Saturday, April 18, 2020

Mr. Bruce Juchnik


10th Dan Kosho Ryu Kempo. Mr. Bruce Juchnik is the 22nd inheritor of Kosho Ryu Kempo from James M. Mitose. He currently serves as Director of the Sei Kosho Shorei Kai International and is the President of the Martial Arts Collective Society, a diverse group of leaders in the martial arts world. Mr. Juchnik has devoted tremendous energy in building unity in the martial arts, bringing together leaders of dozens of styles to further improve the community of martial arts. Hanshi produces an annual “Gathering” of masters from a myriad of martial arts styles, conducting training seminars and building friendship within the arts. Mr. Juchnik serves as President of the American Filipino & Indonesian Martial Arts Association Majut Payat.

Bruce Juchnik is versed in many styles of martial arts, including Tang Soo-do, Arnis, Gung-fu, as well as being a high ranking Black Belt in the Tracy’s System of Kenpo.

He studied with James Mitose from 1977 to 1981. His studies only consisted of verbal instruction because of James Mitose’s incarceration at the time. Bruce Juchnik had been introduced to James Mitose by Juchnik’s student George Santana in 1977. Before Mitose’s death, he awarded Bruce Juchnik a full mastery certification (Menkyo Kaiden and Inka Shomei) and gave him the “power to do whatever (Juchnik Hanshi) thinks is good and right for God, for (Mitose), and for Kosho Shorei, true self-defense, true and pure Karate and Kempo” from that day forward.

Bruce Juchnik founded the Sei Kosho Shorei Kai International (S.K.S.K.I.). The Kai was developed to carry on and preserve the teachings of James Masayoshi Mitose.

Bruce Juchnik worked with Mitose’s first Black Belt, Professor Thomas S.H. Young from 1982 until the death of Professor Young in 1995 in order to better connect James Mitose’s early teachings from Hawaii in the 1940s with the new teachings transmitted to Bruce Juchnik in the 1970s and 1980s. Thomas Young was an active participating member in Juchnik Hanshi’s organization, the Sei Kosho Shorei Kai International (S.K.S.K.I) , until Professor Young’s death.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

What were Mr. Parker's Martial Arts Influences?

(posted on Facebook by Mr. Ron Chapel, March 17th)

The migration and evolution of Kenpo in the Parker Lineage is not a simple direct line as some feel, but one of significant complexities. The assumption that it “started at A, and ends at Z,” ignores some basic realities.

Although the lineage has many eras, diversions, and off-shoots, clearly the most significant in terms of influences on everything that followed it is the “Chinese Kenpo” era of the sixties.

Initially at its roots, what was called “Kenpo Karate” in Hawaii by Kwai Sun Chow, was like most non-traditional arts of the time. That is, it was a mixture of philosophies, physical methodologies, and diverse cultural influences.

Arguably a mixture of cultural arts, like Lua for example, with a heavy infusion of Japanese Cultural Arts, (like Seishiro Okazaki’s Dan Zan Ryu Jiu-jitsu), mixed with the Chinese Arts, and the gutsy street fight savvy of its creator, it defied many labels and its diversity was reflected in its name. Some would suggest that the term “Kenpo-karate” is in itself a cultural contradiction for a variety of reasons.

At any rate, the over-riding themes promoted by Sifu Chow, and picked up and embraced by Ed Parker, was about personal self-defense in the modern culture, and anything that didn’t support that philosophy was jettisoned. Ed Parker always gave his only Kenpo Teacher credit for this driving philosophy in all of his many approaches and interpretations of Kenpo.

The most important thing however is the acceptance that, where we as individuals stand in our own Kenpo evolution is not necessarily a straight line from Kwai Sun Chow to what we do, no matter how much we would like it to be so. We all would like to feel that Parker’s evolution culminated at our own feet, (or at least at our teachers), and therefore there is no better “interpretation” of Kenpo than our own. This belies the migration of students to other styles to fill the gaps in their Kenpo Teachers knowledge. Those who routinely speak of what Kenpo does or does not have would be better served to speak in personal terms rather than what someone else’s Kenpo of whom they have no knowledge, does or does not contain.

But where we stand is influenced by such a plethora of factors. Consider Parker never stood pat at any level or versions of his many Kenpo(s) and created off-shoot diversions of his own interpretations every time he taught someone something different from another. This in turn created another lineage branch no less valid than any other philosophically, if not practically.

Parker began in judo and advanced to black belt. He dabbled in western boxing before he found the Chow Brothers, and started “Chow’s Kenpo-Karate.” He was also proficient at elements of and ultimately received his black belt in jiu-jitsu and Karate-do. It is also important you know that Chow’s Kenpo Karate of the time was totally un-codified and without structure. This prompted Mr. Parker to begin taking notes on 3x5 cards for his own study and recollections. But because Chow was an amalgam of all that influenced him, one day his Kenpo might look like jiu-jitsu, and the next day Karate, followed by the next session as pure Chinese execution. It was as eclectic as you could get.

Once arriving on the mainland, Parker began his own interpretation of Chow’s teaching and continued a codification process he started with Chow that Chow never did himself when he was under his tutelage. This was the original Kenpo-Karate depicted in Parker’s first book on the subject in 1961 published by Iron Man Industries.

Innovative and unlike any of its many karate-do influences, it was more jiu-jitsu-like than Karate, but even then the lines were blurred. Most cultural arts contained elements of other arts of the same culture, and some even crossed cultural lines philosophically, (like Kenpo), so this was not at all unusual during this time period.

I noticed early on that the distinctions made today about elements of various styles and their identity virtually didn’t exist then. The martial arts world was more homogenous, and most openly shared with each other with cross-pollination being the rule rather than the exception as it is today now called “cross-training.”

Except that is, for the sophisticated aspects of the Chinese Arts. Held culturally close even today, this aspect of the arts always remained shrouded in mystery and skepticism of the effectiveness of its unusual methodologies, at least until Bruce Lee showed up to break the unwritten rules of secrecy. While Sifu Ark Wong (The Father of American Kung-Fu), would teach all that came to him, Bruce Lee made it public and “slapped” people in the face with the superiority of what he was doing.

Still, on American Soil, all methodologies on some level will fall to means testing or cultural proclivities for the artistic crowd. Some have chosen to be partially means-tested while ignoring volumes of other information.

Having been a student of one of Mr. Parker’s teachers as well as the Senior Mr. Parker himself gives me a rather unique perspective of some information and its interpretations from various sources. Obviously, I found Ed Parker’s interpretations and teachings for me, invaluable and infinitely informative to this day and continue exploring them religiously, which means "means-testing" as I go as he mandated.

Mr. Parker’s association with my first teacher, Sifu Ark Yuey Wong had a very significant influence. So much so that by the time he wrote his second book for publication in 1963, Parker had completely abandoned the impractical Japanese Influences of his birthplace in favor of the now Chinese Sciences.

Others such as Lao Bun, and James Wing Woo also had a significant impact on Mr. Parker. Unfortunately, Lao Bun, based out of Northern California placed him geographically consistently unavailable. James Woo however was local and like Sifu Ark Wong was majorly influential. What Sifu Woo did, is spend time teaching with and for Mr. Parker in Pasadena, bringing Taiji and other Chinese Influences to the school, and contributing the bulk of the historical information for Mr. Parker’s book, “Secrets of Chinese Karate.”

This for many was no small matter, and as Parker continued his evolution, Sifu Woo took some of Parker’s early black belts with him when they parted ways. As much as this may sound negative, this was not at all that unusual. Everyone bounced around from school-to-school in those days, picking up different philosophies and techniques while still calling their primary style, whatever it was, “home.” I know I did along with my college roommate Guru Cliff Stewart, picking up black belts in Japanese and Korean Arts while still a Parker student. Guru Cliff was a Judo and Goju Karate Black Belt but studied everything he could find from Indonesian to Filipino, to Korean. What most missed is Mr. Parker actually encouraged it this type of activity, and in the process, sometimes often lost students while gaining valuable information.

To put things in perspective, in those days getting a black belt in a year or so was about average in America, or for Americans studying in Asian Countries. While in the Chinese Arts, it took about three-plus years to gain a black sash from Sifu Wong. That proportionality hasn’t really changed much over the years, even with commercial influences. No matter what you study, it seems getting a black belt in some form of Karate will take a significantly shorter time than a comparable rank in real Chinese Arts.

Dan Inosanto studied with Sifu Ark Wong, and left to be with Mr. Parker, and then left to train with Bruce Lee. Prior to studying with Ark Wong, Danny studied his own traditional Filipino Arts and came to Sifu Wong to expand on his knowledge.

Over the years many of Mr. Parker’s black belts left him, if not in practice, in actuality as he changed and evolved things continually, and students who were looking more for rank than knowledge searched for a more stable environment. They apparently had no desire to revisit “basics” while Parker refined them, or transition to the commercial system he settled on as his business art.

Those who stayed in business with him and remained loyal were promoted even though they didn’t follow him in his evolutionary quest. He justified it by saying they got the rank for “Organizational support and potential.”

But the biggest influence on Ed Parker, in my opinion, was the little known Haumea Lefiti. A student of Ark Wong as well, Mr. Parker saw several things in him that he ultimately adopted in some form in all of his own arts.

Sifu Lefiti was Samoan, and culturally that made him Mr. Parker’s “island boy cousin.” “Tiny,” as he was affectionately called, was a much bigger version of Ed Parker. At about 6’7” or so, he was actually faster than Mr. Parker at the time. More importantly, Sifu Lefiti was the catalyst for bringing a methodology to the forefront in the school that had not previously been taught by Sifu Wong. That methodology was Chinese Mok Gar. Given various interpretation names over time that included versions of Lima Lama, Limalama, Limalama Kung-Fu, Chinese Kenpo, and even Splashing Hands, etc.

Sifu Wong was well versed in the method but had chosen to not teach it until Tiny Lefiti showed up at the school with a Mok Gar Black Sash, and a written recommendation, after a stint in the Marine Corps and studying in Taiwan.

It’s important you understand why I call it a “methodology” and not a style. Historically, depending on whom you talk to, Mok Gar was used specifically by especially chosen and trained guards, that was used for and reputed to be down and dirty, and taught without the cultural restraints found in the traditional teachings of Mok Gar and the Traditional Chinese Arts.

Think of it as the “street Kenpo” of its day. Stripped of cultural impediments and whose only purpose was to maim, blind, incapacitate and literally destroy the adversary as quickly as possible without salutations or useless forms and sets. Something that Sifu Lefiti and his students excelled at in applications.

Much like my own American Chúan-Fa is an Ed Parker Lineage Kenpo, but the methodology is a combination of what I call “Tactical Kenpo” and “American Chúan Fa” at its higher levels, with the Tactical Version serving as a vehicle to teach basic skills while functionally learning to defend yourself. That is followed by the more advanced applications of the Chinese Sciences in American Chúan Fa after Black Belt. Many of Mr. Parker’s early Black Belts before he created the commercial version based on ‘motion,” teach their own interpretations of Kenpo, but that doesn’t change the style. Identifying the methodology simply identifies the first generation Lineage of what you do.

His new Ed Parker Kenpo Karate allowed for a singular methodology for individual interpretations without the necessity of a Lineage Identifier.

This interpretation was and is based on “motion” and had its singular objective adopted by Parker from Mok Gar – philosophically a “Mok Gar methodology” stripped of certain foundational attributes by necessity. It contains all of the slashing, ripping, gouges, eye pokes, and stomping found in Mok Gar, taught with a motion-based theme to effect quick self-defense skills for commercial viability. It works and left the morality of its use to the students. This is where most of the Ed Parker Lineage students reside today, with stripped-down Mok Gar the primary methodology influence on what they have learned.

Discussions about different style influences are valid, but more so outside of the Chinese Arts. Because of the base science aspect, I was always taught the Chinese Arts are all the same, and only Family Methodologies and focus differ to reach essentially similar objectives. Other arts are not necessarily based on science, but instead, focus on cultural philosophies and creator personal preferences. I know all of my Chinese Teachers felt this way, and for that reason, they usually only made references to methodologies, rather than styles.

The more traditional Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean Arts teachers promoted the issue of style. Many styles, created for various reasons other than actual fighting, promoted a particular “way” of performing over practical applications, thus terms like Karate-Do. (do means way) Others, including the Chinese, also can be heavily culturalized with their now modern “Wu-Shu,” which is akin to the Japanese “do.” But in my own history, Mr. Parker saw these cultural influences as a means to purposely elongate the process of learning artificially as a life long experience and endeavor over quick skills. At least that is the way it used to be. While all arts are a “life long” journey, some artificially withhold effective methods while waiting to build character and show worthiness for the knowledge. Others may prioritize character building over the martial aspect of training so practicality may take a backseat to cultural and character mandates of training.

Today many argue about styles sometimes because of personal identity issues, and/or a need to distinguish one from others, while in the past it was only to establish methodology parameters in training, not identity. This is why today in the Chinese Arts, in particular, some vehemently defend their “style” distinctions as if it really mattered in reality.

In the competitive world of business, you must establish an identity separate from competitors to distinguish yourself and give customers a reason to come to you. Unfortunately, in that process, we often forget the purpose of the martial arts in favor of our own Martial Identity that may include aspects that are wholly impractical in application. Ignoring reality in favor of maintaining an identity is a bad sign.

The reason you study the arts will determine where you sit, but from the Ed Parker cat-bird seat, means-testing is a far more important place to put one's energy.

So in answer to the question, “What were some of Mr. Parker’s influences?” Primarily Mok Gar, Five Animal, Hung Gar, and Taiji-Quan, plus Judo, Jiu-jitsu, and Western Boxing plus every other practical aspect of every art that Mr. Parker ever came into contact with.

Or put another way off the top of my head, “Answer E.” All of the above!

Saturday, April 11, 2020


(from Mr. Tatum's Facebook page)


"We don't retreat in Kenpo, we merely Advance to the rear."

(a daily thought from Mr. Tatum's Facebook page)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Are Blocks and Strikes one in the same?

(posted on Facebook by Mr. Chapel 3-12-2020)

Mr. Parker taught me that they should be seen and taught differently. In my experience with him, I developed a training philosophy when teaching defense for punch attacks that is simple. "If he throws one punch, he'll throw two. If he throws two, he'll throw three, if he throws three..." In other words, he's going to keep coming until you do something about it, and to execute a singular punch no matter what the lead, as if that is the end of the attack would be a bad idea in training as many do. The attacker throws a punch and then freezes so the “defender” can “do his thing.”

Always respond as if there is another punch coming and address it technically to limit vulnerability. Being on the inside of either hand is dicey and ups one's vulnerability big time, so you better be swift sure and cancel or at least address that next punch that is going to come "hot and heavy."

Addressing any scenario from the perspective of the Psychology of Confrontation forward puts us in the mind of the attacker, and defines the assault, the intent, and how the attacker plans to carry it out. We always approach from this perspective before addressing any response, as one defines the other and clarifies the scenario response.

At one (lower) level, we simply address the lone punch but being mindful of the implication of additional punches to follow. At another level up the food chain, the scenario changes to a more skilled attacker who is utilizing a strategy when attacking, throwing one punch to set up the other.

Then as the skill level rises that same scenario might shift to, a punch that is really a feint to set up the other, which speeds up the subsequent punching hand significantly.

Therefore, the idea of a "simple" punch or two has many implications predicated on the mindset, and skill level of the attacker and all three levels use the same one or two punches. Now when you extrapolate a lesson into a three-plus punch scenario, you get the idea. Nobody stops until you stop him or her. This brings us to the blocking versus striking problem, and it is indeed a problem if your applications are misplaced.

When I teach these techniques and blocking I come from what appears to be a unique perspective these days. I use it to re-enforce the concept of Zone Blocking from the Chinese as, Mr. Parker Sr., and Sifu Ark Wong schooled me.

Many I've seen when learning to block are fed the idea "all blocks are strikes." This concept is majorly flawed and probably should be best expressed as, "all blocks MAY become strikes - Eventually."

When blocks are viewed as strikes, it causes the student to "seek contact" with the offending limb. The problem here is when you strike; the configuration of the appropriate muscle groups, and thus the commitment utilized are very much different from a "block" internally as well as externally.

Because your offensive intent is a factor and requires a significantly different commitment, a person will over-extend when no contact is made thus drawing you out of position and violating what Mr. Parker called the "Outer Rim Concept."

Proprioceptively, when the body anticipates an offensive action and it doesn't appear, the body is shortly structurally "disharmonious."

Think of the old Peanuts Lucy trick on Linus by moving the football when he's trying to kick it. If a kicker is anticipating kicking a football held by the placekick holder, his body will anticipate and be proprioceptively prepared for the contact.

However, if the ball is removed from the equation at the last possible moment, the kicker would probably fall down simply because the ball wasn't there, even though he would not have fallen should he have kicked the ball. This is no different than when you attempt to punch something or someone and they are not where your senses anticipated they would be, you would probably at least fall forward losing your balance momentarily if not actually falling because your body is configured to anticipate the contact, follow through, and the resistance that comes with it.

The worse thing you can do in blocking is to seek offensive contact because that is not the goal of a block. A block is a defensive mechanism inherent in human Startle Reflex Mechanisms, whereas a strike is quite the opposite and requires, to be effective, a different commitment from the body. Why is this a big deal? This becomes important when dealing with "feints." This is implied but rarely addressed in curriculum application techniques but occur in realistic combat.

Because blocks are reactive, Mr. Parker used the Zone Blocking Theory so that feints would not get us in trouble. It essentially says, "Block the zone, not the threat." With this in mind, it doesn't matter when blocking if the threat exists or not. If I train to reflexively block the zone, I do not overcommit my self to a singular action that may or may not be necessary and thus cannot be lured into a bad position or off balance.

Think of the difference in sports between “man-to-man” coverage in football versus “zone” coverage. In press coverage man-to-man, the defender can be fooled into being out of position with jukes and feints. However in a zone coverage configuration, the defender simply plays the area or zone and is less susceptible to being “fooled.” It takes a much greater level of skill to play “man” and so it is in blocking.

At the higher skill levels a highly skilled practitioner may time his block to intersect with the attack without over-commitment, by being able to strike but still staying within the “zone.” But this requires the ability to recognize what, when, where, and how the attack is coming and essentially wait or anticipate the attack and intersect it within the zone without violating the Zone Blocking Principle, thus turning the block action into a striking one without the striking commitment.

Example: An attacker might throw a straight left followed by a right cross. This is a common tactical western boxing strategy set up. Throw one to set up the other. However, one must consider the possibility the follow-up is not the goal, but actually a third punch with the first two setting up the third.

This could be accomplished with a well-executed feint of the second punch, in which case you might be seeking contact with something that is not there, and in that process overreach and become immediately vulnerable to the now much quicker third punch.

In Zone Blocking Theory it doesn't matter whether it is a feint or an actual punch. You treat feints and actual street punches the same. As opposed to street fights, the practice in contested matches is different because the goals are different in prolonged strategic contests, and is why competitors are more likely to "cover" to protect rather than block.

Moreover, in self-defense street applications, you'll find there is a unique benefit that helps you to understand the definition of a block. A block by Ed Parker’s Definition "checks or hinders an attack." That is, when you block properly your goal is NOT to hurt the attacker but to protect the zone and NOT get hit. You place an obstruction between you and him, and he hurts himself when he makes contact with your defensive postured limb. It hurts him and you barely feel it because your body is configured in a defensive posture based on your actions, and he is configured offensively.

The body configures itself differently offensively versus defensively and those differences are significant and accomplished by adjusting the mechanics of the action, but more importantly addressing it by changing your mindset of what you are attempting to accomplish in applications.

Have you ever noticed, when you throw a punch and the block hurts you, that it never seems to bother the blocker, who technically is absorbing as much contact as you are? There’s a reason for that, and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Functions of human anatomy is why and has to be considered in any effective teaching process.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The origins of kenpo on the East coast

(from a Facebook conversation on the origins of kenpo on the East Coast)

To elaborate on Kenpo on the east coast, specifically New England: George Pesare studied Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu with Victor "Sonny" Gascon while Pesare was in the military in California. He brought it back to Rhode Island and stated teaching in Providence. One of his students was Nick Cerio, a auto mechanic in Boston, who would later teach in Rhode Island and create Nick Cerio's Kenpo. He would teach Fred Villari who would later create Shaolin Kempo and was founder of the original United Studios of Self Defense in the 1970s. The art and its lineage is distinctly different from Mr. Parker's system. - Joe Rebelo

In my view, the key person who is most responsible for the spread of American Kenpo along the east coast is Joe Palanzo, who trained directly under Ed Parker from 1966-1969 and was the only person to purchase an IKKA franchise in the early 1970s. - Tom Bleecker

A central figure was Victor “Sonny” Gascon, who was trained in Kajukenbo by Sijo Adriano Emperado and John Leoning (Leoning was Gascon’s and my first teacher), in Hawaii. Then after branching out on his own, from Gascon it went to George Pesare, then to Nick Cerio, who taught Fred Villari, who taught Charles Mattera who then taught Steve Demasco. - Dr Carl Totton

Harry Krebs was the person who helped put the 'Budwieser Team' together where the demo team and fighters were seen in a recent post. He was a Judo guy more than a Kenpo practioner... Joe Polanzo was the most dedicated & the guy we all went to when Ed Parker came for the IKKA instructor seminars. Another thing is Joe was a hell of a scrapper back in the day as he competed quite frequently at Master Conde's tournaments as I recall seeing him. He will always be someone I have great respect for as he loved and took real good care of Mr. Parker on all his visits as well as being the only East Coast IKKA franchised school. - Sean Kelley

(For further information on the origins of Kenpo along the East Coast see these books available for purchase on Amazon)

Kenpo Continuum Volume 2 by Dr. Carl Totton and Amy Long

The International Journey by Mr. Tom Bleecker