american kenpo

Ed Parker's True Kenpo Techniques

Will Tracy

I began training with Ed Parker in October 1957 and my brothers, Al and Jim Tracy began shortly after that. In February 1958 I was promoted to Yonkyu and Ed Parker started a beginning day class with me as his assistant instructor. The studio was located at 1840 E. Walnut Street, one block north of Colorado Blvd, and three block from Pasadena City College. My brothers and I signed up most of Ed Parker's students between 1958 and 1961, and we were the only students ever given keys to the studio as well as a key to the drawer where Ed Parker kept the student records, the cash box and a card file that contained all of his Kenpo techniques.

The techniques were organized according to the attack, i.e. different hand grabs from the front side, and read, chokes, punches, kicks, club, knife, gun etc. Ed Parker wrote a monthly article for Iron Man Magazine, and in early 1958 Ed Parker asked me to organize the techniques according to difficulty and prepare a list for the book he was preparing, Kenpo Karate. I also organized the techniques for the beginning, intermediate and advance classes. During the time the

By February 1959 I had reorganized the entire technique file, and Ed Parker had taught my brothers and all of the techniques in the file. The techniques were written in narrative, as in "countering a left hand lapel grab from the front." I also kept a card file of all the techniques my brothers and I were taught, but used a short version, such as "left lapel grab front." I also selected 120 techniques for Ed Parker's upcoming book. That number was reduced to 62, which were the basic techniques taught beginning students.

American Kenpo
True Kenpo Techniques
The Kenpo Patch
Belt Requirements
IKKA Black Belts
Kevin Lamkin
That Changed Kenpo

     BYU 1955
     January 1957
     Robert Trias' first karate tournament in August 1963
     Long Beach Ed Parker's tournament August 1964

Kenpo Karate
There were no belt requirements, and no belt tests at that time, and two brown tips were introduced by Al Tracy in late 1958, when brown "Iron On Patches" became available. I was promoted to Ikkyu in February 1959 and Ed Parker wanted to create forms because he had taught all the techniques he had. Al Tracy had found James Mitose's book What is Self Defense in a used book store, and Ed Parker told us that Mitose was living in Los Angeles. When I asked if I should train with Mitose, Ed Parker suggested I train with Professor Chow in Hawaii instead.

I took my technique card file with me to Hawaii, and when Ed Parker received an advance on his book and went to Hawaii for Statehood and to meet with me and Professor Chow. Ed was out of the studio from April 1959 until two or three months after his son was born in December 1959. During that time Al and Jim Tracy ran the studio, and for the first time, the studio brought in over $1,000 a month. My brothers had complete access to the technique card file and used the card file to pick the techniques for James Ibrao or Rich Montgomery to teach the advanced class. Al Tracy also began copying the techniques to compare them with what I would learn from Professor Chow.

I returned to Pasadena several times over the next two years, but only stayed 2-3 days and would go over what I was learning from Professor Chow, not only with my brothers, but with Ed Parker. Professor Chow taught me all the same techniques, and he too used a simple name for the techniques, i.e. "Right Lapel Grab" with variations, 1 through as many as 15, while Ed Parker used "A" though "E" for variations and broke the other variations into apitional techniques - which were the same as Professor Chow's single technique with its variations.

Professor Chow had three techniques that did not describe the attack, "Dance of Death," "Leap of Death" and "Mass Attack." Professor Chow had about 20 apitional techniques to what Ed Parker had, but considering there were hundreds of techniques, these were for the most part inconsequential. Ed Parker, however, had about 60 Judo and Jujitsu techniques that Professor Chow did not have as Professor Chow did not teach Judo or Jujitsu.

Ralph Castro was a brown belt under Professor Chow when he went to San Francisco, and his early Kenpo techniques were the same as Professor Chows, and Ed Parkers.

Shortly before I left for Hawaii, my brother Al and I went to San Francisco, where our relatives lived, and introduced Ed to some of the Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters we knew. It was at that time that Ed Parker created "Form One" which was performed on a straight line. Ed changed the form at least twice by early 1959, and by the time Jimmy Wing Woo joined Ed Parker in June 1960, Ed had also created "Form Two," and Master Woo showed Ed how to do the forms in a "Chinese Ten" pattern IE "+" or four directions, and then in eight directions.

Recently a typical American Kenpo liar using the handle of Damitol posted a defamatory statement about me on one of the Kenpo forums. claiming it is from a reliable source. The post was made with complete and utter disregard for the truth and purports to have taken place when I and my brothers were with Ed Parker in 1958-1959.

Demitol states: "Once, in the early days, Grandmaster Parker was alone in the dojo using the forms to practice moving meditation. About 2/3rds of the way through form 4 Grandmaster Parker's ecstatic eye was drawn to his file cabinet. He noticed one of the drawers was slightly ajar.

He intuited that someone was rifling through his private materials."

First: There was no form 4 until after my brothers and I left Ed Parker and went to San Francisco in 1962. But this liar goes a step further and attributes form 4 with some mystical power of perspicuity.

Second: If the drawer was "ajar" it was because either he, or my brothers or I had failed to lock it, since we were the only ones with a key to the drawer.

Demitol states: "Without knowing who he could Trust, he began a one-man investigation to identify the culprits. Whenever he left the dojo, he would wedge a hair into the cabinet drawer.

It took less than a week to realize that the drawers were only opened when one of the Tracy brothers was left alone in the dojo."

In other words: Demitol claims that Ed Parker was so stupid that he could not know that the Tracy brothers were the only ones with keys to the cabinet.

Demitol states: "Rather than directly confront them, he decided on an Ingenious Test.

He filled the cabinet with notes on hundreds of plausible but Ultimately Flawed techniques. The movement would look like Kenpo, but had the Vital Essence removed and replaced by still more empty arm-waving. In apition, he removed all of the physical conditioning elements.

Day after day the bogus notes were secretly copied.

Day after day Grandmaster Parker waited to see if plagiarizers would notice his little joke.

As time went on it became apparent they would not. He was on the verge of revealing the truth to them when they broke away to teach on their own. Stung by their defection, Parker felt they deserved their plight."

In other words: Professor Chow taught Ed Parker the same "arm waving" techniques as Ed Parker taught as Ture Kenpo which were the techniques in card file; and according to Demitol Kenopo itself is a "joke" even though I personally chose the techniques for Ed Parker's Iron Man Magazine monthly article, and his book, Kenpo Karate; and further, the techniques Rich Montgomery and James Ibrao would ask Al and Jim to select for the advance class while Ed Parker was gone for over six monts were all a "joke", evnthough they are the same techniques taught in American Kenpo.

CONCLUSION - According to Demitol : Ed Parker was a fraud and never taught true Kenpo, because everything on the cards was a "joke" - a joke which Professor Chow also played on Ed Parker, because the Chow and Parker techniques were the same.

Obviously Demitol and many in American Kenpo do not know that plagiarism is, "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work," or in this case techniques. My brothers have always attributed the Kenpo they teach as coming from Ed Parker, while I have always given credit to both Ed Parker and Professor Chow. However, Ed Parker learned the techniques from Professor Chow and even took the term, Kenpo Karate, which Professor Chow coined. It is therefore be Ed Parker who plagiarized the techniques, except for the fact that Professor Chow learned the techniques from James Mitose. There is no plagiarism where credit is given, and those in American Kenpo have created another silly arguments suited for their small minds which are incompetent to understand what Ed Parker taught as either True Kenpo or American Kenpo. They seek wisdom in fiction and their imaginations, without devoting themselves to the training Ed Parker sought in vain to insil among his later followers.

The only thing worse than the lies of Demitor and his "reliable source" in regard to this, is those who believe it but don't have the intelligence to learn the history of Kenpo. They believe what they want, regardless of the truth, "they think, therefore it is", and they represent the deplorable state American Kenpo has become.