Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cat stance


Mr. Parker striking a wicked cat stance.

From the Ed Parker Sr. Facebook, the following comment was left by Jose Miguel Morales,

This pic was taken in 1978, Madrid street dojo in Santiago de Chile. The man behind Mr. Parker is the late Mario Calvo.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Black Belted Mormon



(by William Slove for Black Belt magazine, April 1961)

Ed Parker is a youthful, six foot, slightly over two hundred pound Hawaiian who owns and operates two Kenpo Karate schools in the Los Angeles area. He is a calm, amiable man whose manner is strangely incongruous when his potentiality for violence is considered. Perhaps it is this incongruity that best explains this devout Mormon and his calling. For, in a sense, to explain Ed Parker is to explain Karate itself.

He was born and raised in Honolulu where as a youth, somewhat retiring and self-conscious, he first learned of the art from the large Oriental population on the islands. His desire to attain some means of self-confidence led to his decision to investigate this paradoxical mixture of violence and gracious humility. He placed himself in the hands of William K. S. Chow, a Karate Master in Honolulu, under whose tutorship he soon realized that he had found the answer to his problem.

The advent of the Korean conflict, which found him serving a hitch in the Coast Guard, did not dull his enthusiasm for the sport. When, subsequently, he attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Here he received a degree in sociology, he also became a Karate instructor.

 These first lessons were given to some Hawaiian students who, because of their diminutiveness, showed an interest in this form of self-defense. Although his abilities as an instructor soon made themselves evident this was also where he became aware of the problems he was to face.

It was shortly after his class had given a demonstration during a basketball game between Brigham Young and UCLA that he was asked to give a similar exhibition before some seventy members of the local city police, Sheriff's Department and the Utah Highway Patrol. They were so impressed that as a result he was soon instructing lawmen from all parts of the state. Selecting a group of more advanced students he toured the state giving many exhibitions. However, after these initial successes, Ed Parker has been unable to sell Karate to other law enforcement agencies. In California lawmen have been duly impressed but have refused to acknowledge Karate as acceptable to their work. They declare that it is too vicious and contrary to the legal viewpoint which regards violence as abhorrent. This attitude exposes the general publics ignorance concerning the subject and is of particular annoyance to Ed Parker. He argues that they are not aware of its mental and philosophical factors. Although the outward impression given by Karate is that of savage brutality this is only the visible product of intense mental conditioning. A student of the art must adhere to a rigid code which by its very nature subdues the petty instincts of man. As a student progresses and his knowledge of Karate increases so does his respect for it: as self confidence grows so does his respect f or the rights of others.

Ed Parker's contention soon manifests itself as one watches one of his classes in action. They are conducted in an atmosphere of austere solemnity and dedication. He is a calmly forceful instructor. You soon realize that you are witnessing techniques which demand both mental and physical exertion. You begin to understand that here both the body and the mind are learning new strength. It is unfortunate that these aspects of the art were not previously made known to the public. When Karate first became known, television, uninformed and desperate for something new and exciting, showed episodes where a Karate-ist, his hands heavily calloused and malformed, his features contorted brutally and cast always as villain, used his knowledge indiscriminately for evil purposes. Ed Parker recoils at this characterization and is quick to retort that a Karate-ist, more than any other individual, will turn his back and walk away from trouble, secure and confident in the knowledge that it is not necessary to prove his might or manhood. A trained Karate-ist possesses an abundance of self-restraint and assurance. It is a matter of record that most Karate-ists have gone through life without ever having to resort to its use.

Notwithstanding, Ed Parker now has reason to regard the future of Karate in this country with optimism.

This drawing is a copy of an ancient Chinese painting depicting a karate-like form of unharmed self-defense.

His ability, his adamant refusal to deviate from its strict tenets and philosophies and his forthright teaching of the science have won him acclamation and the respect of people in all walks of life. Today his mirrored studio is the scene of classes which include lawyers, doctors and other professional men who are aware of the value of the art. Some of Hollywood's best known personalities, MacDonald Carey, Nick Adams, Rick Jason, Darren McGavin, among others, attend his sessions regularly. His advice and knowledge are sought by film studios now becoming aware of Karate's true meaning.

Unlike some instructors who profess to be experts Parker minimizes the sensational and melodramatic aspects of Kempo Karate. Where others, in order to appeal to some pugnacious facets of human nature, declare that they teach "the art of killing" or "make you a master of anyone," he concerns himself with the truisms of Karate. His goal is to enable his students to reap the benefits it endows.

Karate is a skill that requires time and thought. One who intends to use it aggressively is only disillusioning himself. He declares that the end product of his training has always been respect towards others obedience to the laws of the land humility and self-restraint.

Parker states that the ability to shatter bricks, stones or boards is merely the manifestation of the truth of Karate. It is not the ability to do these things that counts, it is the amalgamation of mind-arc body it represents that is important. If one were interested only in shattering bricks then a sledge-hammer would accomplish the job.

Karate, as it was originally set forth by its founder, Daruma Taishi, sought to strengthen the minds and wills of weak, dispirited peoples. Its immediate evidences of physical power might have been what first impressed them but unknown to them it was also creating an inner strength that was of greater importance. It evolved within them a store of self-assurance which helped them immeasurably in everyday life. It aided them in eliminating the pettiness which is born of weakness and insecurity. It enabled them to regard their fellowmen in a different light, with more respect and understanding. A strong man, both physically and mentally, refuses to pay tribute to demonstrations of human failing and frailty. Problems, formerly distorted and ballooned disproportionately, now become more readily solvable.

As you watch Parker put his class through its paces, moving from man to man and making certain that his instructions are being correctly followed, your eyes light on a plaque hanging on the wall and in view of all the students, The Karate Creed:

"I come to you with only 'Karate'—Empty Hands. I have no weapons. But should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor; should it be a matter of life or death, or right or wrong; then here are my weapons-'Karate'-My Empty Hands."

You suddenly have a new understanding of Karate. You shake hands with Ed Parker, remarkably smooth and un-calloused hands which seem strangely out of place here, and then you leave. As you do you have a feeling that here you have met a man.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Later Mitose heirs


Bruce Juchnick, Thomas Barro Mitose, and Nimr Hassan. All three men trained or had a relationship, at one time or another, with Kosho Ryu Kenpo grandmaster James Mitose and later all three would lay claim to the heirship of the martial art.

(photo was taken sometime in the 1980’s after Grandmaster Mitose had died while in prison.)

Arnie Golub and Nimr Hassan

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Bruce Lee Student You Never Knew Existed Tells All


(woma.tv)

When it comes to being a journalist, your work is often only as good as your sources. An insightful quote or keen bit of perspective from a relevant participant can be the difference between really getting to the heart of a matter versus merely covering it.

While writing my book Striking Distance: Bruce Lee and the Dawn of Martial Arts in America, I put special emphasis on my sources. I sought out as many people as possible who experienced this particular chapter of martial arts history first-hand, over half-a-century ago. Not many, but some, were hard to win over. Occasionally, some sources just weren’t very good at conveying their experiences. Others required that I take long drives or plane flights up and down the U.S. west coast to get to them.

Oddly enough, one of my very best sources came and found me.

Shortly after writing my original article on Bruce Lee’s Bay Area roots for San Francisco Magazine, I got an email from Barney Scollan who explained that he was “the kid in the white T shirt” within the group shot of Bruce Lee’s Oakland school operating out of James Lee’s garage. In terms of sources for my planned book project on this history, Barney fell into a sort of sweet spot. I had already interviewed a lot of 80 and 90 year-old sources from this period.  However, Barney was within an ideal age range, where he was old enough to really experience the history, but not too old to have forgotten the fine details.

Better yet, Barney wasn’t your usual Bruce Lee subject. In my research, I noticed that a lot of the same people had been interviewed over and over again for Bruce’s biographies. In order to get a fresh take on this history, I sought to find new sources who experienced these events first hand. So with all that in mind, I couldn’t get in my car fast enough to make the two hour drive down the California coast to the scenic city of Carmel to meet with Barney. There, over dinner and a few gin cocktails, we had a very long talk about his experiences. I could have left happy with just that, because Barney gave me a lot to work with: he was at Long Beach in ’64, knew Ed Parker, practiced at Bruce’s Broadway school, relocated with everyone to James Lee’s garage, attended Bruce’s birthday parties, and hung out in James Lee’s living room while Brandon crawled around on the floor. Better yet, Barney didn’t pursue a martial arts career, so there was no brand to manage, just a straight-shooter point-of-view on what it was all like.  As I had initially hoped, he was indeed an ideal kind of source.

And then!…Then he pulled out a satchel containing a treasure trove of rare photos and documents: original images from James Lee’s house in Oakland, never-before-seen photos from Long Beach, an original sketch by Bruce Lee, an enrollment receipt for Jun Fan. Wow! It seemed like it should be in a museum exhibit.

Barney and I stayed in close touch while I wrote the book. In fact, as I went back again and again to interview him, he became a very enthusiastic and encouraging advocate for the project. One of my most gratifying moments since the book was published, was hearing that he enjoyed reading it as much as he did.

Beyond the book…Barney is just a cool guy to hang out with.  The guy has stories. Like the one about running into Frank Sinatra and his entourage in Las Vegas. Or the tale of getting beat up after a Rolling Stones concert and ending up in the emergency room next to (logically enough) Keith Richards.  Or the time he approached Steve McQueen and then spent the afternoon sparring with him (see below). And of course, Barney had a front row seat for those pivotal days in Oakland right before Bruce Lee broke into Hollywood.

So I am very happy to now turn this over to Barney Scollan to take you back to ’64 in his own words, and to give you a glimpse into that satchel full of treasure.:- Charles Russo

How did you become interested in Martial arts?

I was raised in Sacramento, California in the ‘60s. In my circle of friends, the principal forms of recreation and entertainment in those days seemed to revolve around football games, beer, school dances, main street drag racing, beer, and trying to attract females.  All of these activities involved large doses of teenage hormones and immature macho attitudes which often resulted in senseless street fighting.

Being one of the smaller kids around, I was always seeking whatever advantage I could find to equal the odds in these battles.  Around 1962, a movie titled The Manchurian Candidate was released.  The plot featured Frank Sinatra fighting a villain who was trained in a strange form of combat which allowed him to shatter tables and everything else with his punches.  This was my first exposure to Karate and I was hooked. Just what I needed to do battle on the streets of Sacramento.

Shortly thereafter, a Karate studio opened in my neighborhood, Tracy’s Kenpo Karate.  


I raced over and introduced myself to Al Tracy, a short, somewhat nerdy looking guy with thick glasses.  I was not impressed, that is until he demonstrated a few “moves” with speed and power that I had never seen on the street.  I signed up and became one of his first Sacramento students (He had another established school in San Francisco).


Karate became my passion and soon I was taking classes daily.  It was interesting in that, once you became somewhat skilled and confident in your abilities, the desire to fight pretty much evaporated.



How did you get introduced to Bruce Lee?

In 1964, Al Tracy’s instructor, Ed Parker, had his first International Championship Tournament in Long Beach, California.  Masters and students from many styles came from all over the world to demonstrate and participate.


I was in a group of students from Sacramento who were entered in the “white belt” category.  In those days, sparring was a “no contact” sport.  I was disqualified for kicking my opponent in the groin during my very first match. Anyhow, it was at this tournament that I first encountered Bruce Lee.


Can you explain a bit about Bruce’s demonstration at Long Beach and why it resonated with you?

Bruce took the floor and demonstrated many of the most popular martial arts styles with great skill. Then he explained why he felt they were impractical for actual fighting, causing more than a little anger among the followers of those styles.


To demonstrate his amazing speed, he would have someone from the audience face him in a defensive position.  Bruce would stand some three feet away and dart in and out, touching the fellow’s forehead before the person could raise his arm even 6 inches to block the punch.

He also showed lightning fast kicks and punches which had most of us shaking our heads in disbelief. 
Two fingered, one armed pushups were also very impressive. The simplicity and directness of his principles and technique made a lot of sense to me. He made a number of believers and enemies that night.  

You were fortunate to experience Bruce’s actual Broadway school location in Oakland, from right when it opened. Can you tell us something about practicing there?

In the autumn of 1964, I began attending the University of California in Berkeley.  I knew that Bruce had just opened a school in Oakland and I was able to sign up and become one of his first students at that location.  The cost was $20 a month for 3 lessons a week.


The school was in a clean, modern building in Oakland.  It was a good-sized room that I think had once been a dance studio.  There were bars along one wall that we used for stretching at the beginning of each class.  The daily routine varied quite a bit, but always started with stretching, then some exercises. The number of students seemed to vary quite a bit from 3 or 4, to as many as a dozen.


Classes were fun and pretty easy going, with Bruce constantly explaining theory, demonstrating, correcting technique, and telling stories. He would sometimes stand with one leg raised straight over his shoulder, then switch to the other, all the while talking normally as if anyone could do this effortlessly.


We would work on form, balance, speed, and endurance.  There was a punching bag suspended between two elastic cords that was used to teach how to punch straight ahead from your center which was one of the principles of Wing Chung.


Later the school was moved to James Lee’s garage, also in Oakland. Classes there were more relaxed and usually ended up in James’s living room afterward. We would discuss everything from martial arts to the best places to eat. Often Linda Lee was present with new baby Brandon in a crib in the corner.


It was during one of these times that Bruce demonstrated his now famous “1-inch punch” on me.  I was leaning forward, braced in a football type stance with a couch cushion held in front of me.  Bruce held his fist about an inch away and punched. I flew through the air hitting and tipping over the couch behind me. My two roommates in college were there watching and grabbed me, saving me from hitting the large window behind the couch.


What was James Lee like as an instructor and what was the atmosphere like in James Lee’s garage studio?

Bruce was travelling quite a bit during this time and James Lee would often teach the classes in Bruce’s absence.   James was much more serious than Bruce and the classes were “no nonsense.” He was quick and very powerful.  When he showed you something, you paid attention.


Can you recall the major differences from your training in Oakland to your previous martial arts instruction?

The technique of Jeet Kune Do was quite a bit different than those of the Kenpo Karate I had been studying.  Kenpo utilized more circular punches and a wide variety of combinations.  Kicks were also quite varied and often aimed high.


Jeet Kune Do on the other hand, was based on simplicity.  Its purpose was to eliminate the non- essential movement.  Kicks were low and punches were straight and short.  Less was more. Bruce preached not daily increase, but daily decrease – hack away the unessential.  


The fighting stances were very different also.  Kenpo was based on the traditional “horse” stance, while Jeet Kune Do usually used a more flexible, moving stance.




What is your fondest memory of your time with Bruce? What was socializing like with him?

Bruce was just fun to be around.  He had a great sense of humor and always seemed to be in a happy frame of mind. A tradition of Bruce’s was to invite his students out to lunch on his birthday.  A few of us were invited to go with him to a Chinese restaurant in Oakland.  I can’t remember the food, but I do remember telling jokes and laughing all the way to the restaurant.  Bruce had a bit of a Chinese accent and would talk slowly to get the pronunciation correct.  There was something about Bruce telling jokes in this slow, forceful manner that made them even funnier.

When did you last see Bruce?

I graduated from Berkeley and Bruce was off to Southern California to pursue his growing movie career.  I never saw him again, but followed him as closely as possible through various articles and of course the movies.  I am still amazed at his skill when watching his movies after all these years.  He was one of a kind and I didn’t realize at the time how fortunate I was to have known him.

How did his death affect you?

Like everyone who knew him or admired his skills and insights, I was totally shocked when I heard of his death.  His death was an incredible loss to the world.  As great as he was and as important as his legacy is in so many ways, I feel he was just beginning.

Did you have contact with any of his students after he died?

Years later I moved to Carmel California and opened a home furnishing/ antique store in an historic building that was built in the 20’s by my wife’s grandfather. One day I noticed a seedy looking, long haired guy with a beard and sunglasses in the store who looked familiar.  I asked him, “Aren’t you Steve McQueen?” He looked at me like I was a bug and said, “Yeah. Why?”


“Because we had the same Sifu – Bruce.”


He warmed up and said, “Boy, I could sure use a good workout.” I told him – “Let’s go.  I have a gym set up in an old barn.”


We traded techniques and punches, and then told stories over lunch. Later he took a shower at my house.  My mother-in-law was visiting at the time and I won’t forget the look on her face when she walked into the bathroom and found Steve McQueen wearing only a towel.


How did you get involved with telling your story now in Striking Distance by Charles Russo?

I was waiting in a Doctor’s office in Carmel, and I noticed an article in San Francisco Magazine featuring Bruce Lee.  To my surprise, a picture of Bruce that I had taken years earlier was the opening photo for the article.  As I had never shared the many pictures I took of Bruce with anyone, I wrote Charles Russo, the author of the article to inquire how he got it. He explained that he got it from the Bruce Lee Foundation.  


Apparently a clerk at a photo shop in Carmel had stolen the negatives when I had copies made and sold them to Black Belt Magazine or someone.  It turned out that many of my photos had been on-line for years without me knowing it. The moral: when you are having photos copied of someone famous, don’t brag to the clerk about who it is!


Anyhow, after contacting Charles about my photo in San Francisco Magazine, he suggested we get together to discuss my experiences with Bruce and the martial arts scene in those days. We shared insights and stories, trying to separate fact from fiction, and became pretty good friends in the process.


He did an amazing amount of legwork and some pretty cool sleuthing to gather all that information.  Most of which would have been lost forever had he not embraced this project, and gained the trust and confidence of so many of the key players in the history of the Bay Area martial movement. I loved the book and am proud to have been a very small part of it.


And now a little about the new book Striking Distance

Striking Distance: Bruce Lee and the Dawn of Martial Arts in America.:- by Charles Russo
In the spring of 1959, eighteen-year-old Bruce Lee returned to San Francisco, the city of his birth, and quickly inserted himself into the West Coast’s fledgling martial arts culture. Even though Asian fighting styles were widely unknown to mainstream America, Bruce encountered a robust fight culture in a San Francisco Bay area that was populated with talented and trailblazing practitioners such as Lau Bun, Chinatown’s aging kung fu patriarch; Wally Jay, the innovative Hawaiian jujitsu master; and James Lee, the no-nonsense Oakland street fighter. Regarded by some as a brash loudmouth and by others as a dynamic visionary, Bruce spent his first few years back in America advocating a more modern approach to the martial arts and showing little regard for the damaged egos left in his wake.

In the Chinese calendar, 1964 was the Year of the Green Dragon. It would be a challenging and eventful year for Bruce. He would broadcast his dissenting view before the first great international martial arts gathering and then defend it by facing down Chinatown’s young ace kung fu practitioner in a legendary behind-closed-doors high noon–style showdown. The Year of the Green Dragon saw the dawn of martial arts in America and the rise of an icon.

Drawing on more than one hundred original interviews and an eclectic array of sources, Striking Distance is an engrossing narrative chronicling San Francisco Bay’s pioneering martial arts scene as it thrived in the early 1960s and offers an in-depth look at a widely unknown chapter of Bruce Lee’s iconic life.


About the Author :- Charles Russo is an award-winning journalist who lives in San Francisco

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http://www.woma.tv/bruce-lee-student-never-knew-existed-tells/

Friday, November 3, 2017

Al Tracy has passed

(from the Tracy's Kenpo Karate International Facebook page, November 1st, 2017)

Pat here ... had not posted yet as the grief is still so strong. Can't believe Al, the love of my life, is gone. Incomprehensible. Grateful that our daughter, Kristina (Tina) spent the last couple weeks of her Dad's life with us, helping to care for him with love.

We wanted to thank all of Al's fellow Kenpoists, instructors, students and friends for expressions of love, support and condolence. Hope we can have one or more memorials in his honor in the next few months. Thank you all for the love.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Q&A: Bruce Lee, Ark Wong, and Ed Parker

(by Brad Bode martialmoves.com)

Here is another round of questions answered by three people. Ron Chapél answers the bulk. Ed Parker Jr (Paxtial Arts) answers a question about himself. Finally, Guru Dan Inosanto (Inosanto Academy) answers a simple question about Bruce Lee. 


Ark Wong

Did Ark Wong have children's classes? Did Ark Wong awarded Black Sash to students who were not adults yet? Did he have a minimum age requirement for Black Sash?  

First, I didn't stop training when I met Mr. Parker, and there was no such thing as a "children's class" in those days. Everyone, everywhere trained the same. Many would not take children, but my personal association with my oldest friend inthe arts, Douglas Wong didn't hurt. You trained and earned what you got. Later, Most adopted an age limit of 16 years old for black belt, but the commercial explosion of Taekwondo blew that out of the water. The business of teaching was over run by children, and Mr. Parker recognized that fact was coming, and had me write my thesis for my 7th based on how to deal with the rank structure of young people without destroying the integrity of the art. It was never implemented. - Ron Chapel

Ed Parker

At what point did Ed Parker start teaching the basics? In what order did he teach those basics? How codified was Ed Parker's basic training?

From the beginning, we engaged in a process where we examined the Classic Chinese Basics and attempted to refine them to his idea of what he wanted his "American Kenpo" to be. It was an ongoing project. He made many changes and altered directions as often as necessary to get where he wanted to go. It was an intense process, requiring flexibility. You might work on something for a period, and just when you think you have it down, he would change it to something he felt was better. It was a process where you had to keep up with him on whatever he wanted to work on at the time. - Ron Chapel

Did Mr. Parker teach anyone the category of basics known as Specialized Moves and Methods (i.e. the grappling side of Kenpo) if yes who?

In the early days, Mr. Parker taught grappling and concentrated heavily on Dan Zan Ryu Jiu-jitsu Techniques as a part of his regular teaching when he was in the school. He later predicted the grappling craze would return, and leaned on his good friend, training buddy, and World Wrestling Champion Gene LeBell to help him promote the art. Mr. Parker set up the fight between LeBell and the boxer Milo Savage. Gene won that in the first round, closing the distance and choking him to submission. Gene could choke anything that breathed, and still can. Mr. Parker described him as, "The toughest man I ever met." 

However, the creation of Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate and Mr. Parker switching from strict basics to conceptual teaching through “one-night stands” all over the world pushed all of that training aside, because of its physicality, and a lack of Mr. Parker’s availability to teach it. All of the original groups had jiu-jitsu knowledge as a regular part of training. 

However, there was no room for that in Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate. While Mr. Parker “suggested” its existence through many of the techniques, so-called teachers dropped the ball and never explored the material as they were supposed to. System techniques like, “Twisted Twig” had a “wrist-flex takedown or throw” as the attack. Everyone concentrated on the defense, when they were supposed to learn and understand how to perform a wrist-flex takedown first, and then work on a defense for it and create an Ideal technique. - Ron Chapel

Did Mr. Parker share any of his knife information with you and what did it consist of... was it also broken down like the unarmed system with its own unique vocabulary and category of basics etc.

Mr. Parker gave me all the information he said I needed on the blade work. He gave me all of the vocabulary and demonstrated it to me. If you follow his philosophy of the weapon being an extension of your own mechanics, it's simple and straight-forward. Not much to it, other than a few no-no's because you have an edged weapon in your hand, and you don't want to cut yourself because of your very active off hand.

The "double blade" stuff drifted into performance competition exhibition. Using a double blade on the street is not only impractical it would probably get you locked up. I tend to stay away from the fantasy stuff he created for tournament competition. This includes all the forms after Short Form Three. - Ron Chapel

Whom did Mr. Parker consider as his key protégé and who did he identify as sharing the full scope of his knowledge with?

The only protégé's Mr. Parker had were "business protégé's." He touted a couple of guys in the magazines as protégés but in truth, he didn't have any. He was “puffing” guys, because it was business. A good example of that was Larry Tatum. Larry ran the only Ed Parker owned school that made any money. Larry turned out the greatest quantity of his best black belts in his new system, all under Larry. Most of have declared Ed Parker as their teacher, and ignored the fact that Larry primarily taught them and signed their diplomas on the "instructor" line, not Ed Parker.

However technically, Ed Parker always co-promoted all of the black belts in his lineage when he was alive. I always tell people if you want to know the truth, look at their diplomas. As an example on my 7th Degree Diploma, Mr. Parker signed on both sides. On the left, as the president of the IKKA, and on the right as My Instructor, with Ed Parker Jr. signing as the witness.

When the magazine article came out on Larry, Mr. Parker got blow back from guys who had been around a lot longer than Larry. Larry was essentially a “newbie” but making money running the school for him, as the only actual full time employee of the IKKA that was not his family. Mr. Parker cleaned it up by saying, "Well yeah, Larry is protégé, but he's not the ONLY protégé. I have lots of them!" It was just business puffing, but everyone took it so seriously.

There is no way Mr. Parker shared the "full scope" of his knowledge with anyone. It simply wasn’t possible. Mr. Parker was evolving as a martial artist everyday. He was growing and figuring out what he wanted to do, as he expanded his own knowledge. But, he also had to keep his Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate running while he did it, because that's what made the money.

Keeping up with Mr. Parker was Impossible. If he shared something with you today, it might change over night, and if you weren't around for the changes the next day, you were already out of the loop. In many ways, this accounts for the great variations of information from different lineages, even before Ed Parker’s kenpo Karate and certainly even more so after it was created.

The process was so arduous most simply stayed with what they were taught and never upgraded their information, because it was too labor intensive, and impossible to do if you were running a school as a business to make a living. You had to settle on one way to do things and go with it or you would lose students, much like Mr. Parker himself. Once most got a belt and some rank, nobody wanted to reexamine their neutral bow, or how to do a drag-step reverse, with an inward block but that is what Mr. Parker was constantly doing

He shared many things specifically with me, but then some things he just pointed me in the right direction and trusted that I could work it out because of my Chinese background, and the history he and I shared. He always monitored what I was doing with my students, and gave his approval of the process I was engaged in with his help and guidance.

I took notes of his work, and codified as much as I could, considering its fluid nature. It was actually much more difficult when he was alive, because I had to work at his pace and on his timetable. Sometime he would call me up in the middle of the night and we'd talk until the sun came up. His mind was constantly on fire and he lit one in me as well.

I also received all his computer notes and files from Edmund after he passed. - Ron Chapel

During an interview while Mr. Parker was alive, Ed Parker Jr. was asked about Kenpo training and said he did not train in his father's art but rather was into graphic design. What made him suddenly change his mind and want to learn Kenpo?

That is one of the greatest misunderstandings about Edmund. When he says he didn't study his father art, he's talking about “Ed Parker's kenpo Karate.” He’s not saying he didn’t study Kenpo with his father. Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate is the only "defined" art that Mr. Parker had. Everything else was as I said before, works in progress.

What his father shared with him are the working concepts that I use myself, but it isn't really Kenpo as in the Kenpo era he grew up in would define it based on “motion.”

It is Kenpo, but only as defined our personal unique teaching perspectives. He and I both use a less aggressive and maiming style of Kenpo based on human anatomy and body mechanics. In my opinion, this is what’s missing from Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate. But the Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate crowd is so large and vocal, if you do anything "different,", in a matter they don't understand, or if it isn’t in “Infinite Insights,” the first thing they do is shout, "that ain't Kenpo."

Trust me, it is a form of Kenpo, it's just not "Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate," and that's all they know. Many of them are shocked to hear that Kenpo existed in various forms before Ed Parker. Naturally, they want to define Kenpo by their own terms because that's where their rank has legitimacy, even though Mr. Parker had 4 or 5 different forms of Kenpo he taught to others, and all different from his Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate Business.


Edmund has used his deep understanding of human anatomy refined by his many years as a graphic illustrator of the human body, to define and add to his Kenpo in different terms as a defensive defusing method he calls the Paxtial Arts. I call what I teach SL-4 American Chúan Fa. Whatever you call it, the roots are the same; Ed Parker Sr. It is much easier to utilize one's own identity in a world of intolerant "kenpo" people who think there's only one way. So in my opinion, when Edmund says he doesn't know his father's art, he only talking about Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate Curriculum, nothing else. - Ron Chapel

I also said I would never marry again. I also said I think the moon is made of cheese. We all say things based upon the perspective of the time. So in fact I did not want anything to do with Kenpo. What changed my mind was this: I was living in Hawaii, going to college pursuing a career in film and TV when I got a job on the TV show Magnum PI.  Then I got a call from my dad. He wanted me to come and help him finish his lifes work, because he said he had a dream or a vision that he was going to die. So I gave up my dreams to fulfill his.

I worked for him, with him, and in the end by him on his projects. The only way I could get his vision was to get in his head. So to illustrate what he wanted he had to teach me how to think like him and understand him. So my training went the Mr. Miyagi way. We worked some weeks 120 hours plus.
He was obsessed driven like a mad man to get his works done. 
I was by his side for that process.

So I did learn Ed Parker, not his system, but him, the way he thought and why he thought that way. What made him come to those conclusions etc. 

After he died is when I wanted to learn the system. Yes I was taught privately. For years in fact. Protected from the outside world. Then after he died I studied with Ron (Chapél) because he stimulated my mind. He was one of my fathers closest friends and I wanted to get to know my dad better through the eyes of his students.

I consider myself an artist of motion. - Ed Parker Jr.

Bruce Lee

Can you clarify about Lao Bun introducing Bruce Lee to Ed Parker? Was James Lee given credit to protect Lao Bun because he was still in the United States illegally.

Those things were not on my personal radar, and Mr. Parker only spoke of those things in generalities. Who introduced who, when wasn’t that important to me, and Bruce Lee was impressive but wasn’t doing anything I hadn’t seen Sifu Wong, or Lefiti do. - Ron Chapel

James Lee introduced Ed Parker to Bruce Lee. - Dan Inosanto

How long did Bruce Lee and Ed Parker live together and how much if at all did Ed Parker borrow from Bruce Lee?

Ed Parker and Bruce Lee did not "live together." There were a couple of times where Bruce was in town from Oakland and stayed with Mr. Parker at his house for a week or so. Mr. Parker did not "borrow" anything of significance from Bruce Lee. Mr. Parker was a Mr. Parker was a seasoned martial artist who had trained in Western boxing, Judo, Jiu-jitsu, Karate, and Kenpo from the age of 10. When he met Bruce Lee, relatively speaking, Bruce was a young kid.  

Lee drew attention not from his knowledge of the arts but for his physical prowess, and the ability to physically learn things quickly. Most are unaware Bruce Lee only formally studied Wing Chun for about 2 years before he left Hong Kong to be a student of philosophy, at the university of Washington at the age of 19 when he enrolled. He dropped out of school and moved to Oakland, and opened up a gung fu school teaching what he knew. When he gave his famous demonstration at Mr. Parker's invite at the 2nd International Karate Championships in 1964, he was only 24 years. 

While the public had begun to embrace and understand the arts, it was primarily from the Japanese Perspective at the time. When Bruce displayed simple Chinese Concepts of fighting in 1964 at the Japanese dominated tournament, it blew everyone away. A look at that demo today would virtually put you to sleep. - Dan Inosanto

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http://www.martialmoves.com/blog/qa/

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Q&A: Kenpo

(by Brad Bode martialmoves.com)

Getting answers straight from those "who were there" is tough today, unless you have the connections to call the right people. Fortuneately, through my association with Ron Chapél I can make those calls. So lets kick off the first Q&A session. Email me your questions at Brad@MartialMoves.com and I will do my best to get your questions answered by the most knowledgeable person on the topic possible. Don't hesitate to suggest that person either, as I probably can get them on the phone.

Keep in mind that subjective questions will get subjective answers. Everyone's history in the Martial Arts is different, but non-theless valid so please, treat all Q&A responders with respect.
For starters, Sami Ibrahim of Fort Campbell, Kentucky sent me a long list of question, which were answered by Ron Chapél. While this series of questions is highly Kenpo related, don't hesitate to ask questions outside of Kenpo.

When Secrets of Chinese Karate was published in 1963, did the old school Kenpo guys abandon Mr. Parker in favor of James Wing Woo? Did that have anything to do with why they were not a part of the American Kenpo transition?

First, Mr. Parker never created his "American Kenpo." It was a project he started and abandoned almost immediately when he ran into financial difficulty with the people he invested with to produce Action Karate Magazine. He was financially ruined by the partnership when the magazine folded after about 7 issues, and it forced him into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was the only way he could protect his home assets, and his family.

Having a Mother and five children to take care of was essentially the driving force that caused him to create a commercial martial arts product he called "Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate." It was never Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate, nor did he ever market it that way. Others confused his pronouncements of being desirous of creating an "American form of Kenpo" with the creation of Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, which was based on the study of abstract "motion."

His proposed American Kenpo was supposed to be closer to the Chúan Fa of its origin, and a much more precise and meticulous vehicle, that was much too labor intensive for Kenpo Karate’s philosophy of teaching. There was also the element that he would, and could be the only qualified teacher, which doesn't lend itself well to proliferation.

In the early days, it was not unusual for students to leave once they had received their black belts. It also was normal for it to take only about a year or slightly longer of diligent study to get there. Sifu Woo not only provided a great deal of the information, (along with contributions from Sifu Ark Wong) for the book "Secrets of Chinese Kenpo," but taught elements of the traditional Chinese Martial Arts in Mr. Parker's School in Pasadena. When Sifu Woo decided to leave, he took with him several black belts he was already teaching. As I recall Richard Montgomery and Rick Flores were the two to leave with Sifu Wong.

Students were more migratory in the early days because everyone was fascinated with the arts in general, and wanted to "sample" everything new that came along to expand their knowledge. It happened in all the traditional arts as well regularly.

The most well known student to leave Mr. Parker was Dan Inosanto, but that too is misleading. Dan Inosanto had spent time with Sifu Ark Wong before forming a relationship with Mr. Parker, and was simply moving on. I would not ever characterize his relationship as student/teacher with Bruce Lee. In my opinion, they traded information with Bruce Lee being the greater beneficiary of Inosanto's knowledge. He certainly was responsible for the weapons training that Bruce Lee picked up. Bruce Lee was smart enough to surround himself with knowledgeable so-called "students'” he could learn from, while his celebrity students paid the bills.

All of this occurred before there was ever an Ed Parker's kenpo Karate as people know it today. But those that trained with Ed Parker in his "Original Kenpo Karate," as when he first came to the mainland, or his more traditional Chinese influenced "Chinese Kenpo" he switched to almost immediately, wanted nothing to do with the "new" commercial brand of kenpo he was teaching, and none of the previous students transitioned to it by choice. Most continued to do as they were taught, or transitioned into their own versions, or moved on to other things. The Kenpo that existed just before Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate is almost non-existent now. The closest you can get to it on ant decent scale would have to Be Al Tracy's guys. No one wanted to transition to “Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate,” because it was so “watered down” in comparison to Mr. Parker’s previous teachings in terms of physicality. The new Kenpo Karate had to be user friendly for everyone, including children and older people.

Is it true that when all of Mr. Parker's Black Belts left him only Chuck Sullivan stayed loyal to him? (Around the time of the James Wing Woo fall out and the Tracy's leaving?)

First, all of Parker's Black Belts didn't leave him en mass. This was something that happened gradually over time as students grew and wanted to be on their own. The allure of business opportunities pulled them away when they felt they had learned enough Kenpo, and the business. Mr. Sullivan, who is senior to us all, created his own product he called the "Karate Connection" long before Mr. Parker passed, which was quite successful.

Later he was criticized for his creation of his International Karate Connection (IKC) video teaching program. What most don't know is the video method was Mr. Parker's idea that he floated before his death. Mr. Sullivan was merely continuing with a Parker idea, and he isn't the only one. But, most stayed "loyal," (to use your word), to Mr. Parker even though they were no longer "students" and left to form their own schools, associations, and businesses. Mr. Parker never expressed any of these earlier students were being "disloyal," and he maintained a relationship with just about all of them. Few were actually physical students in the pure sense of the word anyway, because Mr. Parker stopped teaching.

What actually caused the Tracy fallout?

There was no "Tracy Fallout." When Mr. Parker decided he wanted to move in a different direction, he turned his Yudanshakai Organization, the Kenpo Karate Association of America, (KKAA) over to Al Tracy who was an astute business man, to run as he moved onto to form his then new, International Kenpo Karate Association, (IKKA). They ultimately became business rivals, but always retained a cordial relationship while Mr. Parker was alive, and Al Tracy, his troops and teams were always quite prominent at Mr. Parker's International Karate Championships Tournament every year.

Is it true that Huk Planas was actually busy traveling around the world playing in a band and had very little time training with Mr. Parker?

It is correct Huk was a musician and traveled a lot, but he didn't travel any more than Mr. Parker, so I don't know what that means. He was as much a student as anyone at the time and even ran the Pasadena School for a period. Huk came to Mr. Parker as a student of the late Sibok Tom Kelly, who was a student of Sigung Steve LaBounty out of the Tracy System, so all were well trained when they came over and simply continued, and contributed heavily to Mr. Parker's new method of teaching.

Did you ever see Ed Parker spar?

No.

Did you ever witness Ed Parker in an altercation?

Yes I did. Mr. Parker was a devastating person.

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http://www.martialmoves.com/blog/qa-kenpo-early-days/

Monday, September 11, 2017

Kenpo Karate's Grand Master, James Ibrao Autobiography

I was born November 3, 1937 in the state of Hawaii in a city called Waialua. In Waialua, every element of our lives was based around a sugar plantation which meant that everyone worked with one another, knew one another and respected one another. For seventeen years I had the advantage of having an extended family of nearly three thousand people. I believe that this element has given me an incredibly strong base and advantage in dealing with people because I came from such a strong foundation of respect for so many people.

In addition, the positive development of the person came from the positive development of the entire group and so, common goals and traditional values were of the utmost importance. For instance, the development of the ego came from the the development of the ego of the entire community not just any one individual. Perhaps this is why I have been able to exceed and excel in the learning and much more importantly, the teaching of the martial arts to so many people. I have always judged myself by the number of people I have been able to assist and not on my own "personal achievements".

During this time I became very active in athletics and I was able to make my mark in every sport I played. Strangely enough, out of all the sports I tried, basketball was my favorite. In fact, many of you may find this difficult to believe, but at 5"foot 9" I was able to slam dunk!

Introduction to Kenpo

At seventeen I had the tremendous opportunity to go to school in Boise, Idaho. I found the climate to be too cold for me and I decided to return to Los Angeles. From there, I tried my luck at Brigham Young University, but again I found the climate was not to my liking. I returned once again to Los Angeles where my life would change forever. After being so active in sports, I found I needed a release. A friend of mine, Bob Sarno, had an acquaintance named Ed Parker who was involved in the teaching of a new martial arts called Kenpo Karate. On the island, martial arts instructors had to be registered to teach and the only art I had been able to study was a little judo. You can imagine my excitement at being exposed to the power, quickness, and innovative moves of Ed Parker who was literally a giant. It was more than just his stature, he had an aura of power and what many would call fearlessness. The very next day, I joined Mr. Ed Parker and his four students, on their journey into the experience called Kenpo Karate. I"m not sure whether it was natural ability or pure desire to learn, but I never found the "intensive workouts" to be too difficult. I was always trying to see and figure out what the next move would be. I always looked for the next logical step in the beautiful and deadly art taught by this dynamic and charismatic individual. Within weeks, I noticed that my already athletic build was beginning to grow and change. Almost instantly, I gained weight and watched as my muscle structure began to change. I developed power and strength in my legs, arms and back and was amazed at how my shoulders widened. Of all this, perhaps the most important change came in my level of confidence. The power I felt was tremendous. There was nothing that I couldn't do. All this came from my complete and total immersion into this new art. I lived, ate and slept Kenpo Karate. The year was 1956.

Hard Hitting Kenpo

Now for all of you out there who have illusions about some magical climb to Black Belt; let me explain a few things. When I started, there were only three belts, White, Brown and Black. It is true that I was the first man to achieve Black Belt under Ed Parker and it is true that I achieved this goal in only nine months. However, these things were not as important as the fact that not only was I determined to achieve these goals, I was driven to see that belt knotted around my waist. Back then, study was much more intensive and the judging of any artist was on the basics; ability, quality, coordination, speed and power of your techniques. In those days the only way to test your abilities was to really hit! While not very practical and in retrospect not very prudent, it did develop something in us that our current counterparts will never know.

The Kenpo Forms

That is in no way a slight to any martial artist, I am simply trying to translate the feeling of intensity derived from literally being involved in the creation and the development of such an awesome form of self defense. You must remember that we created the forms that many of you do today. In fact, many of you have been doing these forms incorrectly. Can you imagine the number of nuances and movements that have been lost over the last forty plus years? In addition, along with the loss of many of the elements of the katas; much of the original essence of the forms, the power; the raw power has been diluted and reduced. A perfect example of this is the Book Set which was believed to have been lost. This form was taught to me by Grand master James Wing Woo himself, and I in turn was charged with teaching it to the other students and instructors. Unfortunately, Grand master Woo was only able to teach half of the move to Ed before our days of training together came to an end. Thanks to the efforts of Al and Will Tracy, for the first time in over forty years, many of you will be able to finally see and learn this kata in its entirety. More importantly, you will be able to learn this form correctly. You will be exposed to a true kata that has literally been saved for each and every one of you!

Grandmaster James Wing Woo

Grand master James Wing Woo came into the picture in 1960 when Ed Parker and I went on a road trip to San Francisco to visit a few of the Chinese Martial Arts Schools. Ed immediately recognized Master Woo's talent and invited him down to Los Angeles to document his knowledge in books and to incorporate some of the characteristics of the Chinese systems into Parkers Kenpo.

Kenpo and Beyond

By 1962, I had been exposed to every aspect of Kenpo Karate. I had developed many of the Forms and Kata which would come to set the tone of the art for years to come. I also developed some of the most powerful and deadly techniques the system has ever known. Another of my innovations were the High Kicks, Double Kicks, Triple kicks, Spinning Kicks, Back kicks and many specialty kicks that have long been forgotten. I mentioned earlier that I was an avid slam dunker in basketball, this was a direct result of the power I developed in the martial arts. It"s funny now, but in 1961 I was invited to scrimmage against the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. After the scrimmage, I was asked to try out for the team. It was no surprise that I made the team. I do not say this to be conceited, it is only meant as a way to convey to you the level of confidence and ability that had been developed through the arts. I toured with the Globetrotters for two years, until 1964 and then returned to Los Angeles. I did not return to my studies with Ed Parker. I had made up my mind that I would begin to unlock the mysteries of the Chinese Martial Arts. Ed and I did not part enemies and over the years we continued to speak and remain on good terms contrary to what many people believe.

I never left my Kenpo roots, in fact, I believe that the Kenpo has been vital and essential to my development and longevity in the arts.

There is much more to my story and I am currently documenting hundreds of special moments and events that I am sure will be of interest to you all. I plan to publish a series of books and articles which will chronicle my experiences over the last forty years. I look forward to meeting you all and I wish you only the best in your endeavor to become the greatest martial artist you can be.

https://kenpokarate.com/ibrao_bio.html

Parker, Ibrao, 1958

Monday, August 28, 2017

Elvis Presley’s fiancée Ginger Alden details the King’s bad temper, secluded Graceland life, and luxurious gifts in new memoir

Ginger, Elvis, and Mr. Parker

(by Sherryl Connelly nydailynews.com 8-16-14)

Elvis Presley promised Ginger Alden “the wedding of the century” before they went to sleep at Graceland on that hot August night in 1977. The next time she saw him, he was dead on the bathroom floor.

“Elvis & Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancée and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story” is Alden’s anticipated new memoir — in which she at long last reveals the intimate details of the King’s strange courtship down to its terrifying moments.

Alden was 20, living at home with her parents in their modest Memphis home when her sister Terry, the then-reigning Miss Tennessee, got a call from Graceland. It was late on a Saturday night in November, but the King wanted to know if she could come over. Terry asked if she could bring her two sisters.

The women were given a tour of the ground floor of Graceland while they waited several hours for Elvis to make his entrance. Ironically, it was one of the few times that Alden ever saw the downstairs. Though she would soon all but live at the famed mansion, her life with Elvis was confined to the upstairs bedroom suite.

Elvis, 41, finally appeared and was immediately taken with Alden. He read to her that night from Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” They would spend many nights like that, Elvis reading aloud from his texts of Eastern spiritualism or books on numerology.

She first joined him on tour in Las Vegas, where he sent her to luxury stores in the hotel lobby to buy expensive gowns to wear to his shows. Then came the jewelry. Just before the show one night, he asked her to close her eyes. When she opened them, there was a gold diamond cluster ring on her finger.

At almost the same moment, he placed a ring of sapphires and diamonds on her other hand, announcing, “You have to have backups.” Elvis produced two more diamond rings. A couple of days later, he gifted her with a new Lincoln Mark V.

But she was also treated to her first taste of the King’s temper. When she refused to immediately break up by phone with a man she had been seeing, Elvis slammed into the next room, where his entourage sat. With an audience, he hurled a bottle of Gatorade against the wall.

It was that night that they first made love. Elvis opened her robe, but refused to strip off all of her lingerie. His pajamas didn’t come entirely off, either. “I don’t believe people should be completely undressed until they’re married,” he told her before consummating their relationship.

Before his next show, he gave her another diamond necklace and a diamond watch.

Alden noticed that while they were in Vegas, she saw nothing beyond the hotel suite and the showroom. Elvis didn’t get out much.

Back at Graceland, he spent most of his days and nights upstairs in his pajamas, rarely venturing beyond his bedroom or adjoining office. In their time together, she never saw him eat at a table. Meals were delivered to them in bed.

To spruce up, Elvis might throw on a jeweled blue bathrobe. Or if there was a need to leave the house, he would pull a jumpsuit over his pajamas and strap on a belt to accommodate the gun he always carried. Among his many firearms, Elvis owned several magnums.

One night, when she couldn’t stay awake to keep reading with him, she saw one of the magnums in action — or rather heard it. A deafening roar woke her up. Elvis had fired the pistol at the wall over the headboard.

He explained that he had asked her to get him some more yogurt and she hadn’t jumped to. “It was an attention-getter,” he explained.

Elvis and guns were a dangerous combination. One night, when the toilet started to gurgle, he blasted it with a machine gun. More frightening was the day he raced into the yard with the machine gun after spotting his daughter, Lisa, being pursued by someone with a gun. Alden made him see that Lisa was being chased by a child with a toy pistol.

He once shot the television when he didn’t like the program. Another time he fired at the phone when it disturbed him. Alden blamed such erratic moments on his mood swings.

She was always worried by the “sleep packets” delivered nightly by the nurse who lived in a trailer out back. Often, Elvis would need to be dosed more than once throughout the night. But if she said anything, he would fly into a rage.

She couldn’t even risk reproaching him about the enormous quantities of food he would gorge on. One night, on vacation in Hawaii, she tried to reason with him that he had consumed so much papaya juice that day he really didn’t need any more.

Furious, he announced, “We’re leaving Hawaii because of you,” threatening to take her, her family and the huge entourage that had accompanied them home. When she walked out on his rant, he stormed into the room and slapped her across the ribs.

“No one ever walks out on me when I’m talking,” he yelled.

Still, there were loving, generous gestures. He loaded Alden and her family with mink coats. Her parents drove a new car. He insisted on taking over the mortgage note on the family home when her parents refused to let him buy a new house. And always there was more jewelry, including many diamond-studded pieces.

Barely three months after they had met, Elvis seated Alden in a chair in his bathroom, dropped to his knee and presented her with a huge diamond ring, a center-cut stone surrounded by six smaller diamonds.

“Ginger, I’m asking you. Will you marry me?”

They kept the engagement quiet, not wanting to surprise Lisa with the news until plans were formalized. He repeatedly told Alden that God would let him know when the time was right to wed. It was on a summer night that he set the date. They would marry that Christmas. It would be “the wedding of the century,” he said.

“I’ve thought about your gown. The dress should have a high collar and I would like it to have small rosebuds with gold threads through it. I’m gonna have someone work on it in Los Angeles,” he told her.

The next day, she got up about 2:20 p.m. Elvis wasn’t in the room but she noticed the door to his bathroom was cracked open. She relates what she saw.

“Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the commode and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position directly in front of it.

“His legs were bent, the upper part of his chest and shoulders touched the ground, and his head was slightly turned to the left.”

The commotion was huge — little Lisa had to be blocked from the bathroom door — and there were attempts to revive him. But the King was officially pronounced dead, a victim of cardiac arrhythmia, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis on Aug. 16, 1977.

At the funeral, Alden took a backseat, though Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ ex-wife, whom Alden resembles, told her at the wake, “I know how much Elvis loved you.”

Soon after, Alden’s mother got a notice that the mortgage had not been paid. Even a lawsuit didn’t move the estate to fulfill Elvis’ promise. Alden was left with her box of jewels and memories that she has refused to share until now.

“Elvis & Ginger” is on sale Sept. 2.

Ginger Alden with Mr. Parker

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http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/elvis-presley-fiancee-ginger-alden-details-king-bad-temper-secluded-life-new-memoir-article-1.1906104

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ed Parker Defends his Tournament

(Black Belt magazine, February 1967)
 
I wish to thank you for the eight page story and review of the 1966 International Karate Championships. It was terrific recognition of an outstanding event, and the more than a dozen photographs graphically illustrated some of the highlights of the event.

Karate in the past has been limited to the chosen few, who are either dedicated to the art or to those who have dedicated themselves to the art of physically controlled powers. It has been a great satisfaction to me that during the past three years, the International Karate Championships have brought about great interest and understanding by the public, which, in turn, has substantially increased the status and integrity of our profession, regardless of incidents that are bound to occur when this many contestants gather to do battle.

The reader interest by the subscribers of your magazine is indicated by your willingness to devote eight pages and 13 pictures to the event, and I salute you. I agree that those of "us", with a serious mind to the traditions of karate, are somewhat apprehensive about attracting thousands of people to see a championship, but it is about the only way for a mass education to create interest in the things that you and I believe in. It is true that there will always be those in the audience who are skilled in the art, and the "exhibitions" staged between a serious "events" of the contest may be dull and kids stuff to them. But this could be said of the "Hokum" and fillers and jokes and some of the advertising of your magazine which many times is obviously staged and of selected sequences to illustrate a point in your stories and features.

There were over 600 contestants. The event is still new in scope with only three years’ experience, and if mistakes are made, it is unfortunate it was necessary for you to take half of the eight pages to tell about your opinion of the mistakes. By and large, however, you added many favorable comments, and I think the article in its length, size, scope and illustrations was most commendable, even though I "violently" disagree with some of your criticisms.

May I inquire if you are aware that all contestants the day before the contest attended a three-hour briefing session. The officials and the contestants conferred, and changes were made in the rules by public discussion of conflicts. Special exhibitions were given before the entire group, with officials present to explain what was expected and the procedures that would be used during the tournament. These and many other sessions took place to help solve the dilemma of competing by devotees of different styles or systems.

Incidentally, it was interesting for you to observe in one paragraph a criticism of the failure to conform to the harder Japanese styles, and in the following paragraph emphasized a criticism that contact was "often" and it was "hard." Also, in the afternoon session, there were a number of warnings and many disqualifications for lack of control and contestants disqualified. There were no contestants injured beyond superficial problems that could readily occur in any activity where 600 contestants are involved in body contact sports, with the exception of the talented and potential champion Tony Tulleners, who broke his foot, and that did not occur from any laxness in officiating. I'm wondering if your reporter was actually there, or Joe's wrote what someone told him. In that regard, I am sure that among 600 contestants or their friends, that someone would be unhappy about some incident of the event.

Regardless of the comments made on officiating, I enjoyed your comments about the champion to the effect that he was from out of state and not a local preferential contestant, that he was ambitious, hard-working, and a strong fighter, big and fast, deceptive for a man his size and was smart enough to conserve his strength for the finals. These comments would somewhat soft-pedal your criticism of the officiating. This would particularly be true in the top championship, where your reporter belittled the referee because he looked to the four judges who were there for that purpose "to be sure." With a protégé directly or indirectly in the finals, each of the top judges and officials in the tournament were in an equally precarious position of integrity, and my position as the referee for the finals was at the insistence of the head official. I was left no choice, and I did not put myself in this position because I was the Executive Producer.

In conclusion, it would appear from your eight page story that the tournament and championship event was a capacity, crowd pleasing, and outstanding three-year success. (Except for some of the officiating?) As to the crowd, the in between bout activities, the contestants, and the judging and your reporter, we owed some consideration to the people who bought tickets to make it possible for 600 athletes to appear and perform their art and ability and have people there to appreciate their prowess. It was synonymously appear to me after reading your article that the tournament was only equaled by the literary style of your story, which apparently was written either to please your readers, insight circulation and sale of your magazine so more people would know about karate, or create a controversy that never existed. I can't criticize an editor for trying to accomplish either one or all of these objectives. In fact, I thank you for the eight pages and 13 pictures and many favorable comments directed to The Third Annual International Karate Championships, and I hope the various styles and systems may work closer together in the future for the greater integrity and acceptance of karate in all its forms and abilities.

Ed Parker
international Kenpo Karate
Pasadena, California