Tom Conners, Jay Huff Sr. and Huff Jr.

don bohrer

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I am looking for information concerning Tom Conners. If anyone here knew or has worked with him please shed some light on this man. I found discouraging remarks about Tom Conner on Tracy's site, and would like to hear from others. I can't imagine the Tracy's were the only people other than Bill Packer (head of my org) to have known Mr. Conners.

Also who was Jay Huff Sr and Jr?

Thank You.
 
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don bohrer

don bohrer

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I would have thought someone would know Jay Huff Sr or Jr. I believe they were EPAK 2nd gen black belts.
 
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ishfwialf

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Don,

I trained with TRACO and had Tom Connor II preside over a couple of my early belt tests. I did the majority of my training under Charles Stanley who was trained directly by Tom Connor II up until TC II's death.

Jim
 
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don bohrer

don bohrer

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Hmmm, you know I waited so long I forgot what I was going to ask? Old age must have caught me. Funny I didn't see it coming! Oh no that means my eyes have already gone. Come to think of it I didn't hear it either..... Oh boy. sigh.............

Hi Jim,

I am interested in where some of the kata came from (book set, boxing form, stalking panther, whispering, enter the temple) etc, and whose knowledge and skill at that time influenced Traco the most.

don
 

Rich_Hale

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I don't know all that much about Mr. Conner, but I did ask Mr. Parker about him once after I visited a few Traco studios and was courious about him. The Traco students were one tough bunch of fighters!

Mr. Parker told me he had a business relationship with Mr. Conner, but that he was not really one of his students. The Traco system was just as it sounds "Tracy/Conner". Mr. Parker's attitude toward him was kind of neutral - as is sometimes the case with ex-business partners.

Other than that, here is an old photo from the Winter 82-83 issue of Dan Lurie's Karate World. People can say anything they want about Mr. Conner, but no one can say he wasn't one amazing athlete.
 

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Shadow Wing

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don bohrer said:
I am looking for information concerning Tom Conners. If anyone here knew or has worked with him please shed some light on this man. I found discouraging remarks about Tom Conner on Tracy's site, and would like to hear from others. I can't imagine the Tracy's were the only people other than Bill Packer (head of my org) to have known Mr. Conners.

Also who was Jay Huff Sr and Jr?

Thank You.

I trained with and eventually taught for Jay Huff Jr. and the Chinese Martial Arts Association for a few years back in the seventies. Jay Jr. Was a very nice and humble man to work with. Not a dynamite martial artist when I worked with him, though. I thank God I had many other great teachers to study under at that time.

I only had a few lessons with Jay Huff Sr. Wow! What a great man and awesome martial artist. He got his first black belt in Shotokan Karate back in Japan right after WWII. It was a great honor to know him and teach for him. I have nothing but fond memories of him to this day.

Tom Connor had already retired from TRACO International when I came to teach there. That's why the name was changed by Jay Huff Sr. to "The Chinese Martial Arts Association." I was given an instructor's manual in a three ring binder, when first they hired me to teach. I still remember that binder and its content. It was written and produced by Mr. Connor before he left the organization. You could clearly see the superior organization and intellect of the man in his work. Though I never got to meet him, I never heard a single bad word about him. Jay Huff Sr. knew him very well and had some great stories to tell about him.

I must assume that Jay Sr. and Mr. Connor are deceased by now (both about my dad's age and I just lost him last December). I haven't had any contact with Jay Jr. for years (one of his students came to study with me after he dissappeared without a word in December of 1999 - He was very worried about the Y2K switch (srug)). If anyone knows where he could be found, I would love to say "hello" to him.

(laugh) I miss those old days!
 

bushidomartialarts

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don bohrer said:
I am interested in where some of the kata came from (book set, boxing form, stalking panther, whispering, enter the temple) etc, and whose knowledge and skill at that time influenced Traco the most.

don

hi. i'm an akka guy going back some time. never met mr. conner but worked closely with master packer (GRHS) for some years. my understanding of the origins of the forms is as follows. keep in mind this is my understanding, which could be incomplete or just plain wrong.

the numbered katas are from the tracy, which are from the parker before the split.

mass attack, bookset & tiger and crane are from the tracy, added after the parker split. (there are stories that at least bookset was there before, and parker stopped using it after the split...just stories, i've never heard that confirmed).

boxing form (master packer's favorite) was invented either by master packer or by mr. conner. never did get that one straight. everybody except master packer said it was his, but master packer sort of shrugs off the question.

stalking panther, moving hands, leopard, monkey, tiger hunt are from mr. conner.

i heard enter the temple was invented by mr. conner and master packer in tandem, inspired by the whole 'test of the wooden dummies' idea. dunno if that's true or not.

anyway, that's the story i've heard. which of the akka schools do you train at? how is it down there now that our illustrious leader has gone off to additional adventures?
 

donald

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I did'nt realize that there were so many additional kata in the Traco schools. Are there more/different teks as well?
 

bushidomartialarts

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there are many different or subtly changed techniques, but the number seems about equal.

mr. conner was a dancer on top of everything else (so i'm told), which might explain why he liked kata so much.
 
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don bohrer

don bohrer

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Hi guys,

Good info bushidomartialarts. The el paso kenpo scene is good. I train under Mike Acosta, but took some time off (all the usual excuses). I have plans to blow the dust off my kenpo and hit the mats this week.

donald,
through 4th black I think we have 26 kata, and almost 400 techs. I like to think of it this way. We are learning patterns of movement and not techniques. So it's not really that much material. A friend of mine said there is really only so many ways to hit someone. With that said it hardly seems like you're learning much at all.... :)

don (el paso)
 

geh

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I knew Tom Connor and the Huff family during the 70's. I was a Traco student at one of the three schools which were opened at that time in Tucson, Az. My instructor was Tom Hinds of the 22nd Street school. There are always discouraging remarks about people when they break a partnership. Eg. Chow-Parker, Parker-Woo, Parker-Connor, Connor-Tracy, etc.

Tom Connor received his black belt from Ed Parker and can been verified by looking in "Ed Parkers Black Belt Family Tree." Jay Huff Sr (4th black) and Jay Jr (1st black) were both black belts under Connor and are also in Parkers Family Tree under the Tom Connor tree. Jay Jr would receive his 2nd black from his dad and may have gotten a 3rd black after I left in 1980.

Connor was a tough individual and good at kata and brick breaking. Very good businessman too. I have a picture of Connor breaking adobe blocks with his forearm. Besides the numbered katas in Ed Parkers system, it was Connor who developed many of the "flowing" katas in the Traco system. The katas that were being taught and on the charts back in those days were:

All the numbered katas..."Short One", "Long One", through "Number Five." Most of these were the katas Jimmy Wing Woo developed for Ed Parker back in the early 60's and taught to Parker, the Tracys and James Ibrao. Ibrao developed "Number Four" and Parkers only kata was "Number Five." I knew some Ed Parker instructors and they never had a "Number Six" or "Number Seven" back then. First time I saw "Number Six" was in 1979 from Gilbert Valez who ran one of Parkers schools in Tucson. It must have been fairly new then. Gilbert Valez is a great martial artist.

"Bookset" which Parker either learned from Woo or a book in San Francisco; hence the name. I have heard it called "The Panther Set" back then too.

"Finger Set One" and "Finger Set Two" from Parker; probably developed by Woo.

"Stalking Panther", "Flowing Hands", "The Boxing Form" or "The Boxer", "Chinese Single Sword" and "Short Staff" were all Connor developed katas. Tracy brothers may have had some involvement, but I heard they were from Connor. Connor was a dance instructor at one time and could really flow, and those katas fit him perfectly.

"Mass Attack" was either a Tracy or Tracy-Connor kata. I am not sure. Nice kata though. We used to teach it to green belts.

"Tiger and the Crane" which I had to learn from Master Augustine Fong of the Wing Chun Gung Fo school. as the Huffs forgot it or never learned it. There is a similarity between "Tiger and the Crane" and "Bookset" and the "Finger Sets." Parker may have taken "Bookset" from that kata or Jimmy Wing Woo was involved with "Bookset." Though similar, they have some differences.

I have no idea how the above katas are being taught today, but I know the original katas as they were taught the 70's to this day. I also wrote them down the day I learned them and have them in the computer. The other Connor-Tracy katas that are mentioned or on the charts now were not developed when I was studying; but Connor was innovative and must have developed many more kata's over the years.

I was asked by Huff Sr to develop a kata which I did. I called it "Flashing Cougar." I never added it to the charts and only performed it at tournaments. I think I may have taught it to one student. I know it is out there because other schools would film it when I competed and I have seen it performed under other names.

After the Connors-Huff split in the early 70's, the Huffs called the schools "Chinese Martial Arts Association" and kept the three schools for a time. Jay Huff Sr was the president, but the schools were run by the black belt instructors of Huffs. Connor-Huff Tucson black belts during the 70's were:

Female named Kelly and last name escapes me (Huff Sr's love interest), 1st black who was was long gone when I arrived.

Robert Huff, 1st black and son and brother of the Jays. Robert taught part time for a short while. Robert was excellent at kata and a pretty good fighter.

David Sansek (sp), 1st black who ran the 22nd Street school during the Traco days. I never saw him do any techniques or kumite, but heard he was good.

Tom Hinds, 1st black who learned primarily from Sansek and Huff Sr. Hinds took over as the head instructor of the 22nd St school after Sansek left in 1971. Of all the black belts, Tom was the best in my opinion. He always took home trophies in kumite, kata, and weapons kata. When he performed kata it looked like a feather dancing in the wind. When he jumped, he seemed to hang in the air. In kumite, Tom was fast and deadly. Tom always said Sansek was the best black belt he had ever seen.

Mike Clausen, 1st black who ran the 6th St school. Excellent fighter.

Mr. Clark (cant remember first name), student, 1st black. Clark was advanced in age and owned the 7 Up bottling company in Tucson.

Doris Brunenkant, 1st black, who was a Tom Hinds student through her brown belts. After Hinds left, I taught Doris through 1st black. Nice martial artist and great person.

Myself, Gary Haebig, 2nd black. I eventually became an instructor for CMAA under Tom Hinds on a part time basis, two nights a week. I was one of Tom Hinds students through my brown belts and then was under Huff Sr.

Hinds and Clausen eventually left in the mid 70's to pursue a more lucrative career as teaching paid no money. The 22nd St and 6th Ave schools were closed. All students were transferred to the Speedway school. I taught there part time until 1980.

Jay Jr was the head instructor at the Speedway school and was becoming burned out in the 70's. Jay Jr was not a bad martial artist as someone commented in a thread, just burned out and forgot many of the higher techniques and kata. Huff Sr told me to teach him the moves again. I did for awhile, but it didnt work out as Jr wasnt interested anymore.

In the 60's and early 70's Jay Jr was an excellent fighter and he knew his moves. Jr had no motivation and seemed to be teaching beginners and lower belts and was tired of it. He had been teaching all his life and had no other trades. I knew Jay well during that time and he was a nice guy. I lost contact with him in the 80's and did hear about the Y2K deal from someone. Jay shut down the school in December 1999 as he saw the world coming to a close and has literally disappeared.

Jay would have been better adapted as a guest host on the "Art Bell Show" if you can understand what I am going. He was into the "strange" things and that is all he talked about. Some students complained to me that half of their private lesson was listening to Jay Jr talk about UFOs. Never-the-less, that is history and I have nothing but respect for him. He was a good martial artist. I cant believe he taught another twenty years after I left.

I know this is a long post, but Id like to add that the Traco-CMAA students dominated the Arizona tournaments back then and took home the trophies.

A little history for you folks. Hapkido Master Boon Soo Han was filming fight scenes for "The Trial Of Billy Jack" in Tucson. Master Han was told of our school as being good, and showed up asking for some instructors to be in a fight scene. As we instructors had long hair in those days, Han wanted redneck looking guys to be in the scene. The instructors refused to cut their hair, so some orange and purple belt students went to the barber shop and can be seen in the fight scene outside the courthouse in the movie. Han worked out at our school. It was an honor for Han to show up at the CMAA Speedway school.

Thank you for your time,

Gary Haebig
January 2008
Tucson, Arizona
 

Rich_Hale

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Gary,

I would like to thank you, as well, for taking the time to share so much information on Mr. Conners and the Huff Family with all of us.
 

paulee

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mass attack, bookset & tiger and crane are from the tracy, added after the parker split. (there are stories that at least bookset was there before, and parker stopped using it after the split...just stories, i've never heard that confirmed).
Actually, these forms were taught by Mr. Parker while the Tracy's were still with him. The story on Mass Attack was that some of Mr. Parkers' students were going to tournaments, but had no advanced forms to compete with. So with his blessing, they developed Mass Attack. Bookset was learned from Jimmy Wing Woo, and was portrayed in Mr. Parkers' second book, Secrets of Chinese Karate. Hence the name. Where Tiger and Crane came from, I've never quite heard. But it is a Hung Gar form. Sort of. The kenpo version is a lot different from the original.
boxing form (master packer's favorite) was invented either by master packer or by mr. conner. never did get that one straight. everybody except master packer said it was his, but master packer sort of shrugs off the question.
I was told by a former student of both Mr. Connor and Mr. Packer that Boxing Form was Mr. Connors'. Mr. Packer used to compete with it, the story I heard was that Mr. Connor developed it especially for him to do so.
 

Morgan_huff

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I am looking for information concerning Tom Conners. If anyone here knew or has worked with him please shed some light on this man. I found discouraging remarks about Tom Conner on Tracy's site, and would like to hear from others. I can't imagine the Tracy's were the only people other than Bill Packer (head of my org) to have known Mr. Conners.

Also who was Jay Huff Sr and Jr?

Thank You.


I don't know if you are still checking this forum, but my sister actually happened across this feed and sent me the link. I am the grandson of Jay Huff Sr., nephew of Jay Huff Jr., and son of Robert Huff. I can assure you that they are all still alive and doing quite well. My uncle still teaches the occasional student in Ft. Thomas, AZ. However, they do not have the schools anymore. Thank you very much to all of you who helped my family out throughout the years =) It is greatly appreciated.
 

bg1017

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His name is Tom Connor, not Conners. He was my uncle. I do not know Jay Huff. The things posted about him are not true, and yes they are discouraging.
 

cranemantis

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Does anyone know about Sifu Frank Bruno and his school, Tucson Kenpo Kung Fu Association? I studied there under Mr. Bruno for four years a number of years ago. Just wondering where he and his school fit into the Kenpo history in Tucson. Thank you.
 
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