A Question for the Kenpo Seniors (Mr. Conaster, Mr. Chapel...etc...etc..)

Brother John

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Just a question about Kenpo History.
What influence did Ark Y. Wong have on Mr. Parker and the development of American Kenpo?
What if anything can you tell me of Master Wong, especially in regards to the early years of Kenpo? I've heard, for instance, that it was through his influence that the forms were crafted (and perhaps the sets). If this is true, did anything besides 'organizational skills' did he contribute?

For those of you who want to know more about Master Wong, here's a link w/ some info. (scant info at least)
http://w3.blackbeltmag.com/halloffame/html/18.html
Thanks for any info...
Your Brother
John
 
Well ... I see this question invoked a lot of interest? Hmmm ... I understand that SGM Parker was interactive with many of the Chinese Instructors. Interestingly, at varying times, SGM Parker, Doc Chap矇l, and myself were there at varying times. Actually, I spent a little more time trying to get the inroads of Tai Mantis as taught by Sifu Kam Yuen. I always thought, and still do, that Long Fist tactics and techniques blend nicely with what we do as Kenpo.

However, back to the question. Other than the fact that he worked with Master Wong (notice I didn't say studied under, so as not to be beat upon) ... I do not know what Master Wongs' input was.

Anybody else have better information????

Dan
 
I'm a beginner in Chinese Kenpo and would love to hear the history of the Chinese influences that has shaped the art over time. Anything any of the seniors could add would be wonderful.

Oss,

Dun Ringill
 
Thank you for posting the question. I would also like to hear any history of Mr. Wong or other teachers who were influential in Mr. Parker's training and development.

I am also a beginner in kenpo and am alwayls eager to hear from the senior teachers.

Oss
Judy aka warrior.mama
 
Was a pillar in San Francisco's Chinatown. He was extremely knowledgeable on several of the Chinese Systems particularly the 5 animal system. There is now a great void with his loss.

Mr. Parker was one of the very few to have been invited into this unique society to view and exchange with many of these old Chinese teachers.

Exact extractions of such information........ I could not begin to tell you but it did have an influence on some of our traditions and respects towards the Chinese. Anyone that had the opportunity to talk to or exchange ideas with any of these men at that level would be foolish not to examine what they had to say.

:asian:
 
The Blocking Set in American Kenpo is traced back to 5 Animal Kung Fu.
 
Originally posted by amk2
The Blocking Set in American Kenpo is traced back to 5 Animal Kung Fu.

I have heard that there are some blocking exercises that may be similar to the old star block drill which may root back to some kung fu systems but can't place an exact origin to it.

I do know that the Old Star Block Drill has numerous permutations and lessons that are beneficial.

The new Blocking Set # 1 and 2 are good sets to start working on some of these coordination and blocking drills.

When I combine the 2 Sets with the many options of the Star Block I have a wealth of exercises to help the student advance in coordination, strength, and blocking prowess.

:asian:
 
I've been told that Mr. Chapel studied with Mr. Wong for a while...
is this right?

Or

is this Wong?


Sorry, it had to be done.:asian:
Your Brother
John
 
Doctor Chap矇l studied with Ark Wong, as did I, for a very short time. I spent more time chasing after the Northern Chinese Long Fist styles like those of Sifu Kam Yuen of Tai Mantis.

Dan
 
I actually began studying under Grandmaster Ark Yuey Wong in the late fifties. I was introduced into a very closed culture by a schoolmate who happened to be his nephew, Douglas Wong now Grandmaster himself of White Lotus and Sil-Lum and a good friend. His other nephew is Curtis Wong founder and publisher of Inside Kung Fu magazine.

The school at that time was located in the Los Angeles Chinatown at 302 Ord Street, around the corner from the Won Kok Chinese Restaurant. (All the seniors have eaten there at one time or another with Ed Parker Sr.) It was also up the street from Bruce Lees secret LA Chinatown Kwoon at 628 College Street on the other side of Broadway. It also at one time was on Daly Street, which is also basically around the corner.

Although GM Wong was the acknowledged head of Five Animal Qung fu, he also was the only acknowledged master of Splashing Hands in North America. It is here where the legendary Haumea Tiny Lefiti landed with a letter from his original teacher when he was discharged from the Marine Corp. Tiny was older than Parker but they shared Polynesian Roots and a military kinship because he too had served in the coast guard. Parker however was lucky enough to be stationed in Hawaii which allowed him to continue training with Chow and receive his black belt in Kenpo, Jiu-jitsu, and karate-do while still in the military.

The Chinese influences are great in many areas, from a number of sources. The earlier foray into Chinese Arts saw Ed Parker Sr. beginning to emulate in many ways his Samoan Senior at Ark Wongs. Having a similar body build made Parker very comfortable with the explosive handwork of Splashing Hands he saw with Tiny. To put it mildly, Tiny was a monster who had himself, a great deal of influence on martial artists in Southern California. Consider him a bigger, stronger and yes, faster Ed Parker and you have Tiny at that stage of Parkers development. Ultimately, Tiny left to join Ed Parkers black belt Tino Tuiolosega in the formation of the original Lima Lama organization at Parkers suggestion. This influenced others like the late Sal Esquivel to spend time at Ark Wongs as well. Danny Inosanto also was no stranger to Ark Wongs school before leaving to be with Parker, before going on the road once again with Bruce Lee and also studying Kali and Silat.

Make no mistake. Ed Parker was a student of Ark Wong, and although he spent time with many Chinese Masters, Ark Wong was probably the biggest Chinese influence with Five Animal and Splashing Hands. Even more than his relationships with James (Wing) Woo, or Lau Bun who was his primary Hung Gar influence. Ark Wong contributed sets and critical information. Lau Bun taught the initial Hung Gar and Choi Li Fut forms like Tiger and the Crane, James Woo provided the majority of the historical information for Parkers Secrets of Chinese Karate, and it was the source of discourse that caused them to separate with two of Parkers first black belts leaving with Woo. But James Woo collaborated on and provided the Two-Man Set that came to be known as the Book Set, as well as other forms. James Woo also taught Taiji Quon in Parkers school for a period of time.

The Star Block was a variation on a Five Animal Blocking Routine, and was the beginning of all sets. The original Finger Set followed it almost immediately. Ark Wong was a major influence on Parker and is also the root of his understanding of structural integrity, internal energy, and nerve applications that I use today.

In all honesty although I studied with Ark Wong for several years, it was not until I actually met the legendary Ed Parker did he begin to explain what I had learned in a manner that I could really understand. I came to him with a great deal of information, but not truly understanding the applications because it was out of context until the Kahuna began to enlighten me as a wide eyed seventeen year old.

The Chinese martial arts community was a closed shop, with real information not generally taught to outsiders, and for the most part still is. They liked and embraced Ed Parker and even expressed their feelings of how much they liked him to his son after he passed. I was lucky to have a good friend named Douglas Wong.

Parker never really left Chinese Kenpo, but he Americanized it for his own consumption and personal art, and than created a commercial version for the vast majority of his students from the seventies on. Unfortunately, the complexities of the Chinese Sciences are not easily taught, nor were they intended to be, in general, available to most. That hasnt changed. The level of knowledge required to teach is extradordinary. Although most lay the label of commercialization of kenpo at the feet of Ed Parker, it was actually the Tracys who started first and at least initially arguably more successfully.

If I were to do Ed Parker's personal tree, it would be Chow, Wong, Lefiti, with contributions by various others.

Although Ark Wong, Haumea Lefiti, and Ed Parker Sr., are no longer with us, James Wing Woo is alive and well to my knowledge.
 
Although Bruce Lee is often given credit for "opening up" the Chinese Arts to non-chinese, I beleive it was actually Ark Wong who began to share his knowledge with anyone who was willing to study.
By the way, if memory serves me correct, Didn't Ark Wong have a cameo in a movie called "Vice Squad"? In his eighties at the time, Wong has a bit part where he beats up a couple of people. Can't really recommend the movie, its kind of seamy. But the few minutes with Ark Wong are pretty good.

Brian Jones
 
Brian Jones said:
Although Bruce Lee is often given credit for "opening up" the Chinese Arts to non-Chinese, I believe it was actually Ark Wong who began to share his knowledge with anyone who was willing to study.
Mr. Jones you are exactly right. Although it is clear that Lee exposed the existence of the Chinese Arts to more people through his movies, GM Ark Yuey Wong was teaching in an open Kwoon well before that. His Wah Que Studio was well known among martial artists in general and the general public could find it by simply looking in the yellow pages in the fifties. The official name was Ark Yuey Wongs Kung-Fu Academy, Self-Defense, and Health Center. Ark Wong moved from Northern California to L.A.s Chinatown in 1934 working as a janitor in the evenings at a local hospital, and dispensing Chinese herbs during the day from his office/residence before opening his 1st Kwoon on Daly Street.

Bruce Lee really didnt have that much knowledge of the Chinese Arts and had only studied himself for a few years as a teenager before coming to America at the age of nineteen. Bruce actually learned more after coming to America from notables like Ed Parker, Dan Inosanto, Sea Oh Choi, and Gene LeBell. His youthful arrogance froze him out of the Chinese Community so what knowledge he had, he acquired from primarily American teachers.
By the way, if memory serves me correct, Didn't Ark Wong have a cameo in a movie called "Vice Squad"? In his eighties at the time, Wong has a bit part where he beats up a couple of people. Can't really recommend the movie, its kind of seamy. But the few minutes with Ark Wong are pretty good.
You are absolutely correct. Youre also right it was a crappy movie, but we all saw it because it was really cool to see the GM on film. I had totally forgot all about that. Thanks for the memory jog.
 
Hi Doc,
I was reading an article about Jimmy Wing Woo, and Dick Tercell, that was pretty sad. Is this a fairly true statement, by the Tracy Camp?:idunno:

Also the losing of most of the seniors and starting with only his Morman Black Belts, era 1962/3/4/.

There seems to be quite a dry spell. After the split with the Tracy's and then the other problems he had.:asian:

I would appreciate it if you could explain it from a different angle or is it pretty much true?:idunno:

Regards, Gary:asian:
 
Doc said:
Having a similar body build made Parker very comfortable with the explosive handwork of Splashing Hands he saw with Tiny. To put it mildly, Tiny was a monster who had himself, a great deal of influence on martial artists in Southern California.
Would it be correct in saying then that American Kenpo contains aspects of the Splashing Hand system then (either from influence by Tiny or Ark? Is there anything you can elaborate upon?
 
bzarnett said:
Would it be correct in saying then that American Kenpo contains aspects of the Splashing Hand system then (either from influence by Tiny or Ark? Is there anything you can elaborate upon?
Most definitely. Much of the more sophisticated theory that surrounds what is simplistically called "slap-checking" comes from Splashing Hands, (although not exclusively). Watching "Tiny" move in the fifties was like looking at Ed Parker Sr. in the mid-sixties.

Keep in mind when you say that "American kenpo contains.." you have to be more specific. Perhaps "American Kenpo CAN contain..." would be a better way of expressing it. Clearly everyone doesn't teach the same, or the same curriculm, but yes it does exist and the results borders on "magic."
 
Hi Doc, Not talking to me, let me know, the big shun will only make you get a couple of more posts, send me an e-mail or PM. I won't let you off that easy.

Regards, Gary
 
Dun Ringill said:
I'm a beginner in Chinese Kenpo and would love to hear the history of the Chinese influences that has shaped the art over time. Anything any of the seniors could add would be wonderful.

Oss,

Dun Ringill

You might consider that the phrase "Oss" is not a part of anything Chinese in origin. :)
 
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