Ed Parker

Edmund Kealoha Parker (March 19, 1931 – December 15, 1990) was an American martial artist, Senior Grandmaster, and founder of American Kenpo Karate.

Ed Parker
BornEdmund Kealoha Parker
March 19, 1931
Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii
DiedDecember 15, 1990 (aged 59)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Heart attack
StyleAmerican Kenpo
Teacher(s)William Kwai Sun Chow,
RankSenior Grand Master of American Kenpo
Notable studentsBenny Urquidez, Dan Inosanto, Elvis Presley, Jeff Speakman, Chuck Norris, Robert Culp, Mills Crenshaw, Larry Tatum


Born in Hawaii, Parker began training in judo[1] at an early age and later studied boxing. During the 1940s, Parker was introduced to Kenpō by Frank Chow, who then introduced Parker to William Chow, a student of James Mitose. Parker trained with William Chow while serving in the Coast Guard and attending Brigham Young University, and in 1953 he was promoted to the rank of black belt. Parker, seeing that modern times posed new situations that were not addressed in Kenpo, adapted the art to make it more easily applicable to the streets of America. He called his adapted style American Kenpo Karate.[2]

Success and Students

Parker opened the first karate school in the western United States in Provo, Utah, in 1954.[3] By 1956, Parker opened a dojo in Pasadena, California. His first brown-belt student was Charles Beeder. There is controversy over whether Beeder received the first black belt awarded by Parker. Beeder's son has stated for the record that his father's black belt came after Ed Parker had moved to California.[4] The other black belts in chronological order up to 1962 were Rich Montgomery; James Ibrao; Mills Crenshaw, whom Parker authorized to open a school in Salt Lake City, Utah, in late 1958 (which later became the birthplace of the International Kenpo Karate Association, or IKKA); Tom Garriga; Rick Flores; Al and Jim Tracy of Tracy Kenpo; Chuck Sullivan; Mark Georgantas; John McSweeney; and Dave Hebler.[5] In 1962, John McSweeney opened a school in Ireland, which prompted Parker to give control of the Kenpo Karate Association of America to the Tracy Brothers and form a new organization: the International Kenpo Karate Association.

Parker was well known for his business creativity and helped many martial artists open their own dojos. He was well known in Hollywood, where he trained several stunt men and celebrities—most notably Elvis Presley, to whom he eventually awarded a first-degree black belt in Kenpo. He left behind a few world-renowned grand masters: Al Tracy, head of the world's largest system of Kenpo; Bob White; Huk Plana; Larry Tatum; Ron Chapel; and Frank Trejo, who ran a school in California prior to his death.[6] Parker helped Bruce Lee gain national attention by introducing him at his International Karate Championships. He served as one of Elvis Presley's bodyguard during the singer's final years. He is best known to Kenpoists as the founder of American Kenpo and is referred to fondly as the "Father of American Kenpo." He is formally referred to as Senior Grand Master of American Kenpo.

Hollywood career

Parker had a minor career as a Hollywood actor and stunt man. His most notable film was Kill the Golden Goose.[7] In this film, he co-stars with Hapkido master Bong Soo Han. His acting work included the (uncredited) role of Mr. Chong in student[8] Blake Edwards' Revenge of the Pink Panther and again in Curse of the Pink Panther.[9] He was one of the instructors of martial arts action-movie star Jeff Speakman, and Parker assisted with the fight choreography of Speakman's film The Perfect Weapon,[10] which was released in 1991, shortly after Parker's death.

Parker can be seen with Elvis Presley in the opening sequence of the 1977 TV special "Elvis in Concert." Parker wrote a book about his time with Elvis on the road.

Death and Intellectual Property

Edmund K. Parker died in Honolulu of a heart attack on December 15, 1990. His widow Leilani Parker died on June 12, 2006. Of their five children, his son, Ed Parker Jr., founded his own self-defense system: Paxtial Martial Arts. Parker's four daughters—Darlene Parker Tafua, Beth Parker Uale, Yvonne Parker Autry, and Sheri Parker Pula—are joint officers of Ed Parker Sr.ʻs Kam IV Inc, the family business, formerly known as Ed Parker Enterprises (including Ed Parkerʻs American Kenpo Karate Studios, International Kenpo Karate Association [IKKA], International Karate Championship Tournament, and DELSBY publications), which was turned over to them in May 2006, prior Leilani Parkerʻs death. Kam IV Inc. holds the exclusive legal rights to all of Ed Parker Seniorʻs Intellectual Property.

Parker's training

Ed Parker was enrolled in Judo classes by his father at the age of twelve, and Parker received his Shodan in Judo in 1949 at the age of eighteen.[1] After receiving his brown belt in Kenpo, he moved to the US mainland to attend Brigham Young University, where he began to teach martial arts. Mr. Parker's kenposhodan diploma is dated 1953.

During this period, Parker was significantly influenced by the Japanese and Okinawan interpretations prevalent in Hawaii. Parker's Book Kenpo Karate, published in 1961, shows the many hard linear movements, albeit with modifications, that set his interpretations apart.

All the influences up to that time were reflected in Parker's rigid, linear method of "Kenpo Karate," as it was called. Between writing and publishing, however, he began to be influenced by the Chinese arts, and included this information in his system. He settled in Southern California after leaving the Coast Guard and finishing his education at BYU. Here he found himself surrounded by other martial artists from a wide variety of systems, many of whom were willing to discuss and share their arts with him. Parker made contact with people like Ark Wong, Haumea Lefiti, Jimmy Wing Woo (who developed many of the American Kenpo forms still used today),Jimmy H.Woo(Chin Siu Dek),founder and Grandmaster of Kung Fu San Soo(Tsoi Li Ho Fut) and Lau Bun. These martial artists were known for their skills in arts such as Five Family Fist Kung Fu, Splashing-Hands, San Soo, T'ai Chi, and Hung Gar, and this influence remains visible in both historical material (such as forms that Parker taught in his system) and current principles.

Exposed to new Chinese training concepts and history, he wrote a second book, Secrets of Chinese Karate, published in 1963. Parker drew comparisons in this and other books between karate (a better known art in the United States at that time) and the Chinese methods he adopted and taught.


  • 1960, Kenpo Karate: Law of the Fist and the Empty Hand. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-47-3
  • 1963, Secrets of Chinese Karate. Prentice-Hall ISBN 0-13-797845-6
  • 1975, Ed Parker's Guide to the Nunchaku ISBN 0-86568-104-X
  • 1975, Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate Accumulative Journal. International Kenpo Karate Association.
  • 1978, Inside Elvis. Rampart House ISBN 0-89773-000-3
  • 1982, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 1: Mental Stimulation. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-00-7
  • 1983, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 2: Physical Analyzation I. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-02-3
  • 1985, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 3: Physical Analyzation II. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-04-X
  • 1986, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, Vol. 4: Mental and Physical Constituents. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-06-6
  • 1987, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo: Vol. 5: Mental and Physical Applications. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-08-2
  • 1988, The Woman's Guide to Self Defense
  • 1988, The Zen of Kenpo. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-10-4
  • 1992, Ed Parker's Encyclopedia of Kenpo. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-12-0


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Secret Door Uncredited
1966 Dimension 5 Sinister Oriental
1967 The Money Jungle Cassidy
1968 The Wrecking Crew Guard Uncredited
1978 Revenge of the Pink Panther Mr. Chong Uncredited
1978 Seabo Jimbo
1978 Kill the Golden Goose Mauna Loa
1979 Seven Himself
1983 Curse of the Pink Panther Mr. Chong (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Kenpo Karate – Setting History Right 1949–1954". kenpokarate.com. March 8, 1997. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  2. ^ "History of Kenpo". KenpoNow.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Corcoran, J.; Farkas, E. (1988). Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People. New York City: Gallery Books.
  4. ^ "Ed Parker's First Shodan". kenpokarate.com. March 8, 1997. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  5. ^ "Kenpo Karate Family Tree". tracyskarate.com. 2000. Archived from the original on February 22, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  6. ^ The Godfather of Grappling (authorized biography of Gene LeBell) by "Judo" Gene Lebell, Bob Calhoun, George Foon, and Noelle Kim. 2005.
  7. ^ "Kill the Golden Goose". August 1, 1979 – via IMDb.
  8. ^ Beaver, W. (April 1991). "My Friend, Ed Parker". Black Belt Magazine.
  9. ^ "Ed Parker".
  10. ^ "The Perfect Casting?". The Los Angeles Times. January 6, 1991. Retrieved November 28, 2010.

Further reading

  • Parker, L. (1997). Memories of Ed Parker: Sr. Grandmaster of American Kenpo Karate. Delsby Publications. ISBN 0-910293-14-7.

External links

American Kenpo

American Kenpo (, pronounced KeNpo), also known as Kenpo Karate, is an updated system of martial arts based on modern-day street fighting that applies logic and practicality. It is characterized by the use of quick and powerful strikes delivered from all of the body's natural weapons, powered by rapid stance transitions, called "shifting." Beginners are introduced to basic attack responses, which comprise a larger system taught through scripted scenarios, which allow instructors a platform to share concepts and principles Ed Parker emphasized in his teachings.

The purpose of training in this manner is to increase physical coordination and continuity with linear and circular motion. Each movement when correctly executed leads into the next, keeping an adversary's "dimensional zone" in check while limiting their ability to retaliate. Should the adversary not react as anticipated, the skilled Kenpo practitioner, it is argued is able to seamlessly transition into an alternative and appropriate action, drawn spontaneously from the trained subconscious.Founded and codified by Ed Parker, American Kenpo is primarily a self-defense combat system. Parker, a Senior Grand Master, made significant modifications to the original art of Kenpo which he learned throughout his life, introducing or changing principles, theories, and concepts of motion, as well as terminology. At the time of his passing in December 1990, Parker had created: Short Form 1, Long Form 1, Short Form 2, Long Form 2, Short Form 3, Long Form 3, Long Form 4, Long Form 5 (Surprise Attacks), Long Form 6 (Bare Hands vs. Weapons), Long Form 7 (Twin Clubs), Long Form 8 (Twin Knives), 154 named (ideal phase) technique sequences with 96 extensions, taught in three phases (Ideal, What-if and Formulation Phases). Parker believed in tailoring Kenpo to the individual and would also encourage his students to explore the unknown areas of martial arts.

Parker left behind a large following of instructors who honored his teachings by implementing many different versions of American Kenpo. As Senior Grandmaster, Parker did not name a successor to his art, but instead entrusted his senior students to continue his teachings in their own way.

Bruce Lee

Lee Jun-fan (Chinese: 李振藩; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), known professionally as Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍), was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of the hybrid martial art Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen. He is considered by commentators, critics, media, and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.Lee was born in the Chinatown area of San Francisco, California, on November 27, 1940, to parents from Hong Kong, and was raised with his family in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He was introduced to the film industry by his father and appeared in several films as a child actor. Lee moved to the United States at the age of 18 to receive his higher education at the University of Washington in Seattle, and it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. The direction and tone of his films dramatically changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in the US, Hong Kong, and the rest of the world.He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest's Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978), both directed by Robert Clouse. Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, based upon his portrayal of Chinese nationalism in his films and among Asian Americans for defying stereotypes associated with the emasculated Asian male. He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources into the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

Lee held dual nationality in Hong Kong and the US. He died in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973 at the age of 32, and was buried in Seattle.


A crownwork is an element of the trace italienne system of fortification and is effectively an expanded hornwork. It consists of a full bastion with the walls on either side ending in half bastions from which longer flank walls run back towards the main fortress.The crownwork was used to extend the fortified area in a particular direction often in order to defend a bridge, prevent the enemy occupying an area of high ground, or simply strengthen the overall fortifications in the expected direction of attack.

Ed Parker Jr.

Edmund Kealoha Parker Jr. (born November 15, 1959) is an American martial arts practitioner and artist and the only son of American Kenpo Karate founder Ed Parker.

Edmund Parker

Edmund Parker may refer to:

Ed Parker (Edmund Kealoha Parker, 1931–1990), American martial artist, promoter, teacher, and author

Ed Parker Jr. (Edmund Kealoha Parker, born 1959),American martial arts practitioner and artist

Edmund Parker, 2nd Earl of Morley (1810–1864), British peer and Whig politician

Edmund Parker, 4th Earl of Morley (1877–1905), British peer and Devon landowner

Edmund Parker Jr. House, historic house in Winchester, Massachusetts

Euridice (Caccini)

Euridice is an opera in a prologue and one act by the Italian composer Giulio Caccini. The libretto, by Ottavio Rinuccini, had already been set by Caccini's rival Jacopo Peri in 1600. Caccini's version of Euridice was first performed at the Pitti Palace, Florence on 5 December 1602. Caccini hurriedly prepared the score for the press and published it six weeks before Peri's version appeared.

Gene LeBell

Ivan Gene LeBell (born October 9, 1932) is an American martial artist, instructor, stunt performer, and professional wrestler born in Los Angeles, California. LeBell has also worked on over 1,000 films and TV shows and has authored 12 books.In 2000, the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation (USJJF) promoted him to 9th Dan in jujitsu and taihojutsu. On August 7, 2004, the World Martial Arts Masters Association promoted LeBell to 10th Degree and in February 2005, he was promoted to 9th Dan in Traditional Judo by the USJJF.

Gil Hibben

Gil Hibben (born September 4, 1935) is an American custom knifemaker from Wyoming who is based in La Grange, Kentucky. Hibben designed the first line of Browning hunting knives in 1968, the American Kenpo Knife for Ed Parker, and the Rambo Knife for the films Rambo III and Rambo. Hibben's "Fantasy Knives" have been used in over 37 films and television shows, particularly science fiction, earning him the title "Klingon Armorer" from the Star Trek franchise. Hibben currently serves as a President of the Knifemakers' Guild, a post he has held for five years.

Jamie Langius

Jamie Langius (born December 1, 1954) is an American Republican political consultant and researcher, who served as a California State Assembly's Assistant Director of R.O.A.R. (Republican Office of Assembly Research), from 1995 to 1996 and Co-Director of the Assembly Republican Caucus Office of Policy Research, from 1996 to 1997. He also served as a consultant for the Assembly's Republican Member Services from 1997 to 2000.

The California Legislature presented a Resolution by Bob Margett, inspired and written by Langius for the first ever California Martial Arts Day on April 14, 1997. Langius, was a student of American Kenpo Karate and the celebration took place on the front steps of the capital in Sacramento, California. Resolutions were presented to Mrs. Leilani Parker the widow of Sr. Grandmaster Ed Parker and to Grandmaster Larry Tatum.

During the 2000 Republican National Convention, Langius had the honor to represent California's 50th Congressional District as a delegate to the convention.

Langius served in the United States Navy and graduated from San Diego State University and obtained his Single Subject Teaching Credential from National University.


Kenpō (拳法) is the name of several Japanese martial arts. The word kenpō is a Japanese translation of the Chinese word "quánfǎ". This term is often informally transliterated as "kempo", as a result of applying Traditional Hepburn romanization, but failing to use a macron to indicate the long vowel. The generic nature of the term combined with its widespread, cross-cultural adoption in the martial arts community has led to many divergent definitions. The word Kenpō translates thus: "Ken" meaning 'Fist' and "Po" meaning 'Method' or 'Law' as in 'Law of gravity', a correct interpretation of the word Kenpō would be 'Fist Method', the same meaning as 'Quanfa'. However, it is often times misinterpreted as 'the Law Of The Fist' , which appeals to those looking for a more 'imposing' or aggressive sounding name.

La morte d'Orfeo

La morte d'Orfeo (The Death of Orpheus) is an opera in five acts by the Italian composer Stefano Landi. It was first performed in Rome in 1619. The work is styled a tragicomedia pastorale (pastoral tragicomedy). The libretto, which may be by the composer himself, is inspired by La favola d'Orfeo (1484) by Angelo Poliziano. Unlike Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, Landi's opera contains comic elements.

Long Beach International Karate Championships

The Long Beach International Karate Championships is an International karate and martial arts tournament in Long Beach, California that was first held in August 1964 by Kenpo Grandmaster Ed Parker. The tournament is still in existence. Many great tournament fighters earned their stripes at this tournament, including Chuck Norris, Tony Martinez Sr., Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Billy Blanks, Jerry Piddington, and "Superfoot" Bill Wallace. The Long Beach Internationals is also where Bruce Lee was first introduced to the martial arts community in August 1964.

In 1964, Bruce Lee appeared at the inaugural tournament and demonstrated his one-inch punch and two-finger push-ups. His volunteer was Bob Baker of Stockton, California. "I told Bruce not to do this type of demonstration again", he recalled. "When he punched me that last time, I had to stay home from work because the pain in my chest was unbearable." The only existing, high quality footage of Bruce Lee's 1964 Wing Chun demonstration was filmed with a 16mm camera. The sole proprietor of this 8.5-minute-long video is a California-based company, Rising Sun Productions. The owner of this company and reported discoverer of this video is Don Warrener. Poorer quality generations of this footage can be viewed on the Internet.

Morgion (band)

Morgion was a doom/death metal band from Orange County, California, United States. Morgion was formed in 1990 by Dwayne Boardman (guitars), Jeremy Peto (vocals, bass) and Rhett Davis (drums). The band recorded their debut “Rabid Decay” demo in 1991, followed by the “Travesty” 7" in 1993. With the addition of Bobby Thomas (guitars) and Ed Parker (keyboards) in 1994, Morgion recorded a what would become “Among Majestic Ruin”, licensed for release to Relapse Records in 1997. In 1995, Gary Griffith joined Morgion as a replacement for Parker on keyboards. In 1998, Thomas departed and Griffith took on both guitar and keyboard duties. Morgion then wrote and recorded “Solinari;” released by Relapse Records in 1999. After a hiatus, 2002 saw the band moving forward with Justin Christian on Bass and an album partnership with Dark Symphonies. “Cloaked by Ages, Crowned in Earth”, the final album, was released in April 2004. Boardman and Griffith left Morgion in 2004, and the band was officially put to rest after the drummer and bassist briefly attempted to carry on and tour under the Morgion name.

On April 19, 2008, former members Boardman (vocals/guitars), Christian (bass), Griffith (cocals/guitars/keyboards) and Surowski (drums) played a short Morgion set at the Murderfest in Hollywood, California to commemorate the release of Relapse Records' "Morgion: The Relapse Years." The appearance was planned to be the "Solinari" lineup, but a fallout between members changed plans. The Relapse release contains the recordings "Among Majestic Ruin" and "Solinari," along with previously unreleased songs, demos and rehearsal tracks from the Relapse era, all remastered February 2008 by Griffith and Mathais Schneeburger (whom co-produced the albums "Solinari" and "Cloaked by Ages, Crowned in Earth").

A compilation of early demo recordings entitled "God of Death & Disease" was released in 2012 by Dark Descent Records. The original "Solinari" lineup was invited to play a one-off "reunion" gig at Maryland Deathfest in 2012, but the bassist sustained an arm injury that forced the band to reschedule the show for the following year. Just a few short months before they were set to appear at Maryland Deathfest 2013, the lineup once again suffered a fallout between members and they were forced to cancel their appearance.

Revenge of the Pink Panther

Revenge of the Pink Panther is a 1978 British comedy film. It is the sixth film in The Pink Panther comedy film series. Released in 1978, it is the final on-set performance released during the lifetime of Peter Sellers, who died in 1980. It is also the last entry to be distributed solely by United Artists, which was purchased by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1981. The opening credits are animated by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.

The Boat Race 1846

The 8th Boat Race between crews from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge took place on the River Thames on 3 April 1846. Umpired by Charles Jasper Selwyn, Cambridge won in a time of 21 minutes 5 seconds, with a winning margin of three lengths. The race was held on the ebb tide, starting in Mortlake and ending in Putney. For the first time, outriggers were used by both crews.

The New Gladiators (film)

The New Gladiators is a documentary movie by Elvis Presley and Ed Parker centered on the fights of the United States Karate team in London, England and Brussels, Belgium.

Narrated by Chuck Sullivan, it was filmed between 1973 and 1974 but finally remastered and later released in 2002.

The movie was financed by American singer and actor Elvis Presley, who began to practice karate during his duty years in the United States Army.

The Perfect Weapon

The Perfect Weapon is a 1991 martial arts action film directed by Mark DiSalle and starring Jeff Speakman, Mako Iwamatsu, James Hong, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Set in Los Angeles, the film relates the story of a young man (Speakman), who is trained in the martial art of American Kenpo, and his fight against the Korean mafia.

Speakman was a student of and was advised closely by Ed Parker in the making of this film.The film's taglines included "No gun. No knife. No equal." and "Just try him." and is the only well-known Hollywood depiction of Kenpo techniques on-screen.

The hit 1990s song The Power by rap group Snap! is featured extensively in the movie's soundtrack.

The Wrecking Crew (1968 film)

The Wrecking Crew is a 1969 American comedy spy-fi film starring Dean Martin as Matt Helm, along with Elke Sommer, Nancy Kwan, Tina Louise, and Sharon Tate. It is the fourth and final film in the Matt Helm series, and is very loosely based upon the 1960 novel of the same name by Donald Hamilton.

Chuck Norris makes his film debut in a small role.

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