Tracys kempo Ed Parker kempo

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by natkungfu, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. natkungfu

    natkungfu Valued Member

    Whats the difference between Ed parkers kempo and Tracys kempo?
    And why did the tracy brothers leave Ed?
  2. Kenpo_Dave

    Kenpo_Dave Valued Member

    I dont know much about the differences in what they do but as far as I understand the Tracys are businessmen, with as much interest in making $$$ as in teaching Kenpo. Now saying that, the organisations in Parkers Kenpo, and theres many, arent much better. With loads of petty squabbling over whos incharge, and whos doing the 'real' Kenpo. I think most of them have forgotten that Ed Parker actually encouraged cross training and entering competitions of other styles. Alot of people these days are isolationists with the whole "too dangerous" mentality. The club I train in, as far as I know, has left the IKKA because of BS politics, and focus more on actually training then looking cool. Theyre also keen on cross training with the MMA gym I train in.

    So, with regard to the original question, everyones Kenpo should be different. As far as I and most people I know are concerned, whether instructor or fellow student, provided the basic principles remain, people can add too or take away from their Kenpo what ever they wish. My Kenpo at one stage had alot of Shaolin White Crane in it, and now theres alot of Kyokushin and Judo.
  3. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    From what I undertand, the Tracy's style is very similar to what Ed Parker was doing in the mid 60s, but later Parker changed his system quite a bit - inclding the creation of the most popular commercial widespread revision of "American Kenpo" as taught by Larry tatum etc. Parker went through a number of distinct phases as he evolved his style of Kenpo, and the Tracy's diverged early. So from the outside they "look" very similar...
  4. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Tracy is early EP with more in it because they go back to Mitose thru Chow.

    EP 60 and 61 is similar to John Sepulveda stuff, he stayed in that era the Kenpo Fist stuff. In 1963 EP wrote a book and borrowed much from the Chinese by way of Jimmy Wing Woo but he gave the credit to another because he and Jimmy and all his main non Mormons went with Jimmy.

    Go here and it will explain, lots of reading.

  5. TenTigers

    TenTigers Valued Member

    well, the story Iwas told and is repeated in 'Infinite insights.." is that Chow's art came more from his father Chow Hoon. It is said, Chow did Southern Gung-Fu, possibly Hung Ga.
    Well, not only have I been a Kenpo instructor, but for over the past 20 years, I have studeid and taught Hung-Ga. Yes, I have seen many similarities, but it was not until recently that I met a guy whose Si-Gung trained directly under Wong Fei-Hung,(who was my Sifu's,Sifu's Sifu, and his Hung Kuen was very-VERY similar to Tracy's Kenpo. Similar in that it was aggressive,fast, rapid-fire combinations, and had a preferance for Tiger claws, and focused on dropping the weight into what some might say is soft-bow hammerfist to the groin, but with a slight change of angle, the hammerfist was a dropping forearm blow coming down hard and fast on the opponent's bridge.
    I was inspired, to sat the least. I now review my Kenpo and my Hung-Ga and have found even more similarities.
    Go forth and grow
  6. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    If you check the site I gave, it will give you a lot of information. Some of what Is In EPs books have been shown to be wrong for he himself was not really that truthful from what I have seen, in many other locations. It is not that he was lying it was he was mistaken and did not know, he just published it and now it is 20 years later and the information is available from many sources.

    Similar to today when you do not do good research, and say it over and over and over.
    Hard to sort the good from the bad.

  7. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    What I see is that Al Tracy let himself get embarrassingly overweight and likely couldn't fight for more than 20 seconds any more without giving himself a heart attack, which to me, represents Tracy Kenpo in a very bad light. Tracy's, as stated above, seem to be all about money, not art.
  8. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    Not sure who you are, but SILENCE! Tracy's Kenpo is an art of WAR, and those that practice it are deadly warriors who fight for life and what's right! *turns on cheesy Japanese anime cartoon inspiring theme song*
  9. PeterG

    PeterG Valued Member

    He's in his late sixties, early seventies, I bet you'll be overweight then yourself. Cut the guy a break Jack LaLane.
  10. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    What BGile said seems to me to be fairly accurate from what I've heard. The problem is getting caught in the middle of something, like someone told me recently, it feels like a piece of meat in the middle of two pieces of bread... someone is going to eat you.

    American Kenpo:

    Good: Very progressive and keeps up with the times. Focus on principles when executing techniques.

    Bad: Been accused of being "slap-happy." Basically using a lot of slapping and pin-point surgery to hit vital areas rather than hitting through the target. For example, slapping down limbs instead of destroying limbs or cutting through limbs to unbalance. Also been accused of being too analytical, breaking down techniques to principles is generally a very good thing, but if this leads to "over thinking" then things rapidly become complex instead of just keeping things simple, as they should be.

    Tracy's Kenpo:

    Good: The majority of the techniques are generic enough that they are very good starting points for applying principles. I've found versions of the Tracy's techniques across the board from kung fu to karate systems. If anything, they make good teaching of an encyclopedia of techniques.

    Bad: Been accused of being too technique oriented. There are more than a thousand, maybe two thousand, techniques in the system. This can lead to too much technique work and not enough time spent actually just applying principles and hands on fighting experience against resistance. Also been accused of a business model that promises anyone "X" rank in "Y" time. For instance, pay $2000 and get a brown belt in two years type of model. Such a business model can lead to low standards for rank promotion. Not that they don't deserve it, but if they were in a different business model, they might take five years to be ready for brown belt, whereas they are "guarenteed" it in two years under the Tracy's business model, for example.

    What I say is my opinion based on what I know, it is not to be taken as total fact.
  11. HongKongFooey

    HongKongFooey Valued Member

    What you say about American Kenpo is true in many of the schools that are out there. There are many students and instructors that attempt to blaze through the techniques at 1,000,000 miles per hour, ignoring the power principles and the establishment of a good foundation.

    If you ignore the strip mall Kenpo schools and find a good instructor, things will be looked at in a different light. I used to train at one of the commercial kenpo schools that flood the vast majority of the country. These are the schools that always talk about Kenpo evolution. They change the techniques because they don't understand the principles and concepts that are contained in the techniques. Another important factor, that most commercial schools neglect, is the making of contact with their training partners. If contact was actually made, they would see that the techniques don't need to be changed at all.

    Speed is the killer of Kenpo. If you find a school with ties to Huk Planas, Tom Kelly, or Larry Tatum, you will learn real Kenpo, not the slappy 1,000,000 miles per hour Kenpo. I am glad that I found a school that is under Huk.

    I don't know much about the Tracy system, other than what I have read on Al Tracy's site and by looking at some video clips. Judging by some of the Tracy's clips I have watched online, there seem to be just as many bad Tracy's style Kenpoists, as there are bad Parker style Kenpoists.

    Will Tracy should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
  12. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Planas into Filipino arts.

    I understand that Huk Planas is influenced by the arts of GM Ramiro Estalilla Jr "Rigonan-Estalilla Kabaroan".

    Very much a Muslim art turned to a Christian art of late. The Islands had a huge following of Muslims but since WW ll it has dwindled and only the southern part of the Islands are Muslim, not really that much when you figure that most are Catholic. I have read about 10% is all that is left or less.

    I have studied the art and I enjoy it. My son is ranked at a 4th and he is very good at it. It is Largo Mano, double stick Siniwali, "I mean a lot of different counts", and the addition of the longer stick is very good. Quite unusual in compared to most of the Philippine arts that are out there.

    If in fact "Huk" has gone that route, it has to be good.

  13. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    I'll post this again. It's from Doc Chapel on another forum. It gives a break down of the various Parker Kenpos out there.

    Here's a Q&A between me and Dr.Ron Chapel over on Kenpotalk a while back:

    Danjo Asked:
    How would the various Parker taught Kenpo's be classified? What, for instance would the Kenpo taught to the likes of Chuck Sullivan and the Tracys be called? Was that Chinese Kenpo, Motion Kenpo, or something else? What were the main distinctions between them?

    Doc Chapel Replied:

    Chuck Sulivan began training during Parker's earliest days on the mainland and was doing the hard, mostly linear "Kenpo Karate" Parker imported from Hawaii, and essentially continues that interpretation. A look a t their current curriculum supports that perspective of very simple and direct.

    AL & Jim left at the beginning of the "Chinese Kenpo" evolution and although there were varying degrees of crossover from one evolving method to another, there were at least 5 very clear and distinct philosophies, styles, and interpretations.

    1. "Kenpo Karate" What Ed Parker was doing when he arrived on the mainland, first as a brown and later as a black belt opening shop in Pasadena around 54. Wrote the book of the same name and published it in 1961. Bought thousands of patches and got "stuck" with them. Teachers like Chuck Sullivan draw from this era.

    2. "Chinese Kenpo" When Ed Parker discovered the vast knowledge available and embraced the Chinese Arts while studying with and under Ark Wong and Huemea Lefiti. Also where he met Jimmy (James Wing) Woo, and Danny Inosanto. Broke with the established "yudansakai." During this period he wrote "Secrets Of Chinese Karate" and published it in 1963. Notice the compressed time frame. People like Frank Trejo's instructor, Steve Hearring still teach this perspective in Pasadena.

    3. "American Kenpo" Began the codification process of his early understandings of Chinese Kenpo into a distinct evolving American interpretation. Dropped all Japanese - Chinese language and non-essential non-American cultural accoutrements. Notice the lack of the word "karate," considered an insult to the Chinese. Some like Dave Hebler draw from the beginnings of this version.

    4. "Ed Parkers Kenpo Karate" A series of personal issues causes Ed Parker to decide to enter the commercial marketplace and expand in the second half of the sixties. Looking for a method that differed from the kenpo franchises that preceded him that he felt were flawed, he drew upon his many "transfer" black belts from other styles. Stumbling upon "motion" as a base concept, it allowed him to create loose conceptual guidelines for already competent black belts. This further gave him the freedom to travel conducting seminars, belt tests, and selling, while seeing the majority of his "students" two or three times a year and usually once at the IKC. Most of the well known black belts came up under this system. Some better than others. Some spent their own dime and came to see Parker often when he was in town like Dennis Conatser who I always plug because I think he brilliant.

    Some came very late in the eighties and is the reason they are not on the family tree. The rest came after Parker's death. Most of the older seniors rejected it and/or left. This was what he was sharing with a few private students in an effort to cash in on the publicity of Larry Tatum's student Jeff Speakman's movie, "Perfect Weapon." He hoped to rekindle a chain of schools that he directly financially controlled. All of his schools and his black belt students had defected years ago. He maintained only one profitable school run by Larry Tatum in the eighties until he changed personnel.

    5. "Ed Parker's Personal American Kenpo" The ever evolving personal art of Ed Parker that included elements left out of his commercial diversion or off shoots and other interpretations as well. (nerve meridians, mat work, manipulations, structural integrity, etc) This included all the things that students couldn't duplicate because Parker didn't generally teach it. Here lies all the things that some have discovered is missing from his diversion art that he never wrote about anywhere. "Slap-Check" comes to mind. I gave what he shared with me my own name after he passed based on phrases Parker used to describe it to differeniate between it and other versions of what he taught. However in reality it is the "American Kenpo" Parker was utilizing before he passed away that was still evolving. Others that he may have taught may have other names for it, but to understand it, a person would have had to evolve with Parker into it because of a lack of its hard codification.
  14. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Speed is the killer of Kenpo. If you find a school with ties to Huk Planas, Tom Kelly, or Larry Tatum, you will learn real Kenpo, not the slappy 1,000,000 miles per hour Kenpo. I am glad that I found a school that is under Huk.

    I don't know much about the Tracy system, other than what I have read on Al Tracy's site and by looking at some video clips. Judging by some of the Tracy's clips I have watched online, there seem to be just as many bad Tracy's style Kenpoists, as there are bad Parker style Kenpoists.

    Will Tracy should be taken with a huge grain of salt.


    Regarding some of these comments I am not sure I can agree. I feel like there are many arts within the art of Kenpo and it has been that way from the start, in America anyway.

    When it was introduced to Hawaii it was somewhat different. It was then changed by many and what we have in the art of American Kenpo started out in one direction and took many turns.

    When it was turning, (being made avaliable to the US mainland) it was all new to most in America, but now that we can look back and observe, we now know that it was borrowed and changed and fit into a system that the man (Ed Parker) developed.

    He did use English terms to describe the movements and for that we can say that was a first, but most of what he taught and is still taught, was borrowed.

    Ed Parker was a genius at what he did, and I will acknowledge that, but he was not the best at the time, nor are others who train at this art of Kenpo that is refered to AK or EPAK. He never displayed his skills in a ring like others have and do in this day and age. He is respected by many and "not" by many more I would say...

    As far as what is the difference it is mentioned many times that what EP first taught is what is done by the Tracy's. Then you have to add the art of the "Samurai" that "EP never put into his art", that is where the difference is and will always be. Those who have not studied the history of the Samurai and their arts are never going to be able to understand it. They just need to know, "that there is a difference".

    One Place to start is to go to the web site of and read it. Try and read it as if you are not already influenced by the rhetoric and regurgitated information in todays political dogma.

    It has much information that is avaliable and it is hard to believe because of what has come from source's that have twisted the truth from the beginning.
    But for me, who has been studing this very same topic for a very long time and was there when it was just beginning, and have nothing to gain. It is closer to truth then many other stories that have been passed around for generations. IMHO anyway.

    Regards, Gary
  15. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member


    What part of Tracy's Kenpo is from the Samurai? What part is NOT from the Samurai? You write as if you know, so I am asking you about it. I know that you do not actually practice, nor have you actually been trained in Kenpo, but perhaps from your outsider standing, you can clue us in as to what specific aspects of Tracy's can be declared Samurai etc. It might give us a starting point for discussion.
  16. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    I'll reiterate and say go to the website I mentioned and read it, then we can have a valid discussion. As a hint I would mention Goshin Jutsu. This particular phrase is part of their teaching, it is also a part of Karazenpo.

    Some information on Goshin Jutsu

    I am editing this and adding a location to go for more information regarding the term Jutsu. Where it comes from and what has come after, etc. It will give a good over view for someone interested along with the other locations to check out.

    I am very familiar with all this for it all relates to Kosho Ryu.
    It is very much a part of the teaching in the Kai. SKSKI is another place you can review, which will give you more information regarding the art of James Mitose (Google is something that is available and should be used).

    GM Mitose is generally considered the originator of these arts "Kenpo as used in this thread".

    Regards, Gary
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2006
  17. Flashing Dagger

    Flashing Dagger Valued Member

    As for Parker vs Tracy, one of the primary differences seems to be the reliance on how to conceptualize parts of Kenpo. Mr. Parker analyzed the art in terms of language and gave wordy definitions to every little facet that he found. I think I understand partly why he did this. 1) it's just fun to hyperspecialize a topic that you are fascinated with and 2) to show other people how to analyze and structure their own practice. Afterall, he did say that kenpo was an everchanging system and he did not want his students to simply copy him.

    Tracy's kenpo relies rather on simple repetition to ingrain movement into muscle memory, hence the endless number of techniques in the system. This is propably the more traditional method. As long as you practice, practice, practice and get good instruction you really don't need to know the difference between "dynamic fulcrum and static fulcrum".

    I think American Kenpo is beautiful and effective but I really would rather do repetitions of many different combinations over and over again than intellectualize every little detail. Besides, "marriage of gravity" and "borrowed force" existed in the system a long time before Parker came along. They just didn't have those exact names and they didn't have a Kenpo dictionary to go along with practice.

    But really, I think any kenpo or kempo practitioner who physically trains hard like an athelete would be a really dangerous person to tangle with regardless of which kind of kenpo. Wouldn't you have respect for a kenpo practitioner who trained himself or herself like an olympic boxer?
  18. UntappedPower

    UntappedPower New Member

    I actually cant say that I agree with this, at all. I was browsing through some demo videos and I cant tell you how many videos I came across of Larry Tatum, someone who I had previously never heard of. After watching the videos, some of which also included Ed Parker and many which included Huk Planas, I cant say I was anything more than embarrassed and disgusted to know that these were supposedly some of the top people in Kenpo, people who I was basically training under.

    The reason being it was all Stool Pigeon choreography and '100000mph slap fests', the video opens with Larry Tatum discussing how he can land 22 strikes in under 2 seconds using both hands and both feet. I had no idea that this slap fest was so iconic and so easy to see in many of the 'top' Kenpo practitioners. I am just happy that my instructor avoided this approach to teaching Kenpo. Speed should never be the focus of something with such a structured approach to combat as Kenpo teaches. Precision, accuracy, power, form, should all take precedence, and speed comes last. All these things should never be sacrificed for speed.

    If you want a link I'll hunt one down later, I cant access it due to restrictions set on my schools computers.
  19. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Some of the "very senior"s of the Tracy Org. would agree with you. They mention this time and again about power and not speed. The two combined are good.

    I am thinking we will get quite a demonstration in the fight between Oscar and Floyd when they meet in the next few weeks. There will be a big over it this weekend coming up on HBO... 24/7 is the name of it.

    But if you are going to hit someone with a punch and hope it won't last long and you are in the position to hit them with slaps or good hard strikes I would go for the harder strike myself.

    Larry Tatum's video's never impressed me. I quit talking with others, because it was pointless. They would show you different, what they practised in real videos of themselves.

    Joe Calzaghe fought last weekend and did some slapping (fast and furious) and hitting hard, the fight was stopped in the 3rd. He uses a good combination of both, I have noticed.


    As far as the Tracy's and what I have seen, I would say the arts of Musashi is where it begin's and might end also? I have not seen much of the weapons and sword work by them. GM Arquilla is into both the Chinese and the Japanese and Kenpo of EPAK and Tracy. He is one who breaks it down and mentions, this is from, (certain art form) and is very precise.

    Bruce Juchnik has become that way more of late I notice. I saw it before also but now more than ever. Seems many thought he was the one who confused everyone into thinking it came from Okinawa because of his teaching of Robert Trias material (out of respect for the man). I was never thinking that way, but others mentioned it quite a bit.

  20. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    That still doesn't answer my question as to what parts are Samurai. Musashi fought with a sword. He didn't use Okinawan style stances, blocks and punches for instance (as Tracy's does). "Kempo/Kenpo is a very generic term for "Fist Way" that uses the same Kanji as the Chinese "Chuan Fa" which means the same thing. It basically covers every Martial Art from China. there is no one definitive "Chuan Fa" or "Kenpo" they are merely generic terms for the Chinese fighting arts similar to how "Karate" in it's original pre-Funakoshi kanji meant "China Hand" acknowledging it's Chinese roots. It was applied to all the different styles in Okinawa and was used synonymously with "Kempo" as wittnessed in Motobu's books among others.

    None of that refers to the Samurai, who practiced Jujutsu and Kendo.

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