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Thread: Kenpo, hold the Karate

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    Default Kenpo, hold the Karate

    I was in a discussion with a gentleman about some "history" of Kenpo who was a follower of my writings here and on MartialTalk through the years. (Can't believe how many it has been). He was very much concerned about what I've often stated about the word "karate" being inserted into the creed as a marketing device, and that originally the word was never there. Specifically, it was inserted, deleted, and ultimately reinserted for the sake of the last commercial version of Mr. Parker's Arts. I came across this in some old files and it is a representation of what the "Kenpo Creed" looked like when I first saw it when he showed it to me in 1963. For him, the word "karate" was important because it was, in his mind the art he studied and he was very much married to the name and thought it was negative to suggest otherwise.

    Just so I could make him feel better I reminded him that Mr. Parker never branded Kenpo Karate as "American Kenpo" either. It had become a colloquial expression among practitioners but is technically incorrect. Mr. Parker did have an "American Kenpo" in mind but abandoned it for various reasons to pursue, develop, and sell Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate.

    Then he wanted to know why I disrespected the art by not wearing rank on my belt as the guidelines required. My answer was a simple one, Mr. Parker himself never wore stripes on his belt until Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate began to take off as an art. Previous to that Mr. Parker wore a plain white uniform and a plain black belt. Mr. Parker didn't put rank on his belt until he was seventh degree. So there are no pictures of him with a rank lower than 7th. I also told the individual that I never taught Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate even though my rank came from Mr. Parker.

    He taught me from the perspective in many respects that we had both learned under Sifu Ark Wong, although obviously not at the same time. But because my foundation was something he was familiar with, it made for some very interesting lessons that didn't match the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate motion based perspective, and in fact was closer to the real "American Kenpo" he envisioned but never fully engaged.

    Although I was honest and sincere, I don't think this person will ever speak to me again. His ego had him holding on to beliefs that belong exactly where they are, in history. In closing, I reminded him that if he got into a fight with a guy who called his art "Hong Kong Fooey," and he got his a$$ smacked around, would it really matter? Maybe the key is what and how you do it, and not so much what you call it. Mr. Parker had and taught multiple arts, and he was a bad a$$ in all of them. Want to see the marks? Some of them, I swear are still there.

    4d245d61f1e2477648136d7778915915--isshinryu-karate-kenpo-karate.jpg
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Ugghh...

    Ok, I'll expand. People want to know that what they do is "the best". That is why you see so many arguments online in the martial arts about who has "the real stuff" in regards to a lineage, then you will see the argument that so and so was first and learned it before it was watered down, then the other side that so and so was with the instructor till the end so they had all the newer innovations (this is NOT just in kenpo that this argument happens). Then you will see the argument that so and so was taught the real secrets behind closed doors. Heaven forbid it was a traditional art like okinawan karate that was modified and taught to a student's strengths etc. and who was taught "the real art".

    Then you can get into the argument that all the traditional snoots make that a newer art is "made up". Never mind that if you go back far enough, ALL arts are made up by someone. Then many other "traditional arts" are mixes of those other arts and were "made up", even though they are now considered "pure and traditional".

    All of this in the pursuit of an individual's validation that what they do is "the best".

    As my instructor has always said, ALL arts when taught properly are beautiful and will get you to the same place. Even though our art is "made up", he will NEVER say anything bad about a system because he knows that it is the individual and what they do with the system that matters. Or, as my college roommate was fond of saying, "everyone sucks to somebody else".
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    Ugghh...

    Ok, I'll expand. People want to know that what they do is "the best". That is why you see so many arguments online in the martial arts about who has "the real stuff" in regards to a lineage, then you will see the argument that so and so was first and learned it before it was watered down, then the other side that so and so was with the instructor till the end so they had all the newer innovations (this is NOT just in kenpo that this argument happens). Then you will see the argument that so and so was taught the real secrets behind closed doors. Heaven forbid it was a traditional art like okinawan karate that was modified and taught to a student's strengths etc. and who was taught "the real art".

    Then you can get into the argument that all the traditional snoots make that a newer art is "made up". Never mind that if you go back far enough, ALL arts are made up by someone. Then many other "traditional arts" are mixes of those other arts and were "made up", even though they are now considered "pure and traditional".

    All of this in the pursuit of an individual's validation that what they do is "the best".

    As my instructor has always said, ALL arts when taught properly are beautiful and will get you to the same place. Even though our art is "made up", he will NEVER say anything bad about a system because he knows that it is the individual and what they do with the system that matters. Or, as my college roommate was fond of saying, "everyone sucks to somebody else".
    You suck.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    As I've gotten older I've come to look at all systems as guidelines made up of suggestions. At one point in time or another, a "master" suggested a particular course of action when presented with a particular scenario. As previously stated, "It's all made up by someone."

    That said, I think at some point every martial artist should "make up" their own style and continue "making it up" as long as they practice. It's the pinnacle of tailoring... I've studied other systems and am currently immersed in Serrada Eskrima. But, since my primary system is "kenpo", what I've incorporated from it and my other studies becomes my "kenpo". As such, I've always been of the mind that if it works, it's kenpo... to me, anyway. Call yours whatever you like. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I think folks that get hung up on such things are wasting time that would be better spent improving their martial arts skills. LOL
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    You suck.
    Yep, which is why everyday I do something to improve and suck a little less than the day before.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    As I've gotten older I've come to look at all systems as guidelines made up of suggestions. At one point in time or another, a "master" suggested a particular course of action when presented with a particular scenario. As previously stated, "It's all made up by someone."
    That said, I think at some point every martial artist should "make up" their own style and continue "making it up" as long as they practice. It's the pinnacle of tailoring... I've studied other systems and am currently immersed in Serrada Eskrima. But, since my primary system is "kenpo", what I've incorporated from it and my other studies becomes my "kenpo". As such, I've always been of the mind that if it works, it's kenpo... to me, anyway. Call yours whatever you like. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I think folks that get hung up on such things are wasting time that would be better spent improving their martial arts skills. LOL
    Well said. So are you just stopping by without saying "hello," or just slummin?
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Personally, I do refer to my practice as Kenpo Karate quite often because:


    1. When talking to laypeople, it gives them a rough idea of what I am doing, whereas, when I just say "Kenpo", I only get questioning looks.
    2. Having a background in Japanese Karate, I like to think of Kenpo as a style of Karate as well. On Okinawa, the words "Karate" and "Kenpo" (or "Kempo", depending on how you like to transcribe it) are pretty much interchangeable. But Parker Kenpo is in some ways even closer to the combat oriented Okinawan Karate styles than the Japanese sport styles that have generally become known as Karate.


    Below you see a picture I took of the nameplate of Mr. Parker's school when I visited Pasadena earlier this year. The original lettering "Ed Parker's" on top was erased when the training hall was later taken over by some group practising a different Karate type of martial art. Yes, Mr. Parker may have used "Karate" here simply to be better understood by passers-by, quite in keeping with my first statement. But I would say, it is not incorrect, as per my second statement.



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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    Personally, I do refer to my practice as Kenpo Karate quite often because:


    1. When talking to laypeople, it gives them a rough idea of what I am doing, whereas, when I just say "Kenpo", I only get questioning looks.
    2. Having a background in Japanese Karate, I like to think of Kenpo as a style of Karate as well. On Okinawa, the words "Karate" and "Kenpo" (or "Kempo", depending on how you like to transcribe it) are pretty much interchangeable. But Parker Kenpo is in some ways even closer to the combat oriented Okinawan Karate styles than the Japanese sport styles that have generally become known as Karate.


    Below you see a picture I took of the nameplate of Mr. Parker's school when I visited Pasadena earlier this year. The original lettering "Ed Parker's" on top was erased when the training hall was later taken over by some group practising a different Karate type of martial art. Yes, Mr. Parker may have used "Karate" here simply to be better understood by passers-by, quite in keeping with my first statement. But I would say, it is not incorrect, as per my second statement.


    It is by no means incorrect, and it is as Mr. Parker designated it for a reason. But there is also a reason why "karate" was most prominent and bigger than "Kenpo" on the signage. I recall people coming into the school before the signage with KARATE, thinking it was a Mexican Restaurant. He knew what he was doing and that particular part of his arts was appropriately named. Where people go wrong is when they mistakenly think Ed Parker utilized his Kenpo Karate and did not recognize it was what he taught, not what he himself actually used. His personal interpretations contained elements not found in Kenpo Karate.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    It is by no means incorrect, and it is as Mr. Parker designated it for a reason. But there is also a reason why "karate" was most prominent and bigger than "Kenpo" on the signage. I recall people coming into the school before the signage with KARATE, thinking it was a Mexican Restaurant. He knew what he was doing and that particular part of his arts was appropriately named. Where people go wrong is when they mistakenly think Ed Parker utilized his Kenpo Karate and did not recognize it was what he taught, not what he himself actually used. His personal interpretations contained elements not found in Kenpo Karate.
    And as an addendum, I don't say Kenpo Karate for the exact same reasons that you do.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    hello! :-)
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    It is by no means incorrect, and it is as Mr. Parker designated it for a reason. But there is also a reason why "karate" was most prominent and bigger than "Kenpo" on the signage. I recall people coming into the school before the signage with KARATE, thinking it was a Mexican Restaurant. He knew what he was doing and that particular part of his arts was appropriately named. Where people go wrong is when they mistakenly think Ed Parker utilized his Kenpo Karate and did not recognize it was what he taught, not what he himself actually used. His personal interpretations contained elements not found in Kenpo Karate.
    I am well aware of that, Doc, as you know. We talked about it before. But I don't see the connection to the name(s) Mr. Parker gave to his art. The part he didn't teach he didn't teach under any name, right?

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    hello! :-)
    Damn bro you don't have to shout. I ain't deeeef. Good to see you around the ole neighborhood.
    "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: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    I am well aware of that, Doc, as you know. We talked about it before. But I don't see the connection to the name(s) Mr. Parker gave to his art. The part he didn't teach he didn't teach under any name, right?
    Labels have importance obviously but in the martial arts in general and "Kenpo" in particular, It intimates something that may or may not be true according to the experiences of the individuals involved in a discussion that may be diverse.

    Mr. Parker engrained in me the necessity of specificity in all conversations of the art to ensure clear communications. He did the same and built a tremendous pseudo-science vocabulary around that concept. He said to me, "Never allow someone to choose what picture they have in their mind about what you do. When you choose the words, you also paint the picture. If they don't understand the word(s), it gives you the opportunity to clarify and carve out your own unique identity relative to the subject at hand."

    This is why he was so specific about the labels of his arts. His original "Kenpo Karate" was really essentially Sifu Chow's work codified by him. Whereas his next most significant and personal work was "Chinese Kenpo." (Although the title of his book was "Secrets of Chinese Karate" because he felt the necessity to reach the public by indoctrinating them to the then unknown and unheard of Chinese version of the generally known "Karate."

    His next planned excursion to "Americanize" his Chinese Kenpo as "American Kenpo" was very personal to him, and it was specifically not labeled with his name. He felt legitimate arts should stand alone without a person identifier in the tradition of Asian Family Arts. But that desire became derailed and never came to fruition because of personal reasons, so he abandoned the codification process of American Kenpo and moved on to his commercial Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate. This, he felt was a legitimate use and satisfied the criteria he had decided upon for that particular art. He branded it with his name for commercial recognition and to separate it from the plethora of copycats and offshoots that existed, and he added the word "karate" for general public recognition and familiarity as well as copyright/trademark protection - something he never intended to do with his "American Kenpo which was supposed to be his gift to the martial arts world and his legacy.

    Unfortunately, much confusion was created because of the open-ended and tailoring aspect of the Commercial Kenpo he created based on "motion, added to the fact often what Mr. Parker taught in seminars, was not what he actually himself did as he continued to work on personal refinements of his "American Kenpo" with no codification. So everyone "tailored," and mimicked what they thought they saw Mr. Parker do further confusing the issue.

    So yeah, potato/tomato, who cares right? Except, sometimes it really does matter. Right off the bat, that's five different arts of Mr. Parker, and everyone had variations as he evolved until his dying day. So you have original/extra crispy Kenpo Karate and all its proponents of old farts who learned back then, followed by the Chinese Kenpo old farts like me, a plethora of confused people who think they're doing American Kenpo which Mr. Parker explicitly abandoned and moved to Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, and then there is the art Mr. Parker did that no one could duplicate because he wasn't teaching it. "What? Did you say Ed Parker's American Kenpo? No such thing! No soup for you!"
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Labels have importance obviously but in the martial arts in general and "Kenpo" in particular, It intimates something that may or may not be true according to the experiences of the individuals involved in a discussion that may be diverse.

    Mr. Parker engrained in me the necessity of specificity in all conversations of the art to ensure clear communications. He did the same and built a tremendous pseudo-science vocabulary around that concept. He said to me, "Never allow someone to choose what picture they have in their mind about what you do. When you choose the words, you also paint the picture. If they don't understand the word(s), it gives you the opportunity to clarify and carve out your own unique identity relative to the subject at hand."
    By itself, that makes a lot of sense, but then, moving on to your next paragraph...

    This is why he was so specific about the labels of his arts. His original "Kenpo Karate" was really essentially Sifu Chow's work codified by him. Whereas his next most significant and personal work was "Chinese Kenpo." (Although the title of his book was "Secrets of Chinese Karate" because he felt the necessity to reach the public by indoctrinating them to the then unknown and unheard of Chinese version of the generally known "Karate."
    ...it becomes obvious that Mr. Parker made quite a compromise himself by using the term "Chinese Karate" in order to convey to the layman some idea of what the book was all about. When, rigorously, his system was not "Chinese Karate" any more than a pizza is an "Italian tortilla."

    And I actually agree that even the term Karate itself, while arguably applicable to what he had learned from Sifu Chow, could be misleading regarding any later developments of the art, insofar "Karate" may still make one automatically think of the Japanese major styles (Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu).

    Whereas I (coming from a Shotokan background) have re-educated myself to understand the term primarily as what it originally referred to, namely the earlier Okinawan versions of the art. Generally, these show higher stances, greater technical versatility (as still evident from their katas), emphasis on circular movement, infighting and vital point strikes. They were not designed to be athletically challenging and aesthetically pleasing (in the way of the high-kicking Japanese styles), but simply for incapacitating a real-life aggressor with minimum effort.

    Interestingly, around the time Karate hit the Japanese mainland, there were two widely known and rivalling proponents of the art: Gichin Funakoshi, the pedagogue, and Choki Motobu, the warrior. Motobu's version was geared towards self-defence, not sport, and it shared various features with the Kenpo styles that later blossomed in Hawaii. And while Motobu (due to his reputation as a badass) was not allowed to settle down in Hawaii as he intended, some believe that he was James Mitose's teacher at some stage during the latter's time in Japan (Mitose lived there from ages of 4 to 21). While there is little evidence for that to be factually correct, a good deal of Motobu's influence can indeed be recognized in Mitose's book What Is Self Defense? as well as in his early emphasis on the Naihanchi kata as well.

    I would even go as far as saying that Okinawan Karate/Kenpo spread out in two directions: To Japan, where it mostly developed into a sportive activity, and to Hawaii, where its combative aspects continued to be worked on. I do realize that this is a bit of an oversimplification, but it may be permissible as a punchline. Food for thought right there anyway!

    And let me stress that it is only in this expanded (and original) sense of the term - hinted at, but not elaborated on in my previous post - that I regard the Hawaiian Kenpo styles as members of the Karate family.

    His next planned excursion to "Americanize" his Chinese Kenpo as "American Kenpo" was very personal to him, and it was specifically not labeled with his name. He felt legitimate arts should stand alone without a person identifier in the tradition of Asian Family Arts. But that desire became derailed and never came to fruition because of personal reasons, so he abandoned the codification process of American Kenpo and moved on to his commercial Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate. This, he felt was a legitimate use and satisfied the criteria he had decided upon for that particular art. He branded it with his name for commercial recognition and to separate it from the plethora of copycats and offshoots that existed, and he added the word "karate" for general public recognition and familiarity as well as copyright/trademark protection - something he never intended to do with his "American Kenpo which was supposed to be his gift to the martial arts world and his legacy.

    Unfortunately, much confusion was created because of the open-ended and tailoring aspect of the Commercial Kenpo he created based on "motion, added to the fact often what Mr. Parker taught in seminars, was not what he actually himself did as he continued to work on personal refinements of his "American Kenpo" with no codification. So everyone "tailored," and mimicked what they thought they saw Mr. Parker do further confusing the issue.
    While it makes sense that the appeal to "tailoring" in combination with the observation of Mr. Parker's personal refinements may have given rise to a degree of confusion, my interpretation of what happened (for the most part) is more simple: Mr. Parker had a personal philosophy of synthesizing various strands of information into something more complete and satisfying, a syncretistic approach which he taught and wrote about along with the very fruits of his approach. And as he practiced what he preached himself, he went on evolving his art. But then, he left it to the discerning student to apply this method of martial arts engineering he had given and to follow him to the place he was at (and to potentially even go beyond), although that kind of student was rare and far between, to say the least.

    So yeah, potato/tomato, who cares right? Except, sometimes it really does matter. Right off the bat, that's five different arts of Mr. Parker, and everyone had variations as he evolved until his dying day. So you have original/extra crispy Kenpo Karate and all its proponents of old farts who learned back then, followed by the Chinese Kenpo old farts like me, a plethora of confused people who think they're doing American Kenpo which Mr. Parker explicitly abandoned and moved to Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, and then there is the art Mr. Parker did that no one could duplicate because he wasn't teaching it. "What? Did you say Ed Parker's American Kenpo? No such thing! No soup for you!"


    The one statement that stands out to me from what you shared is that Mr. Parker intended to give the more evolved version of the art that he was practicing himself to the martial arts world at some stage. Do you think he would actually have done that eventually, had he lived longer?

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Dragon View Post
    By itself, that makes a lot of sense, but then, moving on to your next paragraph...



    ...it becomes obvious that Mr. Parker made quite a compromise himself by using the term "Chinese Karate" in order to convey to the layman some idea of what the book was all about. When, rigorously, his system was not "Chinese Karate" any more than a pizza is an "Italian tortilla."

    And I actually agree that even the term Karate itself, while arguably applicable to what he had learned from Sifu Chow, could be misleading regarding any later developments of the art, insofar "Karate" may still make one automatically think of the Japanese major styles (Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu).
    I agree wholeheartedly, but at some point for other generations after us, the word "karate" became more generic as the country evolved through various stages of commercial combat sports entertainment. There was a period where if I said "karate" to someone they would instantly respond, "full contact?" as the Full Contact Karate Stage was ushered in followed by "Kick Boxing," before they settled on the now MMA.

    Whereas I (coming from a Shotokan background) have re-educated myself to understand the term primarily as what it originally referred to, namely the earlier Okinawan versions of the art. Generally, these show higher stances, greater technical versatility (as still evident from their katas), emphasis on circular movement, infighting and vital point strikes. They were not designed to be athletically challenging and aesthetically pleasing (in the way of the high-kicking Japanese styles), but simply for incapacitating a real-life aggressor with minimum effort.
    Absolutely, and I remember my time in Kyokushin "kia" almost fondly. They just call it Kyokushin now. I often wondered why they shortened the name.

    Interestingly, around the time Karate hit the Japanese mainland, there were two widely known and rivalling proponents of the art: Gichin Funakoshi, the pedagogue, and Choki Motobu, the warrior. Motobu's version was geared towards self-defence, not sport, and it shared various features with the Kenpo styles that later blossomed in Hawaii. And while Motobu (due to his reputation as a badass) was not allowed to settle down in Hawaii as he intended, some believe that he was James Mitose's teacher at some stage during the latter's time in Japan (Mitose lived there from ages of 4 to 21). While there is little evidence for that to be factually correct, a good deal of Motobu's influence can indeed be recognized in Mitose's book What Is Self Defense? as well as in his early emphasis on the Naihanchi kata as well.

    I would even go as far as saying that Okinawan Karate/Kenpo spread out in two directions: To Japan, where it mostly developed into a sportive activity, and to Hawaii, where its combative aspects continued to be worked on. I do realize that this is a bit of an oversimplification, but it may be permissible as a punchline. Food for thought right there anyway!

    And let me stress that it is only in this expanded (and original) sense of the term - hinted at, but not elaborated on in my previous post - that I regard the Hawaiian Kenpo styles as members of the Karate family.

    While it makes sense that the appeal to "tailoring" in combination with the observation of Mr. Parker's personal refinements may have given rise to a degree of confusion, my interpretation of what happened (for the most part) is more simple: Mr. Parker had a personal philosophy of synthesizing various strands of information into something more complete and satisfying, a syncretistic approach which he taught and wrote about along with the very fruits of his approach. And as he practiced what he preached himself, he went on evolving his art. But then, he left it to the discerning student to apply this method of martial arts engineering he had given and to follow him to the place he was at (and to potentially even go beyond), although that kind of student was rare and far between, to say the least.



    The one statement that stands out to me from what you shared is that Mr. Parker intended to give the more evolved version of the art that he was practicing himself to the martial arts world at some stage. Do you think he would actually have done that eventually, had he lived longer?
    Mr. Parker shared with me his circumstances obviously, and for a period his number one objective was commercialism and proliferation. It served the objective of first providing security and stability for his family after a tumultuous financial period, but it also began the process of getting AN art to the masses. A starter if you will that could give him name recognition and artistic credibility with the common person. To that end he did many T.V. Shows and films to promote the then "new" perspective of "karate," and in that process, he used stereotypes that the public knew and was fascinated with - like self-defense and/or breaking boards, and got celebrities involved in training.

    But his real goal was a next level organization that would draw the best of the best from the former, This was his plan from the moment he handed over his original Yudanshakai to the Tracy's to form the I.K.K.A. with the intent to go beyond. He saw that next level as a business venture as well. He saw a worldwide team of elite personal protection agents. An idea he got from rubbing elbows with Hollywood Celebs, that would even extend itself into next level schools and law enforcement that I was to be heavily involved in as a trainer. We almost got there, but once again dealing with unscrupulous people, his then "business partner" John Kosakar bilked Mr. Parker out of literally millions and derailed multiple projects.

    I had already recruited a team of Police Officer/Martial Artist from my and other departments and we were ready to go and I kept hearing we're "almost there," as I watched this guy manipulate My Friend through the highs and lows of a financial abyss he could never seem to get out of.

    Mr. Parker was looking for that stable financial environment that would free him to work and evolve and create without financial restraints limiting his actions. But unfortunately, Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate became so labor intensive it consumed him full time just putting out the fires and traveling to support it. It left little time for anything else and it was out-of-control and rank flourished in the commercial environment out of necessity, and became its own monster.

    Mr. Parker called it, "An entity feeding upon itself." He knew it was disintegrating in front of his eyes, and he couldn't do anything about it. I stopped sitting on testing boards as the quality of the product kept going down. He would have a room full of people testing and he never failed anyone. He wanted more from the students, but he couldn't get it because the teachers were chasing ranks just like the students and the number one thing in business is student retention. He always promised to do better, but at the end of the day, he was just one man and the teachers let him down and wouldn't or couldn't produce.

    Listen to Mr. Parker's speech at the end of this, (around the 40 min mark) and you'll see and hear me mentioned because I didn't have a commercial school so I taught "old school" and wasn't afraid to hurt people's feelings and really train people, (I was teaching in the police academy at the time), while ultimately people were graded on the curve rather than by hard standards of curriculum. I sat on the board of a lot of well-known guys now. Look close you'll see Jeff Speakman at brown belt and a few others with Frank Trejo, Lee Wedlake, John Sepulveda, and me on the board. But he always said, "Everybody passed" while promising hard and strict standards for the future. It broke his and my heart to see what was happening, He knew what he wanted but fate just wouldn't let him over the hump, and I think he knew that and that was the reason he wrote the Infinite Insight Series. He knew that was all he was going to get done.

    Sorry for the rant. Discussions bring back memories and emotions.

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

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly, but at some point for other generations after us, the word "karate" became more generic as the country evolved through various stages of commercial combat sports entertainment. There was a period where if I said "karate" to someone they would instantly respond, "full contact?" as the Full Contact Karate Stage was ushered in followed by "Kick Boxing," before they settled on the now MMA.



    Absolutely, and I remember my time in Kyokushin "kia" almost fondly. They just call it Kyokushin now. I often wondered why they shortened the name.



    Mr. Parker shared with me his circumstances obviously, and for a period his number one objective was commercialism and proliferation. It served the objective of first providing security and stability for his family after a tumultuous financial period, but it also began the process of getting AN art to the masses. A starter if you will that could give him name recognition and artistic credibility with the common person. To that end he did many T.V. Shows and films to promote the then "new" perspective of "karate," and in that process, he used stereotypes that the public knew and was fascinated with - like self-defense and/or breaking boards, and got celebrities involved in training.

    But his real goal was a next level organization that would draw the best of the best from the former, This was his plan from the moment he handed over his original Yudanshakai to the Tracy's to form the I.K.K.A. with the intent to go beyond. He saw that next level as a business venture as well. He saw a worldwide team of elite personal protection agents. An idea he got from rubbing elbows with Hollywood Celebs, that would even extend itself into next level schools and law enforcement that I was to be heavily involved in as a trainer. We almost got there, but once again dealing with unscrupulous people, his then "business partner" John Kosakar bilked Mr. Parker out of literally millions and derailed multiple projects.

    I had already recruited a team of Police Officer/Martial Artist from my and other departments and we were ready to go and I kept hearing we're "almost there," as I watched this guy manipulate My Friend through the highs and lows of a financial abyss he could never seem to get out of.

    Mr. Parker was looking for that stable financial environment that would free him to work and evolve and create without financial restraints limiting his actions. But unfortunately, Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate became so labor intensive it consumed him full time just putting out the fires and traveling to support it. It left little time for anything else and it was out-of-control and rank flourished in the commercial environment out of necessity, and became its own monster.

    Mr. Parker called it, "An entity feeding upon itself." He knew it was disintegrating in front of his eyes, and he couldn't do anything about it. I stopped sitting on testing boards as the quality of the product kept going down. He would have a room full of people testing and he never failed anyone. He wanted more from the students, but he couldn't get it because the teachers were chasing ranks just like the students and the number one thing in business is student retention. He always promised to do better, but at the end of the day, he was just one man and the teachers let him down and wouldn't or couldn't produce.

    Listen to Mr. Parker's speech at the end of this, (around the 40 min mark) and you'll see and hear me mentioned because I didn't have a commercial school so I taught "old school" and wasn't afraid to hurt people's feelings and really train people, (I was teaching in the police academy at the time), while ultimately people were graded on the curve rather than by hard standards of curriculum. I sat on the board of a lot of well-known guys now. Look close you'll see Jeff Speakman at brown belt and a few others with Frank Trejo, Lee Wedlake, John Sepulveda, and me on the board. But he always said, "Everybody passed" while promising hard and strict standards for the future. It broke his and my heart to see what was happening, He knew what he wanted but fate just wouldn't let him over the hump, and I think he knew that and that was the reason he wrote the Infinite Insight Series. He knew that was all he was going to get done.

    Sorry for the rant. Discussions bring back memories and emotions.


    Some of the above sounds like a certain Renegade we all know, Doc. And as always, your insights and thoughts about the history of this art and SMEP are beyond platinum in value. It's good to see you still doing your thing, Doc. Ya boi Ras just had to drop by and shout atcha. Outro.

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    Default Re: Kenpo, hold the Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by ATACX GYM View Post
    Some of the above sounds like a certain Renegade we all know, Doc. And as always, your insights and thoughts about the history of this art and SMEP are beyond platinum in value. It's good to see you still doing your thing, Doc. Ya boi Ras just had to drop by and shout atcha. Outro.
    Dam renegades.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

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