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The "New Masters" of Kenpo

May 21 2009 at 12:39 AM
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Rich Hale  (Login Rich_Hale)
from IP address 216.175.105.45

 
Although this post is not entirely directed at Amen Rahh, it was inspired by the previous posts where Dr. Dave and Michael Miller spent a fair amount of time beating him up over his videos and apparent declaration of Kenpo mastership. Only the next few paragraphs are directed to Mr. Rahh. The balance is directed to anyone who fits the bill.

Mr. Rahh, you seem like a nice guy. You took the Internet beating like a man and responded to several shots at your competence, experience and performance with a certain degree of wit and a lot of personality. I respect that and would no doubt like you on a personal level.

In that I dont know you personally, I cant be a judge of your fighting ability or your overall knowledge of Kenpo. On the other hand I do know Dave (very well) as he is one of my best friends and have spend a fair amount of quality/painful time on the mat with him. I also know Michael Miller and shared the mat with him as well. Hes not only a good kid, but one hell of a martial artist. I can say that kid thing, because not only am I fifty seven years old, but Ive spent 37 of those years in the Ed Parker system of Kenpo.

Please understand that I am not trying to insult you when I say this, but you are in no position to argue with the likes of these two gentlemen. In fact you should thank them for their critique and pay the way for at least one of them visit your school and help you polish up on your Kenpo.

People sometimes take on certain titles and automatically expect everyone to respect and admire them as being masters of the art. If that doesnt happen right away, they sometimes put YouTube videos up expecting everyone to now suddenly become aware of their greatness. Unfortunately, it seldom goes down exactly the way they expect.

I know its quite the reality check when someone critiques your video saying things like; it lacked power, focus and form. They may even say the demonstrator seemed to have little understanding of Kenpo at all, let alone the Ed Parker System of Kenpo. Inflamed the standard issue comeback seems to be, Well lets see you post a video Mr. Smarty Pants! Its easy for you to criticize me, but wheres YOUR video? As if this childish rant will somehow make their video look better by comparing it to someone who (they are hoping) is even worse than they are.

Sorry guys, videos are a stand-alone representation of you and your students in action. Comparing yourself to someone who is hopefully worse than you doesnt make you any better, it just makes you happy.

To the credit and understanding of those who make videos, I can tell you that Mr. Parker hated both still photography and video. He once complained (for a lack of a better term) about a photographer and writer, doing a magazine article on him with plentiful text and photographs. He was excited to have the article come out, because it would graphically show his art of Kenpo to the mass readership of the magazine.

When the article came out Mr. Parker was pissed! He said, they not only photographed him from the wrong angles, making him look open and vulnerable, but they actually mixed up some of the photographs and text so the sequence didnt match.

I didnt relate this story to give everyone, who makes bad videos, a way out by saying the angles didnt properly represent the performance. I simply recognize the difficulty of producing quality videos.

In that we now recognize the difficulties involved, if you still want to post a video of you or your students performing Kenpo, prepare yourself for the criticisms that come along with it. And if you call it Ed Parkers Kenpo or not, if its a video of a modified Long Form 1 by any other name, it will still be judged as Long Form 1. The same holds true for anyone who changes Five Swords into Slashing Swords, Seven Swords, Swords of Death, etc. You can call your system Dark Star Kung Fu if you want, but if its an obvious knock-off of American Kenpo it will be judged as American Kenpo.

And when wishful comparison fails to establish you as being awesome, dont resort to being a master of your own system. Its too late for that. Youre already in an Ed Parker related forum and you have already posted a video declaring yourself to be one of us . . . only better . . . because youre a master and most of us are not. So, you cant now say youre the master of your own system anyway, so the comparison to Ed Parkers Kenpo is unjustified. And if youre the master of your own Kenpo system, what are you doing in this forum and why does your system look so much like a poorly modified version of Ed Parkers?

I have good friends in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Shotokan, etc. and they would never think of posting a video of themselves on YouTube then coming here to discuss its merits, let alone defend it. So, if youre the master of your own system, please feel free to open a forum dedicated to you, your system and your followers. Im sure they would appreciate participating in a forum that is dedicated to the founder of their system as much as we enjoy participating in a forum that is dedicated to the founder of ours.

I know it could be rough getting started, but Mr. Parker had the guts to buck the system and go it on his own when he was an absolute nobody. He didnt dress up like Professor Chow and run around trying to convince everyone that he was teaching the same art as Professor Chow only better. No, he created his own system of Kenpo, called it American Kenpo, distinguishing it from his instructors art of Hawaiian Kenpo, and set out to make his own mark on the martial arts community.

This leads to the biggest issue I have with anyone who professes to be the master of their own system yet wears the same belt we do. An absolute tell-tale sign of Ed Parkers Kenpo is the very unique belt configurations worn by our 5th degree black belts and above. Mr. Parker created a bar and stripe configuration that is totally unique to our system. He did that to separate himself and his black belts from any and all other black belts, Kenpo or otherwise. Personally, when I see someone wearing a black belt with five inch red bars on the bottom and two one inch red stripes above the bars, I expect that person is a seventh degree black belt in the Ed Parker system of American Kenpo. The same holds true for two double 5 inch red bars, one above the other. By wearing that belt configuration the man is declaring himself to be a tenth degree black belt in the Ed Parker system of American Kenpo.

In case you think Im alone in this way of thinking, I suggest you walk into a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy wearing a black belt with a single red bar, on one side of the belt, covered with six to eight white stripes. Or you could walk into the Kodokan wearing the traditional red and white paneled belt of a Judo Master. In either case they too will have a certain expectation as to the knowledge and skill you are claiming by wearing those belts. Our belts and uniforms are representative of our system and our linage. If you dont want to be held to the curriculum of any given system, then dont wear the trappings of that system.

If you are the master of your own Kenpo system and youre tired of being criticized by a bunch of Ed Parker Kenpo instructors, then get out there and create an all new system of Kenpo with all new forms, sets and techniques.

And while youre at it, back up each technique with your own personal notes describing how each technique got its name, the theme of each technique - describing exactly what the technique is supposed to teach you, then add in several what-if scenarios for each technique and finish it up with a series of notes to help your students learn not only the difficult areas of each technique, but notes that will assist them in taking each technique from being primitive to mechanical and on to the spontaneous level of implementation.

When youre done with that put together an encyclopedia of a thousand, or so, terms that pertain specifically to your art - as an additional resource for your students, and then, time permitting, you can create a new and unique belt configuration to distinguish you and your students from any other Kenpo.

Maybe then you will be respected as a master of your own art instead of criticized as being a plagiarizer of someone elses.


    
This message has been edited by Rich_Hale from IP address 216.175.105.45 on May 21, 2009 12:40 AM


 
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AuthorReply

Michael Miller
(Login millhouse23)
72.72.192.78

Great post

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May 21 2009, 10:18 AM 

Rich,

It's nice to hear from you. I greatly appreciate your compliments, but it's people like you who make me who I am in the world of Kenpo. I learned a lot from you during the classes I took from you and the time I spent with you. You are a class act and a phenomenal Kenpoists who I love spending time with.

Anyway, again, great to hear from you, stud!

Michael Miller, CKF

 
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Gary A Brewer aka BGile
(Login BGile)
74.37.68.125

Re: Great post

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May 21 2009, 10:38 AM 

Yes it is, and one of the reasons I have his material he has written, and his thoughts...

Nice seeing it here Rich...

Regards,
Gary

 
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Sean Kelley
(Login 6410382)
205.188.116.80

Awesome post Mr.Hale

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May 21 2009, 11:48 AM 

...As a friend and as a person who knows Rich Hale his neutral position has always impressed me and above all he has merit in his content of words.
I enjoyed the dialogue about Ed Parker and our system of American Kenpo. Many truthful comments were refreshing to listen to as I read your post sir.
I too having known Ed Parker appreciated his teachings and his insights that he shared with manyof us. Let be 15 minutes or in hours Ed Parker was a caring man who loved people and enjoyed sharing his Principles and Concepts. But he is now gone for over 18 years and we must keep his teachings as given to us all to the next generation.
Rank is the number #1 problem in all Martial Art styles and Systems. Mr.Hebler once told me Black belts were the worst and all they wanted was more stuff, never being happy with what they already have.
I have recently changed my Belt from Black with Red Bars and stripes to a Red Belt with Black Bars and stripes. Ed Parker taught us everything has an opposite and a reverse and it is so true.
This was an idea I had about Lineage and Red stands for Bloodline and heart into the art versus show cases a ego.Besides in speaking to one of Mr.Pick's fellow brothers in the military Ranger Gary O'Neal he being of Indian culture and has a system called the "The Warrior Arts" he made a profound comment that Blood is thicker than water and family is a top priority in his way of thinking and it must be recognized, so he to has adapted this way of thinking and has designed his Belt the very same way.
Ed Parker did not copy Professor Chow but he did respect him and always mentioned this in his travels and reading litature.
Mr.Hale I admire your writing, thinking and above all your calm manners that I too get reminded about why being of older in wisdom is a cycle I can only be excited to reach too as being 47 years old can only wait for the next few years will allow me to duck more often than swing back as it is first thrown in public or on Forums.
Thank you for coming up and stepping up to the plate and making it a pleasant read!!!!!


TCB....Sean Kelley

 
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jbkenpo
(Login jbkenpo)
208.252.21.146

Respectfully disagree with the belt color change

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May 22 2009, 1:30 PM 

"Protect the sacred things.."

There is history and tradition tied to the Black Belt that goes far beyond your time in the martial arts. Why try to change that? Each rank was awarded to you. It isn't your place to swap it out for some other multi-color variation (your a whatever degree "Black" belt not "Red" belt).

It would seem that a true representation of opposite and reverse would be like your previous mentor, Mr. Planas who doesn't wear stripes, so he reversed the multi stripes to a plane Black Belt and then his time in rank has worn the belt to fray and show the white, representing the opposite of Black.

Add a patch, add a tattoo, etc...but leave the belt alone.

jb

www.ikenpo.com

 
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Sean Kelley
(Login 6410382)
205.188.116.80

You have the right to the opinion...but

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May 22 2009, 4:56 PM 

Huk used to wear his stripes while the "old man" was still around and if he chooses not to display them then that is his choice. Let me remind you of this...rank is not only given by instructors in this world, rank is also given to Seniors by their chosen following and that is a fact.
Even Mr.Parker had a teacher and I have photos of him wearing 7 stripes before the Bar was adopted in the system.
My respect and devotion is not judged by material items but it is by my actions as I do travel to share what it means to me as an enjoyable career from those who were my teachers both past and present. Thank you for your opinion and I respect your thinking but many have made changes both positive and negative since 1990.
I live a life of passing on the art to those who enjoy my company, ability to communicate and with honor.Let's leave his Legacy in the hands of the future generations by us all making it possible for them to learn as much as possible ...NOW!
I salute anyone who keeps the Flame Alive and Burning!!!!

TCB....Sean Kelley

 
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Clyde T. O'Briant
(Login ClydeT)
98.165.199.227

OK

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May 23 2009, 7:33 AM 

You know, if you had created your own system, I would understand the belt change.

I don't know what Mr. Pick thinks about your new belt, but I'm hoping Larry would slap me back into last week if I did something so glaringly disrespectful to the rank he gave me.

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

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Gary A Brewer aka BGile
(Login BGile)
74.44.162.136

Not sure!

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May 23 2009, 8:18 AM 

Probably won't answer...But!

How about the Gi? Flair is fair, or not?
The Flame, has a nice Flare to it...Hmmm


    
This message has been edited by BGile from IP address 74.44.162.136 on May 23, 2009 8:20 AM


 
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Sean Kelley
(Login 6410382)
205.188.116.80

Thank you Clyde for helping me make this a positive decision

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May 23 2009, 9:50 AM 

....I enjoy being different and take the freedom of choice as a compliment to my own Journey.
Yes, Mr.Pick has endorsed this as a acceptable maneuver and like he said, Ed Parker himself was known as a Rebel to due things a bit different than others.
Clyde, this also allows me the comfort to say we are far from being equal as 7th Degrees and this shows the immediate difference. Thank you for the idea and the reason beyond the obvious why this was carefully thought out and a decision made with dialogue with my teacher GM Michael Robert Pick...bottom line!
Everyone has their path to follow or the freedom to choose where they go or with whom they enjoy spending company with.
Mr.Parker has left us since 1990 and many changes have come and the art is very much alive and growing.
Choice is always a option in everyones Journey and I chose to grow by learning from many in the Kenpo Garden and keep that concept still going. I'm not a know it all,nor do I claim it But what I have to share is wisdom, education and insight as Ed Parker was very much in my life and I have a thing or 2 to offer to anyone who finds it of interest.
The IKKA patch is no longer the same and many have made changes in it as well since 1990. This allows us to identify ourselves as branches of his tree and we are very proud to say we had him and many of his First Generation students in our lives and appreciate their time and now must pass it on to the next generations who follow.
If my belt offends you then I invite the opportunity to come try and take it off....good luck as I will defend my Honor as it has been put through the test many of times and I can say with confidence the task is yet been accomplished...just a note of truth!
My art and my Journey is a happy road for me and I enjoy the many who invite me to share what I have to offer. I'm not offended by the comments, the stone throwing as this is nothing compared to my challenges I have encountered far greater than those who are Computer Warriors that talk tough,insult others and come off as the Kenpo Police Agents but never come out to play with the Big Boys.....I say step up and do something positive and change those that pollute our Society.
I think I have had more Little Dragons ages 3-7 in my school than you have had total in adults or any following for that matter as a note of interest. I think this speaks volumes of how popular one might be in the demand of instruction or the ability to communicate the art to the masses.
Happy to see you approve of my cloth change as this makes it even more so why it is important to have done....you can tote that in your Gun Case as well.
TCB...enjoy


    
This message has been edited by 6410382 from IP address 205.188.116.80 on May 23, 2009 10:40 AM


 
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Clyde T. O'Briant
(Login ClydeT)
98.165.199.227

OH really

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May 23 2009, 11:41 AM 

"If my belt offends you then I invite the opportunity to come try and take it off....good luck as I will defend my Honor as it has been put through the test many of times "....


OK, I'll certainly take you up on that. When the time arrives, remember, you offered. And when it happens, are you gonna run and call 911 like Bob Jones in Vegas did?

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde


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This message has been edited by ClydeT from IP address 98.165.199.227 on May 23, 2009 11:45 AM


 
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Dave
(Login CountDante)
71.248.67.170

Video?

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May 23 2009, 1:04 PM 

Can you video this epic battle and place it on YouTube?

 
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Craig Tavis
(Login chtavis)
32.158.80.21

Only on pay per view!

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May 23 2009, 1:05 PM 

I'd buy pizza and have some friends over. Be hard to explain to the regular folk why Chuck Norris is beating the snot out of the StaPuft marshmallow man.
Ct

but that's just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller

 
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Phelan,Brian
(Login liv4kenpo)
74.186.168.69

I've got a feeling..

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May 23 2009, 2:10 PM 

that you have your money on the wrong contender. Why you would choose to insult Mr. Kelley and Chuck Norris is beyond me.

Brian Phelan

 
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Craig Tavis
(Login chtavis)
207.118.61.239

My apologies

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May 24 2009, 11:59 AM 

The Chuck Norris thing is an inside joke. Not funny for all. Mr. Kelley would certainly understand that should I not comment under these circumstances my friends and family would be looking for pods in the basement.
CT

but that's just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller

 
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Sean Kelley
(Login 6410382)
64.12.116.80

No Problem Craig... still laughing here...

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May 24 2009, 12:51 PM 

Enjoy the dialogue and the humor!!!!

TCB....Sean Kelley

 
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Phelan,Brian
(Login liv4kenpo)
74.186.168.69

pods?

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May 24 2009, 9:31 PM 



Brian Phelan


    
This message has been edited by liv4kenpo from IP address 74.186.168.69 on May 24, 2009 9:33 PM


 
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Craig Tavis
(Login chtavis)
75.106.192.58

Pop Culture?

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May 25 2009, 6:58 PM 

Egad Brian! You've never seen "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" in any of its incarnations?

Oh what a sad world we live in.

CT

but that's just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller

 
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Clyde T. O'Briant
(Login ClydeT)
98.165.199.227

From the original

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May 25 2009, 7:26 PM 

[img][linked image][/img]

Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

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Dave
(Login CountDante)
71.248.67.170

Not StaPuft

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May 23 2009, 5:52 PM 

More like Bobby Hill.

 
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Clyde T. O'Briant
(Login ClydeT)
98.165.199.227

You're killin' me here ROFL

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May 23 2009, 5:57 PM 

[IMG][linked image][/IMG]
[IMG][linked image][/IMG]


Have a great gun carryin' Kenpo day

Clyde

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Trhttp://webwarper.net/webwarper.exe Example of viewinhttp://webwarper.net/ww/www.network54.com/Forum/160433/post ]


    
This message has been edited by ClydeT from IP address 98.165.199.227 on May 23, 2009 7:34 PM


 
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