Will The "Real" Kenpo Please Step Forward

thetruth

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Well if Ed Parker started American Kenpo, then it follows that any Kenpo being taught by his direct successors would be the closest to "authentic" American Kenpo than others.

So, to research: which among Ed Parkers black belts were the ones he considered the best, and who are their direct descendants?
Perhaps to answer that question, if Ed never actually named favorites, then just research which of those black belts attained the highest ranks eventually.

Now if you're looking at Kenpo other than American, I have no clue how to answer that.

I think that as long as you go into a Parker school that has direct lineage to a relatively high ranked 1st generation black belt then you will be pretty close to learning the right stuff. As to what direction he wanted to take and what is closest to that now, well I think that is open to conjecture. Whether the direction was SL4 such as the Doc teaches or Kenpo 5.0 such as Jeff Speakman teaches or the direction any of the others are teaching well that is a matter of opinion. Each high ranking black belt seems to have their own version of how closely they worked with Ed Parker. I'm not here to insult anyone I'm just saying very few of us were around Ed Parker at all so the only way we are able to establish who did what and how things were is by what we are told by those who were there. Each person seems to have a slightly different take on where they stood and the direction Ed Parker wanted to take. I have only read Doc's comments here and have met Jeff Speakman once and can say their versions are not identical as to how things were so as I said if there is direct lineage to a relatively high ranking 1st generation black belt then you are on the right track as far as choosing someone to train with goes. If however you want to just find out about where people stood and just get a gist as to how things were then the most qualified person to ask her would be Doc. But it would be wise to ask others who were there as well if you can track them down just to get a broad range of information
Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

DavidCC

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Hope it is better than the Chinese food experiment you took me to. Remember I grew up in San Francisco and LA Chinatown hanging with the guys.


I promise to hook you up with the best BBQ you ever had if you return the favor for Chinese ;)
 

DavidCC

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I think we need a MT/KT BBQ cookoff...

I'll humbly consent to be a judge, though I'm certain it will be an onerous burden... ;)


OK, everyone come to our camp in September and we'll do it.

www.budocamponline.com

Check out the first two instructors on the list, names that should be familiar to anyone on MartialTalk...
 

donald

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I think that as long as you go into a Parker school that has direct lineage to a relatively high ranked 1st generation black belt then you will be pretty close to learning the right stuff. As to what direction he wanted to take and what is closest to that now, well I think that is open to conjecture. Whether the direction was SL4 such as the Doc teaches or Kenpo 5.0 such as Jeff Speakman teaches or the direction any of the others are teaching well that is a matter of opinion. Each high ranking black belt seems to have their own version of how closely they worked with Ed Parker. I'm not here to insult anyone I'm just saying very few of us were around Ed Parker at all so the only way we are able to establish who did what and how things were is by what we are told by those who were there. Each person seems to have a slightly different take on where they stood and the direction Ed Parker wanted to take. I have only read Doc's comments here and have met Jeff Speakman once and can say their versions are not identical as to how things were so as I said if there is direct lineage to a relatively high ranking 1st generation black belt then you are on the right track as far as choosing someone to train with goes. If however you want to just find out about where people stood and just get a gist as to how things were then the most qualified person to ask her would be Doc. But it would be wise to ask others who were there as well if you can track them down just to get a broad range of information
Cheers
Sam:asian:
Excellent response.
Peace,
1stJohn1:9
 

Doc

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I think that as long as you go into a Parker school that has direct lineage to a relatively high ranked 1st generation black belt then you will be pretty close to learning the right stuff.
If only that were true.
As to what direction he wanted to take and what is closest to that now, well I think that is open to conjecture.
Absolutely sir.
Whether the direction was SL4 such as the Doc teaches or Kenpo 5.0 such as Jeff Speakman teaches or the direction any of the others are teaching well that is a matter of opinion. Each high ranking black belt seems to have their own version of how closely they worked with Ed Parker. I'm not here to insult anyone I'm just saying very few of us were around Ed Parker at all so the only way we are able to establish who did what and how things were is by what we are told by those who were there. Each person seems to have a slightly different take on where they stood and the direction Ed Parker wanted to take.
And some not even "slightly." :)
I have only read Doc's comments here and have met Jeff Speakman once and can say their versions are not identical as to how things were so as I said if there is direct lineage to a relatively high ranking 1st generation black belt then you are on the right track as far as choosing someone to train with goes.
Well yes, and no. That assumes people are doing what Parker taught them. In many cases they are not, or weren't taught as much as they would like you to think. Remember these statements span a great deal of time, circumstances, and people of varying interests and capabilities.
If however you want to just find out about where people stood and just get a gist as to how things were then the most qualified person to ask her would be Doc.
While I appreciate that sir, I think the only thing I can be an absolute expert in, is what Parker wanted me to do, and the material he shared with me. I'm also privileged to what he told me about other people and their status. I also was there to see the creation of a great deal of the material in the golden age of commercial Kenpo, and understand the "why" of its existence.
But it would be wise to ask others who were there as well if you can track them down just to get a broad range of information.
I couldn't have said it better. Lots of flavors, perspectives, and even a healthy dose of bull. People must decide for themselves where they want to reside.
 

AJPerry

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Hello from Australia

I have been training under Jeff Speakman for the past 4 years and I believe Dave Crouch has given the best response to this post.

Mr Parker was an innovator and Kenpo is a modified varient in itself of a traditional martial art. Martial Arts has changed significantly in the past 10 years or so with the Gracie influence and the emergence of MMA fighters.

Mr Parker's Kenpo dealt with the fighters of his day. Modern Kenpo has to evolve with the changes that have taken place since his passing. there are many instructors out there and Kenpo is a great art. Mr. Speakman has adapted his kenpo to include ground fighting and given answers to the way of fighting with the modern MMA fighter. Many people will argue about how good it is and thats up to them, but the point is Mr. Parker gave us all a set of principles that do not change. Cancelling height, width and depth, not violating point of origin, small circles, zones of sanctuary still apply. These are the important aspects of fighting.

A technique can be added to, modified, shortend and altered at any time for any reason. As long as you are moving within the principles of Mr. Parker then it is quality Kenpo. If you start moving to hit a target that is already covered or doing some BS move just because it was shown to you then I believe you are missing the point.

Anyone learning Kenpo should read the Infinite Insites series of books written by Mr. Parker and the Encyclopedia of Kenpo and really think about how they move in a fight. If what you are currently doing contradicts the base priciples of Mr. Parker then seriously look at what you can do to make them more effective.

Mr Parker gave us a language that we can develop not a speech that we have to learn and cannot alter.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Hello from Australia

I have been training under Jeff Speakman for the past 4 years and I believe Dave Crouch has given the best response to this post.

Mr Parker was an innovator and Kenpo is a modified varient in itself of a traditional martial art. Martial Arts has changed significantly in the past 10 years or so with the Gracie influence and the emergence of MMA fighters.

Mr Parker's Kenpo dealt with the fighters of his day. Modern Kenpo has to evolve with the changes that have taken place since his passing. there are many instructors out there and Kenpo is a great art. Mr. Speakman has adapted his kenpo to include ground fighting and given answers to the way of fighting with the modern MMA fighter. Many people will argue about how good it is and thats up to them, but the point is Mr. Parker gave us all a set of principles that do not change. Cancelling height, width and depth, not violating point of origin, small circles, zones of sanctuary still apply. These are the important aspects of fighting.

A technique can be added to, modified, shortend and altered at any time for any reason. As long as you are moving within the principles of Mr. Parker then it is quality Kenpo. If you start moving to hit a target that is already covered or doing some BS move just because it was shown to you then I believe you are missing the point.

Anyone learning Kenpo should read the Infinite Insites series of books written by Mr. Parker and the Encyclopedia of Kenpo and really think about how they move in a fight. If what you are currently doing contradicts the base priciples of Mr. Parker then seriously look at what you can do to make them more effective.

Mr Parker gave us a language that we can develop not a speech that we have to learn and cannot alter.

Interesting dillemma with this post, however. "Small circles" and "point of origin" issues consintue to intrigue me, for a simple reason...they are often misinterpreted, having been ill-defined. End result? Guys cutting their power short in exhanche of keeping with a "gospel" of Point of origin-to-point of contact.

Find a copy of New Gladiators, and see if Mr. Parkers circles are all that small. Locate his demo's on the web/youtube, where some poor guy has to sit in a square horse (usually Trejo on the youtube ones), while Mr. P. whips blows past their faces. Note his own points of origin. The size of his own circles, while performing his own basics. Then get back to us regarding wether or not he kinows his own art, or just did it wrong to the day he died.

Although the Infinite Insights series does a nice job of providing definitions, it failed to provide specific meaning in interpretation. Don't give up on big old circles yet; there may be unrecognized value in violating the most economic path of entry with a strike.

Be good,

Dave
 

Doc

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Hello from Australia

I have been training under Jeff Speakman for the past 4 years and I believe Dave Crouch has given the best response to this post.

Mr Parker was an innovator and Kenpo is a modified varient in itself of a traditional martial art. Martial Arts has changed significantly in the past 10 years or so with the Gracie influence and the emergence of MMA fighters.
While some of what you say is true, "martial arts" hasn't changed significantly since I began study over 50 years ago. What has changed is the information available that was much more difficult to come by. The change you seem to be speaking of, is "martial sport." But even that has not changed very much other than an amalgamation of previous existing sport concepts into a more entertaining, (depending upon personal preferences), package and exposure. I've seen nothing that hadn't already existed in decades passed.
Mr Parker's Kenpo dealt with the fighters of his day.
And still does. The fighters of his day included those with significant grappling skills. One of Mr. Parker's best training buddies and friends was Gene LeBell. Add to that Wally Jay, and a host of others from various arts and disciplines. Mr. Parker had a black in Judo before he began kenpo training under Chow, who studied real jiujitsu under Henry Okazaki and who along with Parker loved to grapple.
Modern Kenpo has to evolve with the changes that have taken place since his passing. there are many instructors out there and Kenpo is a great art.
Let's change that to the "modern kenpo" that you know. Those broad stroke statements might give someone the impression you think you know all the many different flavors of the works of Ed Parker over the years. 4 years of training with anyone won't give you that, so let's speak in terms of what you have personally been exposed to. Personally, I've seen at least six or more different perspectives, all different with various focuses and some that also happen to include grappling.
Mr. Speakman has adapted his kenpo to include ground fighting and given answers to the way of fighting with the modern MMA fighter.
I commend Jeff for doing that, and complimented him the last time I saw him on his good hard nosed work ethic with his people. No "softies" in his group and I like that. His guys will knuckle up with you.
Many people will argue about how good it is and thats up to them, but the point is Mr. Parker gave us all a set of principles that do not change.
Here's where you go wrong again. How well did you know Mr. Parker, and when did he give you these unchanging "principles? The truth is Mr. Parker gave the majority of his students "concepts," not "principles." Loads of idea to work with, but that's all they were - sophisticated ideas.
Cancelling height, width and depth, not violating point of origin, small circles, zones of sanctuary still apply. These are the important aspects of fighting.

A technique can be added to, modified, shortend and altered at any time for any reason.
Actually it can't, but that's a discussion for another day about the limitations of the perspective of "idea training." Interesting ideas that need interpretation in every infinite application. Ideas that change from circumstance to circumstance.
As long as you are moving within the principles of Mr. Parker then it is quality Kenpo. If you start moving to hit a target that is already covered or doing some BS move just because it was shown to you then I believe you are missing the point.
Maybe you're missing the point. Have you ever considered that simply because you don't understand something, doesn't mean that it isn't viable? All I'm saying is avoid these sweeping statements that may not always apply as you think. Work from your perspective, instead of assigning value to others you may not be aware of.
Anyone learning Kenpo should read the Infinite Insites series of books written by Mr. Parker and the Encyclopedia of Kenpo and really think about how they move in a fight. If what you are currently doing contradicts the base priciples of Mr. Parker then seriously look at what you can do to make them more effective. Mr Parker gave us a language that we can develop not a speech that we have to learn and cannot alter.
Well that too is wrong, but than from your perspective, you can't see it. But that's really OK, as long as you don't apply your values to others without knowledge, and work to expand your understanding of what you do to be as effective as you can make it.

Jeff's a good guy and teacher, but he doesn't speak in broad terms like that. He does however, know his own material better than anyone and makes it work for him. You can't ask for any more than that. The "modern Kenpo" most have been exposed to doesn't contain much of the information of previous versions for a reason. Keep working, and you'll be fine sir.
 
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MJS

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Great replies and Dr. Dave gave some great replies! Thanks Dave! :) While the subject really isn't on food, I like the analogy of that, and yes, some burgers are better than others. :)

Like I said in my OP, I think that how long someone may have spent with Mr. Parker will come into play. I mean, if someone only spent a short time compared to someone who was there often, is it possible that things are going to be missed, lost, watered down, etc.? I'd have to say yes. But on the other hand, does it mean that person doesnt have anything to offer?
 

Doc

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Great replies and Dr. Dave gave some great replies! Thanks Dave! :) While the subject really isn't on food, I like the analogy of that, and yes, some burgers are better than others. :)

Like I said in my OP, I think that how long someone may have spent with Mr. Parker will come into play. I mean, if someone only spent a short time compared to someone who was there often, is it possible that things are going to be missed, lost, watered down, etc.? I'd have to say yes. But on the other hand, does it mean that person doesnt have anything to offer?

Everyone has something to offer, some more than others. I think as big a factor as time with Mr. P, is what he wanted to share. There were many that were associated with Mr. Parker for many years, and learned little real knowledge. For some their personal circumstances didn't allow for it. Parker had students whose biggest concerns were running a business, therefore they learned the business of kenpo and were very successful. But being in a school everyday, all day, teaching material to keep students moving, interested, and paying doesn't leave room for learning. Even Parker stopped doing it in the early sixties because it stifled his own progress and business as well. Than there were those who were only interested in the art, but had proximity issues. Than there was the issue of capability. Not everyone who had the desire, had the physical and/or mental capacity. Many different and sometimes complicated factors went into what any one individual learned. Direct Lineage is a factor, but only one, and clearly not the deciding factor of competence. Parker had direct students who sucked, and indirect students who excelled. Direct lineage is a good place to start, but judge the individual on their knowledge and capabilities and you may find a few surprises.
 
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