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 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


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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

40th anniversary of the death of Elvis

(from the Ed Parker Sr. Facebook page today)

"Now the story has come full circle. I stood with a tear-streaked face beside my friend. He lay in state in regal splendor. There was no evidence of pain or suffering. The crowds were gone. We were alone for the last time. Tears stained my navy blue coat. I wept because I was going to miss Elvis. An overwhelming emptiness overcame me as I reflected on the treasured moments we had so often shared. Never again in this life would we explore the depths of reason and human understanding. I was happy for him. He was at peace at least." - Inside Elvis by Ed Parker

Monday, August 14, 2017

John McSweeney legacy flyer

Mr. John McSweeney began his training in the martial arts while very young in boxing. In 1952, while serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he was stationed in Japan where he trained in Kodokan Judo. He achieved a rank of brown belt before returning to the U.S.
In 1959, Mr. McSweeney met Mr. Ed Parker. In late 1962, Mr. Parker awarded him a black belt. Mr. McSweeney was one of Mr. Parker's first black belts.

That same year, in 1962, Mr. McSweeney left for Ireland and opened a school in Dublin. When Mr. McSweeney left Ireland, he left behind 4 black belts to carry on the legacy.

Mr. McSweeney came to New York and opened a Kenpo school there, and due to his regular job, he eventually left New York. When he left, he left behind 3 black belts, one of which was Frank DeMaria.

In 1980 Mr. McSweeney opened a school in Elmhurst, Il. His first black belts there were, Tom Saviano, Ray Korda, and Mike Vassolo.

In 1995, Mr. McSweeney moved to Florida. When he died, he was wearing a 10th Deg. Black Belt in Kenpo, and an 8th Deg. Black Belt in Combato-Do.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

An old days demonstration

Interesting photo, date and location unknown however.

But it looks like that could be Dan Inosanto narrating what Mr. Parker is doing. Notice the mats being used, if you can call those mats.


(update July 11th, 2019)

Tom Bleecker - On another Kenpo forum, the statement was made that I was the first teenage black belt awarded by Ed Parker. To clarify, this is incorrect. While I was the first black belt awarded by Ed Parker at the Santa Monica / WLA schools, the first teenage black belt of Mr. Parker's Family Tree of Black Belts was awarded to either Paul Psik (born March 1946) or Steve Golden (born July 1946), who were both students at the Pasadena school. Both these gentlemen were far ahead of me. This is a photo taken at a demo in 1962. That's me on the floor wearing a white belt. Steve Golden is standing over me, either a brown or black belt.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Heretic of Kenpo

(by Mr. Ed Parker Jr.)

So what is the rationale behind the direction of my life focus?

After my dad, Ed Parker, Sr. was no longer here I began to research alternatives to my dad’s system of American Kenpo. In the early days of my research and development I started calling what I was doing “passive kenpo.” It went over like a lead balloon.

I was emotionally tarred and feathered for the suggestion and the direction.

This was when I became known as the “Heretic of Kenpo.”

I was young and naive. I thought my idea would be understood and respected. I was wrong. I was the new Benedict Arnold to my dad’s system, or so they said. Even my siblings felt so. I have pushed forward against the tide of criticism as that is my nature. Reminds of my dad’s nature.

So I took a step back and looked at my idea from a distance macroscopically.

This was my head. My dad embedded within me a need to look for new angles and discover the undiscovered. It was from his head to mine. When my dad was in town, we talked for hours each day about how to present his ideas to his following and we worked together an ungodly amount of hours in his laboratory, searching for the best possible way to present his mindset and vision. He was a perfectionist after all. So am I. Just look at my artwork and that becomes obvious.

It was imperative that I get inside my dad’s head and understand what he envisioned. It was a magical time for me.

In the early 1980’s my dad cut short my personal life quest when he called me in Hawaii and asked me to leave my dream job on the Hollywood set of Magnum PI. He told me that he needed me to document his life work back home in Pasadena, California.

It was my dad’s belief that he was going to die.

So I chose to return home and join my dad in his quest. I had nearly a decade working at my dad’s side before he died and for this I am forever grateful.

My dad said often,”my son is my right hand, my wife is my left, which foot would you like to be?”

My dad didn’t just listen to me, he had me help him by illustrating, designing and publishing, along with applying many of the ideas I presented to him in his system.

He called me to his side because of the unique talents and skills that I had developed in my extensive education and training as an illustrator and artist. He mined my thoughts and ideas like a drill sergeant and he knew that I was fluent in the kenpo world language, visuals, and concepts. The unique talents and gifts my dad and I had naturally merged in the last decade of Ed Parker Sr.’s life as he also learned a lot of tools from my trade.


My dad’s focus was to go microscopic with the base altercation.

My focus was to go macroscopic with his research because no one else was entertaining that angle.
My dad made me a pioneer because he was a pioneer. Ed Parker Sr. lived and breathed innovations and ideas, then he put them all in categories.

I deeply believe that my dad is proud of me because I followed the path of rebel and innovator that he cut. When I was 19 years old I drew a picture of my dad which sold 50,000 copies and distributed internationally. My dad would be the first to say that I am far more of a mind than someone who just paints pretty pictures.

When my dad was gone I had to walk a solitary and uphill journey. I walked the journey alone but hundreds of my dad’s offspring influenced me. After my dad died, I did private and public training with three of my dad’s students; Frank Trejo, Huk Planas, and Ron Chapél, also known as ‘Doc.’

Doc was one of my greatest influences. He was in law enforcement and the years of our real life training opportunities together is something I will forever cherish.

I was also influenced by the Russian Art Systema as I did training with Vladimir Vasiliev, Martin Wheeler, and Frank Fileti. Martin and Frank were kenpoists at first and they introduced me to Vladimir.

For close to a decade I had a teacher to student, student to teacher training relationship with Frank Soto in which I will forever be grateful for the lessons shared.

I lived a Forest Gump type lifestyle for three decades in the martial arts world taking the best of each martial art style I was exposed to whether it be the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino arts or many other arts from masters around the world, all in single service private lessons. It was a LOT of information and training for my mind to digest.

Always in the back of my mind was my dad’s voice drilling into my head that discoveries come from something as simple as asking “what if?”

It was my dad who taught me about opposites and reverses. My dad taught me to get my mind out of the box. He taught me not to get caught up in routine. My dad showed me how to expand my mind and point of view.

With my dad gone I was left with one option: Play off the opposite angle.

So the inevitable happened. I asked myself what is the opposite option for aggressive solutions?

According to the laws of the universe there is direction and redirection, action and reaction.

Passive is not a word that the martial arts world relates to. So what. Pick a word you like. The science, physics, and kinetics are all there. Let’s just go with the concept of a combative self defense and a non-combative self defense It is a reasonable quest.

The questions I pondered:

1. How much attention does the free press give self defense in today’s world?

2. What is the opposite of Martial Arts?

3. Where did the name Martial Arts come from?

4. Is there a Roman god of peace?

5. What is the philosophy of martial arts?

6. Can an alternative to the martial arts solution be discovered providing a win/win outcome?

My Answers:

1. Martial arts was played to death in the 1970’s. I don’t see much access to the free press. They have other agendas.

2. Nothing that I found within my research.

3. The god of war, Mars, was the inspiration for the name martial arts.

4. Yes, her name was Pax. She was the Roman Goddess of Peace.

5. The philosophy of martial arts is a win/lose philosophy.

6. Yes.

There is plenty of resistance to talk of my creation of the Paxtial Arts. Those outside the martial arts world in areas of education, the medical industry, peacekeepers of all kinds, veterans, and families seeking a peaceable life are just a small list of those excited about this movement.

There are greater numbers of those interested in new and innovative ideas for self defense that is peaceful than those who are not interested. Detractors of great and culture changing ideas have always been there and they always will be, but that never stops a great idea rooted in universal truths.

It was all there in my dad’s notes; discoveries that he did not have time to make. He told me before he died that his category named “other” was there in opposites and reverse. My dad told me that this category was for me to work and find discoveries in. Well, I did.

The perfect people to learn and teach Paxtial Arts are martial artists, but to train in it one has to adopt the philosophy of a win/win within the training. A win/win outcome is a very difficult challenge to present to a martial artist philosophically although I have seen the exuberance and excitement that is a natural response when those who have experienced the Paxtial Arts training experience first hand that it is a science and it does work. It has been described as an “out of body experience.”

This is the natural evolution of the art of self defense.

My dad’s book Infinite Insights Into Kenpo states in the first chapter; “a mind is like unto a parachute — it only works when it is open” along with the great Chinese Taoist philosopher Chuan Tzu’s quote;

“Never be like the frog at the bottom of the well who when looking up at the sky thinks that the sky he sees is all there is to heaven.”

In Ed Parker’s Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, Mental Stimulation; the closing paragraph of book one, chapter one, page 6 – my dad states:

“Do not discard any subject until you have made an honest, conscientious, and diligent attempt to incorporate it. REPEATED ADVICE – never discard knowledge that is not applicable to you, but store it. The day may come when that knowledge could be taught to someone who can apply it; who knows – that individual may be your own child.”

So to those who quote my dad often, what say you? Can you make an honest conscientious and diligent attempt to look at what Ed Parker’s son discovered during the thousands of hours that I spent looking through the eyes of my dad and recording his vision?

I am not telling you to incorporate it. I am asking you to look at it and consider that it is knowledge with added tools that you can incorporate into your own craft and business. Tools that can bring more revenue into your schools. Tools that can be used so that your children and grandchildren’s future might find balance in the whole coin, considering that there are two sides to this craft of self defense according to the universal laws of physics, anatomy, and science.

There is a solid reason that the public school system in several states is scheduled to incorporate the Paxtial Arts Formula. It really is a win/win and martial artists really are the only ones who logically should deliver this culture changing and educational key to evolution and progression of self defense.

So I give you my permission to quote me, Ed Parker Sr.’s only son, the Heretic of Kenpo…

We can never have enough tools.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sun Sing Theater Outtakes (#1)

(photos and text from Striking Distance Facebook page 7-13-17)

Hong Kong starlet Diana Chang Chung-wen in San Francisco's Chinatown, during late August of 1964. This was taken earlier in the day of Bruce Lee's infamous Sun Sing Theater demo, which is often cited as the main cause for his fight with Wong Jack Man later that autumn.

I was in Chinatown last week and it looked as if the Sun Sing was officially shuttered. It has been in poor shape for awhile now (noticeably more so than even just a few years ago...), but had continued to house a sort of make shift flea market. I'm curious if any locals have info on its current status?
As I mentioned in my book, the Sun Sing was originally named the Mandarin Theater when it was built back in 1924, and was really the premier new opera house within the neighborhood, before entering into spirited competition with the newly built Great China Theater (now known as the Great Star) just a block down on Jackson Street. The Mandarin was where Bruce Lee's father Lee Hoi Chuen had performed when he came over to the U.S. in late 1939.

All told, the Sun Sing Theater was a major factor in why Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco. I hope that the city can somehow maintain the theater as a historical landmark.

(photo from Jeff Chin)

Leland LW Wong - That picture was taken in front of the imperial palace on grant.across the five and dime store.

Charles Russo - Yeah, I think you're right...thanks for pointing that out. I found this in a folder marked "Sun Sing Theater" but the look of the building facade doesn't match up.