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How a Black Gi brought about Elvis Presley's divorce.

As I related in my history of why Kenpo uses a black gi, I pointed out that in American Kenpo Ed Parker limited the wearing of black gi's to Instructors Only! But this was not true of many of his Rich and Famous private students. Both Elvis Presley and his wife, Priscilla, were private students of Ed Parker and both by preference wore black uniforms for their private lessons. 

As fate would have it, Ed Parker went to Hawaii on vacation which left Priscilla with no private lessons from Ed. Because Priscilla wanted to work out and continue training during Ed's vacation, she decided to attend a "class" run by one of Ed Parker's senior students. When Priscilla showed up for class the Senior Instructor was caught off guard. Only Instructors were allowed to wear black gi's - but this was not an ordinary student: this was the wife of the "King". So he chose to say nothing. But the next day he phoned Ed In Hawaii to voice his concern about a "student" wearing a black gi. The instructor then asked Ed what he should do about it. Ed told him to "to use his own discretion" in the matter.

The next time Priscilla arrived for class, she was informed that she could not attend class wearing a black uniform, that it was reserved exclusively for instructors. Priscilla was then told that she was more than welcome to attend the class if she wore a white uniform.

Editorial Comment: I had met Elvis Presley when I was just a Brown Belt and Ed (and several advanced students) was giving a Karate/Kenpo demonstration at the Beverly Wiltshire Health Club. Elvis, who was staying at a nearby hotel, heard about it and came over to the demonstration. We all watched in amazement as Elvis walked over to our group and introduced himself to Ed Parker:  "Hi, my name is Elvis Presley and I wondered if you would mind if I watched your demonstration?" Here he was - "The King" - humble and unassuming as if there was anyone in the US who did not know who Elvis was. This would be the beginning of a lifetime relationship between Ed Parker and Elvis.

I would first met Priscilla Presley years later at the "Internationals" where Ed would introduce me to her. The first obvious thing was that Priscilla was (and still is) a very beautiful woman.  But as I talked to her about the martial arts I saw that she was at the tournament without Elvis. She was very relaxed, friendly and self-assured - it was at that time I said to myself, "It's only a matter of time"!

Back to the DOJO! Priscilla had two choices (actually three): (1) don't attend the Class; (2) get a white uniform and come "crawling back;" (3) never take another private lesson from Ed Parker again. While Elvis would continue to have a close relationship with Ed and continue his training, Priscilla and Ed were now at odds.

Because of the Black Gi, fate would now rear its ugly head. Priscilla wanted to continue training and at the same time get back at Ed Parker. She then contacted Chuck Norris for lessons and through Chuck met Mike Stone, who became her private karate instructor.

The rest is history. Priscilla then started seeing Mike Stone on the sly and one day she simply left 'The King" - Elvis - and started living with Mike Stone. And the end result was the divorce of Elvis and Priscilla. 

Editorial comment: Elvis Presley died in 1977. Had it not been for that incident over the Black Uniform, Priscilla might have ended up a grieving widow rather than going through a very nasty divorce.

"Hell hath no fury . . ."  After the death of Elvis, Priscilla arranged for a private plane to take his friends from  California to the funeral in Memphis. There were only two people Priscilla would not allow on the plane: Elvis's current girlfriend and Ed Parker!

To Priscilla's credit she has to be one of the classiest people in all of Hollywood. Priscilla has never publicly uttered a bad word about Elvis, their marriage or any personal problem they may have had. As a businesswoman she has taken control of the "Presley Empire" and after his death made the "Presley Estate" worth more than Elvis made in his entire career.

Moral: You can be as unyielding as the mighty oak tree against the raging winds and be torn up by your roots ... or you can be as the willow tree and bend with the wind.


2001 by Al. Tracy. All rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced without permission. http://www.patkenpo@aol.com