Friday, August 31, 2018

The phone call

(from John La Tourrette's Facebook page 8-27-18)

“The Phone Call From Ed Parker That Changed My Life Forever!”

It was 1977. I’d been with Ed about a year, and I asked Jim Mitchell, “What does one have to do to get Ed’s attention?”

Jim looked at me and said, “Write a thesis”. That was it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Jim turned and walked away. He was done talking.

I knew what a thesis for a college MBA degree took. A lot of research. A lot of study. It had to be between 40 to 80 pages. And it had to be professional and of high-quality.

But I did not know what a thesis for Ed Parker meant. Nor was I aware of what was required from him. I knew of only one fellow that had written a Kenpo thesis that resonated with me. It was the “Medical implications of karate blows”, by Brian C. Adams in 1969.

I did talk with some of my Kenpo friends like Dale Petite and Tom Kelly. It seemed like most folks that did a thesis, wrote a few pages, and they were done. In fact one man wrote 3 pages about how Kenpo was like water, and that was it. I was disgusted with him and with his feeble attempt.

I figured that a thesis should mean something, and should have valid and practical information in it. And should be more like a doctoral dissertation, rather than a homework assignment for a 3rd grade class-report on volcanoes.

I started thinking about a topic, about some idea or concept that could add to the well-being of Kenpo practitioners and could add to the martial arts.

I love books. I’ve always loved to read and study. So I went down to the Book Shop and went through their bookshelves looking for an idea that would trigger my creativity.

My fingers kept going back to a small book by handgun expert Jeff Cooper. It was titled “Principles of Self-Defense” and it had 23 pages in it (the current issue has 43 pages).

It was $5 bucks, which in 1977 was a lot of money for 23 pages. I finally bought it. Took it home. Studied it. Wrote in the margins. I knew the book was important, but I could not consciously “connect the dots” between that small pamphlet and a thesis for Kenpo advancement.

After reading the book and thinking about a topic that would fit me well, and fit the martial arts well, I fell asleep with that topic on my mind.

I woke up in the middle of the night! I had a title. “Mental Training of a Warrior”. I got up out of bed, grabbed a pen and notebook and started outlining the chapters of the book, based upon my 26 years in the martial arts and my 6 years in Kenpo Karate.

Three months later the book was done. It was horrible.

I was so disappointed with it that I threw it away. I tossed it in the garbage can.

I’d written what others had spoon-fed me and “not” what I really felt and believed. It did not have in it what I’d personally learned from my experiences over the years in the US, Korea, and Japan.

I started over again from scratch. I would write out each chapter by hand. Cut and paste with scotch-tape. Rearrange the chapters until they fit and were properly in sequence.

My pregnant wife Lynn would type out the chapters on an electric typewriter on the kitchen table. 

Lynn was so pregnant that she could barely reach the keyboard, but she kept typing away.

Three months later the new version was done. I felt I’d done my best. I hoped that Ed would appreciate it. The orginal thesis was 352 pages long!

I had a copy made of “Mental Training of a Warrior”, and sent it off to Ed in Pasadena. A month went by. Then another month went by. I just about gave up hope.

One afternoon the office telephone rang. I picked it up and said, “Idaho Karate Kung-Fu Association, how can I help you”?

A deep voice says, “How are you John? This is Ed PAWKER. (That’s how Ed pronounced his name, “Parker” with his Hawaiian accent”)

“Hello Mr. Parker.”

Ed: “I just got back from Latin America. I’ve been giving seminars down there, and I’ve been gone a couple of months… just got back in town from Chile.

I’ve been reading over your manuscript…(Ed paused a few seconds)…

“…It’s NOT a thesis…” (Another long pause, and I started worrying that it wasn’t good-enough)…
Then Ed laughed. When Ed laughed he always laughed from deep down in his chest…and I could just see that big grinning smile on his face as he said…

“No John, it’s NOT a thesis…It’s a BOOK! Get it PUBLISHED! It’s That Good!”

And that’s how my thesis turned into a book. Ed liked it so much that he MADE ME GET IT PUBLISHED!.

My sincere appreciation goes to Ed Parker, Jim Mitchell and Tom Kelly for getting me motivated back then in 1977.

And that “is the start of the story”.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Nunchaku advertisement

(from the Ed Parker Photos Facebook page 3-28-18)

Full page advertisement from Black Belt Magazine for Mr Parker's book Guide to the Nunchaku. 

On a trip to visit Mr Joe Palanzo's Ed Parker Studio GM Francisco Conde stopped by to show EP his latest creation the "Conchaku". GM Conde had created his version of the ancient weapon by using plastic instead of wood, he also had Conchaku's that were solid and swirled colors. 

EP took to the Conchaku and even included their use in the seminar he gave while at the studio. 

GM Conde also had a special version where small penlights were inserted into the bottom of the Conchaku, the lights were turned off and one of GM Conde's student started whirling the Conchaku ala Bruce Lee in the Way of Dragon.

The crowd went wild until one the penlights came loose from the bottom and went sailing thru the air, fortunately no one was struck by the airborne penlight. GM Conde turned the lights on, grabbed the Conchaku and announced the penlight version was still under development!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Justin Lin is developing Warrior, based on material created by martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, to Cinemax.

(by Mike Cecchini 8-22-18)

Justin Lin is headed to Cinemax with Warrior. The project is based on material created by none other than legendary martial arts star, Bruce Lee. Lin's Perfect Storm Entertainment is working with Danielle Woodrow and Bruce Lee Enterprises to bring the project to the screen. Justin Lin will direct the pilot, which was written by Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper. Cinemax has given Warrior a 10 episode, straight-to-series order.
Here's the official synopsis for Warrior:
"Inspired by an idea from martial-arts legend Bruce Lee, this gritty, action- packed crime drama is set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the second half of the 19th century. Filming in Cape Town, South Africa, it follows a martial arts prodigy who immigrates from China to San Francisco under mysterious circumstances, and becomes a hatchet man for one of Chinatown’s most powerful organized crime families."
The show was developed based on handwritten notes from Bruce Lee that were brought to light by his daughter, Shannon Lee. Cinemax will start airing Warrior in 2019. The above image (photo by Graham Bartholomew) showcases series lead Andrew Koji.

“As a show that proudly bears the imprimatur of Bruce Lee, it’s our intention to deliver not only explosive martial arts action – which we will – but also a powerful and complex immigration drama that is as relevant today as it was in the 1870s,” Jonathan Tropper said in a statement when the project was announced (via Deadline).

“I’ve always admired Bruce Lee for his trailblazing efforts opening doors for Asians in entertainment and beyond,” Lin added. “So I was intrigued when Danielle told me about the urban legend of his never-produced idea for a TV show and suggested we bring it to life. Then when Shannon shared with us her father’s writings: rich with Lee’s unique philosophies on life, and through a point of view rarely depicted on screen – Danielle and I knew that Perfect Storm had to make it. Partnering with Cinemax has led to a wonderful collaboration with Jonathan Tropper, who has created a fantastic series inspired by Lee’s writings. We are all honored to continue what he started.”

Bruce Lee fans may remember that Lee felt he deserved more credit for the creation of the popular Kung Fu television series (which starred David Carradine). Lee had written material for a project with the working title of The Warrior, which featured a Chinese martial artist making his way through the American old west. Sound familiar? It has never been made clear just how many of Lee's ideas made it into Kung Fu, but the similarities can't be ignored.

Lee would have been the intended lead in The Warrior, and may have been considered for the role of Cain in Kung Fu before the decidedly not Asian David Carradine was cast in the role. In a 1972 interview with Off Duty/Pacific, Lee joked, "[what] they didn't know is people were ready for Hopalong Wong."

This is one of those projects we never expected to see.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mr. Mitchell has passed away

Just saw on Facebook today that Mr. Mitchell passed away last night after having heart surgery.


(from John La Tourrette's Facebook page 8-25-18)

 I saw Jim Mitchell fight in tournaments a bunch of times.

One time he jumped off of his right foot,

...placed his left foot on the left knee of his opponent...

...jumped off of the follow's left knee and rt-wheel-kicked him in the head.

Just like he was "running up the stairs".

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Comments by Ron Chapel on Kenpotalk forum about Directional Integrity and other kenpo terms

( 8-5-18)

One of the things I learned from Mr. Parker is the importance of terminology and vocabulary that "makes sense" and translates into ideas and principles anyone can understand with a minimum explanation. This discussion was prompted by some of the many terms he had chosen for his conceptual Kenpo Karate. I personally took issue with terms like "gravitational marriage." I surmised, "We're always married to gravity unless we leave the earth for weightlessness only found in space." He said, "Of course, you're right, but in this instance, with this vehicle, we aren't talking about true science." He went on to explain that Kenpo Karate was more pseudo-science or para-science, and his only goal was to convey an idea to a student. Gravitational Marriage served it's purpose for most by getting them to understand they needed to allow gravity to work for them by using your own body weight when striking.

However, when you move to another level of thinking and away from loose concepts, you must have a level of specificity that is transportable in science terms while still conveying the proper message and ideas. A good example from my system would be the Platform Aligning Mechanism or P.A.M. SOme might equate this with gravitational marriage expressed in a slightly different way. However, the term literally speaks for itself in that it describes the function of the action while teaching the transfer of weight much like "gravitational marriage." Therefore it is easy to explain the grand purpose that makes the minor application effective. "You do this, to get this, which will in turn get you this."

Anatomical Energy is an interesting term that may be expressed positively or negatively, but neither gives any insight into what it does or how it is accomplished. Truth is most of the intelligent experienced guys on this forum could easily decipher its meaning and/or intent. But, the intent of terminology and vocabulary is to convey information and insight to those who are uneducated. It does no good to make up terms that make us sound smarter while ignoring our goal and supporting the task of teaching. If we don't actually teach, then what we know and do will die and only remain in some semblance shell of what we know.

One of the many things the "Old Man" pounded (literally) into me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Mark Tracy teaching at Dallas Texas seminar

(photo from the Chamberlain Studios of Self Defense Facebook page, 7-14-18)

Mark Tracy teaching at a seminar in Dallas recently.

I like the writing on the back of the gi as well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IKKA Facebook page cover photo

EST. 1960 is what stood out to me when I first saw this cover photo on the IKKA's Facebook page.
The 60th anniversary will be coming up in just over a year. I wonder if they might do something special to commemorate it.