Tag Archives: ed parker kenpo

Why Did Ed Parker Make Five Styles of Kenpo?

The Five Kenpos of Ed Parker

The first Kenpo of Ed Parker was actually Okinawan Karate. One can see the forms in the string of techniques in his first book. Forms were actually not taught, except, I believe, for Naihanchi and maybe one or two others.

The second version was a blend of Karate and jujitsu. This version was originally taught in a small temple in Japan.

lop sau rolling fists freestyle drill

Complete scientific analysis of Kenpo Karate

ed parker kenpo karate

Fiver versions of Kenpo Karate, and which one is the real one?

The third Kenpo of Mr. Parker was actually created by James Wing Woo, a kung Fu stylist who taught Ed’s class, and helped him write a book while he lived in Pasadena. This was the version of kenpo from which many of the forms were originated.

The fourth kenpo was a reworking and renaming of the 3rd version.

The fifth and final Kenpo was created by Ed Parker to replace the earlier styles of Kenpo. He was proud of the fact that it actually wasn’t kenpo anymore.

Now, this all stated, one has to ask why there were so many styles. The answer is simple, Ed was trying to simplify and make sense out of the mess.

The fact of the matter is that the martial arts are random sequences of motions. This causes the art to be hard to learn, and hard to apply. It is simply hard to memorize to the point of intuition so much data.

Ed was trying to simplify and make sense out of the thing so that students could learn faster (among other reasons).

Unfortunately, he failed.

He came close, but his efforts were still comprised of random sequences of motion.

Each method he designed or compiled or whatever was built upon the ashes of the previous, tried to include new concepts and theories he had come across, and does not make summation of kenpo, or the martial arts.

Was he wrong for doing what he did? Not at all. His work was ground breaking and innovative, he just lacked the logic and perspective to bring it all together.

Does it mean that the kenpo you are studying is wrong?


For Kenpo is a manifestation of knowledge, and each person contains the knowledge in his own unique way.

Though Ed failed to make the art a science, it is still an art, and it is still whatever people make it.

Interestingly enough, Ed was proud that the last version of his Kenpo wasn’t Kenpo at all. If you want to read that story click on The Man Who Killed Kenpo.

Ed Parker Finally Speaks on ‘Too Many’ Kenpo Techniques

Does Kenpo Have Too Many Techniques?

This was forwarded to me  by the erudite Tom Jackson. It backs up matrixing, and really says the truth about Parker and the many techniques of Kenpo, and in PArker’s own quote!

The most thorough scientific analysis of Kenpo. Click on the cover to find out more....

The most thorough scientific analysis of Kenpo. Click on the cover to find out more….

You’ll have to search for The Kenpo Journal on your own, but it sounds like a good bet.

Here’s Tom’s email to me on this…

Interesting Quote I found in The Kenpo Journal:

Ed Parker on Techniques:
I teach Kenpo, not for the sake of teaching the techniques, but for the principles involved in them. And even then, these principles must be altered to fit the individual.

The reason I give my techniques names is because there are certain sequences associated with these terms. If I told a student tomorrow that I was going to teach him a counter version to a double hand grab, it’s not as meaningful as when I say I’m going to teach him ‘Parting Wings.’

You’ve got to know how to vary things. A lot of the techniques I’ve worked with, they’re ideas, they’re not rules. At any given time, any of my moves can change from defense to offense, of-fense to defense.

Martial artists, and Kenpo people especially, become so involved in doing the techniques exactly right in such and such amount of time, that they get caught in a pattern that they can’t break. That’s not what they’re for. Specific moves, specific techniques are based, like the ABC’s in the English language or standard football plays.

You have to have a point of reference and from there the combinations are endless and limited only by universal laws, laws that you can’t change.

With respect to the late Mr Parker, after watching those two videos of his “Sophisticated Basics”
his attempt at organizing his material is not easy to grasp. Your matrixing is much better!

He’s got the mandala of circles-inside-circles, which is interesting, and then he’s labels both
blocks and strikes A, B, C, D, E, etcetera, and his main point is that one of the letters can be
replaced with something else. It is kind of interesting to see how physical moves fit into that mandala.

Gotta run bye for now, hope you don’t mind me rambling on a bit.

End of email…and if this is rambling, we need more.

Thanks, Tom…

and to all,

Have you checked out the matrixing viewpoint of Kenpo? This is a complete analysis and matrixing of 150 kenpo techniques.



What Martial Arts Belts Ranking Really Mean

I remember once, way back when, learning about belt ranking in Kenpo. The instructor told me, at the end of my education, that our belts were really one belt above other schools. We were one belt better than the guy down the street. Our yellow belts were as good as purple, our purple were as good as blue, and so on.

Isn’t that interesting?

We didn’t win any more tournaments. In fact, we probably won less. But it appealed to our sense of worth. But, it was a false worth.

And, here is the crux of it…why do we need to be better than the next guy? Why do we have to breed an attitude that is separatist?

There is only one art, and all the various styles are merely versions or slices of the one art.

And, the real goal should be to better oneself, not be better than some bozo down the street.

I mean, if you’re putting somebody else down, you’re really, by demonstrating a poor attitude, putting yourself down.

And you can believe me because I am a better writer than the next blog you read. In fact, I would say that my blog is one rank above the next blog you read.

Do you see how silly it really sounds?

Have a great day, and come on over and read some of the Monster Martial Arts articles. They are better articles than you will read elsewhere, at least by one rank. Heh.