Monday, December 31, 2018

Wong Jack Man passes away

(from the Lohan School of Shaolin Facebook page)

Yesterday [December 26th] was a sad day, the passing of our Grand Teacher ( Dai Sigung) Wong Jackman (Wong chia man) . But we can honestly say his legacy will live on. Not many people realize what he did for Chinese Kung Fu in the USA. We can honestly say Northern Shaolin is not dead and will continue on even in his absence. Wong Jackman is a kind and gentle soul from what people could experience from him if they were lucky to be in his presence. Taught whomever wanted to learn the arts even in a time of what most people betray as a conflict. You will be missed but not forgotten.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Long Beach Internationals

I [Ed Parker Sr.] hosted my first International Karate Championships in Long Beach, California, in 1964. It required almost two years of planning and preparation. Mills Crenshaw designed the tournament trophies, featuring a special karate figure. To further distinguish the tournament from others, we introduced the first logo ever created for this type of event, which we still give out today as a patch to each contestant and official. Another first was our rulebook outlining our tournament policies.

We sent invitations to all schools and styles, and got 865 contestants. A veritable martial arts Who's Who attended the event. I had met Bruce Lee and kali master Ben Largusa a few years before, and invited them to demonstrate, knowing that Bruce's ability in wing chun and Ben's skill in the Filipino arts would impress the black belts. They did just that. They impressed everyone, even shotokan master Tsutomu Ohshima.

Aside from Ohshima, Robert Trias, Johoon Rhee, Mas Tsuruoka, Steve Armstrong, Anthony Mirakian, Tak Kubota, Fumio Demura, Dan Ivan, director Blake Edwards, Nick Adams (who played Johnny Yuma in the TV series The Rebel), Allen Steen, Pat Burleson, Jack Whang, Quoy Wong, Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris, Skipper Mullins and countless other martial arts pioneers were in attendance. And although some objected to my inviting Bruce Tegner, I reminded them that Tegner's books did influence many to take up the martial arts.

This first Internationals was an exciting occasion. Thinking that we had anticipated every detail, I was surprised to see Ruby Paglinawan, a black belt from Hawaii, enter the tournament in the men’s division. I had not made any provision in the rulebook about women competitors. Since Ruby could not be turned away, she was pitted against the men. She had great fighting sprit, but lost her first match.

New situations arose each year, requiring new and revised rules. Competitors also posed challenges. In the mid-1970s. I offered prize money in some divisions: $100 for first place in kata (forms) and $350 for first place in sparring. One of the kata contestants complained that prizes in forms and sparring should be the same. I reminded him of the greater chances of injury in sparring, with fractured teeth or broken ribs a real possibility. Unless the forms competitor tripped and fell during his kata, he was in no real danger. That didn't satisfy him, so I had to think fast. I asked him "Have you ever heard of a world champion shadowboxer?" That seemed to work, because he looked at me, thanked me, and left.

On another occasion, I had to resolve a problem in kata judging that I would never have believed. I got to the ring in question and didn't immediately see what all the excitement was about. But as I viewed the panel of judges, lo and behold, one of them was holding a white cane. He was totally blind! He insisted that his hearing was exceptionally keen, which he claimed qualified him to judge kata, but needless to say, I tactfully relieved that judge of his duties.

Another time, one of the peewee competitors got kicked in the groin. The center official had him jump up and down to remedy the problem, then asked him to run around the "outside of the ring" to further improve his condition. So the boy ran off, out of the official's view. When the officials wanted to resume the match, the boy could not be found. Ten minutes later he returned, somewhat exhausted. Asked where he had gone, the boy replied that he’d done exactly what they'd told him to do - run a complete lap around the "outside of the arena." Ah, the enthusiasm of the young!

During a recent Internationals, we had a kata competitor dressed up like Superman, cape and all. He did an aerobics routine to music, but was unhappy with his score, so he took his complaint to tournament director David Torres. After listening to his complaint, David reminded him with a straight face that this was a karate competition and not an aerobics contest.

Last August we held the 27th annual Long Beach Internationals. The number of competitors was in excess of 4,200. We have come a long way since our first tournament.

(Black Belt Magazine, December 1990 issue, Vol.28, No.12)

Friday, December 28, 2018

The direction Mr. Parker was going

(from a conversation on

That is the direction Mr. Parker was going, but he knew that "Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate' was only a baby step in that direction. He [Mr. Parker] planned another level of training and another organization that used the same patch but with a globe in the middle instead of just a "grey" circle. This was to be his elite guard. Taking people from the IKKA who showed potential and training them to step up to the other group. He had it all planned out and he wanted to start a security and personal protection business utilizing these guys with elite empty hand skills backed up by those of us who were in law enforcement acting as support staff and supervisors. He planned to use his Hollywood connections to make it work with celebs and notoriety from his film work, and Jeff Speakman's Perfect Weapon was to give that a big boost as well. He wanted desperately to get beyond his branded EPKK to get to his American Kenpo. He never said Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate," and never used the term.

Friday, December 21, 2018

A serious Mr. Parker

"The atmosphere would change quite fast when he stopped smiling." - Mr. Bob White

date and location unknown

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

18 vs 24 technique system

(comments by Mr. Chapel on kenpotalk regarding number of techniques in the system)

When the diehards come at you about the extensions, tell them the bulk of them were created by Jim Mitchell, and originally they weren't "extensions" at all. They were the result of long Chinese Kenpo Techniques from the original 32 System. When Mr. Parker commercialized the system further, he cut off the ends of the techniques and created "extensions" to flesh out the system to be learned later, then at brown belt beginning as "Blue/Green."

Do your thing, and the only validity is whether it works or not. If it works for you, it's valid.

Mr. Parker never created an 18 Technique System. He did, however, create a 24 set of charts with his eye on eventually turning it into a 16 chart system for commercial friendly purposes. The 16 were a topic of discussion among some but never came to fruition under Mr. Parker's own hand. Some did do it on they're own. At any rate, the techniques are not gospel, but simply ideas to be explored to get to your techniques of your own design. Students were supposed to create their own "ideal" techniques after exploring the ideas Mr. Parker "suggested." There were zero mandates in the system.

The number of techniques in the system you choose to teach is totally up to you and in no way invalidates the lessons you teach, UNLESS your principles don't work. The entirety of the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate System was a suggested method and order of teaching its many ideas, with techniques suggested for study. If you can do the same or better with a curriculum modified by you and it effectively teaches your students, Mr. Parker would be the first one in line to congratulate you on doing a good job.

Keep in mind there are people who follow the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate Curriculum guidelines to the letter - and produce worthless students who couldn't fight their way out of Girl Scout/Brownie meeting. In turn, your people are kicking a$$. Who do you think Ed Parker would say is doing the better job? At the end of the day, what we do is supposed to be a results-driven vehicle. EPKK is a suggested method to get there. But in my 62 years of the art, I've seen people take an inferior art and make it effective, and others take an intelligent well-defined curriculum and turn it into crap that doesn't work.

There are purists (who aren't any good) who will tell you that you are not teaching the Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate System. My answer to that is, "So?" If your students are learning the principles and skills they need to be effective, then you're doing your job. If necessary, drop the Ed Parker part and call it whatever you want. Who cares, as long as it's good and works?

Look at Kajukenbo whose roots are the same as "Kenpo Karate" in Hawaii. They are extremely diverse in what and how they teach, and what they choose to emphasize. They are truly the original eclectic art, but rather than fight over who is right, they embrace all of their many aspects and let the validity, (or not) speak for itself.

What people don't get is that EPKK is NOT and has never been a style of "Karate," and never has been like other arts. Many want to have it both ways. They want the freedom and flexibility to "tailor," and change things to their heart's desire, but want the rigidity of a traditional style to affirm their ranks and titles. EPKK is a SYSTEMatic approach to training that suggests material and methods you should include in your process. All that matter is the results, and if you're successful you're doing "Kenpo." YOUR KENPO. Many have learned Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate System, but what they do with it becomes THEIR STYLE - for better or worse - but don't blame the system or the style, blame the execution. 32, 24, 18, 16 whatever.

I've seen guys who couldn't perform Short Two get promoted to 3rd Black on a test after a guy tried to knife him a week before and he took the guy out. Mr. Parker didn't say, "Well you don't know Short Two, so I'm not going to promote you. EPKK was JKD before JKD. The difference is EPKK was more and better defined in its SUGGESTIONS of its CONCEPTUAL training methods. JKD says, "take what you like and make it work for you." At least EPKK gave you a systematic approach and suggestions of what to do in the process.

"Show me what you got and I'll tell you if it's any good." - Ed Parker Sr.

My sentiments exactly. We may go around about methodologies of teaching, body mechanics, etc. but I'll never question any of that if what you do works. If it works, what's to argue about? Imagine that.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Parker to Tracy conversion chart

Parker Tracy
Delayed Sword -  Delayed Sword
Clutching Feathers -  Eagle's Beak
Dance of Death -  Dance of Death
Locking Horns -  Headlock (var.)
Lone Kimono -  Kimono Grab (var.)
Glancing Salute -  Rocker
Five Swords -  Five Swords
Scraping Hoof -  Heel Hook
Grip of Death -  Headlock (var.)
Crossing Talon -  Crossing Talon
Striking Serpent's Head -  Front Bear Hug
Locked Wing -  Locking Arm
Obscure Wing -  Japanese Stranglehold
Thrusting Prongs -  Knee Lift
Crashing Wings -  Circling Elbows
Twirling Wings -  Opening Cowl
Snapping Twig -  Snapping Twig
Leaping Crane -  Springing Tiger
Crushing Hammer -  Rising Elbow
Charging Ram -  Encircling Arms (var.)
Parting Wings -  Flashing Daggers
Thundering Hammers -  Thundering Hammers
Circling Wing -  Crash of the Eagle (var.)
Hooking Wings -  Sweeping Arm Hook
Shield and Sword -  Crossed Swords
Gift in Return -  Gift (var.)
Bow of Compulsion -  Eagle Miss
Obstructing the Storm -  Crossing the Sun
Twin Kimono -  Kimono Grab (var.)
Sleeper -  Sleeper
Spiraling Twig -  Spiraling Wrist
Cross of Destruction -  Bridge (var.)
Begging Hands -  Anvil
Thrusting Wedge -  Crouching Falcon
Flashing Wings -  Flashing Wings
Defying the Storm -  Bending Reeds
Conquering Shield -  Advancing Phoenix
Raking Mace -  Striking Asp (var.)
Shield and Mace -  Attacking the Wall
Fallen Cross -  Breaking the Cross
Returning Storm -  Dance of the Mongoose
Crossed Twigs -  Shackle Break (var.)
Twist of Fate -  Parting the Reeds
Flashing Mace -  Whirling Warrior
Wings of Silk -  Silk Wind
Gathering Clouds -  Parting the Waves
Destructive Twins -  Two-Headed Serpent
Broken Ram -  Encicling Arms (var.)
Circling the Horizon -  Shaolin Warrior
Obscure Claws -  Hidden Fist
Escape from Death -  Japanese Stranglehold & Headlock
Brushing the Storm -  Startled Cat
Circles of Protection -  Winding Limbs
Broken Gift -  Gift (var.)
Heavenly Ascent -  The Wedge
Capturing the Storm -  Spinning from the Sun
Taming the Mace -  Passing Wind
Intercepting the Ram -  Encircling Arms (var.)
Clipping the Storm -  Cobra & The Mongoose
Back Breaker -  Eagle Claws
Glancing Spear -  Bending the Limb
Circling Fans -  Whirling Leaves
Falcons of Force -  Flowing Hands
Bear and the Ram -  Eagle Pin
Raining Lance -  Whirling Thorn
Desperate Falcons -  Crossing the Lock
Leap of Death -  Leap of Death
Courting the Tiger -  Knee Sweep
Glancing Lance -  Tumbling Clouds
Destructive Fans -  Spinning Hammers
Unfurling Crane -  Drums of Manchu
Parting of the Snakes -  Chinese Junk
Blinding Sacrifice -  Darting Serpent (vars.)
Snakes of Wisdom -  Sweeping Branches
Falling Falcon -  Drawbridge
Fatal Cross -  Bridging the Gap
Twirling Hammers -  Reversing Hammers
Defensive Cross -  Sweeping Winds
Dance of Darkness -  Brushing Wind
Marriage of the Rams -  Folding Wings
Ram and the Eagle -  Whirling Blades
Destructive Kneel -  Sowing the Seeds
Bowing to Buddha -  Kneeling Tiger
Prance of the Tiger -  The Lotus
Defying the Rod -  Uncovering the Flame
Twisted Rod -  Covering the Flame
Unfurling Lance -  Chinese Fan

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The first World Karate Tournament

University of Chicago Field House

 July 28, 1963

Left to Right: Roy Oshiro, John Keehan, Phil Koeppel, George Mattson, Mas Tsuroka, Robert Trias, Ed Parker, Anthony Mirakian, Harold Long, Jhoon Rhee, Kim and Wendall Reeves

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Edmund Kealoha Parker Jr’s reflections on Kenpo in 2018.

(from Mrs. Baer Parker's Facebook page, November 26, 2018)

 With Ed’s permission as his scribe I am posting this particularly poignant and brief correspondence from Ed to a producer of a video series regarding the current state of Kenpo.

“We have just seen your channel. You’ve done good work on it. I applaud your efforts. I’d like to add a few things.
Kenpo is an interesting animal to me.

Kenpo can rear it's head as an ugly beast sometimes because it's taken out of context. Mitose's era was Mitose's era. Chow's era was Chow's era. Parker's era was Parker's era. Following Parker's era Kenpo is still struggling to acknowledge it's next era even though it's right in front of their eyes.

To refine what I'm saying there were several people like in Chow's lineage that created new branches of the arts. We know who those people are. Just as we know who those are that branched off from the Parker system. Which is pretty much everyone after my dad died.

Some of the superstars of those groups can be found in the book The Journey.

Others made their mark in different ways. Just to name a few, Tracy Kenpo, Kenpo 2000, Kenpo 5.0, UKF, and SL4 Kenpo.

Kenpo as set in motion from my dad's perspective was an evolutionary art. He often referred to it as "the art of perpetual change."

On one level I love hearing my dad's name in a video, but I don't like hearing the fact that Kenpo is broken. It is no more broken than Mitose or Chow or Emperado.

The glass is half full or half empty.

Either American Kenpo is half empty, broken, splintered, and doomed, or it is not. To me it is not broken.

I see the yearning in the martial arts community for the next Emperado, Mitose, Chow or Parker to evolve.

Sometimes one has to die to surface as that era's most influential teacher.
There are those teachers who create the master and there are those teachers who become the masters. Both have an important role. Who is to say which is greater? For one cannot be without the other.
Yes, we do have influential teachers now that will never be acknowledged as to their true importance in history.

When teachers take upon the greater responsibility to influence the masses and they step out of their own ego for the greater good of all and not just the one, then they can move to the next step by inspiring, influencing, evolving and progressing the arts.

My dad’s point was not just to mimic a master in his system but to become a master in his own right, standing on his own innovations, inspiring his own students to evolve as well as he did.

In essence my dad’s point was to become bigger than himself.

And he did.

There are no sequels in mastery.” - Edmund Kealoha Parker Jr