IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE TRUTH, DON'T ENTER!
Many times, in a face to face discussion, a person will ask me a direct, controversial question. My first reply is usually, "Do you really want to know?"
From the very beginning we are going to end up in controversial subject. I will slay a lot of "sacred cows" and step on a lot of toes! If you or your instructor disagree with what I say, come up with documented proof to prove your point - not: "So and so who knows so was there and they told him!"
Example: How many of American Kenpo Instructors out there who claim I was only a "brown" belt have their diplomas on their wall showing when and from whom they received their Shodan - 1st Black Belt - rank? It's amazing how many of these diplomas were "eaten by the dog", lost in a fire or a flood! Or how many claim to have studied directly under Ed Parker.
When I am asked a direct question I have several options.
1. Just blow it off - do not answer!
2. Tell a half-truth
3. Tell a "white lie"
4. Out and out lie
5. Give a politically correct answer.
6. Tell part of the truth - hoping it will get you off the hook!
7. Tell the whole truth!
Problem: Once I tell a lie and it is caught, there goes my credibility forever!
WARNING: When I have to make a choice between being "Politically Correct" and "Historically Factual" -- History will always win!
I have been approached by too many American Kenpo "Masters" asking me to go easy on the "Old Man": Grand Master Ed Parker ... that he is dead and nothing can be gained by the truth! And that Ed is not here to defend himself! Then why does everyone keep repeating the same lies?
I would just love to never bring up Ed Parker or my differences with him, ever. But I cannot - I am being constantly bombarded with questions by many American Kenpo students (usually new) who are looking for the truth!
I decide to create this section when Pat forwarded an e-mail from an American Kenpo student wanting answers to legitimate questions! Click here to go directly to his e-Mail!
My answer to his five questions will give you a better insight into what Kenpo is and is not.
One of the first things we will have to do is to try to define what is Kenpo? One Kenpo "Master" claims: combining the best of Tae Kwon Do - Shoto-kan - Hung Gar - and Kenpo and calls it Kenpo! If you teach Tae Kwon Do and add a few Kenpo Self Defense techniques does it make it Kenpo? How much can you add or take out and still call it Kenpo? Too often Kenpo has became a dumping ground for people with no legitimate Kenpo rank or lineage (they simply give themselves rank)! And this is even worse when they simply call it American Kenpo and follow none of Ed Parker's requirements. The heart of Kenpo has always been "Waza" (tricks) - Self-Defense techniques). What is the minimum number of self-defense techniques required per belt to learn or teach legitimate Kenpo? Zero - One - Five - Ten - Twelve - Fifteen - Twenty - Twenty-four - Thirty? (Ed Parker set the minimum at 24!)
What is the minimum age for Shodan (1st Black)?
Is there a difference between (Shodan) and 1st Black? Ed Parker would use both? Why?
To do so I will have to give you a historical background for each answer. Remember I started with ED in 1957 one year after he opened his first commercial studio in 1956. Fact: Robert Trias, a WWII veteran, opened the first commercial Karate studio in the United States in Phoenix AZ. in 1948. It seems one of Robert Trias's first students to verify this fact would become a Judge on Arizona's Supreme Court. That's pretty strong authority. Ed Parker, at age 18, was still a student of Professor Chow's in Hawaii in 1948! Fact: Ed Parker was only a white belt when Sijo Emperado was a fifth degree black belt. Master Robert Trias's organization, the USKA (United States Karate Association) was 100 times larger than Ed Parker's IKKA. This is not to put Ed Parker down, but to put things in a historical perspective. I was also in attendance in the "Bay Area", CA, when Sijo Emperado promoted Ed Parker to sixth degree black belt in 1967. Never heard this before, have you? Any doubts? Ask Sijo!!!
Why do I bring this up? Time after time, I have seen American Kenpo websites and articles where they make the statement: "Ed Parker was the UNDISPUTED father of American Karate. Fact: Ed Parker was the father of American Kenpo!
Just as confusing is the Ed Parker creed. The creed states, "I come to you with Karate: Empty Hands." We do not teach Kara-Te (Japanese) Empty Hands. We teach (Chinese) Kara-Te: T'ang "Chinese" Hands.
Click here to take you to a brief explanation. I will cover Ed's creed in a complete section by its self. Use your back arrow button to get back!
E-MAIL REQUEST FOR LEGITIMATE ANSWERS TO PERPLEXING QUESTIONS. (Name deleted for privacy protection.)
Subj: Fwd: just a few kenpo questions
Date: 02/12/2000 4:09:48 AM Eastern Standard Time
Subj: just a few kenpo questions
Date: 02/11/2000 6:22:37 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (name deleted)
Hello. My name is (name deleted) and I am currently a student of kenpo under a Parker system. I have a few questions that have come to me while looking into the history of my art. Some of the below will simply help me in further research.
1) What is (are) the official Tracy System web address or addresses? I have done some searching and have yet to come to something that looks official.
2) 1 heard that the black belt certificate for the Tracy brothers can be found on the net but have not been able to locate this either. Can you help? [ Click for Shodan - 1st Black
Click for Sandan - 3rd Black. ]
3) Some of the sites I have visited claim the Tracy System is the one pure program. This implies the other are contaminated in some way. How is this so?
4) What is the Tracy opinion of Mr. Parker? I have encountered some conflicting views and would like to get a first hand answer.
For the final question, I would like to get in contact with one of the Tracys personally (if that is at all possible). I honestly haven't a clue who I am writing but the site I obtained this address from seemed to suggest you are willing to answer some questions. If I do get in contact with a Tracy, I have a few more questions about the Gathering of the Eagles and such but that is later.
Thank you very much for your time,
Saturday, February 12, 2000 America Online: ATKENPO Page:1
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