Getting Started is the Hardest part…. If you are new to or just thinking about the martial arts, I'd like to take a moment to encourage you. It's often said that the most difficult step in martial arts--the one that requires the most courage, is that first step. It takes guts to walk into a strange environment and step onto that mat for the first time.
If you've found a good school and most of them are you will find that the people there will make you feel welcome.
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Everyone there from the newest student to the senior instructor of the school are on a journey of continual learning, self improvement and growth. It won't be long before you are no longer "the new student", maybe you will have earned your first belt, who knows?
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Ed Parker's father enrolled his son in Judo classes at the age of twelve. Parker received his Shodan in Judo in at the age of eighteen. He began his Kenpo training at age sixteen and by the time he achieved the rank of brown belt he was already expanding upon ideas he had learned from his Chinese-Hawaiian teacher, William Kwai Sun Chow.
In he was promoted to the rank of black belt in Kenpo. 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 and called his style, American Kenpo Karate. Parker was significantly influenced by the Japanese and Okinawan interpretations prevalent in Hawaii. Parker's Book Kenpo Karate, published in , shows the many hard linear movements, albeit with modifications, that set his interpretations apart.
All of the influences up to that time were reflected in Parker's rigid, linear method of "Kenpo Karate," as it was called.
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Between writing and publishing, however, he began to be influenced by the Chinese arts, and included this information in his system. 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. Woo a.
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Chin Siu Dek , and Lau Bun. These martial artists were known for their skills in arts such as Splashing-Hands, San Soo, Tai Chi, and Hung Gar, and this influence remains visible in both historical material such as forms that Parker taught for a period within his system and current principles. Exposed to new Chinese training concepts and history, he wrote a second book, Secrets of Chinese Karate published in 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.
Parker opened the first commercial karate school in the United States in Provo, Utah in In , Parker opened a Dojo in Pasadena, California. This dojo is still operating today.
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Parker was well known for his business creativity and helped many martial artists open their own dojos including notables such as Chick Norris. He was well known in Hollywood where he trained a great many stunt men and celebrities; most notable was Elvis Presley, to whom he awarded a black belt in Kenpo. He helped Bruce Lee gain national attention by introducing him at his International Karate Championships.
He served as Elvis Presley's bodyguard during the singer's final years, did movie stunt-work and acting, and was one of the Kenpo instructors of martial arts action movie actor Jeff Speakman. He is best known to Kenpoists as the founder of American Kenpo and is referred to fondly as the "Father of American Karate". Parker can be seen with Elvis Presley in the opening sequence of the TV special "Elvis in concert".
Parker wrote a book about his time with Elvis on the road.