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Edmund Kealoha Parker, SR.

"Father of American Karate" "Creator of American Kenpo"
(March 19, 1931 - December 15, 1990)

Senior Grand Master Ed Parker is known worldwide as the "Father of American Kenpo Karate" and was the president and founder of the Ed Parker Kenpo school chain, as well as the International Kenpo Karate Association. Mr. Edmund Kealoha Parker was born on March 18, 1931 in Honolulu, Hawaii where he lived until 1950, when he left to attend college in Utah. He studied and earned his Black Belt in Kenpo Karate under the late Professor William K.S. Chow, one of the world's leading Kenpo Black Belt holders and innovators of the Art.

Soon after he began his study of Kenpo, Mr. Parker knew that Kenpo would become a way of life for him. He opened his first private Kenpo Club in 1954 at Brigham Young University, and his first public school in September of 1956 in Pasadena, California. This school is still opened today. Early in his training, Mr. Parker realized the need to further modify the Art of Kenpo to suit modern day fighting situations.

Professor Chow had taught Mr. Parker a number of "Master Key Movements" which provided Mr. Parker his start on becoming a creative innovator. "The Parker System of American Kenpo" is based on principals, theoretical innovations, and logic not yet employed by other systems. Mr. Parker founded the International Kenpo Karate Association in 1956 (albeit, the Kenpo Karate Association of America). He traveled frequently to share his vast knowledge of Kenpo, and he was also very active in writing books (most notable are his five volume series in Infinite Insights into Kenpo).


He was a graduate of Kamehameha High School (1949), Honolulu, Hawaii, where he was born and raised. Mr. Parker had a B.S. Degree from Brigham Young University (1956) with a Major in Sociology and Psychology, and a Minor in Political Science.

He has been 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 nationwide; martial arts magazines worldwide; articles in the World Encyclopedia and many others.


He appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, including Revenge of the Pink Panther and
Curse of the Pink Panther. In addition, he taught Karate to nearly every big name actor and actress in Hollywood of his time -- 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. He had also been a technical advisor for motion pictures and TV.

Mr. Parker spoke, lectured or put on exciting demonstrations at high schools, colleges, civic clubs, clinics, tournaments, church groups, youth groups, and a variety of other venues. He was a highly sought-after speaker and his Karate demonstrations were famous nationwide and worldwide. He was in great demand throughout the world to put on his blinding demonstrations of speed, skill and power along with giving his picturesque analogies when explaining the art so all could understand. He frequently put on seminars and demonstrations in Australia, England, Spain, Ireland, Chile, Venezuela and had many worldwide government officials as his students.

Throughout the years Mr. Parker authored many books: Basic Kenpo Book, Kenpo Karate, The Women's Guide to Self Defense, Secrets of the Chinese Karate, A Guide to Law Enforcement, Home Study Karate Workshop Course, A Guide to the Nunchacku, 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 to Black), and his revolutionary Encyclopedia of Kenpo. Instructional video tapes are also products of his endeavors to enlighten others of the merits of Kenpo.

Mr. Parker annually produced what was then 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 rested 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 endeavors establish him as the ONLY Senior Grand Master of the system, the original author of the training material. Mr. Parker was a close friend, teach, and mentor of 26 years. On December 15, 1990 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mr. Parker passed away at the age of 59. That was a very sad day for Kenpoist all over the world. His death was unexpected and untimely. At the time of his death, he was in the midst of completing his first series of Kenpo instructional videos and his Encyclopedia of Kenpo. Thousands attended his funeral to pay their respects to one of the world's greatest martial Arts or specifically Kenpo innovators of all time.

Although Mr. Parker has gone, his spirit carries on, and the many hundreds of Kenpoist who were fortunate enough to have known and studied with Mr. Parker, continue his legacy.


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