured in Mr. Parker's Book, "Secret's of Chinese Karate," published in 1963.

Before this form was created Mr. Parker had "assembled" his first form that was essentially what would now be known as Short Form One, and Short Form Two performed as a single form. Mr. Parker ultimately split the form and created the first two short forms, followed by the "Long Forms" One and Two. To my knowledge Mr. Woo's input stopped at Short Form Three and Two-Man Set. Forms Long Three on were competition models that lacked the depth of the previous forms that came before them.

Remember Mr. Parker's first art, "Kenpo Karate" had no forms so his first forms experience was heavily influenced by Japanese Traditionalist, and his Long Form One creation reflects that quite well. But it is also important to know that the second half of Long Form One is a reproduction of Short Form One starting on the opposite side, and tripling execution of the blocks and exploring multiple checks and execution. Lots of information there for the thirsty to drink in as you see Mr. Parker drift toward the Chinese Influence, adding that flavor to the first half of Long One later on.

Many still around remember the ultimate form of the day which also came from various sources, and that was "Tiger and the Crane." So for a period there was the combo form, (Short one and Short two), Two-Man Form, the original Chinese Form, (Short Three) and Tiger and Crane. During this period techniques stopped at Green Belt. Then later the endings were cut off of the techniques and taught separately as "extensions" to the previous Orange, Purple, and Blue Belt techniques for Brown and Black to "flesh out" the system. For those that remember, that is the reason the original Chinese Kenpo, and Later at the beginnings of Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, the lower belt techniques had no crosses or cover outs at the end of the technique. That you didn't learn until you reached the end of the technique where it was appropriate.
 - Ron Chapel, Ph. D.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yet another Elvis photo

(date and location unknown)

Looks like Mr. Parker is enjoying the show along with the fans.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mr. Parker and Dan Rodarte

For more information on Mr. Rodarte check out

Before there was the UFC, there was the Long Beach Internationals, Martial Artists from all over the world came to share there   knowledge through demonstration, competition and seminars. A time when full contact karate was at its highest. People like Ed parker , Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Bob Wall, Benny the jet and more would show there skills to teach, learn, perform or to win in the tournaments. Among them all was one of Ed Parkers frist Black belts who would evolve the fight world by being the first in History to promote one of the worlds deadliest sports here in the united state in southern California, The Art of the Eight Limbs also known as Muay Thai. Introducing it as a sport in the spot light of the western culture of fighting. Evolving through rules in the ring in which Dan Rodarte promoted his fights, he would Create his events under a new name, The I.K.B.A, the International KickBoxing Association.  This is the Legend of Dan Rodarte.