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Thread: 20 Questions With John M. La Tourrette

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    Default 20 Questions With John M. La Tourrette

    1. What year did you start studying Kenpo?

    I'll attempt to keep these answers brief even though they are NOT brief. Even though it will not seem so, I’ll be leaving much out.

    Later, if you want to check the website my son Jack Williams is putting up for me (, you’ll find more details, photos and certifications there validating and verifying what I’m stating. More details will be added when he has time.

    I first saw Kenpo in April 1966 when I was part of a demonstration team at Southern Oregon College. The Kenpo Karate black belt on the demo team was Harry Kim out of Hawaii. I was demo’ing Juijitsu and had only done a small amount of Okinawan Karate. Mr. Kim’s Kenpo Karate skill really did impress me compared to the Karate training I’d had.

    I then saw Kenpo Mass Attacks when I was studying the Korean language at the Presidio of Monterey (The Defense Language Institute), in the latter part of 66. I’d never seen anyone take out two people in ½ a second before.

    I soon changed duty stations, going to Goodfellow Air Force base, then to Korea when I studied Taekwon-do 6 days a week for 3 hours each day for almost three years. For awhile I forgot about Kenpo Karate because what I was doing worked real well. It worked in tournaments. It worked in barracks fights, and it worked in bar fights. It was effective. I like what is effective, and if it is effective I keep doing it.

    In Dec. 1969 I ETS’ed from the Army Security Agency, and went back to college. While in college I taught Taekwon-do at four different locations.

    In 1970 one of my Taekwon-do students taught me some of his Kenpo self-defense, mostly basic Waza.

    After graduation I decided I loved teaching martial arts more than I loved teaching high school Spanish and high school Psychology classes. So in (June 1973) I went to work teaching Tracy’s Kenpo Karate and was an assistant manager at the studio in Portland OR, on the corner of Sandy Blvd, and 43rd street under Franchise owner Bob Atkins.

    Mr. Jim Mitchell was running the Kenpo Karate studio in Salem OR and some of us black belts would weekly drive down to him because his Kenpo Karate training and his Studio business skills were very good..

    Later, Mr. Mitchell ran Mr. Parker’s school in Pasadena for two years. Mr. Mitchell looked me up in Boise ID and introduced me to Mr. Parker.

    2. What is your current rank?

    I assume you are referring to my Kenpo Karate belt ranking awarded me by others.

    I am ranked 5th degree Black belt (1981) in Ed Parker American Kenpo, 8th Dan (Hachidan) 1986 in Tracy’s Kenpo Karate and 10th degree black belt (1995) in Jim Mitchell’s World Kenpo Karate. Verification of those credentials follows:

    I have been doing Kenpo Karate for 37 years. I have been doing martial arts for 57 years.

    My current rank is 10th Dan in Mitchell's World Kenpo Karate. Instructor Mr. Jim Mitchell. Date of promotion, 17 Sept. 1995. Certificate Code USA-01-JM-10, NO. 04476-B. I received this certification 11 years ago.

    Under Tracy's Kenpo Karate, Hachidan (8th Dan). Promotion date, Oct. 21, 1986, certification #B-801. I received this certification 21 years ago.

    I also received certification from them to operate a Tracy’s System Martial studio, on Oct. 21, 1986. Certification # 807. I received this certification 21 years ago.

    My 5th degree black belt from Mr. Edmund Parker was on 21 Oct. 1981. Certificate # 1170. I received this certification 26 years ago.

    Okay. Those are the Kenpo Karate ranks I’ve earned from my peers.

    I love, totally respect and give thanks to all those people who have helped me learn, investigate and research the very deep and hidden levels of Kenpo Karate. Those people were necessary stepping stones to what I am now doing.

    For the past five years I’ve been teaching my own concepts of Kenpo Karate, nerve pressure points, energy strikes and mental calibration skills, along with the Master Keys of Kenpo Karate that I have acquired over the 37 years of studying, practicing and researching Kenpo.

    What is strange is that I did NOT purposefully start a new system. I just noticed I was doing something much different than what I’d been taught years before.

    I did retire in 1997 and up to that point in time I just called what I taught Kenpo Karate, even though I’d added Dillman’s Dim Mak (nerve cavity atemi and pressure point strikes), Moneymaker’s Dim Mak and Bruce Everett Miller’s Dim Mak to all the Kenpo Karate Waza and I’d added in NLP Awareness and calibration to all the Waza.

    Then I met Donna Eden in 1998 and have been learning Energy Medicine, and Energy Psychology ever since. All the black belt certifications I’ve promoted my student to have reflected this additional knowledge that I require for certification. So I also give what they are getting certification in the name of Yi Chi Mu Kenpo. It is pronounced “Yee Chee Moo Kempo”. The Yi (also “I”) stands for the unification of the three levels of the mind; conscious, subconscious and super conscious, in their Kenpo art. The Chi stands for their conscious use of the 9 different energy fields in the use of their Kenpo art. The Mu referees to the military actions taken with the mind, the body and the spirit POWERED by the 9 different energy systems.

    So my Waza’s might look similar to Ed Parker, or Al Tracy or Jim Mitchell, but on the deep structure, those Waza’s are NOT the same as what I was teaching 26 years ago, 21 years ago, or even 11 years ago.

    I have changed, my knowledge base has changed, and the Kenpo Karate I teach my students has changed.

    For example; my “Five Swords” now has additional Master Keys that are different than I originally learned.

    Here are a few of them in just that one simple technique. The physical concepts, the mental concepts, the attitudinal concepts, the emotional concepts, the directional concepts, the time distortion concepts (slowing down time and speeding up what you do), the path-of-aggression concepts, The Chi Kung stepping concepts, the body Z fold, The rooting for Power, The visual penetration of intention, the visual dissociation pattern for watching all at once, bamboo breathing for speed enhancement and power enhancement, the 19 rules of proper target penetration, body/mass accelerators, speed accelerators, power accelerators, neurovascular for instant stupid strikes, point-of-no return, set-point vs. twitch points, power of collisional energies, power of Earth energies, doing Celtic Weaves energy cycles, unzipping energy fields, gravitational marriage, all the mental concepts, etc.

    Since five years (2002) ago all the black belt credentials I’ve awarded to my personal students have read “Yi Chi Mu Kenpo” (also “I Chi Mu Kenpo”, and “I Chi Mu Kabuto Bugei”, or “military applications of the mind, vital force and Chinese fist law).

    This Yi Chi Mu Kenpo Karate was never meant to be a public system. This is NOT a public system. It is what I teach my own clients in my very private studio in the town that I have semi-retired in. They love it. I love it. And that’s what really counts.

    But, who knows; I might update all my Waza videos to DVD and release them to the general public. It looks like it would be fun to do.

    3. What brought you to Kenpo?

    I'd been in martial arts 16 years and was a black belt in Kano Judo and Okazaki Juijitsu when I first saw Kenpo. I wanted those Karate skills. I was going into the service and there were no classes at Fort Ord, nor were there any classes in Kenpo at the Presidio of Monterey (Defense Language Institute) where I was stationed to learn the Korean language.

    Just before being restationed to Goodfellow Air Force base for a Korean Code breaking Intensive, I met a man that just arrived at the Defense Language Institute to study Chinese Mandarin. He knew Kenpo Karate; I knew Judo and Juijitsu so we got together and worked out. He demonstrated "mass attacks" to me, and several of my friends. I'd never seen anyone move like that. I was sure he must be a black belt. He wasn't. He was a green belt. I wanted those skills.

    His Kenpo Karate Green Belt skills were much more street effective than my Judo or Juijitsu skills. At least they were to me.

    4. What kept you studying Kenpo?

    Kenpo Karate has REAL Master Keys! I am a Wood Element and a Metal Element. That is a Traditional Chinese Medicine personality profile. Wood means I’m aggressive and I stand up for what is right and good.

    Metal means that I need the best quality out there. It has to be the best or I can not do it.

    The more I did Kenpo, the more of the Master Keys I realized, and the better I got. To me Kenpo was NOT something I did twice a week for an hour. I did much more than that.

    I arrived at the studio at 10 am, and left twelve hours later at 10 pm. That was five days a week. Then on Saturday I was there at 8 am until 5 pm. I lived Kenpo 70 hours a week for most of the adult years of my life.

    5. What was your first class like?

    The one I took in Portland?

    It was a big disappointment. In 1970 I did learn some Waza from Mr. Day, who was a student of mine in Taekwon-do. He was also a student of Steve Fox out of Sacramento CA. So I just learned some of his techniques so I could use then in the one-step sparring we did in the 4 different locations I was teaching at.

    I was certified in 3 areas of Taekwon-do because of my military tour of duty in Korea. I spoke the language because of my military job and language expertise. I got along well with the Korean people because of that language ability I had.

    I thought Taekwon-do was the best thing in the world, and I was very good at it.

    In 1973, after my college graduation I went to work for Tracy’s and I did Kenpo Karate from 10 am to 10 pm 5 days a week.

    I did see the potentials in Kenpo Karate but since I could easily defeat most of those I knew in Kenpo Karate I’d reversed my decision on Kenpo Karate being good. Then about 6 months later I revised my opinion of Kenpo Karate because of a tournament I was forced to participate in, even though I had not trained for it.

    My hand speed was amazing.

    Then I realized it was the Kenpo Karate training that had helped give me hand speed at least four times faster than my Taekwon-do and Shotokan hands.

    Taekwon-do and Shotokan gave me the power to go with those fast Kenpo Hands.

    In 1974 I opened my Kenpo Karate in Boise; I kept the same work hours, adding 10 hours on Saturday to them. So I trained others 70 hours a week.

    I did more Kenpo in one year than most Kenpo Karate practitioners do in their entire life time. Now multiply that one years training by 34 years! That’s a lot of working out. And when you sweat that much you can’t get fat!

    I wasn’t blessed with good coordination. I just practiced with live humans daily, and got those skills because of that constant feedback.

    6. What has been your biggest Highlight during your Kenpo career?

    It was in 1977, when Mr. Ed Parker gave me a telephone call. A couple of months before I’d sent off my 4th Dan thesis to him, but I never heard back from him.

    I didn’t know he was traveling and giving seminars in Chile and other Latin American countries. When he got back home and he had time he sat down and read it.

    So Mr. Parker gave me a telephone call at my studio in Boise ID. I still remember his gravelly voice with that Hawaiian accent saying, “John, this ain’t a thesis…” and there was this big pause…

    Then Ed laughed and said, “It’s a damn book! Get it published!”

    That was one of the proudest moments of my life. The number one man in Kenpo Karate in the world thought I’d done such a good job with my thesis that it would be a best selling martial arts book. Mr. Parker was correct. That book went through 26 printings before I stopped selling it. His positive comments gave me a moment in time I’ll treasure forever.

    7. What is your fondest training memory?

    It was at my first seminar with Mr. Parker, and Mr. Mitchell in Bend OR, in 1976. I did notice Mr. Parker watching me when I did the Waza that he would demo and then the students would practice it.

    After the seminar Mr. Parker came up to me and told me, “John if I ever needed anyone at my back, I’d want it to be you.”

    8. Do you prefer standard classes or seminars when you teach?

    Many areas need to be taught.

    I love teaching one-on-one private lessons, if the student does his job.

    I love teaching sweaty Mastery Group Classes.

    I love, love teaching Point Sparring classes.

    I love, love teaching Fighting Classes.

    I have NOT taught open Kenpo Karate seminars to the general martial arts public since 1985. It’s too boring. You need to really dumb down the technologies to the levels the general public can comprehend. That bores me. I leave that task to those that like to teach them.

    I do teach specialized MIND TRAINING seminars to the general public, if they qualify. In 2003 I was asked by Silva Mind Control to do a program for them for Nightingale-Conant, the number one self-help audio people on the planet.

    I do teach various MIND SCIENCES at seminar. See my web site for that type of information.

    9. What is your fondest memory of Ed Parker?

    The same one as above:
    In 1978, when Mr. Ed Parker gave me a telephone call. A couple of months before I’d sent off my 4th Dan thesis to him, and I never heard back. I didn’t know he was traveling and giving seminars in Chile and other Latin American countries. When he got back home and he had time he sat down and read it.

    So Mr. Parker gave me a telephone call at my studio in Boise ID. I still remember his gravelly voice with that Hawaiian accent saying, “John, this ain’t a thesis…” and there was this big pause…

    Then Ed laughed and said, “It’s a damn book! Get it published!”

    10. What do you feel your biggest contribution to the Kenpo community has been?

    At the time of Mr. Parker’s death he thought that Mental Training of a Warrior had been my biggest contribution to the Kenpo Community.

    In writing his preface to that book Mr. Parker stated,
    “Dear Fellow Practitioners: It has always been comforting to me to meet men with strong convictions. Experience has taught me that men of this caliber base their convictions on logic, and more often than not, welcome criticism. Labeled as a rebel, I have always sought truth, even if it has meant destroying traditional acceptance of what was believed to be true. When John M. La Tourrette’s book was submitted for review, criticism, and as a thesis requirement for his next belt promotion, I was pleased with what I read. It fell within the pattern of my own thinking. The book is informative and one that will familiarize practitioners of all styles with modern Kenpo philosophies. It presents a fresh approach to combat present day methods of street fight. It is a practical and not a classical approach. Mr. La Tourrette’s realistic views and comments in addition to the illustrated instructions are a tribute to his efforts. I therefore sanction and recommend his book, Mental Training of a Warrior.” While life insurance benefits your benefactors after you die, the concepts with this book will be a benefit in preserving your life.”
    Ed Parker, President
    International Kenpo
    Karate Association

    I personally believe that was my FIRST contribution to the Kenpo community, and that many of my other works are much more significant. Like, Speed Fighting Methods of the Masters”, “Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for Martial Arts Athletes (my Ph.D. Dissertation, in Sports Psychology from Columbia Pacific University 1987) and Energy Medicine for Martial Arts Athletes”.

    In my opinion those works are all way past the level ofMental Training of a Warrior”.

    11. Do you have any books or videos on the market? If so what are their titles?

    I have 28 books written, and I had over 438 videos on the market before I retired in 1997. When I retired I took down all my advertisements in Black Belt magazine, in Inside Kung-fu Magazine and in Soldier of Fortune Magazine.

    I gave 4 of the titles above.

    I also stopped my old web page seven years ago even though, somehow it remained on that server until I contacted them a few months ago and had them delete it. One of my black belts put it up for me and I thank him for that. It was just never removed when I canceled it and quit paying for it. I am NOT computer literate, and I don’t care to learn. The email was from a server (CDSnet, which had gone out of business) and we stopped selling those products years ago. I had gone into the self-help field was pursuing it instead.

    My son, Jack Williams has put up two current websites for us. I am still retired, but I do take the time to train him in the business skills. He will graduate in 3 months (June 2007) with a BS degree in Business and a minor in Law Enforcement. He’s been doing Kenpo Karate for 19 years and he is very good. The website on some of my martial arts products is at This site will be updated from time to time when he has the time to do so. It is NOT one of our priorities.

    12. What would you like to be remembered the most for in the Kenpo community?

    That’s NOT what I do Kenpo Karate for.

    13. What do you think is your strongest ability in Kenpo?

    My strongest ability in Kenpo is also my strongest skill when I do self-help drills and when I teach people peak performance, or I coach them.

    I have a high sense of awareness so I notice things most people do not notice.

    I also study every evening from 10 pm until about 3 am, every day. Persistence pays off. I’m very focused and I know what I want. My intentions are very strong.

    With that type of focus and intention I then can break those new Master Keys I become aware of down to levels anyone can learn if they just do the drills.

    I was a code breaker with the Army Security Agency. I guess I’ve become a code breaker for the hidden Master Keys of Kenpo Karate.

    14. What obstacles have you encountered in your career?

    I’ve had some challenges. Those challenges just mean that I did not pay enough attention, so I needed to get the lesson until I did it right.

    Here are a couple of those challenges.

    At 47 years old I tore out my knee in a tournament. Someone accidentally slammed into me, and ripped my meniscus.

    At 53 years old I fell off a ladder and broke my back. It really pissed me off.

    15. How did you overcome them?

    Well, there is a magic question. Here it is. “If you could do XX, how would you?”

    You need goal orientated directions that carry you towards what you want.

    Most people do the opposite. They have a problem, and then let that problem be the excuse for them failing at everything they do for the rest of their life.

    So, I’m no longer Bill Wallace with my kicks. I still teach kicks. I no longer do 2,000 kicks every evening.

    And, I no longer do pushups from the ground. I do them from a counter top where the angle I’m pushing from is good for the arms, shoulders and that L-2.

    16. If you had to do it all over again, would you?

    I love what I’ve done, am doing and will continue doing until I die.

    17. And would you do anything differently?

    I might do one thing earlier in my life.

    I would learn how to get along with people better.

    I’m rather pushy (the Wood Element) and I seem to be a know-it-all (the Metal Element) to people that are Water Elements, Earth Elements, and Fire Elements. That has caused some friction.

    18. If you could spend one whole day learning from any martial artist, that has ever lived, who would it be and why?

    Your question is NOT broad enough. The BEST martial arts I’ve learned in the last 20 years has NOT been from a martial artist but from the best darn Energy Medicine Trainer on this planet, Donna Eden.

    Donna has taught me how to access my 9 different energy fields (mostly unknown by the scientific community) and then I’ve taken those energy skills and have applied them to the martial arts in ways that have not been done before as far as I’ve seen.

    So I still move like I am 30 years old. My immune system is very good. I’m still strong in vitality, spirit, mentally and the physical body.

    And I’ve been teaching these energy skills to my private students in Kenpo Karate. The more I teach them those skills the better I get at those skills.

    That is one of the Master Keys to my success. Teaching others and I also get more skilled.

    One day? Nope. I’ve spent 9 years, and I go back to her every chance I get.

    There is NO ONE that you can spend one day with and get their skills. You need years of proper training, a high intelligence and proper calibration skills to get their skills.

    19. What goals do you currently have in the arts?

    To help my son, Jack Williams, succeed in getting where he wants to go. I cannot do it for him but I can teach him how. He is running our studio and he is running Warrior Publications, one of the DBA’s of our corporation, Group L Inc.

    20. Who do you feel are some of the true standouts within your system?

    The best practitioner? Mr. Edmund Parker.

    The best mind as far as organization, history and business training, Mr. Al Tracy.

    21. What do you think we can expect from them in the future?

    We are all getting old. The old do different things than the young do. Al Tracy is 71 years old. Ed Parker passed over, 17 years ago. I’m XX years old (this is classified information) and I’m training the young people I care about to do their own thing with Kenpo Karate.

    Now my personal focus with Kenpo Karate is more inside the mind, inside the emotions and inside the 9 different energy fields of the human body. Waza is very important. Adding those mind-force principles to Kenpo Karate make it even more effective.

    I’m pretty sure that there are people that are getting the skills of Kenpo Karate that Mr. Parker taught and wanted to pass on. Some of those skills of Mr. Parker are known, but others of Mr. Parker’s skills were intuitive. Mr. Mitchell has many private videos of Mr. Parker that he’s not released to anyone, not even his own students. And Mr. Mitchell was a private student of Mr. Parker almost up until Mr. Parker’s death. It would be nice to get those videos and then using the NLP Modeling Process to decode what Mr. Parker knew, did and lived, up to the moment of his crossing.

    I would be willing to devote a few years to that additional modeling process of Kenpo Karate expertise, finding the unconscious processes of Edmund Parker.

    22. Do you have any advice would like to give to those just starting out?

    Know what you want out of Kenpo Karate. Get a good trainer. You don’t have to like him but you do need to respect his wisdom and his skills of giving you the proper experiences so you can assimilate that wisdom.

    Study every day.

    Here I am referring to keeping your Kenpo Karate notebooks up to date, writing down all the Master Keys you receive and figure out on the Waza and on the fighting. Read good books on tactics and strategy. Read and absorb “The Book of 5 Rings”, “The Art of War”, and other books that have the hidden Kenpo Karate mental Master Keys in them.

    Train every day even if it is only for 20 minutes. 20 minutes every day is much more valuable than 1 two hour workout a week.

    You must always workout with live humans throwing real punches and doing real attacks so you know your technique is real and is practical for what your goals are.

    Be very persistent. And have fun in the learning and doing of those Kenpo Karate skills of mind, body and spirit.

    I thank you for your time with this interview, I am sure everyone who reads this will have a greater understanding to what you have to offer the Kenpo Community.

    You are welcome.

    Feb. 16, 2007
    ©Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    10th Degree Black Belt, Mitchell Kenpo Karate 1995
    Ph.D. Sports Psychology, 1987 Columbia Pacific University
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

  2. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Rob Broad For This Useful Post:

    Brother John (03-17-2007),John M. La Tourrette (02-18-2007),Kenpodave (09-22-2007),punisher73 (06-19-2011),Salem (05-19-2007),sifuroy (03-17-2007),tylerjade (03-19-2007)

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