Tag Archives: karate schools

The Truth about the Ed Parker Mess Up

The Ed Parker Debacle!

Let’s talk about the Ed Parker Debacle.

Before I start,
you have to understand
how much respect I have for Ed.
He did amazing things,
he fell into the same traps
as have all martial artists
for thousands of years.

kenpo karateIn the beginning there was no Kenpo.
There were a few judo schools,
fewer karate schools,
and along came Edmund Parker.

He knew if he put up a poster
with Kenpo on it,
nobody would sign up.
Nobody knew what Kenpo was!
So he called it Karate.
Don’t know if he called it Kenpo Karate,
or just Karate,
but he called it Karate
so people would know what it was
and sign up for it.

the interesting thing was that it WAS Karate.
I have had people argue this point with me,
but I look at the pictures in his very first book,
in which he demos the techniques he taught,
and he is teaching a string of techniques
that if assembled…
are straight from Karate.

as time passed,
Ed couldn’t get more martial arts from his Master,
William ‘thunderbolt’ Chow.
(Chow had studied with Mitose,
so there was great lineage there.)
So Ed started looking elsewhere.
He met and trained with many Martial Artists,
and this undoubtedly effect him.
The most significant influence,
was Jimmy Woo.
Jimmy was a Kung Fu stylist from China,
and he knew his stuff,
and he helped rewrite the Kenpo curriculum.
So we have two specific versions of Kenpo,
with multiple influences.

here is where the problems,
if you wish to call them that,
During the course of his career
Ed evolved five different Kenpo systems.
That’s right.
He would get tired of what he was teaching,
figure out some new stuff,
and change the whole thing.
And he did this five times!

There were probably many things influencing him in this.
There was the fact that he had a black belt in Judo
before he earned his brown belt in Kenpo.
(I don’t believe he ever earned a black belt under Chow)
Then there were his studies with people like
Ark Wong
Haumea Lefiti
Jimmy Woo

He even knew Bruce Lee,
and Bruce was sure to have had some sort of influence.

And then there were things like
adjusting to sales contracts
introductionof protective gear
and other arts and people we know nothing of!

So Ed Parker was a genius,
and he put together a massive system,
a system that evolved five different specific times,
it was all a put together,
and a re-put together,
and a re-put together,

no disrespect here,
everything in the martial arts is a put together!

We just happen to know the specifics of Kenpo and Parker.

here is the problem with put togethers…
they don’t always jive.
They tend to follow specific concepts
that the founder liked,
but they don’t always fit together.

you can thread from one technique to another in kenpo,
but that is serendipity.
Not a plan.
But an evolution of opportunity.

And that is true of ALL arts!

I tried to Matrix Kenpo,
I tried hard.
I collected all the systems of Kenpo that I could.
I had videos and books
and various instructor manuals from schools,
and my own notes from when I studied Kenpo.
And I tried to make sense out of it,
and it didn’t work.
I just couldn’t do it.
To be fair to me,
I had managed to matrix Karate,
but I was still evolving,
and I didn’t understand how many arts and influences
were in a thing like kenpo.

I could matrix kung fu systems.
But they had been around for thousands of years,
and they had been ‘shaken out.’
Evolution had shaped them into ‘closed combat systems.’
They were sets of techniques
that resulted in specific body and personality changes,
and even zen states of mind,
and so on.


the big breakthrough came
while I was doing the research for Blinding Steel.
Or what I call Matrix Kung Fu.

I describe the full sequence of events
on this page


but let me say now,
that there was a process of elimination.
When I had matrixed enough other arts,
and saw what was left,
the blinders came off,
the lights went on,
and I figured it out.

I didn’t want to matrix Kenpo.
Among the reasons was the simple fact
the system was big and unwieldy
and I felt that the concepts of the martial arts
were better presented in the string of courses I had already created.

Kenpo would have been doing everything over again,
except that I would have been separating everything
into kenpo styles of the arts I had done.

I just didn’t want to do all the work over again,
and slant it towards Kenpo.

That said,
Kenpo can be matrixed
if you just do a few courses,
Matrix Karate,
the Master Instructor Course,
Matrix Kung Fu.

Mind you,
it is probably choppier than official Kenpo,
but it will include all angles and potentials of motion.
But it is much more to the point.
Not the endless variations,
not the mystery of what to connect to what,
but a simplicity of a body and art
defined exactly and correctly.

If you like that notion,
if you are a kenpo stylist,
you should check out Matrix Kung Fu.


that all said,
if you click on the Matrix Kung Fu link,
you get to see the new website!

have fun,
see you there,
and have a great work out!


zen martial arts

Old Time Karate Is No Longer!

The Death of Classical Karate

When it comes to old time Karate, I was there. By that, I mean that I was learning Karate back in the late sixties and early seventies, and modern karate bears almost no similarity to that old style of martial arts.

And, I should say that I studied other arts, and what I have just said is true for virtually every other martial arts I have seen.

Mind you, this is not always bad. Sometimes arts have become more efficient, training methods have been shared to the improvement of all, and people are often getting a high quality martial art.

Unfortunately, sometimes the opposite is true, arts have become talk the talk things, and lost structure and speed and strength and all manner of things.

The real point that I am making here is that the old time martial arts were what we called ‘closed combat systems.’

In a closed combat system there is a specific end product, often a state of mind, a spiritual advancement, enlightenment, whatever you want to call it.

The result was often the manifestation of sixth sense abilities, of the ability to use the martial arts, to appreciate the martial arts, on levels far beyond the simple brutality evidenced by some karate schools in modern times.

The Martial Arts are more than just how to kneecap little Johnny because he doesn’t want to share his lunch money, they are an evolution of spirit.

Unfortunately, too  many people want to watch thuggery matches whereby people’s arms are jerked out of the socket, teeth are dislodged, and blood flies.

Yes, you have to be able to do that stuff, and efficiently, but shouldn’t there be a higher purpose to what you are doing?

Shouldn’t there be a state of mind which, instead of proposing violence as the solution, presents peace as the end product?

This, incidentally, is one of the important points of matrixing the martial arts, and of neutronics.

It is not just about survival, it is about seeking existence as.

As what, I will leave to you, but the hint lies in the study of the old time karate, and the classical martial arts.

zen martial arts

White Crane Kung Fu Provides The Missing Link In Karate

Did White Crane Kung Fu Became Karate!

White Crane Kung Fu is a powerful and old Chinese Martial Art. It is said to have been developed by a daughter of the Fang family in Fujian province, but this may not be true. Track the lineage back a little further and there seems to be a definite link to Bak Mei.

white crane kung fu

Can you do this?

To understand this old kung fu style, one should probably analyze such karate kata as Sanchin and Hakutsuru. Sanchin kata, in particular, is present in many Karate schools, but the earliest, and least diluted version can be found in Uechi Ryu Karate. Examining the form in that system and one will see the dependence on the hourglass stance and a similarity of hand motion.

The problem with the Japanese versions, in this writer’s opinion, is that the forms are taught either for dynamic tension (body building), breathing, or just technique. If one looks to the earlier versions of the White Crane Forms, one will see the motions rendered more for development of Chi. The moves are softer, yet the stance is harder, and the mind is thus allowed to instill imagination and will into the movements.

Go back even earlier, to the Bak Mei variation of white crane kung fu, and one will see an explosiveness that is designed for intense combat. The fists don’t come back to the body between ‘launches,’ and the entire body lurches into each movement. The result is a quickness and ferocity that outdoes karate variations of the forms.

The history of this kata can be confusing. There are the Okinawan/Japanese versions, and this is connected to China predominately through the art of Kanbun Uechi. He is said to have spent a decade and a half learning three kung fu forms, all of which have resemblance to Chinese White Crane Kung Fu.

In China, the legend is that this unique kung fu was created by a female of the Fang family. She is said to have studied kung fu with her father, and then to have been inspired by the self defense movements of a white crane that fended off a stick she thrust at it. While there does seem to be a connection, it seems more like a teaching legend, and the truth is probably a lineage, rather than an inspiration.

The strongest likelihood is that these forms were passed down from Bak Mei Kung Fu. Bak Mei is practiced in the Fujian (Fukien) province, and the martial art could easily have been studied by the Fang family. This allows for the likelihood of the Karate connection, also.

In summary, if one examines the structure and moves of the form, paying attention to Uechi Karate versions of Sanchin and the Bak Mei versions of Jik Bo, one can see a definite relationship. The author recommends seeking out all versions of the kata, and defining them for focus on dynamic tension, breathing, technique, explosiveness, or whatever you wish to explore. Such forms as Sanchin, Hakutsuru, and the like are very pure in their white crane kung fu history, and could easily be the missing connection to Karate.

Find out more about the creation of such arts as White Crane Kung Fu, and how to make your Kung Fu system the best it can be. Head to Monster Martial Arts.
white crane gung fu