Kenpo Roots & History Part 2

Flying Crane

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Doc said:
Whoa, I like that. Kenpo for me is definitely a craft. For some it is a product, and I think the difference between the two is obvious upon comparison.

Yes, amen to that!
 

Jagdish

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Doc said:
Don't know, never thought about it. From what perspective are you speaking?

What Mr.Parker saw in you (example: analitical mind, capacity to learn easily, good person, combat abilities,etc.)

Do you have friends who practice chinese martial arts who have indepth knowlege in the same? If so, then is there a reciprocal understanding of the arts?

Yours,

Jagdish
 
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Jagdish said:
What Mr.Parker saw in you (example: analitical mind, capacity to learn easily, good person, combat abilities,etc.)
Obviously that is a highly personal question from the Parker perspective that presupposes I knew a lot about how he felt when we met. I didn't at the time. All I knew is he was the nicest guy, who was warm, open, and very giving to me from the beginning.

Much later in our relationship he would say things like, "You're very sharp." or "I like the way you think." Things like that. I remember one time I was teaching a class, and my students were just not getting what I was teaching. I was really frustrated. Mr. Parker pulled me aside later and admonished me for being so hard on them. He said, "Ron you have a gift. You can see things and analyze them in your head that most can't do in real life. You must reconize this and work on being a better teacher so you can communicate your ides to your students better. They are not bad students, you just need to be a better teacher." I took that to heart.
Do you have friends who practice chinese martial arts who have indepth knowlege in the same? If so, then is there a reciprocal understanding of the arts?
Yours,
Jagdish
I have many old friends in the Chinese Arts. My oldest is Grandmaster Douglas Wong. I go pretty far back with his wife Carrie Ogawa, Grandmaster Doo Wei, Dr. Carl Totten, Terrence (Terry) Dunn, Sam Spain, and others off the top of my head. Life doesn't allow us to get together anymore but I stay in touch with most. Do we train together? No, not since I divoted my time exclusively to the Ed Parker works.
 
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Doc said:
Obviously that is a highly personal question from the Parker perspective that presupposes I knew a lot about how he felt when we met. I didn't at the time. All I knew is he was the nicest guy, who was warm, open, and very giving to me from the beginning.

Much later in our relationship he would say things like, "You're very sharp." or "I like the way you think." Things like that. I remember one time I was teaching a class, and my students were just not getting what I was teaching. I was really frustrated. Mr. Parker pulled me aside later and admonished me for being so hard on them. He said, "Ron you have a gift. You can see things and analyze them in your head that most can't do in real life. You must reconize this and work on being a better teacher so you can communicate your ides to your students better. They are not bad students, you just need to be a better teacher." I took that to heart.

I have many old friends in the Chinese Arts. My oldest is Grandmaster Douglas Wong. I go pretty far back with his wife Carrie Ogawa, Grandmaster Doo Wei, Dr. Carl Totten, Terrence (Terry) Dunn, Sam Spain, and others off the top of my head. Life doesn't allow us to get together anymore but I stay in touch with most. Do we train together? No, not since I divoted my time exclusively to the Ed Parker works.
How quickly the ironies of life intrude on this mundane existence as we bicker over unimportant things. I spoke with Doug Wong Friday evening planning a get to gether for some of the old gang. Sam Spain was one of the guys who, like myself allowed his work to keep him from a lot of socializing. (He was an investigator and worked the Arson Unit for LA Fire Dept.) I hadn't spoke with him in a decade, and during my conversation with Doug, he informed me Sam Spain, passed away last Monday. Call your friends.
 

IWishToLearn

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*picks up a rock* Hm...not here...

*looks behind cabinet door* Hrm...not here either...

*looks behind cereal boxes* Dang. Not here either!

~!!!~

*Heads to local Chinese restaurant in search of Dr. Chapel and part 3!*
 
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Doc

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IWishToLearn said:
*picks up a rock* Hm...not here...

*looks behind cabinet door* Hrm...not here either...

*looks behind cereal boxes* Dang. Not here either!

~!!!~

*Heads to local Chinese restaurant in search of Dr. Chapel and part 3!*
Part three is graphic intensive and unsuitable for posting, and the text alone would be questionable. I'll look at it.
 

Kalicombat

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I have a question that I am sure some people wil be able to answer, and others will find offensive. Doc, I am sure you were around these times, and will have some insight to what I am asking. Saying that before I ask the question, I mean no disrespect to any of the our Kenpo seniors, but this question deals strictly with the commercial kenpo issue, so many seem to deny.

The way it has worked for me in all the martial arts I have been involved in since I was 9 years old, 31 years ago, JOE STUDENT, starts attending karate class, works out and attends class, gives his or her all, and puts in the blood, sweat, and tears to make rank. Eventually for some, that time, effort, advancement, etc... all lead to Joe Student opening a school, moving the art forward, and the cycle begins again.

As I understand it, when SGM Parker decided to open his system up for franchises, he started somekind of instructor program. The candidates in this new program were not traditional Joe Student types, but rather came to the IKKA from somewhere else, or not, and simply started learning to be an instructor. Some, not all, put alot less time in the IKKA/EPAK material, and moved on to open a "commercial" school teaching the curriculum. They did not spend the average amount of time, for whatever that was back then, to achieve their blackbelts, but were 'fast-tracked' along, in an attempt to get the kenpo ball rolling in their location. Also as I understand it, the legendary "BIG RED" and other resources were developed for these newbies with the capitol to open their own school. Am I way off base here, or is this the way things progressed? All that being said, the legendary friday night blackbelt classes were more for the Joe Average students that started as ham and eggers and worked through the system, rather then the instructor candidates that wanted to open their new schools and had the finances to do so.

Am I in the ball park, or was this information I recieved complete BS?

Thanks In Advance,
Gary Catherman
 

Bode

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As far as I remember Doc explaining it to me, you are correct. I am sure Doc will chime in, but yes, there were people, especially in the early days, who received their black belts in a year.
 
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Kalicombat said:
I have a question that I am sure some people wil be able to answer, and others will find offensive. Doc, I am sure you were around these times, and will have some insight to what I am asking. Saying that before I ask the question, I mean no disrespect to any of the our Kenpo seniors, but this question deals strictly with the commercial kenpo issue, so many seem to deny.

The way it has worked for me in all the martial arts I have been involved in since I was 9 years old, 31 years ago, JOE STUDENT, starts attending karate class, works out and attends class, gives his or her all, and puts in the blood, sweat, and tears to make rank. Eventually for some, that time, effort, advancement, etc... all lead to Joe Student opening a school, moving the art forward, and the cycle begins again.

As I understand it, when SGM Parker decided to open his system up for franchises, he started somekind of instructor program. The candidates in this new program were not traditional Joe Student types, but rather came to the IKKA from somewhere else, or not, and simply started learning to be an instructor. Some, not all, put alot less time in the IKKA/EPAK material, and moved on to open a "commercial" school teaching the curriculum. They did not spend the average amount of time, for whatever that was back then, to achieve their blackbelts, but were 'fast-tracked' along, in an attempt to get the kenpo ball rolling in their location. Also as I understand it, the legendary "BIG RED" and other resources were developed for these newbies with the capitol to open their own school. Am I way off base here, or is this the way things progressed? All that being said, the legendary friday night blackbelt classes were more for the Joe Average students that started as ham and eggers and worked through the system, rather then the instructor candidates that wanted to open their new schools and had the finances to do so.

Am I in the ball park, or was this information I recieved complete BS?

Thanks In Advance,
Gary Catherman
No sir you're correct. When Parker made a decision to commercialize his "American Kenpo," he created "Kenpo-Karate" as a franchise business model based on a dance school business plan. And as such he followed the that successful business plan to the letter. To that end he recruited people who had some type of experience, expertise, and/or money that would support the business plan in some manner. Some had martial arts experience, others had business experience, others just had money but if you wanted in, you had to bring something to the table.

I've seen the same in arts like "Krav Maga" who have done the same with teachers of diverse martial arts background, now teaching the brand "Krav Maga." The wide diversity of their curriculum from location to location should sound pretty familiar. No different than many of the "kenpo/kempo' off shoot commercial brands whose focus is on the business, and not the art or student.

As for the Friday Night Sessions, it varied. In the beginning it was the hard core who just beat the crap out of each other. Later it was a mixture of the commercial newbies, with a sprinkle of the old timers. These classes kept getting smaller and smaller until ultimately Ed Parker showed up one Friday and no one was there, and no one called. He vowed when that happened he would never teach that class again, and he never did.

Some might recall an ad that Ed Parker ran frequently in the newspapers of the time. "Karate Instructors Wanted - no experience necessary!" Getting a black belt in less than a year was not unusual, and most came in many cases, with one from somewhere else. Most have rank in "Kenpo-Karate," and not "American Kenpo." Most have assumed they are both the same, but they are not. American Kenpo was never completely codified, but set aside while he codified the off shoot diversion "Kenpo-Karate" to sell. Therefore the term EPAK, or "Ed Parker's American Kenpo" is incorrect and is not what Parker himself called it.
 

hongkongfooey

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Doc,

When did Ed Parker introduce the current requirements that are listed in Infinite Insights Vol. 5? What about the current forms and sets? In Lee Wedlake's book Kenpo Karate 201, he states the there were originally just short forms 1-3, long forms 4-6, Star Block, Finger, Two Man, Kicking, and coordination sets. The extensions were limited to 32 techniques in the orange-green level. Who created the others sets like

Striking Set 1 & 2
Kicking Set 2
Coordination Set 2
Finger Set 2
Stance Set 1 & 2
Staff Set
Form 7 & 8

I had also read online that Mr. Parker had allowed these new sets to be taught, but did not require others to do so. Oh something else, too.

I have read that when the 24 technique system was created from the 32 technique system, there were not enought techniques to fill up the new belt levels and techniques were pulled from the forms in order to add some meat to the system. Where as in the 32 techniques system, one would have all of the material when they reached 1st black.

I am probably wrong on much that I have written, but I would love to have your insight on this, since you were there when it all unfurled.

Talk to you later, off to class.
Dave
AKA, HKF
 
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When did Ed Parker introduce the current requirements that are listed in Infinite Insights Vol. 5?

In the early seventies, Ed Parker and I had a conversation regarding the material regarding several suggestions from multiple sources including myself.

1) There was a lack of upper division material. - The highest level written material was what was called Green/Orange, and was taught for the first level of brown belt. This material was actually the extensions portion of the Orange Belt techniques that numbered 32.

2) The charts contained too much material and students were dropping out before their first promotion to Orange Belt.- There were 32 techniques per level but there were only 4 charts that began with Orange Belt, through to the Green/Brown.

3) The schools were being swamped by children who were having difficulty learning the material, but began to be the bulk of the revenue in the schools and therefore couldnt be ignored.

What about the current forms and sets? In Lee Wedlake's book Kenpo Karate 201, he states the there were originally just short forms 1-3, long forms 4-6, Star Block, Finger, Two Man, Kicking, and coordination sets.

Although Lee is correct, the time lines are a bit extended/overlapped and depending on where you were with Mr. Parker, all of them did not exist at the same time, nor were they mutually exclusive of each other.

The timeline inclusion of the Two man Set, should also necessitate the Tiger & Crane form and both, essentially have the same origin, and were both dropped at the same time. Also around that time, forms stopped at Long 4, and the other Long Forms came later.

The extensions were limited to 32 techniques in the orange-green level. Who created the others sets like

Striking Set 1 & 2
Kicking Set 2
Coordination Set 2
Finger Set 2
Stance Set 1 & 2

Although there was minor input from various sources, and sometimes major refinements by Mr. Parker himself, these sets were essentially created by Jim Mitchell.

Staff Set
Originally based from Ark Wong, major refinements were made by Chuck Sullivan and Ed Parker. However, Ed Parker himself always credited Chuck Sullivan with first learning, and then refining the Staff Set.

Form 7 & 8
Under pressure from students to include weapons in their forms for the new weapons divisions in competition, Ed Parker created both of these forms. Originally, Form 7 was known as Club Set, and Form 8 went from Knife Set to Form 7 to finally Form 8.

I had also read online that Mr. Parker had allowed these new sets to be taught, but did not require others to do so. Oh something else, too.
Contrary to popular belief, Ed Parker never actually required anything of school owners. The curriculum outlined in the Big Red Studio owners guide, were merely suggestions. Many who migrated from other styles and systems, found much of the material surrounding forms and sets unacceptable, and chose to focus on only the techniques they liked as the Tailoring concept promoted by Mr. Parker allowed. Mr. Parker felt the instructor was responsible for their students skills and knowledge, and therefore if the teacher wanted his student promoted, Parker never failed anyone. I saw a black belt make 3rd, who couldn't remember Short 2 and that was the only thing he was asked to do.

I have read that when the 24-technique system was created from the 32-technique system, there were not enough techniques to fill up the new belt levels and techniques were pulled from the forms in order to add some meat to the system. Where as in the 32 techniques system, one would have all of the material when they reached 1st black.
Not completely true. As previously stated, the original commercial material never went to black. After making brown, students were required to teach to supplement the school business to make black.

The original commercial material was approximately 128 techniques plus quite a few that were off shoot variations that were not written down. When the original 10 Yellow Belt were added later, it brought the number to approximately a codified 138 of which 32 were then Orange extensions. Also some of the unwritten techniques were then added.

Techniques were indeed created to flesh out the material, but not because of the shift to a 24 chart system, but essentially because it had never been completed previously and it only became a necessity for the sake of completing the Business Model Guidelines. To that end, Jim Mitchell completed the extensions as well when the shift was made.

There has always been a great amount of discussion over the different number of techniques in the charts. The only real difference is when you learned something. Under the 32 you would learn Clutching Feathers as the first technique. Under the 24 you would learn Delayed Sword first and not get to Clutching Feathers until Orange.

It is also important to note Ed Parker never intended to stop at the 24 chart. The suggestion was made by myself and others to simply cut the charts in half to 16 from the 32. Ed Parker agreed, but said Well go 24 first as a transition to allow school owners to adjust and to prevent a rash of quick promotions that would be detrimental to the business.
 

hongkongfooey

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Thanks, Doc. It seems that there is a lot of dis-information out there when it comes to Kenpo. I enjoy hearing about the early with Mr. Parker days from those that were there. I just wish I could have had the chance to meet the man myself.

Later.

Dave
 

Goldendragon7

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Doc said:
In the early seventies, Ed Parker and I had a conversation regarding the material regarding several suggestions from multiple sources including myself.

1) There was a lack of upper division material. - The highest level written material was what was called Green/Orange, and was taught for the first level of brown belt. This material was actually the extensions portion of the Orange Belt techniques that numbered 32.

2) The charts contained too much material and students were dropping out before their first promotion to Orange Belt.- There were 32 techniques per level but there were only 4 charts that began with Orange Belt, through to the Green/Brown.

3) The schools were being swamped by children who were having difficulty learning the material, but began to be the bulk of the revenue in the schools and therefore couldnt be ignored.



Although Lee is correct, the time lines are a bit extended/overlapped and depending on where you were with Mr. Parker, all of them did not exist at the same time, nor were they mutually exclusive of each other.

The timeline inclusion of the Two man Set, should also necessitate the Tiger & Crane form and both, essentially have the same origin, and were both dropped at the same time. Also around that time, forms stopped at Long 4, and the other Long Forms came later.



Although there was minor input from various sources, and sometimes major refinements by Mr. Parker himself, these sets were essentially created by Jim Mitchell.


Originally based from Ark Wong, major refinements were made by Chuck Sullivan and Ed Parker. However, Ed Parker himself always credited Chuck Sullivan with first learning, and then refining the Staff Set.


Under pressure from students to include weapons in their forms for the new weapons divisions in competition, Ed Parker created both of these forms. Originally, Form 7 was known as Club Set, and Form 8 went from Knife Set to Form 7 to finally Form 8.


Contrary to popular belief, Ed Parker never actually required anything of school owners. The curriculum outlined in the Big Red Studio owners guide, were merely suggestions. Many who migrated from other styles and systems, found much of the material surrounding forms and sets unacceptable, and chose to focus on only the techniques they liked as the Tailoring concept promoted by Mr. Parker allowed. Mr. Parker felt the instructor was responsible for their students skills and knowledge, and therefore if the teacher wanted his student promoted, Parker never failed anyone. I saw a black belt make 3rd, who couldn't remember Short 2 and that was the only thing he was asked to do.


Not completely true. As previously stated, the original commercial material never went to black. After making brown, students were required to teach to supplement the school business to make black.

The original commercial material was approximately 128 techniques plus quite a few that were off shoot variations that were not written down. When the original 10 Yellow Belt were added later, it brought the number to approximately a codified 138 of which 32 were then Orange extensions. Also some of the unwritten techniques were then added.

Techniques were indeed created to flesh out the material, but not because of the shift to a 24 chart system, but essentially because it had never been completed previously and it only became a necessity for the sake of completing the Business Model Guidelines. To that end, Jim Mitchell completed the extensions as well when the shift was made.

There has always been a great amount of discussion over the different number of techniques in the charts. The only real difference is when you learned something. Under the 32 you would learn Clutching Feathers as the first technique. Under the 24 you would learn Delayed Sword first and not get to Clutching Feathers until Orange.

It is also important to note Ed Parker never intended to stop at the 24 chart. The suggestion was made by myself and others to simply cut the charts in half to 16 from the 32. Ed Parker agreed, but said Well go 24 first as a transition to allow school owners to adjust and to prevent a rash of quick promotions that would be detrimental to the business.

:supcool:
 

Ray

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Doc said:
Mr. Parker felt the instructor was responsible for their students skills and knowledge, and therefore if the teacher wanted his student promoted, Parker never failed anyone. I saw a black belt make 3rd, who couldn't remember Short 2 and that was the only thing he was asked to do.
Did Mr. Parker have higher expectations of his personal students? Without naming names did he ever flunk anyone -- or did his students just understand his expectations and conform?

Doc said:
It is also important to note Ed Parker never intended to stop at the 24 chart. The suggestion was made by myself and others to simply cut the charts in half to 16 from the 32. Ed Parker agreed, but said Well go 24 first as a transition to allow school owners to adjust and to prevent a rash of quick promotions that would be detrimental to the business.
That brings a question to mind: Since you don't teach "motion" kenpo, how many techniques make up your Kenpo cirriculum?
 
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Ray said:
Did Mr. Parker have higher expectations of his personal students? Without naming names did he ever flunk anyone -- or did his students just understand his expectations and conform?
That's a very complicated answer for many reasons. Everyone that ever took a lesson with Mr. Parker claims him on some level. The question is, did he claim them? Does the fact that he awarded you a diploma mean he had different expectations from others he taught? I know of at least one former black belt student of Parker who was kicked out of the IKKA, and essentially self-promoted from 4th to 10th as Parker's successor. What does that mean? How about 'when' a person was his student? Clearly the expectaton he had of a James Ibrao who made black in 9 months were different from students that cam later. How about how much Mr. Parker charged them, or what if he never charged them? Some were from great distances that he didn't see often, others he saw all the time. Then what about the difference between students who ran Kenpo Businesses that generated revenue for him, from those who had no school or students at all. I had a school and students but, taught at schools and colleges since I was 15. Did that make a difference?

What I can address is his expectations of me which I thought were very high. He entrusted me to not only understand what he was doing, but to codify his progress as he experimented and worked out what he wanted. He was so immersed in the business of Kenpo, it detracted from his personal Kenpo art and aspirations, that I personally think would have eventually led back to a larger dissemination of information. Otherwise, why would he be so intent on me writing everything down? Anyway he expected a lot of me, and we worked constantly because I only lived 15/20 minutes from his home. He was at my school(s) and house constantly teaching and only he and I tested my students. And the best part, he never charged me a penny. :)
That brings a question to mind: Since you don't teach "motion" kenpo, how many techniques make up your Kenpo cirriculum?
Don't know. Still working on it. I got lots of notes. Safe to say though, more than the motion variety. :)
 
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