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A Brief History of Senior Grand Master Edmund K. Parker:

Edmund K. Parker began studying Kenpo with William K.S. Chow at the age of 16. He was a native of Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated from Kamehameha High School. As Grand Master Parker learned Karate in Hawaii, he realised the need for new innovations to combat modern day methods of fighting.

To fulfil this need, he developed revolutionary concepts, theories, and principles that are practical not classical. Because of this, his innovative concepts and ideas have greatly enhanced the Martial Arts in the United States and throughout the world.

While at Brigham Young University, Ed Parker, 23 years of age at the time, had a closed club, teaching only students of Polynesian descent and law enforcement officers. One of the law enforcement officers was Charles Beeder Sr. who became Ed's permanent assistant.

In 1956 Grand Master Parker graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a B.S. in Psychology and sociology.

After graduation from BYU, Ed Parker moved to California and opened his second school in 1956 and also founded the International Kenpo Karate Association the same year.

Edmund K. Parker 10th degree black belt is the undisputed "Father" of American Kenpo Karate having opened the first commercial Karate studio in 1954.

Senior Grand Master Ed Parker

Born Edmund Kealoha Parker
March 19, 1931(1931-03-19)
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Passed away December 15, 1990 (aged 59)
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

"To live is to change, and to obtain perfection is to change often"

The interest Mr. Parker had in employing logic dates to his beginning Martial Arts studies in Honolulu. He approved of the exciting methods that he learned as a novice in Kenpo, but as an experienced street fighter felt that innovations were necessary in order for the classical concepts he learned to become practical concepts on the street. As a result of his research, Mr. Parker generated innovative answers by comparing Kenpo to other fields of endeavour.

By relating past experiences with the functional aspects of Kenpo, he has revealed astounding breakthroughs in body motion as it applies to the martial arts. Because of his formal education, Mr Parker was able to extract principles from physics, geometry, mathematics, and alphanumeric systems and compare them to life experiences that caused a new Kenpo discipline to emerge. This was the birth of American Kenpo.

As a result of his use of analogies, short stories, and quotes he has created distinctive methods to convert verbal language into physical body motion.

Through formal martial arts training under William K.S. Chow, experience, experimentation and thought provoking study, Mr. Parker developed American Kenpo as we know it today. American Kenpo has achieved a steady growth and along with it, Mr. Parker developed a timeless art that will forever develop and evolve.

Ed Parker learned all he could from Master Chow and studied with other well known students of Chow such as Adriano and Joe Emperado who founded their own system called Kajukenbo which is a blend of Kenpo, weapons, and also has influences from other systems. Other practitioners included Bobby Lowe (representative for Mas Oyama in Hawaii), Paul Yamaguchi, Masaichi Oshiro (representative for Gogen Yamaguchi of the Goju-ryu style), and Manny de la Cruz.

William Chow wanted Mr Parker to begin Kenpo full-time on the mainland U.S.A and was prepared to move to California when Ed Parker opened his second school.

However, Chow later declined. Chow saw that he could still continue to teach Mr Parker from Hawaii and never moved to the continental U.S. He went on to found his own system of Chinese Kara Ho Kempo. Thanks to William Chow and his father, the crucial link has been restored as well as preserved. They have been responsible for circular movements having again found their rightful place in the Kenpo system.

Naturally, it is how you apply circular movements in today's environment that will render the true validity of their significance and importance. Now that circular movements have been brought back into perspective, regardless of modern innovations to make them practical, we can truthfully say that American Kenpo salutes China as its original and prime source of ascendancy.

However, while respect and credit will always be accorded to China, we are not obligated nor compelled to be subservient to them." (Parker, 1982).

Mr. Parker was a legend in the Martial Arts and has made a lasting impact on the Martial Arts in America and world wide. He has many widely recognised students and some that are very skilled, but not as well known. Many of them reside outside of the U.S.A with a strong following in England, Jersey, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and across Europe.

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