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Thread: The "Death" of EPAK?

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    Default The "Death" of EPAK?

    A discussion I've been involved in on MT and a few other sites concerning the suggested "death" of Modern Arnis since Remy Presas's death in 2001 has me thinking.

    I'm sure that some have predicted the same for EPAK since Parkers passing. It's obviously still around, and growing, but here is the question: Is EPAK today, what Parker envisioned? Is it still "Parkers"?

    How has it evolved, who does it "as it was last done", who has continued it's evolution, and who does the earlier 'versions' as they were taught?

    I know this could get political, but lets avoid that issue, and the question of "who is right".

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    In my limited time training with Mr. Planas, I have come to recognize him as a 'traditionalist'. Although, most kenpo schools today won't allow the thumping that seems to have taken place in the 60's and 70's, Mr. Planas works pretty hard to keep the system as the system.

    I believe what I am being exposed to when I work with Mr. Planas, in seminars or in private, is quite probably the way the program worked when Mr. Parker was overseeing the schools at that time.

    Now ... as for any evolution that might have occurred between 1990 and today (or, pick your date) ... there is probably some of which Mr. Parker would approve of, and probably some 'evolution' with which he would not have approved.

    So, yes. I believe I am still training in Ed Parker's American Kenpo. I don't think it is a 'branch' or an 'evolution'. And maybe, in a few years (or a few decades) I may gain enough experience to recognize some positive evolution to the system. But, first, I want to learn it the way it was done.

    I could not be more fortunate to have landed in a school with Mr. Planas up the family tree.

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    With so many first generation black belts out there today I know many still teach Kenpo as SGM Parker intended it to be handed down.

    Others have added their own flavor and that is also fine ... the root still comes back to the tree.
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Call it what you will, I am doing EXACTLY what Ed Parker taught and asked me to do. It is Ed Parker's American Kenpo.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Let me throw this out.

    Is EPAK, a "dead" art? By this, I mean that it is meant to be taught as-is, with no room for personal expansion? Or, is it still growing with new material being gradually worked into it?

    Now, mind you, there is nothing wrong with either answer, but I'm curious on how people see it.

    Part of the reason is, EPAK is the most well documented art I know of. Parker left books, videos and the like with very detailed information on what to do, how to do it, why to do it and when to do it.



    please forgive me, huge migraine in progress, so I'm having trouble getting all my thoughts out clearly today.
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by katsudo_karate View Post
    With so many first generation black belts out there today I know many still teach Kenpo as SGM Parker intended it to be handed down.

    But really, how many are there? I understand "first generation BBs" to be those who started as white belts under EP, and were with him through their first BB and beyond. Many many people trained with / under EP having started with some of his students, or some derivative thereof. Being kicked to rank by EP certainly doesn't qualify one as an Ed Parker BB, I'd conjecture, as he promoted ALOT of people.

    So, taking this definition of "first generation", how many really went white to black under EP himself? I don't know the answer, but understand its a surprisingly small number.

    Perhaps someone more knowledgable could answer this.

    Cheers,

    Steven Brown
    UKF

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard View Post
    Let me throw this out.

    Is EPAK, a "dead" art? By this, I mean that it is meant to be taught as-is, with no room for personal expansion? Or, is it still growing with new material being gradually worked into it?

    Now, mind you, there is nothing wrong with either answer, but I'm curious on how people see it.

    Part of the reason is, EPAK is the most well documented art I know of. Parker left books, videos and the like with very detailed information on what to do, how to do it, why to do it and when to do it.



    please forgive me, huge migraine in progress, so I'm having trouble getting all my thoughts out clearly today.
    I disagree. Parker left many books that delved deeply into his philosophy and conceptual ideas of the art that changed over the years, and splintered into multiple directions. It is therefore not a single linear timeline that started at "A" and ended at "B" with his death. All of his various ideas were a work-in-progress. He abandoned some, and created others for various reasons. Some to spread the art, some to make money, some more personal for future use predicated on the progress of others.

    The one absolutely clear thing he did not do on a large scale is document "HOW" to do anything, instead choosing to suggest "WHAT" needs to be done, and suggesting conceptual ideas to enhance the exploration of "HOW."

    But even many of these things contridict themselves as Parker worked in so many different directions, goals, and purposes over his timelines that created a splintered effect wth everyone he taught. Those relegated to a point in time who stopped studying for whatever reason, are no less valid than those who studied with him later in life or privately as I did. All are valid in their relationship with Parker, and all may lay claim to his lineage of Ed Parker's Kenpo.

    Ed Parker's works are not to be judged by its curriculum anymore than JKD. Both are conceptual designes to give students a framework to begin study. Although more detailed, Ed Parker Kenpo is no less conceptual.

    Rather than euphamistically killing Mr. Parker's Art(s), I suggest we focus on the efficacy and effectiveness of the individual interpretations and lineage lines. Because of the diversity of his instruction and students, to suggest that all are good or bad would be disingenuous at best. All are valid, but like life, all are not created equal. Some are better than others and some are really good and some are really bad - just like the many people that studied with him.

    So in the end, judge the results and not the man or his art. We all agree Ed Parker was very good at what he did. The fact that many didn't rise to the level of the potential of the art(s) is no reflection on Ed Parker, his teachings, or his art.

    Everyone may go to school. Some fail, Some excel, and most are just average. Don't blame the teacher, especially in something so convoluted and splintered in the diversity of the students, their individual timeline, and personal goals and aptitudes.

    Good question sir.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Kenpo is alive and well. There are a lot of different versions of Ed Parker's art out there. Kenpo is a large tree and some of the branches have stayed closer to the roots than others, while have some have drifted far away. That is the way it should be, though.

    Regardless, of what you do, if you do it well, you are contributing to the life blood of kenpo. Mr. Parker did what he did very well and because of that we have a great art from which to learn. As long as what you do stays true to the spirit of kenpo than I think Mr. Parker would be proud.

    The point being, kenpo is not a dead art. Some innovate and change more than others, but that is not important. What is important is that we continue to practice kenpo in the way that is best for us and to pass on everything we have learned so that others can continue to enjoy the art.

    If we do that kenpo will never die.
    Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    I think EPAK is very much alive and well but I'm worried that some people think it is dead.

    There seems to be an urgency to blend other arts in to Kenpo in some situations. I have nothing against students being curious and interested in something that Kenpo does not perhaps specialize in. However I don't like the way that some schools seem to make rushed changes.

    Some students are interested in groundfighting or FMAs, for example. I would much rather see a Kenpo school offer optional groundfighting or FMA classes that are taught by a grappler or an escrimador that have proven their aptitude through solid training rather than see an Kenpo instructor hack through material they learned in a seminar or two.

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    I don't feel as if it is dead. I think it is living as Mr. Parker wanted. From what I can understand from his text is that it was intended to live and adapt and change over time. I'm assuming that if Mr. Parker were still with us he would have looked to modify techniques to deal with Muai Thai, BJJ or MMA, etc. style fighters. I'm only at the purple belt level and by no means an authority, but I see grabs and attacks that a judoka would execute. Right there proves to me that he would have adapted his art to the times. To say that it is not a live system I think is incorrect. If it were not "alive" then I and my fellow students of EPAK are not alive. We train in Mr. Parkers art and as said in an earlier post in this thread, it all goes back to the root of the tree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Kaur View Post
    Some students are interested in groundfighting or FMAs, for example. I would much rather see a Kenpo school offer optional groundfighting or FMA classes that are taught by a grappler or an escrimador that have proven their aptitude through solid training rather than see an Kenpo instructor hack through material they learned in a seminar or two.

    I could not agree with you more. I enjoy the ground fighting and since there is little in my Kenpo training I go to a proven instructor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to augment my EPAK training. They are both my addictions.
    Last edited by ronin6; 05-21-2007 at 12:18 PM.
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK?

    American Kenpo: (1) An updated and all-inclusive version of Kenpo, based on loigiv and practicality, that has been designed to cope with the mode of fighting currently prevalent on the streest. (2) A term commandeered by, and credited to Ed Parker.

    By it's definition, Kenpo should continue to evolve and thrive always as the modes of fighting are influenced by different things (technology, sport, laws, etc). So, does my "Kenpo" look like the "Kenpo" of the 60's, 70's, or 80's? I hope not. Will my "Kenpo" of 2010 look like my "Kenpo" of 2007? I hope not. The world and environment change, so shall I to adapt to it and be as proficient at defending whatever it is I need to defend against!

    The principles upon which the maneuvers are based are univeresal, scientific, logical and can be applied regardless of the modes of fighting being used today, however.

    This ensures that Kenpo will not "die."

    Since SGM Parker coined the term then regardless of it's "current manifestation" it will be "Ed Parkers Amercian Kenpo" as long as the principles being used are based on his teachings.
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by ronin6 View Post
    I don't feel as if it is dead. I think it is living as Mr. Parker wanted. From what I can understand from his text is that it was intended to live and adapt and change over time. I'm assuming that if Mr. Parker were still with us he would have looked to modify techniques to deal with Muai Thai, BJJ or MMA, etc. style fighters. I'm only at the purple belt level and by no means an authority, but I see grabs and attacks that a judoka would execute. Right there proves to me that he would have adapted his art to the times. To say that it is not a live system I think is incorrect. If it were not "alive" then I and my fellow students of EPAK are not alive. We train in Mr. Parkers art and as said in an earlier post in this thread, it all goes back to the root of the tree.




    I could not agree with you more. I enjoy the ground fighting and since there is little in my Kenpo training I go to a proven instructor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to augment my EPAK training. They are both my addictions.
    You're making the mistake that most make in regard to what interpretation of Parker Kenpo they study. You assume that Parker would have to adapt or change something based on your experience. The truth is Parker began as a grappler, grappled under Chow, and continued to do so when he came to the mainland with friends like Gene LeBell. Parker also realized that ground fighting was, and still does not have mass market appeal in a commercial art for most people. So Parker made a conscious decision to not make his commercial art sport grapple oriented, even though in the beginning on the mainland he did.

    Some have given Parker a bad rap for "excluding " women, or children in his early years. Truth is, what was taught was not "user friendly." Grappling was a mainstream sport in the late forties, fifities, and sixties and enjoyed the same popularity it does now on television and contests events. Much like now, local clubs poped up everywhere because of the sports popularity. However "media popularity" does not translate into physical participation for most people. America Loves American Football, but very few play it because it is very physically demanding and has limited participation appeal.

    The truth is Parker splintered the art to create the user friendly art most train in today, while continuing with other material. This art purposely caters to people of all ages and physical conditions and specificly excludes a great deal of material and information other than grappling.

    Your observation that Parker hinted at some of this information is correct. But that was an individual instructor thing. Those that wanted to explore it with their students could, but most recognized that the bulk of their clients would not be interested in the sport which is essentially a young male activity that excludes more than it attracts.

    We must get beyond the "single Kenpo evolved to what I"M LEARNING mindset." Kenpo is as diverse as its teachers, and I guarantee you there are schools that grapple regularly. Don't knock the art for what you're not getting, the art is fine and includes all the things you speak of. You just have to find the teacher that wants to emphasize what you're interested in. In the commercial world, sellers cater to their customer base. Parker was smart enough to know that, but don't think for a minute what you've been exposed to and taught, just like what's in Infinite Insights, comes close to representing the totality of the Parker knowledge.

    The art is not going to come to you, you must find someone that has the art you're seeking. Don't buy that 4 cyclinder car because it has good fuel economy, and complain because it doesn't accelerate very fast. Go down to the Chevy dealer and buy that Corvette you really want. of course the gas mileage will be horrible and the price you pay will be a lot more. But than in a free market system you can get what you want, but you also have to pay for it.

    So you're doing the right thing sir, but please don't blame the Kenpo for what's not there. All teachers shape their interpretation based on many factors. I commend you for seeking additional information. Parker would approve of that, but wouldn't accept the blame for what's missing in your kenpo.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post

    We must get beyond the "single Kenpo evolved to what I"M LEARNING mindset." Kenpo is as diverse as its teachers, and I guarantee you there are schools that grapple regularly. Don't knock the art for what you're not getting, the art is fine and includes all the things you speak of. You just have to find the teacher that wants to emphasize what you're interested in. In the commercial world, sellers cater to their customer base. Parker was smart enough to know that, but don't think for a minute what you've been exposed to and taught, just like what's in Infinite Insights, comes close to representing the totality of the Parker knowledge.
    Excellent statement. Really makes you think.....
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by bujuts View Post
    I understand "first generation BBs" to be those who started as white belts under EP, and were with him through their first BB and beyond. Many many people trained with / under EP having started with some of his students, or some derivative thereof. Being kicked to rank by EP certainly doesn't qualify one as an Ed Parker BB, I'd conjecture, as he promoted ALOT of people.

    So, taking this definition of "first generation", how many really went white to black under EP himself? I don't know the answer, but understand its a surprisingly small number.

    Perhaps someone more knowledgable could answer this.

    Cheers,

    Steven Brown
    UKF
    This particular point of view is not new, however this reinterpretation of the definition of a first generation black belt definitely is and stems from a desire to promote and/or de-promote as much as anything else.

    I guess I would be one of those who could answer this. First, your "understanding" of first generation black belts is incorrect. At least it wasn't the one the Ed Parker himself used, but you are entitled to use the one given to you if you choose and I understand that.

    This perspective is flawed for a plethora of reasons related to the many different persons Parker taught over many years and directions. Although I agree that there were in fact very few who began as actual white belts with Ed Parker, and have said as much myself on many occasions. Those that did begin as "actual" white belts, all received their belts by the early to mid sixties, because Parker stopped teaching regular classes in the schools by then. However even so, many received first generation status later even though Parker was not their full time teacher.

    So to, by suggestion, diminish the quality, knowledge, or study material of those that came later regardless of circumstance would seem to be flawed, and caste an aspersion on Ed Parker, his teachings, and judgement after he left the studio teaching regimen.

    Whether those that came later were actual white belts or had previous training has no bearing on what or how Parker taught them. In fact some might suggest that those early black belt first generations, unless they maintained an uninterrupted, functional, and regular student relationship AND lived in reasonable proximity to Parker's residence, they may not be as knowledgeable as some that have come later. After all, Parker continued to grow, evolve, innovate, create, and became more knowledgeable and a better teacher himself. I bare witness to this process myself, having been there the entire time from 1963 to his untimely death. But what he taught to who, and why was Parker's personal decision.

    To personalize this in my own case, I came from a school where Parker himself studied, so I see that as a positive even though I was not an "actual" white belt when we met. Apparently Parker found that a positive as well, choosing to take me, (and my students), as a private student and not ever charge me in our almost thirty year relationship. I get students all the time when high ranks from Kenpo AND other styles. It doesn't affect WHAT I teach them or WHEN. It may however impact their ability to assimilate material and the timeline of their learning curve. I have students that studied with me as recently as ten years ago who would be lost in today's classes. No, I never studied under any of Parker's students or concurrently with a teacher and Ed Parker, as most others have. But I don't see that as a necessary positive or negative. The only thing that matters is the relationship with the Man and what he wanted to teach, and the ability of the student to assimilate that information.

    So your definition is at odds with Ed Parker who embraced many in a positive way and felt comfortable enough to put them on his family tree, designate them as first generation, AND indicate they transferred to first generation status as a positive not a negative.

    Otherwise, for me, I feel I'm in good company with transferred people like (partial list from memory in no particular order):

    Tino Tuiolosega
    Steve LaBounty
    Tom Kelly
    Richard Planas
    Bob White
    Lee Wedlake
    John LaTourrette
    Bob Rose
    Roy McDonald
    Dennis Conatser
    Skip Hancock
    John Sepulveda
    Frank Trejo
    Elvis Presley
    Jeff Speakman
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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    Smile Re: The "Death" of EPAK?

    If you take the essence of what I consider Ed Parker's American Kenpo, which is demystifying self-defense, and defining the Art in terms of physics and universal principles, I don't think it will ever die.

    Because of GM Parker's Art, I can more easily analyze and dissect martial arts techniques.

    I have cross-trained in Boxing, FMA, Silat, Judo, and Muy Thai, and I've been able to better understand those Arts because of Kenpo.

    Sometimes students/instructors get all caught up in perfection of techniques, and nothing is perfect on the street.

    Kenpo Basics, Techniques, and Forms, lay the groundwork for a good physical self-defense plan. Some people just don't have, or don't choose to adapt the mindset, to make these techniques work.

    They also haven't learned or been taught to adapt the techniques to the opponent and to the situation.

    Kenpo is an incredible Art, but only if students/instructors are willing to put in the effort. Because it is a complex Art that leads to a deeper understanding of many things besides martial arts.
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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Call it what you will, I am doing EXACTLY what Ed Parker taught and asked me to do. It is Ed Parker's American Kenpo.
    What?

    No distortion, deletion and generalization?

    Even unconsciously?

    You are better than I am.

    I go back and check my notes with what I'm now doing with what I used to do and sometimes I'm amazed at the changes I didn't know that I've done.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: The "Death" of EPAK

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Call it what you will, I am doing EXACTLY what Ed Parker taught and asked me to do. It is Ed Parker's American Kenpo.
    Me too! Of course, I only went to one seminar and we did Hooking Wings.

    But boy, can I do hooking wings!

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