A Canadian perspective on Tracy's Kenpo/EPAK

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Tomcov

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Im new to this forum and also to Kenpo...so discount everything I say by 50% :) I went into Kenpo with my eyes open about the controversy. I knew there was decades of stuff between the 2 organizations I wouldn't fully know the truth on...and quite frankly don't care about. I do know the I love studying and practicing kenpo. I did Taekwondo as a teenager...after 3 years of hopping up and down, kicking the ceiling and sparring I got bored. Then I discovered kenpo...such amazing focus on self defence. I am still fascinated with the unique blend of circular and linear techniques...I'm testing for Green belt in a couple of months. So, my point. It is unfortunate to see so much bad blood between disciples of the organizations, but not surprising. Go to any other martial art forum and you'll see the same thing...wing chun, karate, aikido, H2H systems...everyone is comparing, criticizing, splintering...for crying out loud martial artists are and have been as bad as church denominations who splinter off everytime they don't like something.

However, I would like to clear up one point about Al Tracy. I get the feeling that many Parker students believe Tracy's rejects all they do. Some people in Tracy's may...I'm not sure. Reading his website I would say that Al himself believes there is legitimate and illegitimate Parker's Kenpo... on his website, his comments on Ed Parker and EPAK came across to me to be very respectful. He talks about Ed in the same respectful tone as others do. He does respect one type of Parkers kenpo... the 24 technique system...Here is a quote from his website where he sells Parkers 5 volume masterpiece: "I am assuming that you want American Kenpo as developed and taught by Great Grand Master Edmund K. Parker! The same American Kenpo he wrote about in his five volume set Infinite Insights Into Kenpo - between 1982-1987! Volume 5 is critical because in Volume 5 - Ed Parker laid out the minimum requirements for each belt level: Yellow belt thru 3rd Black!" He is clearly critical of anyone teaching less than that-I don't have the knowledge to know if his criticism is valid, but you should know of his respect for that piece of American Kenpo history.
 
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Tomcov

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Funny...on his website Tracy seems to believe that the best inheritor of the true Parker system is Larry Tatum. my question is - Is Larry seen as one of the best represenatives of Parker's kenpo or is Tracy off base. Here is a quote from the Tracy site:

Fortunately "Master Larry Tatum's" video tapes are the best on the market. Larry Tatum stated studying directly with Ed Parker back in 1966. He was there and helped Ed Parker developed "American Kenpo". Ed Parker worked and taught Larry Tatum the new material exactly as he wanted it taught. Once Larry was trained, Ed Parker let Larry do most of the training of the other top students including "Jeff Speakman". Also, Ed Parker had already chosen and designated Larry Tatum to be his successor. Larry would travel with Ed around the world and United States giving seminars. In addition to this Larry Tatum ran Ed Parker's main studio in Santa Monica for years where he accumulated "thousands" of hours of teaching time! Larry produced his videos shortly after he left Ed Parker to go on his own and open his own studio. Which means all the American Kenpo material that was taught to Larry by Ed Parker was frozen in time! None of the changes made by other instructors after Ed Parker's death would be there! This is about as "pure" as you are going to get. There will always be a lot of static from the other American Kenpo "wannabe's" who now all claim Ed taught them privately and gave them the real secrets". Then they claim that Ed Parker wanted such and such changed, such as cutting the number of self-defense technique from 24 to 16 (or less) per belt. Wrong! If Ed wanted something changed he would have done it himself.
 

Seabrook

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Tomcov said:
He does respect one type of Parkers kenpo... the 24 technique system...Here is a quote from his website where he sells Parkers 5 volume masterpiece: "I am assuming that you want American Kenpo as developed and taught by Great Grand Master Edmund K. Parker! The same American Kenpo he wrote about in his five volume set Infinite Insights Into Kenpo - between 1982-1987! Volume 5 is critical because in Volume 5 - Ed Parker laid out the minimum requirements for each belt level: Yellow belt thru 3rd Black!" He is clearly critical of anyone teaching less than that-I don't have the knowledge to know if his criticism is valid, but you should know of his respect for that piece of American Kenpo history.
Good points. The 24-technique system is awesome.

At the same time, one shouldn't forget that while Ed Parker never officially endorsed the 16 technique system, he was nonetheless, testing it out at EPAK schools to see if the idea worked so that schools could use this format.

BTW - where in Canada are you from and what studio do you train at?


Jamie Seabrook
www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com
 

Seabrook

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Tomcov said:
Funny...on his website Tracy seems to believe that the best inheritor of the true Parker system is Larry Tatum. my question is - Is Larry seen as one of the best represenatives of Parker's kenpo or is Tracy off base. Here is a quote from the Tracy site:

Fortunately "Master Larry Tatum's" video tapes are the best on the market. Larry Tatum stated studying directly with Ed Parker back in 1966. He was there and helped Ed Parker developed "American Kenpo". Ed Parker worked and taught Larry Tatum the new material exactly as he wanted it taught. Once Larry was trained, Ed Parker let Larry do most of the training of the other top students including "Jeff Speakman". Also, Ed Parker had already chosen and designated Larry Tatum to be his successor. Larry would travel with Ed around the world and United States giving seminars. In addition to this Larry Tatum ran Ed Parker's main studio in Santa Monica for years where he accumulated "thousands" of hours of teaching time! Larry produced his videos shortly after he left Ed Parker to go on his own and open his own studio. Which means all the American Kenpo material that was taught to Larry by Ed Parker was frozen in time! None of the changes made by other instructors after Ed Parker's death would be there! This is about as "pure" as you are going to get. There will always be a lot of static from the other American Kenpo "wannabe's" who now all claim Ed taught them privately and gave them the real secrets". Then they claim that Ed Parker wanted such and such changed, such as cutting the number of self-defense technique from 24 to 16 (or less) per belt. Wrong! If Ed wanted something changed he would have done it himself.
I have trained with and seen a lot of the top 1st generation black belts, and can honestly state, that I have never seen any move as good as Larry Tatum. That's my honest opinion.

Jamie Seabrook
www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com
 

parkerkarate

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I have seen tapes of someone better than Mr. Tatum....Mr. Parker. Mr. Joe has some tapes of Mr. Parker teaching and I find them very interesting.

I am not saying that Mr. Tatum is not good, he is great. I have seen his "tips of the week" and they are good.
 

shane23ss

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parkerkarate said:
I have seen tapes of someone better than Mr. Tatum....Mr. Parker. Mr. Joe has some tapes of Mr. Parker teaching and I find them very interesting.

I am not saying that Mr. Tatum is not good, he is great. I have seen his "tips of the week" and they are good.
I have never seen a tape of Mr Parker, but I'm sure it is excellent. Although from the tapes and live Kenpoist I have seen, Mr Tatum is truly in a league of his own.
 

parkerkarate

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That is very true. He is in a league of his own now. But where did he get all the knowledge from? I think I would like to sit through a tape of Mr. Parker teaching and explaining everything. I would rather learn from the man who invented it all. But now we do not have that available to us. So Mr. Tatum would probably be the closest to the correct way.

shane23ss said:
I have never seen a tape of Mr Parker, but I'm sure it is excellent. Although from the tapes and live Kenpoist I have seen, Mr Tatum is truly in a league of his own.
 

Goldendragon7

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Tomcov said:
Funny...on his website Tracy seems to believe that the best inheritor of the true Parker system is Larry Tatum. my question is - Is Larry seen as one of the best represenatives of Parker's kenpo or is Tracy off base.
That's his opinion and he is certainly welcome to it.
:)
 
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