Who -> Professor Dennis Conatser
Dennis Conatser studied Judo in 1967 for a short period of time but his formal martial arts training (American Kenpo) began in August 1971, under the direction of Mr. Lonny Coots in Tempe, Arizona. He remained with Mr. Coots (started his studio in June 1974) until he achieved his 1st Degree Black on February 14th, 1976. Mr. Coots then directed Mr. Conatser to study with Mr. Gary L. Swan, President of the National Chinese Kenpo Karate Association (NCKKA) in San Antonio, Texas. After a brief period of time (a little over 1 year), Mr. Conatser elected to study with Mr. Steve LaBounty, then Senior Advisor to the NCKKA and past resident and Founder. This relationship lasted only a short period of time, at which the opportunity arose to study directly with the Founder of American Kenpo and Mr. LaBounty's instructor, Mr. Edmund K. Parker in mid 1979. Mr. Conatser then began studies and became one of the very few Kenpo instructors of the past decade that studied directly with Mr. Parker, even staying at his house as a guest. This relationship continued until Mr. Parker's untimely passing in December 1990.
Mr. Conatser continues to be active in teaching, researching, developing, and exploring all aspects of American Kenpo. While studying the Art of Kenpo, Mr. Conatser has had vast experience in many areas, to name a few: Competition, Promoting Events, Teaching, Writing, Traveling all around the United States, England, & Australia with Mr. Parker and interacting with several other notable Black Belts such as Steve LaBounty, Tom Kelly, Frank Trejo, Bob White, Skip Hancock, John Sepulveda, Diane Tanaka, Lee Wedlake, Huk Planas, Craig McCoy, Joe Palanzo, Jeff Speakman, Larry Tatum, Paul Mills, Gary Swan, Ralph Castellanos, Gil Hibben, Bryan Hawkins, Bob Liles, Mike Pick, Ron Chapel, Harvey Clarey, Tom Riskas, Tom Connor Sr. & Jr., Steve "Nasty" Anderson, Ray Sua, Byong Yu, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, John Natividad, Pat Johnson, Steve Sanders, Al Decascos, Eric Lee, Anthony Chan, Cynthia Rothrock, James Lew, Y.C.Wong, Paulie Zink, Ark Wong, Ted Tabura, Benny Urquidez, Brendan Lai, Wally Jay, Robert Trias, Tom Schlessinger, Robert Haliberton, Roy Kurban, George Chung, Roberta Trias Kelly and many, many others. Mr. Conatser has also trained many International and State Champions proving his technique teaching methods are valid to anyone that will devote time and effort into learning and practicing the challenging and awesome art of American Kenpo.
Having placed at the prestigious Long Beach Internationals several times himself as well as being a 5 time Arizona State Champion in Forms, Breaking, and Sparring. Mr. Conatser has produced two of the States finest Karate Tournaments: The Arizona State Open Karate Championships and the Fiesta Bowl Karate Classic (now Fiesta Karate Classic). Mr.Conatser now devotes much of his time to the International Kenpo Karate Organization, which he founded in 1991. Like his teachers he is currently engaged in several projects, and is currently writing several books on American Kenpo and his experiences. "To keep American Kenpo alive and expanding is now my journey and obligation ......... "He" would have wanted it that way"
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