Mr. Parker began his martial arts studies in Judo and boxing then found his way into Kenpo, under the instruction of Professor William K.S. Chow while living in his native land of Hawaii. In addition, through exchanges and interactions with other martial artists such as Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto, James Lee and Professor Lau Bein, was Mr. Parker able to experiment and formulate his ideas that would later become "American Kenpo".
Mr. Parker was the President and founder of the International Kenpo Karate Association (I.K.K.A.). He was also the creator of the now famous International Karate Championships (IKC's) where Bruce Lee made his historic first public appearance. Mr. Parker was also considered the "Father of American Karate" as he opened the first commercial karate studio in the U.S. in Pasadena California in 1956.
The original developer of the art of American Kenpo Karate, Mr. Parker was a very talented, gifted and skilled with an unbelievable mind to develop what became American Kenpo. Through 40 years of experience, he built his system on principles of motion that included "Opposite and Reverse Motion", "Tailoring", "Focus" and the use of Logic. He developed many tools to aid his teaching with the creation of the "Universal Pattern", the "Equation Formula", training manuals, books and video tapes.
Mr. Parker was dedicated and was driven to create, as well as evolve, the art he called American Kenpo. He dedicated his life to the perpetuation of Kenpo. Kenpo was one of his greatest loves and he wanted to make Kenpo become a household name. He built his system to incorporate linear and circular motion, with intermittent spurts of speed and power when and where necessary, with both major and minor moves. His idea was for the student to learn motion and then tailor it to fit their body and later create their own personal style of moving, governed by principles. His extraordinary knowledge and skill of the art made him a very deadly man, yet these same skills empowered him to be a man of compassion, forgiveness, control, and self discipline.
Mr. Parker also instructed people in American Kenpo to elongate their circular motion and to "round off" their rougher, jerkier movements. Both traits are found in beginners and as one progresses, they should hone their motion to tighter circles utilizing extremely explosive, continuous and fluid movements. This is what Mr. Parker demonstrated for nearly forty years.
Mr. Parker devised his own philosophy of self defense that he tailored to his abilities and imagination. He analyzed what he was taught, dissected it and broke it down to its core elements. He was blessed with an incredible ability to analyze motion. He was an astute observer and picked up many things from many people over the years. He took those ideas, then modified them to fit his vision of a complete martial art. Mr. Parker was also very humble and always gave credit to someone else's ideas, accomplishments, talents, skills, and often acknowledging other martial artists.
Mr. Parker added concepts, principles and innovations that were not being used at the time by any other martial artist. He updated and expanded on even his own ideas and principles, always looking for better ways to do and explain things. His system is about change and evolution. It is evident by Mr. Parker's actions, writings and updates/evolutions to his own art over his 40 years in the martial arts that American Kenpo was never meant to be traditionalized. Without Mr. Parker questioning what he was taught, thinking for himself and breaking tradition, there would never be "American Kenpo".
Senior Grandmaster and 10th Degree Black Belt Edmund K. Parker, Sr. left this earth on December 15, 1990. He was just 59. Mr. Parker is dearly missed by those that knew him. There is a big void in the martial arts since his abrupt departure from life. He was an extremely kind, religious and humble man. He took the time to make everyone feel important around him. He was a great father, husband, friend and teacher. This is in his memory. He will not be forgotten.
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