Edmund Kealoha Parker Jr’s reflections on Kenpo in 2019.
With Ed’s permission as his scribe I am posting this particularly poignant and brief correspondence from Ed to a producer of a video series regarding the current state of Kenpo.
“We have just seen your channel. You’ve done good work on it. I applaud your efforts. I’d like to add a few things.
Kenpo is an interesting animal to me.
Kenpo can rear it's head as an ugly beast sometimes because it's taken out of context. Mitose's era was Mitose's era. Chow's era was Chow's era. Parker's era was Parker's era. Following Parker's era Kenpo is still struggling to acknowledge it's next era even though it's right in front of their eyes.
To refine what I'm saying there were several people like in Chow's lineage that created new branches of the arts. We know who those people are. Just as we know who those are that branched off from the Parker system. Which is pretty much everyone after my dad died.
Some of the superstars of those groups can be found in the book The Journey.
Others made their mark in different ways. Just to name a few, Tracy Kenpo, Kenpo 2000, Kenpo 5.0, UKF, and SL4 Kenpo.
Kenpo as set in motion from my dad's perspective was an evolutionary art. He often referred to it as "the art of perpetual change."
On one level I love hearing my dad's name in a video, but I don't like hearing the fact that Kenpo is broken. It is no more broken than Mitose or Chow or Emperado.
The glass is half full or half empty.
Either American Kenpo is half empty, broken, splintered, and doomed, or it is not. To me it is not broken.
I see the yearning in the martial arts community for the next Emperado, Mitose, Chow or Parker to evolve.
Sometimes one has to die to surface as that era's most influential teacher.
There are those teachers who create the master and there are those teachers who become the masters. Both have an important role. Who is to say which is greater? For one cannot be without the other. Yes, we do have influential teachers now that will never be acknowledged as to their true importance in history.
When teachers take upon the greater responsibility to influence the masses and they step out of their own ego for the greater good of all and not just the one, then they can move to the next step by inspiring, influencing, evolving and progressing the arts.
My dad’s point was not just to mimic a master in his system but to become a master in his own right, standing on his own innovations, inspiring his own students to evolve as well as he did.
In essence my dad’s point was to become bigger than himself.
And he did.
There are no sequels in mastery.” Edmund Kealoha Parker Jr
By Baer Parker