TraCo/Tracy/EPAK - The Sam Ting?

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by Michael Billings, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    I had a question on the "What type of Kenpo" poll thread.

    It has to do with the TRACO system of Kenpo and it's similarities to what the Tracy system teaches, and to a lesser extent, the differences between those and EPAK. I think the EPAK question as been explored pretty well, but TRACO & TRACY I have not really seen here.

    I was in the NCKKA (National Chinese Kenpo Karate Association), a Chinese Kenpo system that split from EPAK circa 1969 under Mr. LaBounty and Gary Swan. This was following the attempt to spread Kenpo as a franchise. Lots of interesting stories there also.

    The technique names were the same as the Tracy system and required things like Spear Set, Book Set, Tiger and Crane, Chinese Saber, etc., along with the American Kenpo numbered forms. I understand this part of it and where and when these two systems came from. But I know very little history of TRACO. Can someone give me a breif history? Then maybe a bit of a comparison?

    Thanks,
    -Michael
     
  2. WhiteTiger

    WhiteTiger Guest

  3. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    ... for the phone call. I was being a bit disingenuous with my post above. The NCKKA was in the same town as Mr. Conner, at the same time. I have heard one side of the story, but never the TRACO side.

    -MB
     
  4. WhiteTiger

    WhiteTiger Guest

    I am not close-minded on any of these type of issues, and I have no personal interest either way. If there is another side of the story, please share.

    The only reason I referenced the above article from the Tracy Web site, is that if he is willing to publish something like that on his Website for all to see, and sign his name to it, than he must be pretty confident that it is factual.

    If not than let's hear the other side.......
     
  5. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    What I know is definitly less than published, but maybe more personal stories by the people who were there, and not friends of the Tom Conner Sr. Apparently TRACO continued with his son Tom Conner Jr., who is now also deceased. The schools still flourish in the Arizona/New Mexico area, and I hesitate to bring it up with one of my students, who is proud of his lineage and just plain does not know all the poop!

    -MB
     
  6. Ender

    Ender Black Belt

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    I am so confused over the Tracy thing. were they students of Ed Parker?...why did they split?...do they claim some sort of title in kenpo..I have no clue here.
     
  7. i read this on tracy's web site and oh boy, the whole thing is so bad.

    i am very suprised to see why tracy decided to tell the TRUTH right now instead of DOING that long time ago ????

    why wait so long ??????:confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  8. WhiteTiger

    WhiteTiger Guest

    At the top of the article there is a link to a website, (which has since been removed), this website made some pretty far out claims as to Mr. Tom Connors background. A few of these claims hit a raw nerve with Al Tracy. I my own opinion Al was overly aggressive in his article, to use a eufamism, he used a howitser to kill a house fly. Although I think it is important to point out that these claims were not made by Mr. Connor himself from what I can find out. It seems to be the work of a former student with a misplaced sence of loyalty.
     
  9. This information about Conner was put out when the
    Tracy Web Page was first adopted. When the updated
    web page came out. he didn't bring it up until Connor's
    made the comments. Mr. Conner was a Green Belt in
    the Tracy system the went to Mr. Parker who awarded
    him a 3rd Degree Black Belt. But I'm sure if you go to
    the Tracy Net and him that specific question, he will
    answer it for you. Knew this information about 10
    years ago, and believed he posted it on his web
    site in the 1998 time frame.
    Best In Kenpo
    Dan
     
  10. don bohrer

    don bohrer Brown Belt

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    This is a link to the American Kenpo Karate Association or TRA-CO as it was known in the past. The head of the org is Mr. Bill Packer. I am a member of this organization. I ask questions regarding TRA-CO becuase I am trying to understand the art I study.

    AKKA History

    The orginal TRACO has changed since it's early years. It has broadend and has a Hung ga flavor to it. The system does look heavy TRACY. I have posted techs and kata somewhere(?) on MT if people would like to compair the systems. Kata not found in the Tracy system have been added, but I am still researching who and when they were added.

    Stalking Panther, Tiger Hunt, Monkey, Leopard, Advanced Staff, Whispering Winds, and Enter The Temple.

    To understand the Hung ga influence within the kenpo I started training at a school that teaches Hung ga. Of course at the expense of my kenpo (which I don't feel good about right now). I can tell you the new TRACO now AKKA is rife with Hung ga moves, but not the concepts. I hope the training at this other school will help answer questions I am having.

    signed not real happy :(

    don
     
  11. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    Did the 3rd Black have something to do with his bringing the business idea to Mr. Parker re: franchising schools? Specifically he was an Alvin Ailey dance instructor, and I have heard about that being the model Mr. Parker was trying to follow in marketing his Kenpo.

    A couple of really good guys were "loaned" to him from the IKKA, one was a good fighter (tournament) and the other essentially was the "head instructor" and teaching T. Conner, Sr. the material.

    -Just more "stuff",
    -MB
     
  12. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    I have heard good things about Mr. Packer from my student, but don't really know him. Thanks for the website and filling in some of the gaps.

    Oss,
    -MB
     
  13. azkenpoman

    azkenpoman White Belt

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    A man to get questions from is ray fisher from acs karate in arizona. He studied under tom connor and also knows bill packer.very knowledgeable about the merge and split of trac systems. I was one of his students and yes whipering winds and other forms were added! I dont care to much for the drama of what happened cause i repect all the kenpo arts and they all trace back to james mitose! Good luck and keep the history of kenpo alive
     
  14. SenseiHitman

    SenseiHitman Orange Belt

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    From the mid 1980s till the late 1990s I was an instructor at the Traco dojo in Mesa AZ. Of course, I was taught all about Tom Connor's background in the martial arts and his relationship with the Al Tracy and Ed Parker. This information was imparted to us by Peter Hill the head instructor of the Mesa dojo and a student of Tom Connor Sr. So, it may not be accurate but it is what was promoted by the organizations leaders at that time. We were not taught that bunch of STUFF that was on Al Tracy's site. I took notes in the management candidate class where I heard the story in the late 1980s. For example, we were told the first style Tom Connor studied at the age of seven was Judo. I don't have the time to sit here and review the whole story with you all, but I will say that It is obvious that the relationship between Tracy and Connor and Parker ended with ill will felt between them. If anyone has a question about the history we were taught and how it matches up to the STUFF on Tracy's site let me know.
    I agree with the post above as well, Ray Fisher was in the same Management candidate class he also can tell you the story we were taught.
     
  15. SenseiHitman

    SenseiHitman Orange Belt

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    To answer the question about the similarities between the Traco and Tracy method. They were very similar. I was tested for my kyu ranks by Tom Connor JR. then my 1st to 4th dan ranks by James Wonser a 5th dan black belt student of Al Tracy. James Wonser had also trained under Bruce Juchnik. Only a minor difference could be seen between the way Al Tracy taught Kenpo and what Traco was teaching. The big difference was between what Bruce Juchnik taught and what Al Tracy taught. By the time I began to train with Wonser had abandoned the teachings of Tracy for Juchnik. Wonser and I were also students of Shihan Rocky Rolph founder of Tsuru Michi Ju jitsu. Wonser taught the Kempo Kata to Rolph as well. So what makes Traco and Tracy similar? Traco and Tracy Kenpo were both sloppy. Maybe all the claims about Parker and Tracy not being real black belts have some merit.
     
  16. Hickory Cane

    Hickory Cane White Belt

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    I was the manager of the Traco headquarters, in Phoenix. I trained directly under Tom Connor I, and under his son, when the father succumbed to Lou Gehrig's. The "histories" of Tom Connor come from me. Connor would give some little scrap of information - mostly ******** - and I would elaborate it into a larger story. I was not trying to lie: I was seriously effected by hero worship. Connor was an incredible salesman, and I bought his lies.
    Here's what I now believe: Connor won the Golden Gloves, as a boy. His first martial art training came under the Tracy brothers. Ed Parker promoted Connor to 3rd black in the early 60s; I've held the diploma. Somewhere, he learned some Filipino stick fighting: his son could spar with double sticks very well. What else he learned in the San Francisco area is open to conjecture. His widow would know, but I'm sure she won't tell.
    Ray Fisher and Peter Hill can corroborate this; others can, but they are not active, and I don't want to bother them.
    I am active in other martial arts, not Kenpo, but I hate to see people repeating long-dead ******** - which I helped create.
    Good luck in your training.
     
  17. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    They claim Ed Parker got them started, in a new and fascinating art, but then sought further training from various sources. :cool:
     
  18. SenseiHitman

    SenseiHitman Orange Belt

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    Mr Hickory Cane, I am sure we have meet before. I started training at the mesa dojo under Peter Hill as a teenager in the mid 1980s and I was an instructor there till it closed in the late 1990s. After which I ran my own commercial dojo for several years before moving it to my backyard (I still hold class their). Anyway what you say is true about the Connors they were great salesman. I was so impressed by Tom Connor Jr when I first signed up. I was just a young teenager and TC 2 was a big strong man who looked like he would like forever. They had a mighty empire back in the day, made up of several profiting dojos and as you remember TC 2 had a fancy sports car. We were all so eager to be karate bums for their profit. Yes we worked cheap but looking back on it at least I was in shape and had my karate dreams (all I wanted then to manage one of their dojos so I could train all day). Wow!! I have not thought much about this for a long time.. Thanks for posting I know we have meet and I suspect you know who I am.
     

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