Friday, April 2, 2021

Kenpo Tiger and Dragon ring

The Kenpo Tiger and Dragon ring made famous in the 1991 movie The Perfect Weapon starring Mr. Jeff Speakman. 

Available for purchase on

Monday, March 22, 2021

United Shaolin Kempo Karate, in Waltham, MA since 1968

Proudly serving our community instilling "Life Skills" from this location since 1968, offering Self Defense and Fitness classes to everyone, ages 4 and up.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Mr. Parker's 90th birthday

(from the Ed Parker Sr. Facebook page)

“Most of all he has left us with a legacy— a gift of great worth, his works and his words. For that which he learned, he left for all those to see and hear. To those who look at that which he created, he quietly whispers “look and see “. To those who hear, “listen and hear.” For his legacy is a pearl of great value. He was a root in dry ground that sprang forth, budded, blossomed and bore good fruit. The magic of his motion is that he lives in each of his students — In greater or lesser measure. The fruit of his labors are scattered to the four winds across the earth. Some have learned here a little and there a little. Others have drunk deeply at his well. Some feast and are nourished and sustained by what he freely received and freely gave. He thought and encouraged us to do likewise. He acted, admonishing us to do the same. He organized every needful principal for his instructors and students to succeed in a wheat and tares world where it’s not who’s right, but who’s left that seems to count. He left us with the right directions. In an ever-changing environment, he gave us the compass to guide our actions. He sought and found, knocked on the door of knowledge, asked and was told. The legacy he leaves is the path well traveled by the pioneer who dared to believe. dared to question, dared to act rather than be acted upon. With the key to the largest room in the world, the room for improvement, Ed began the journey of his life to fill the measure of his creation. Today there are many thousands of American Kenpo black belts scattered abroad. Since his passing, some have felt to find new pastures, others have come out in open rebellion. Still others are driven by every wind of change and tossed - while a goodly number are still true. The legacy lives in each lesson shared, each form performed, each quote recited, each story told, each technique taught, each memory mentioned and each patch placed on a beginners gi (uniform)” - Memories of Ed Parker by Leilani Parker.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Black Belt

(from the USSD Facebook page)

Many of us have heard the saying 'A black belt is just a white belt that never gave up.' Although there is some truth to this, like many things, it's not that simple. There's no shortcut to black belt. Inevitably, you will need to put in your time. For some, it's four or five years. For others, it could take more than ten. But if simply 'showing up' was all that was needed to achieve black belt, would it really garner that much respect? So then, there must be some other ingredient that outweighs time served. Skill. Skill is never created equal and unlike time, it can only be accessed through critical thinking and direct application. You can't 'wait out' skill. Unlike time, skill is gained through mileage in the uncomfortable. Skill is about stepping into the unknown, failing, and overcoming the challenge in front of you. In fact, it's doing that hundreds if not thousands of times. Skill is what separates those who simply show up from those who push their limits. To be the true black belt, you must never settle for just okay. The mindset of the black belt is to constantly avoid the proverbial comfort zone of predictability.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Is it Kenpo if you don’t do forms and sets?

(posted by Mr. Ron Chapel on Facebook back in February 2019) 

The Question: “Is it Kenpo if you don’t do forms and sets?”
As always, my perspective begins with "Whose Kenpo?" In all my years of exposure to "EPKK," it was constantly evolved by its progenitor, and there never was anything set in stone. I saw Mr. Parker teach a form one day, and change it the next just as he did with techniques depending upon whom he was teaching, when, and where.
The essence of his Kenpo Philosophy was not engrained in Big Red. Big Red and the list of techniques, forms, and sets were to add conceptual substance and induce commerciality to an entity that by its nature, changes constantly, and is modeled after the subjectivity of those teaching it.
It is not mathematics, where values are known and constant and thus may be easily formularized. It is a mathematical equation where the values change as you try to solve it. Therefore you do not teach it by its questions, but by the basis for determining the answers.
Still, the reference to "EPKK" suggests "Big Red" is a set curriculum, or is it? In reality nowhere is there written how to perform any technique, form, set, or exercise. That is why there are many who have dedicated themselves to "learning" what is in the book, who still have no idea what Kenpo is, let alone are capable of actually executing its philosophies under live fire conditions.
Most of "EPKK'S" practitioners of any skill are usually already skilled in other arts and "add" Kenpo philosophy to their hard-fought experiences. Rarely will you find anyone in "EPKK," who is actually any good whose total experience is learning "Big Red."
Kenpo is more than a book, or a collection of undefined physical things to do. Why do you think there are thugs out there that can whip your ass, who never read Big Red, who doesn’t know any of its forms, sets, or Kenpo techniques?
Because they have the components missing from Big Red; the "how" and the "experience" that comes from trial and error of actually doing. Actually putting your hands on another human being who has evil intent to do you, harm is, in reality, a daunting task.
It's a hard way to learn, but the learning curve is rapid and lasting. Now, this trial and error method is functional, but not all encompassing either and yields limited knowledge, but it tends to trump those who go the other route in forms, sets with self-defense techniques and no understanding of real attacks, and what it takes in the knowledge of "how" to defend. Moreover, to be fair, they tend to know their limitations as well as their strengths and don’t overestimate either, and will "cheat" if necessary with implements to enhance or augment their skills.
Ed Parker Kenpo Karate is a system of training, not a style and as such is designed to allow the individual the ability to learn to defend themselves competently. How well it performs that task is up to the individual and whomever they have chosen to teach them. The "System" itself because of this, has no way to perpetuate itself because all of its practitioners who become instructors have "tailored" their lessons to suit their own proclivities.
I think it is important to recognize that "forms" were designed to hold and archive information and “techniques" evolved to do the same. Not all of that information is physically designed to be transferred to contextual direct physical activity, or what the Japanese call "Bunkai."
Perhaps in Japanese "kata", this is true, but not in Chinese Forms. Archiving information was, in fact, their primary purpose and most Chinese Forms contain elements of timing, rhythmic nuances, specific postures, and positions, along with nerve activations that are like vocabulary words and phrases. It is up to the teacher and student to understand where to use them to put them into contextual synchronization of application.
Alone they may have no meaning at all until given that context. Much like words on a page, that may have no meaning unless they are used properly in a well-constructed sentence that draws words and phrases from many sources together to create a cogent thought.
Thus you are left when a series of conceptual ideas and physical suggestions, without the means to determine "how" to perform them. Altering the "System" effectively makes it an incomplete representation of Ed Parker Kenpo Karate, even though still recognizable.
Whether or not it is still EPKK, is up to the individual and how much personally they will allow to be left out before they feel it is no longer the system, and this is just another form of "tailoring" as well. A personal enigmatic conundrum can only be answered by the individuals themselves
Thus, you have two disparate groups. One all knowledge gained from street experience, and the other all limited knowledge with no experience. In a pinch, the lesser knowledge wins because it is experientially backed with a proven application. Moreover, although limited, it is still already proven functional on some level.
Then the other is conceptual unproven ideas. Which would you choose? Belts are nice and they may be with you, but they don't fight for you. The belt is supposed to be indicative of your ability, and knowledge. Unfortunately, in a commercial system, it is neither. All it means is you have satisfied someone teaching you to get a promotion. Now, in that regard, if you don't do what is in Big Red, you are not doing "EPKK." Nevertheless, depending upon many other factors, that could be a good or bad thing.
The true answer is, "It depends." If you think, "EPKK" is a bunch of forms, set, and techniques in a curriculum, then you're right. Leave out the forms and it's not "EPKK." However, that still doesn't mean it is not Kenpo.
The interpretation of all of the "EPKK" forms, sets, and techniques is subjective and different from person-to-person. But, that's your conundrum, not mine. I would prefer to work on the mechanics of function fused with experience of applications, over philosophical enigmas of an entity designed to be taught to anyone that walked in the door with a few bucks in their pocket.
That's my take on the question, but then I don't do "EPKK," and never have but according to Mr. Parker Sr. & Jr., I'm decent at Kenpo. Go figure

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Bruce Lee's close friend and top student Taky Kimura passes away at 96

Taky Kimura, (March 12, 1924-January 7, 2021) grew up in Clallam Bay, Washington.
Kimura and his family were interned in a War relocation center (or internment camp) during World War II, first at Tule Lake and later at Minidoka, due to their Japanese American heritage. Kimura was actually taken to the camp one day before his high school graduation.
Emerging from the internment camp after World War II, Kimura found himself to be downtrodden, broken down and lacking motivation. Because he was unable to graduate from high school due to being taken to the internment camp, and because his family had no money to pay for his college education, his family began to operate a supermarket store in Seattle, Washington.
In his mid-thirties, during the year 1959, Kimura met a young, rising 18-year-old martial arts genius named Bruce Lee. Even before Lee opened his first Jun Fan Gung Fu institute in 1960, Kimura was a part of his first students in the USA, among them Jesse Glover, James DeMile, Ed Hart, Skipp Ellsworth and LeRoy Garcia. Kimura then joined Bruce's early kung-fu club where Lee taught Jun Fan Gung Fu, literally translating to Bruce Lee's Kung Fu and his version of Wing Chun, Kimura became Lee's student, assistant and at that time, his "best friend." Together, they practiced, sparred, trained, and then founded Lee's first kung fu club (the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute) renting a small basement room with a half door entry from 8th Street in Seattle's Chinatown, where he became Lee's first Assistant Instructor.
Kimura held a 7th rank in Jun Fan Gung Fu. After Kimura was certified, he was allowed to teach small classes under the mantra of "keep the numbers low, but the quality high".

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Something to consider when building your own system of kenpo

(a Facebook post from a few months back by Mr. Tatum)

Does another system of kenpo have within its learning cycle, Category competition, reverse, and forward motion of each technique on all planes of motion? 

Does the system have Opposites of every basic and category? 

Are all types of attacks brought into the system from all known angels of attack?

Does each technique carry a major highlighted concept and or the principle with subcategories to support it?

Does the system carry every emotional content with its teachings so the student can develop a moral compass that governs his or her action in response to an attack?

Is the other system built around the eight considerations of combat?

Does the other system teach the rearrangement concept to free the the student to blend with encounters?

Does another system omit techniques that might be of value to another?

Does another system have an alphabet of motion built within the system and a dictionary with a concise description of each word or phrase to describe an action, concept, or principle of motion, by which we can scientifically communicate to each other?

Does another system carry a genetic code within each technique and form that creates a kenpo continuum?

Does another system have a template (Universal Pattern) to sift knowledge through for answers to in-depth questions related to the Art which can also be used as a learning tool for the new student but complex enough for the advanced?

Does another system have all related academics courses so it could be taught at the university level, ie: science,math,geometry,calculus,trigonometry,sociology,psychology, Kinesiology,human physiology?

Could another system be taught at an Associate degree, Bachelors's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D.?

In short, all related subjects are built within Art.