The exact history of Kenpo has been lost in the antiquity of time, and consequently no definite date can be established to when it actually began.
Bits of information seem to indicate that Kenpo, as it is known today, may have been practised in India and China as long as five thousand years ago!
Although the true origin is obscure we do know that the art found its way across to the Hawaiian Islands. It was here that Mr Parker, a native of Hawaii, learned the art under one of the world’s leading black belt holders, Professor William K.S Chow.
In addition to Professor Chow’s modifications, Mr Parker had also realised the need to revive the old methods to cope with modern day fighting. The system that you now learn at Total Defence is unique, practical, and realistic and encompasses sound logic, reasoning and innovations not yet employed by other systems. This is the fifth system or to be more specific “The Parker System of Kenpo”.
Mr. Ed Parker was the foremost authority and instructor of Kenpo Karate in the United States and was known worldwide as “Mr. Karate”. He was the “Founder of American Kenpo”, the president and founder of the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate Studio chain, as well as the International Kenpo Karate Association. He was the Father of American Karate having originated the first American version of Karate. He commenced teaching professionally in Provo, Utah in 1954. He opened his first professional Karate studio in the United States in Pasadena, California in 1956.
He was featured in National and International magazines: Time, Look, Strength and Health, Show Business Illustrated, Iron Man, Action Karate, Black Belt, Karate Illustrated, Official Karate, Inside Kung Fu, American Karate, and Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated; in newspapers nation-wide; Martial Arts’ magazines worldwide; articles in the World Encyclopaedia and many others.
He appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, including Revenge of the Pink Panther and The Curse of the Pink Panther. In addition, he taught Karate to nearly every big name actor and actress in Hollywood — including, Robert Culp, Joey Bishop, Jose Ferrar, Rick Jason, Nick Adams, Frank Lovejoy, Robert Wagner, Elvis Presley, Natalie Wood and Elke Sommer, to name a few.
Ed Parker Mr. Parker was well known for his exciting demonstrations at: high schools, colleges, civic clubs, clinics, tournaments, church groups, youth groups, etc. He was a highly sought-after speaker and his Karate demonstrations are famous in the United States and worldwide. He was in great demand throughout the world to put on his blinding demonstrations of speed, skill and power along with his picturesque analogies when explaining the Art so all can understand. He frequently travelled giving Seminars and Demonstrations in Australia, England, Spain, Ireland, Chile, Venezuela, and Greece and has many worldwide government officials as his students.
Throughout the years Mr. Parker authored many books: Basic Karate Book, Kenpo Karate, The Women’s Guide to Self Defence, Secrets of Chinese Karate, A Guide to Law Enforcement, Home Study Karate Workshop Course, A Guide To The Nunchaku, Infinite Insights into Kenpo (Volumes 1-5), The Zen Of Kenpo, Kenpo In The Streets, Speak With A Knife, Speak With A Club, Everyday Gestures That Can Save Your Life, Answers To Multiple Attacks On The Street, Inside Elvis, Accumulative Journals (Yellow – 5th Black), and his revolutionary Encyclopaedia of Kenpo. Instructional videotapes are also products of his endeavours to enlighten others of the merits of Kenpo.
He was a graduate of Kamehameha High School (1949), Honolulu, Hawaii where he was born and raised. Mr. Parker has a B.S. Degree from Brigham Young University (1956) with a Major in Sociology and Psychology, and a Minor in Political Science.
Mr. Parker founded the world’s largest and foremost Karate tournament, the International Karate Championships in Long Beach, California. Mr. Parker was also a consultant and advisor to numerous other Karate tournaments worldwide.
Mr. Parker’s uniqueness rests in his continuous efforts to combat traditional restrictions binding progressive thinking. He was truly a creative genius because of his incredible ability to discover the problems within the Martial Arts. His contributions and innovations are endless; encompassing logic and reasoning not yet employed by others. His four decades of experience, contributions, and endeavours establish him as the Master of our system, the author of our training material, and the final voice of approval.
On the 15th of December 1990 Grand Master Ed Parker passed away of a heart attack. He left no chosen successor to continue his legacy.
I had the privilege to meet Me Parker back in the 80’s. He was a very special man who could fill the room with his presence. He had a wicked sense of humour and just to be acknowledged by him made you realise that you were part of something very special, our Kenpo family. We have a lot to thank him for.