Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

  1. #1
    Doc's Avatar
    Doc
    Doc is offline
    AKI Contributing Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    8,421
    Thanks
    4,264
    Thanked 14,902 Times in 5,571 Posts

    Default Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Excerpts from a long 1979 article where Parker spoke of many things including; How he got started and whom he credits, promoting his commercial system of motion, the Universal Pattern, his then protégé Larry Tatum, others, and his ideas. He speaks of Bruce Lee, on leaving "stuff out" of his commercial art and why, and a host of other issues. This should give the forums plenty to talk about for awhile. These excerpts are taken from usadojo.com which is an excellent resource of compiled information from various sources. To read the article in its entirety, go to usadojo.com.

    SECRETS OF THE MAGICIAN OF MOTION . . . ED PARKER
    July 1979

    He calls himself a magician of motion, and at 48 years of age he claims he has to be one just to persevere. But this self-proclaimed master of illusion pulls no rabbits from a hat. Instead, this martial artist, called by some the "father of American karate," has of late revealed to a few faithful followers, the secrets of his fighting art.

    For illusionist Ed Parker, the magic which comprises his repertoire is no mere collection of cheap tricks, however. The magic of his art results from more than three decades of intense martial arts involvement in Hawaii as a student and in California (since 1956) as an instructor and promoter. He is known for his Long Beach International Karate Championships and as an instructor who awarded black belts to students such as Jay T. Will, Dan Inosanto and Jack Farr, all of whom have gone on to distinguished martial arts careers of their own.

    Nevertheless, Parker has at times been denigrated as the teacher of a "slap art" in which the practitioner strikes himself as much as he does his oppopnent. But out of more than 30 years devoted to kenpo, Ed Parker has created much more than a mere "slap art." Applying lessons from basic physics, geometry, philosophy, plus his Yankee-style common sense and youthful experiences in street scrapes in Hawaii, the big, gray- ing but still agile Hawaiian has devised concepts he claims lie at the core of kenpo. He calls them his "master key movements" and the "alphabet" or "vocabulary of motion."

    To get to the core, however, the kenpoist applies a strategy that simultaneously makes his points and captures the interest of an audience to the same degree as a master storyteller or magician may when his material is novel. Parker the storyteller relies in great measure on analogy and metaphor to emphasize the points he considers crucial in revealing the magic of his kenpo system, a diverse system he said he believes represents the cutting edge of martial arts advancement in the United States.

    Parker recalled a skinny and not particularly strong churchmate who bragged of whipping a bully because of his knowledge of the martial arts.

    "He's lying in church!" Parker said, exclaiming at the time. But he made a "convert" of Parker then and there with a quick show of technique. Impressed, Parker soon went to his churchmate's brother, William Chow, and began his lifelong involvement with the martial arts.

    Parker enrolled at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, in 1949. His college studies interrupted by the Korean conflict and military service, Parker returned to BYU in 1954. While still a student, he began teaching kenpo at a local body-building gymnasium.

    Parker completed his university work in 1956, made the move to California in 1956 and opened a school. Success followed. Parker soon franchised his school operations, and the martial artist retained a roster of some of Hollywood's leading actors and actresses among his students.

    Out of these travels and talks with martial artists everywhere, Parker has developed his kenpo art and philosophy to a state where, with the help of analogy and metaphor, he has distilled certain essential points. First, he sees the techniques of his system three-dimensionally actually, as a series of planes or orbits revolving about the practitioner which enable him to fend off attacks from any angle and launch effective counterblows.

    "A lot of kenpo instructors are searching," he said. "I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I haven't stuck to tradition. When you stick to tradition, you're bound. You're bound to see only what is in that realm of knowledge."

    "When I teach, I want effects," Parker said. "If a punch comes, if you block it and you look lazy, as long as you block it, that's all I care about. I don't give a damn about going down with beautiful form.

    "I was talking like this twenty years ago when I was a no-good-for-nothing rebel. I'm a street fighter. I'm a realist. I've seen guys go into a fight and bite (the other) guy's nose off. And knowing that his nose is gone, he still hits! He's an animal.

    "What do you do for stuff like that?" he asked. "There's nothing in the book. You know, on paper you can prove you can outrun a bullet, but would you like to try it? "

    For a person on the run, someone who must acquire a quick understanding of martial arts techniques, Parker said he has developed another concept.

    "The secret of the martial arts is not to have knowledge of twenty-four things as it is knowing four things," Parker said. "That is the key to all keys. It's more important to learn four moves and the twenty-four ways in which you can rearrange them."

    Parker said if he can teach a student just four basic moves, there is then a total of twenty-four combinations in which those moves may be used. In- crease the basic four moves to five, and the total of available combinations rises geometrically to 120.

    Saying that this is as far as many martial arts go, Parker continued that many popular systems offer only a portion of the alphabet, only a portion of the vocabulary, of motion to students.

    "That's fine, that's great," he said. "But what about the additional letters of motion? You have to bring them into the picture. Then, your vocabulary of motion increases even more.

    Parker said mastery of as much of the vocabulary of motion was essential for instructors, ...

    Parker said he discussed the problem with Bruce Lee, whom he said he helped get a start in Hollywood. "Bruce Lee, by the way, stayed here (at Parker's house when he was) broke before I got him started in the industry," Parker said. "He and I used to talk a lot. The kid was sharp. He was good. But he was one in two billion. For him to convey his thoughts and his style to another individual who lacked anyone quality that he had would never work." Using another concept for comparison, Parker said he and Lee likened the entire body of martial arts knowledge to a mountain and that portion mastered by anyone man a piece of granite.

    "He said that a man should be like a sculptor who gets a piece of granite and chips away the unessentials to get the true image of his imagination," Parker said, continuing that he countered Lee's comparison by asking the source of his granite.

    "Lee retorted that to consider an entire mountain would lead to confusion," Parker said, "but I said (to Lee) that's not so. The instructor needs to know that mountain so that he can get that piece of granite (right) for that student."

    And without further assistance from the instructor, the student would be in for further trouble, Parker said he told Lee.

    "Now it comes time for me to chip away the unessentials to get the true picture of my imagination. What do I see?'. asked Parker. "Raquel Welch. I chip away, and all of a sudden, I end up with Gravel Gertie because I have no talent. No matter how much I try, because of my lack of talent and skill, you cannot create that image."

    Parker reiterated his recollection of Lee's inability to communicate his knowledge-of either the mountain or a piece of granite-to someone of less ability. And this is where Parker's teaching comes in.

    "He (Lee) felt that a lot of these things were unessential," Parker said, "unessential to him at h is level. I agreed - but not unessential to the guy down here."

    Parker said he takes many pieces of granite, cuts them to size and assists his s students in carving them; in other words, the kenpoist tailors his methods and techniques to suit the individual needs of his students.

    "Many of us appear normal and/or alike," Parker said, "but structurally, our muscles differ in size and strength. The kenpo instructor said he will alter the timing of a combination of moves or of a technique with more than one specific move in it to fit the need of a student.

    "Whichever one works best is the one I'll pick," he said. "If you really look at it, the underlying principle has not been changed or altered. It's just the timing that has been altered."

    No matter how many techniques a student may study, Parker emphasized the importance of the student's understanding why moves are made certain ways.

    "When learning English," Parker said, "the alphabet forms the basis of our language. From them, words are created, phonetics added, pronunciation, along with definitions to give words meaning. I feel that over the years many students are going through their kata, but they don't know what the kata are for .

    "It's just as if you and I were learning French," he continued. "We say beautiful words just like a Frenchman, but we don't know what the darned words meant. That's idiotic!

    "How can you place proper emphasis on kata if, in fact, you don't know what they mean or know that a certain kata has more than one meaning?" he asked.

    Parker said that a single move may be at one time purely defensive, then again, it may be a defensive move finishing as an offense, or the move may be used as a really aggressive technique. He gave as an example an arm thrown out above the head as an upper block. The Kenpoist explained that the move may be used to thwart an overhead punch, later used for the same defense and then brought down against the opponent or used purely for offense. He admitted the precise positioning and timing of the move may be altered but insisted the basic technique remained the same.

    "That's like words that have one spelling having three or four definitions," Parker said. "Can't that also be true of motion? I found it to be true."

    Just as motion may have several aspects, Parker says he believes different points of view also are important to understanding and mastering the moves employed in kenpo.

    "When I teach, I teach certain moves," the instructor said, "and before that man leaves, I tell him what the possible defenses could be. I want him to see visually what he did and why he did it when he leaves. When he goes home, he will think about it."

    Parker said most martial artists con- centrate on what they must do in a sparring or fighting situation.

    "We never take the time to take his (the opponent's) position to see what opening exist," he said. " At the time I'm executing a move, what could he hit back with? Also, could a spectator see an additional thing that could occur but you can't because you're too close to the subject?"

    Yet another viewpoint seldom studied but which Parker values is motion reversed. "I studied my moves in reverse (on film), and then, lo and behold, all the answers came to me," he said. "Motion is motion, going forward and reverse. Therein lie your answers.

    "If a punch comes, I can parry before I elbow. Reverse the motion, I can use it not as a defense but as an offense. That's how my vocabulary of motion increased tenfold."

    "The one dirty word in my vocabulary is the word 'and" he said "And to me is a commercial break. You can get nailed during a commercial. Don't block and hit. Block with, no and. If you grab and twist, your face will get filled with a fist during the 'and.' "

    By drawing on philosophy, Newton geometry, the structure of the atom language and other concepts, Parker has developed a kenpo art and a teaching method of a very personal nature. He admits as much.

    "Kenpo is the system I teach," he said. "If, however, we were to examine my methods carefully, the system could very easily bear my name." Though the system bears his stamp, the kenpo still gives credit where it is due.

    "If you look at my articles, I always give credit to him (Chow)," Parker said. "You have to remember that Chow has been belittled by a lot of people. He was the first person who started my thinking on our position regarding tradition."

    Parker also credited Chow for getting him to consider the notion of master key movements. "Chow and I swapped a lot of information," he said. "He noticed a lot of thing; didn't work in an American environment. He was the guy who started me thinking about master key movements and increasing my knowledge."

    "They're going to have an American shotokan, an American gojuryu, because these principles and concepts can be adapted by anybody," he said.

    Parker admitted he had encountered problems along the way in gaining acceptance for his American kenpo system, problems revolving around an Oriental mystique.

    Every time I put on a demonstration, I say it will be a little different from what the audience may be accustomed to," he said, continuing that the emphasis is on sharing rather than showing. Parker said a kenpoist's blow may be compared to the launching of an airplane from the deck of an aircraft carrier. "... if the lower half (of his body) is the catapult, the upper half is the force of my blow," Parker said. "I then have the power and the force to keep this hand here (not pulling back as in shotokan karate)."

    Parker called his kenpo a gaseous martial art, not for all the talk that goes into describing the methods used, but because he said he sees its possibilities expanding in all directions at once.

    "Water comes in three forms," he said. "While people are at the liquid level, I'm at the gaseous stage in kenpo. When you have a solid, that's it a solid. When you have a liquid, it seeks its own level. But what does a gas seek? Its volume. That to me is the highest level of the martial arts. When I can go three or four directions at a time, that's the highest state."

    By way of comparison, Parker called shotokan a solid-Ievel martial art. He gives gojuryu and isshinryu styles a liquid rating. He does assent to hapkido's gaseous state, "but there gas comes from one end basically the feet."

    Even Bruce Lee's jeet kune do rates onlya liquid grade from Parker.

    "You have to remember about Bruce," Parker said. "He could come in and not even know what you know, watch you, do a move he had no idea of doing before, come out and look just as good as you the first time out and bet- ter than you the second time around. That was his forte."

    "With what I have now, I'm going to just start to come out and hit heavy," he said. "You guys came to me, fine. I'm glad to share my knowledge. What I've done, I've done. But I do care abou t what I'm going to do. I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to do. There's a lot of jealous people out there."

    "To me, judo is a more ethical form of jujitsu," he explained. " Aikido is a more glorified version of jujitsu. However, all three could be considered an Oriental means of wrestling.

    "Kenpo, karate, kung fu, tae kwon do and tang soo do are Oriental forms of boxing. But again, if you were to compare American boxing to the Orien- tal means of boxing, because of the limi- tations on weapons, we can say that American boxing is to checkers as what we do is to chess. The variables are greater . "But I would then say that kenpo is a three-dimensional chess game. It really is."

    Parker admitted more than the fear of jealous rivals has motivated his reticence regarding his American kenpo. He said he has worried over former students who (have left) or would leave and open up kenpo studios of their own.

    "I always had the fear of guys taking off, being disloyal and opening up on their own," he said. "And so I left out a lot of stuff."

    Parker said he found some students resenting his secretiveness, once they found out he had hidden knowledge from them. I am teaching those who stuck by me. The fact is, I was going to reserve it (the knowledge) for my children and my son. He's not interested in the martial arts. He studies, but his heart is in the (fine) arts."

    In place of children lost as successors, Parker opted he has taken on protegés to insure the continuity of the kenpo system. "My key protege is this kid Larry Tatum," Parker said with a laugh, continuing that "anyone younger than me I call a kid. He's my number one guy right now."

    The kenpoist noted that he is helping 15-year student Tatum complete a book, Confidence, A Child's First Weapon. He also named two others he considered proteges, insiders with whom he has shared the full scope of his knowledge Tom Kelly, who Parker said is the highest degree black belt at a seventh degree level, operates a Parker school in Sa Lake City; Joe Palanzo, another forml student who Parker said holds a fiftl degree black belt, teaches at a school i Baltimore.

    In addition to his select proteges Parker insisted he will offer his knowledge to "anyone else who's definitel sincere, because when I go to the grave want to know that there are other people who (know) outside of my family' They would have the mountain of knowledge."

    "It's the most updated version of th martial arts, employing more. concepts and principles than in other arts now, he said. And though there may be plethora of content available to some students of kenpo, Parker said the real truth, their mastery of the art taken as a whole may be gleaned in one fashion only.
    "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

  2. The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to Doc For This Useful Post:

    Arizona Angel (03-05-2007),Carol (03-05-2007),Dharma_Punk (04-30-2007),Dr. Dave in da house (03-05-2007),execkenpo (03-05-2007),gakusei (03-05-2007),Martin Seck (03-05-2007),Mikael151 (03-05-2007),profesormental (03-05-2007),ronin6 (03-05-2007),sifuroy (04-29-2007),T-Bo (03-06-2007)

  3. #2
    jfarnsworth's Avatar
    jfarnsworth is online now Parker / Planas Lineage
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, Ohio
    Posts
    1,581
    Thanks
    177
    Thanked 390 Times in 263 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Thank you for sharing the article, Sir.

  4. #3
    ronin6's Avatar
    ronin6 is offline
    KenpoTalk
    3rd. Brown Belt
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    723
    Thanks
    29
    Thanked 46 Times in 44 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Doc,

    Thanks for sharing this article.
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

  5. #4
    execkenpo is offline
    KenpoTalk
    Adv. Green Belt
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    601
    Thanks
    85
    Thanked 103 Times in 69 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Thanks for sharing this Doc, and thanks for pointing us toward usadojo.com. I plan to read the article in it's entirety. Interesting, a lot of what you have been saying on the forum for quite some time is contained in the article. Specifically I noticed a lot of references to the term 'motion', maybe not 'motion kenpo' but the gist is there. I also noted that Mr. Parker talks about leaving content OUT of his program, something else you ahve said on numerous occassions.

    Thanks again
    Mark

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    San Diego area
    Posts
    1,024
    Thanks
    876
    Thanked 501 Times in 283 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Great article but this part caught my eye:

    "Parker also credited Chow for getting him to consider the notion of master key movements. "Chow and I swapped a lot of information," he said. "He noticed a lot of thing; didn't work in an American environment. He was the guy who started me thinking about master key movements and increasing my knowledge."

    Swapped a lot of information? What should we suppose Professor Chow learned from Parker?



    The above is just my opinion.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dana Point, CA
    Posts
    2,342
    Thanks
    2,292
    Thanked 4,372 Times in 1,426 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dianhsuhe View Post

    Swapped a lot of information? What should we suppose Professor Chow learned from Parker?
    Are we to assume you're inferring Chow was an omniscient kenpoist, and lacked room for progression or improvement? Or that his dementia was so bad towards the end, that he was unable to glean ideas from the insights of his older students who had progressed past where they were when they left off?

    Having trained with some Chow lineage guys from different eras, there's definitely different feels to the kenpo. Earlier days, more "grab and beat". Later days, more "one move setting up the other", something Parker focused on intently. While I doubt Parker offered anything new in terms of moves, I don't think it impossible that he offered ideas for sequencing that Chow, an astounding martial artist, was able to capitalize on and expand with. When two great talents gather in a jam session, each offers something to the other.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Sarnia, ON, Canada
    Posts
    7,774
    Thanks
    301
    Thanked 1,263 Times in 801 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dianhsuhe View Post
    Great article but this part caught my eye:

    "Parker also credited Chow for getting him to consider the notion of master key movements. "Chow and I swapped a lot of information," he said. "He noticed a lot of thing; didn't work in an American environment. He was the guy who started me thinking about master key movements and increasing my knowledge."

    Swapped a lot of information? What should we suppose Professor Chow learned from Parker?

    I took it as Parker let Professor Chow know how different things were on the mainland compared to the islands and in turn Chow turned him on to the idea of Master Key Movements.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

  9. #8
    Doc's Avatar
    Doc
    Doc is offline
    AKI Contributing Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    8,421
    Thanks
    4,264
    Thanked 14,902 Times in 5,571 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dianhsuhe View Post
    Great article but this part caught my eye:

    "Parker also credited Chow for getting him to consider the notion of master key movements. "Chow and I swapped a lot of information," he said. "He noticed a lot of thing; didn't work in an American environment. He was the guy who started me thinking about master key movements and increasing my knowledge."

    Swapped a lot of information? What should we suppose Professor Chow learned from Parker?

    In my experiences and observations, I feel Parker had a substantial impact on Chow later in their relationship. In the beginning The Professor was brutal in his approach to self-defense. His idea of a technique was one one strike, end of story. Or, he would grapple with you until it wasn't fun anymore, than he would finish you off. Chow was about finishing a situation quickly, and it didn't have to be pretty, as long as you came out on top.

    Later, when Chow visited California, he looked to me more "flashy." He went from a plain uniform to bright colors with elaboarte Chinese piping, and a large wide gold belt. His movements looked more, (dare I say) Parker-ish. In a demo captured by Kajakenbo's Historian and writer John Bishop at the CKC, he executed quick multiple strike techniques ala Parker's Kenpo/Splashing Hands look. He was awesome but one one thing stood out. After he hit the guy 8 or 9 times, he seemed lost as what to do. It seemed as if, this in reality, would be unchartered territory for him, because he had always ended confrontations so much quicker. It was if he had learned he had to "sell" his art, much like Parker did, and "flash" got people's attention. Clearly Chow was unaccustomed to such things. Parker used to tell me, "A Guy throws a punch, Chow would hit him once and that was that. If he had to hit a guy twice, Chow felt the technique had failed."

    I personally have no knowledge of a direct link to Chow's change of presentation, but it struck me at the time that Chow was doing his best Parker impression. This from a great martial artist whose previous demos were one punch strikes and breaking baseball bats across his shins. Of course this doesn't lessen Chow's abilities. Infact, it makes him seem a lot smarter than some people might have thought. Just maybe he wasn't as senile as some wanted to think. Something to consider.
    "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

  10. #9
    Doc's Avatar
    Doc
    Doc is offline
    AKI Contributing Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    8,421
    Thanks
    4,264
    Thanked 14,902 Times in 5,571 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    For a person on the run, someone who must acquire a quick understanding of martial arts techniques, Parker said he has developed another concept.

    "The secret of the martial arts is not to have knowledge of twenty-four things as it is knowing four things," Parker said. "That is the key to all keys. It's more important to learn four moves and the twenty-four ways in which you can rearrange them."

    Any comments on the above?
    "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

  11. #10
    execkenpo is offline
    KenpoTalk
    Adv. Green Belt
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    601
    Thanks
    85
    Thanked 103 Times in 69 Posts

    Default Re: Excerpts from, "The Magician of Motion"

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    For a person on the run, someone who must acquire a quick understanding of martial arts techniques, Parker said he has developed another concept.

    "The secret of the martial arts is not to have knowledge of twenty-four things as it is knowing four things," Parker said. "That is the key to all keys. It's more important to learn four moves and the twenty-four ways in which you can rearrange them."

    Any comments on the above?
    It kind of sounds like "from one thing know ten thousand things" (Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings). He also says "not just learn, but apply your learnign to everything you do"

    I interpret Mr. Parker's advice to be not to get caught up in the techniques but to concentrate on the underlying principles the techniques are teaching you. I'll let you know once I figure that out...another couple of decades worth of training is a good start.

Remove Ads

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Search tags for this page (caching method: table, memcache)

professor chow master key move

Click on a term to search our site for related topics.