who's who and whats what inKenpo?

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by bounty, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. bounty

    bounty New Member

    This is thread is from Kenpothoughts
    Hi Guys,
    I have been talking to a group of guys who are saying that Mr. Parkers developed Art, is only practiced by the the students who stayed with him or trained "regularly" with him for the last 10yrs before his passing!
    All the other "big"names who stopped training with him have only an under developed version of what he wanted and they are holding the Arts progress back, with statments like Mr. Parker never created that Set, or he never created that form, or those exstensions are someone elses Idea not Mr. parkers, or Form 7 is a crock of ****, etc,etc.
    so who's who and whats what inKenpo? :confused:
  2. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    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.
  3. bounty

    bounty New Member

    Hi DAnjo,
    That seem like an OK timeline (maybe a coulpe of queries) that seems to lead the reader nicely to...No. 5. "Ed Parker's Personal American Kenpo"...which as is said is undocumented so evidently it would be hearsay. None of the very last personal group of EP students where aware at the time of another personal student being shown Mr. Parkers personalised kenpo. They where all working on the Highly documented Parker System, which everyone must agree is too great an undertaking to be a diversion from what he was really wanted to teach!
    Codified Kenpo, wow what a term kind of leaves the door wide open for all sorts of theories and counter theories, The Holy Grail would of course be something tangible to link up to a theory, wait a minute i have in my possesion a 5 volume series which enables the reader to de-code, evaluate and personally develop Ed Parkers Kenpo System, which can be factually acredited to the Kenpo System that bears the founders name, surely this could be proof. These tombs actually encourage the reader to think for themselves, Explore The System, "personalise The System" examine other Arts and use the codification,terminology, theories and formulas of The System to enrich the practitioners Knowledge, brilliant, bad for buisiness but brilliant!
    So the timeline that you have posted DAnjo is reasonable especially when you realise that Ed Parker left a map and specific instructions so that everyone could make the journey that he had taken and that definately does not mean that the destination is going to be the same! :)
  4. Kenpo_Dave

    Kenpo_Dave Valued Member

    Bob Liles came to visit our dojo a few years ago and I asked him a question about "flashing wings". Basically the question was about the last strike in the technique, which I was not comfortable with doing. The answer he gave really increased my love for Kenpo. He told me that when grading I should do the "official" technique, but when it comes to the normal training in class and more importantly in actual use, the techniques that I use are my techniques and Im free to alter them as I see fit. He added that this is an important concept in Kenpo that he felt alot of people were missing out on in their training.
    Ive trained in a few styles, White Crane, Long Fist, and now Kyokushin, and I will always add strikes that I know work to my techniques and I wont let anyone tell me that Im "not doing it right". This is MY Kenpo and I will do it MY way, sticking to the Kenpo principles of course :)

    As for progression in Kenpo...take a look at what Jeff Speakman is now doing. Looks really interesting.


  5. bounty

    bounty New Member

    Hi Kenpo Dave,
    for me you and Mr.Liles are on the money, and as for this statement .."This is MY Kenpo and I will do it MY way"...(as long as you are adhereing to The Concepts and Principles of course) is for me is the strong mental state of mind that Kenpoists should be striving to reach. Have you trained with or do you know Dennis Lawson, if not then maybe you should look him up, enpowering people "with" kenpo is his forte, a hook line :) he uses is "this my kenpo...or something simular.
  6. bounty

    bounty New Member

    kenpo Dave, said...As for progression in Kenpo...take a look at what Jeff Speakman is now doing. Looks really interesting........ it certainly does, but the old gaurd are already starting to tell their troops to be aware of it, after all Jeff was only one of Ed Parkers last personal students, the beauty of what Jeffs doing is that he is not claiming that it was secretley taught to him when no one was looking :)
  7. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Hey, whatever man. You could fit what I know about Ed Parker's Kenpo (any of it) into a very small note book and have most of the pages left over. I'm just relating what I was told by someone that was demonstrably there from the mid sixties onward until Parker's death. No one disputes that Chapel and Parker were good friends. Look who Ed Parker Jr. chose to train with and ask yourself if he might not have been told some things about Chapel by his father?
  8. bounty

    bounty New Member

    yeah, your'e right whatever, Ed Jnr may have chosen Doc to train with, but who did Ed Snr choose to train his son?
    And you are right who cares, not me! as long as no one bugs me and my interpretation of kenpo, with some 30 year old hearsay.
    Sorry DAnjo, whats your System/style, if you don't mind me asking :) ?
  9. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    I currently (and as far as I'm concerned) permanently train in Original Method Kajukenbo now. Before that, Shaolin Kempo and Shotokan Karate with a wee bit of Gracie JJ thrown in there for good measure. Let's hear your background now por favor, since I don't see it in your profile.
  10. bounty

    bounty New Member

    Kajukenbo that really interests me I have read some stuff about its formation in Hawai, now it seems like a system worth investigating, maybe I will be able to next time around!
    Like you Shotokan then Kenpo,a bit of boxing, kick boxing and muay thai along the way but only a bit.
  11. kenpoist

    kenpoist New Member

    Kenpo, being a very complex art, has taken many forms throughout it's life. I think there are many instructor's who are quite good at what they teach, but do not have the knowledge or intelligence (for lack of a better word) to fully grasp the concepts that SGM Parker had developed. Example, some people have the ability to interpret concepts analytically and some do not (math, sciences etc..). Kenpo is an encyclopedia of motion. SGM Parker was a genious and created enough material to study for years and you still would not have attained all the knowledge (which is why I love it). Every time I go back and review the beginning (yellow techniques) I learn something new that I didn't know before or hadn't realized. You start to draw comparison's to techniques that you never saw before.

    SGM Parker taught people in many way's throughout his life. I think sometimes he became frustrated with certain people and only gave them the basic concepts. Sometimes they would come to him and say, "how does this techniques look"? and he would tell them it was fine (though it was wrong) - for whatever reason (they were not loyal, they did not have the patience to learn or whatever).

    I have studied kenpo at many different level's. Often, instructor's can show you the basic technique or forms, but cannot explain the movements, power principles, stances, body mechanics etc... that make up the forms and techniques (the what and why's). When people don't unsterstand something - sometimes they just create filler to make up for their lack of knowldge and they don't ask question's from those that have the proper knowledge.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2006
  12. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    Kenpo didn't start or end with SQM Parker, there ar eloads of great subsets of Kenpo depending which branch of the tree you fall from. In America I guess Parker is to many the face of Kenpo, but I don't personally see it that way, I, like Danjo, no next to nothing of it, but train styles that have their start before Parker...if you don't know Parker, doesn't mean you don't know Kenpo.

  13. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    Chapel and Parker met when they were both students at Ark Wong's school doing 5 Animals and Splashing Hands kung fu. I've read that this changed the nature of his art, and in fact caused many people to leave him as he switched gears. What Chapel is teaching is heavily informed by the Chinese arts, stripped of cultural traditions and mystique, then evaluated and implemented based on established principles of anatomy. My take on it is, that Parker liked to work on different things with different people. With Chapel, he was working on the internal aspects of kenpo, using their shared knowledge learned from Ark Wong as a springboard. With others he worked on other things, no big deal.
  14. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title


    Who knows much about what Mr. Mills is doing? I hear they have some interesting innovations but it is hard to find out much about it.
  15. bounty

    bounty New Member

    The only thing wrong with Paul Mills Kenpo is that he is surrounded by balloneists and he is the only one who can teach it, OH and it does not travel well, oh and he has started the LTKK free blackbelt give away promo, for anyone who joins..........his personal kenpo rocks.
  16. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    David you mention:
    Who knows much about what Mr. Mills is doing? I hear they have some interesting innovations but it is hard to find out much about it.

    I'll say, MC, he is currently posting over on the San Jose Kenpo Forum, with some interesting replies, about some questions asked.

    Gary :)
  17. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    First let me say I know nothing about Kenpo, but man, I thought there was a lot of controversy in TKD but I never imagined so much discord in kenpo.
  18. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    You don't know that half of it. :)
  19. jeff5

    jeff5 Valued Member

    Unfortunately every art I've ever studied or reasearched seems to have controversy and negative politics. Some more so than others, but its there.

    What I've read of the term Kenpo, or Kempo which its also commonly known as, is that long ago its what was used to refer to Okinawan striking arts most have come to know as Karate today.

    There's so much controversy about Mitose and Chow and Parker etc. Bleh. I say, look at what they teach, do you like it? Is is effective? If so, then the history and where it comes from is secondary, and mostly academic. Interesting discussion though, I like Martial Arts history and such, so things like this generally interest me.
  20. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    I don't think any of us know the half of it...

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