Quest for Peace
by S M Baer Parker
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
– Lao Tzu
Peace Keepers & Peace Makers
The seeds of my peace quest were planted in my childhood when I was surrounded by Martial Artists whom I call;
'The Peace Keepers.'
Martial Arts Peace Keepers are expert protectors trained to keep the peace by delivering instant justice.
Peace Keepers come to their power and skill by way of intense training in kinetic disciplines of mind and body; cultivating physical speed, stamina and endurance.
The Peace Keeper's range of abilities are powerful enough to annihilate any attacker and deliver a verdict of justice instantly.
It's pretty impressive.
Martial Arts Peace Keepers have a passion for justice and take the role of guardian, protector and Keeper of Peace in public and private settings.
Peace Keepers have a noble and important place in society.
EMBRYONIC PEACE MAKER
When Ed and Leilani Parker are your parents you don't automatically know it's a big deal that your dad's friends have names like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Benny "The Jet" Urquidez.
It takes awhile to know things when you start at zero but before I knew much of anything on earth I found out that my dad Edmund Kealoha Parker Sr. was a big deal.
But I was just a kid so 'meh.'
The situation was that my dad was Senior Grand Master and Founder of the American Kenpo System and was titled by Black Belt Magazine as the Father of American Karate.
For me that meant that people all over the world apparently needed my dad to come teach them his American Kenpo System.
So what does a 1st American Karate kid do when they have dads like mine who are gone a lot?
Well, you get to know the Martial Arts Masters on tv and in the movies.
But who were these tv and movie Martial Arts Masters that were influencing me?
WERE THEY PEACE MAKERS?
1 Kwai Chang Caine - Kung Fu TV,
2 Mr. Miyagi - The Karate Kid, 3 Splinter the Rat - Ninja Turtles
4 Sr Master Oogway - Kung Fu Panda, 5 Master Yoda - Star Wars
SAME COIN OPPOSITE SIDE
Early Childhood Development studies note that children's brains are shaped moment by moment as they interact with their environment.
As a matter of fact the first few years of life more than one million neural connections are formed each second; a pace never repeated again.
With that said, I should mention that my dad's early childhood environment and my early childhood landscape were vastly different.
You could say our childhood's side by side were like yin and yang.
At 11 years of age my dad actually saw people get killed in his neighborhood during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Trauma and imagery like that undoubtedly sealed my dad's path in life.
Juxtaposed to the war and mayhem interrupting my dad's life; my life unfolded peacefully in the idyllic foothills of Pasadena California.
The landscape of my youth was filled with Rose Parades, yellow happy face stickers and peace signs while John Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' played in the background on a transistor radio.
Mine was a typical American kid's life with occasional fun like going to movie releases with friends, hiking in the mountains or chilling at the beach on the weekend.
Oh, and my family hosted a half dozen Karate Tournaments annually in the states of California and Hawaii.
The biggest tournament we hosted was the Long Beach International Karate Championships which was attended by tens of thousands of people from around the world. There's that.
Martial Arts in my era didn't get started for kids until I was a teenager. In those days the Karate schools were filled with approximately 95% grown men. That wasn't a big draw for a kid like me because there were no other children in the classes.
Add to that the stereotypical generation gap where young and old battle for their own ground.
The way it worked in my home is my dad didn't push and I didn't pull.
INFINITY & CHOCOLATE SODA
Well... there was that weekly chocolate soda my dad bribed me with if I trained. That did have pull. But true confession, I only trained for the soda.
Generations, minds and lives take shape in distinct cultural times and seasons.
In August of 1964 my dad invited his friend Bruce Lee to do a demonstration in Long Beach at our Annual Parker Family International Karate Championship Tournament.
Hollywood was apparently watching Bruce Lee at the tournament and caught the Martial Arts fever. They caught it real bad.
Almost overnight Martial Arts actors appeared in television and movies dazzling people all over the world, including women and children.
Martial Arts schools couldn't pop up fast enough and in Pasadena there were even more Karate schools than McDonald's restaurants. To be exact there were 47 Martial Arts schools and 3 McDonald's restaurants.
The Martial Arts icon on screen offered a mindset that had great appeal for any age category. These were characters loaded with wisdom and mastery that made you want to arm yourself with deep philosophy and peaceful conflict resolution capacities.
I wholeheartedly believed that the refined self-defense moves shown on screen were real. I also believed the plausibility of dropping multiple combatants to the ground with a nerve activation or split second move timed just right.
These characters on screen could stroll into the white embers of a fight, end the conflict in an instant and with breeze burning walk away while admonishing "dying ain't much of a living boy."
Cool is cool. There had to be training like that somewhere...
QUESTIONS BECOME QUEST
Kids asking questions cause problems.
Do Peace Makers like the ones in the movies exist?
Are there any schools that train Peace Makers?
Are there fight techniques that make both sides win?
Can you defend yourself and not hurt the attacker because you are cousins?
That will produce some surly answers for sure.
I asked a lot of questions and found out the hard way that the topic of peace is quite troubling to some Peace Keepers. Especially Peace Keepers who prefer conquest.
So I might have been accused of being a trouble maker before but if you are going to have a quest you need a hard one; one that causes waves.
Stephen King said, "we never know which lives we influence or when or why."
My dad knew he influenced me, he knew when and he knew why; it was observably deliberate.
He taught me to think for myself and it was important to him that I stand on my own achievements and be my own man. I was out of High School and ready to spread my wings and fly.
So in the late 1970s armed with two scholarships I booked a one way flight from LA to Honolulu and entered my University years to pursue an Art Degree on the North Shore of Oahu.
College life in Hawaii fortified my autonomy, passion and inspiration in the arts and technical creative work industry. It was my first look at life outside of the Martial Arts and I was making my mark.
Hawaii was a time of development and high achievement; right up to the U-Turn flight home to Pasadena.
My dad's phone call asking me to work with him using my creative and artistic talents was a pivotal moment in my life. He needed my help to document his life in publications and film.
So I did what a good son would do. I returned home and started working with my dad. My dad and I worked together for almost a decade.
Then December 15, 1990 happened.
The day my dad died suddenly in the baggage claim department at the Honolulu Hawaii airport.
That was the day I hit the wall.
John Lennon said, "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."
I found out death does the same thing.
Like the driver heading down life streets and alleys deep in conversation with your dad sitting in the passenger seat and suddenly without warning he's out of the car.
Staring in the rear view mirror and wondering what just happened you sit there in a daze at full stop in the intersection of your life.
Then you remember your dad's baggage filled with a lifetime of concepts and teachings right there in the baggage claim of your mind.
The decade that my dad and I shared as father and son working together documenting his vision and works accounted for thousands of hours of collaboration and synergy.
Behind me lie mountains of minute details that my dad laser printed in me tweaking my mind scope so I could see accurately and clearly through his mind's eye to 'get his vision.'
Some of my dad's friends even told me after he died that my dad confessed to them how he'd cleverly try to 'piss me off' so he could harvest my efforts. Because he knew if I got pissed off I would come up fighting resulting in me producing more and better. And it worked.
This is a trait that lives in me to this day. Thanks Pops.
I'd gladly let my dad piss me off again today just to have him back. His absence was a cruel joke.
And so the years after he was gone commenced the biggest fight of my life to flush out first everything I could learn as a Kenpoist in the Martial Arts;
Then second by way of my OCD and laser fixation on organizing the Paxtial Arts into a legitimate Non-Combative and Peaceful Self Defense Art.
When my dad brought me home to work with him it was so I could see into his MIND and 'get the SCOPE of his VISION.'
He called me home to work with him because he had a dream that he was going to die. Then he did.
Future really does prove past.
LIFE MOVES ON
I realize now how much the Martial Arts Peace Makers in movies and tv affected my inner thought processes.
I knew it wasn't real. Or was it??
And so goes the volley of thoughts and introspective inquisitions of self and truth.
Not one to dwell on inquisitions of self I moved on with question marks in the backseat of my mind.
Randomly I was led to back alleys and basements of various Chinatowns in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Hawaii.
I talked to the Chinese Masters who knew and respected my dad.
By the way they look exactly like the Masters in the movies.
I asked them questions about the mysterious moves on the big screen and if they are real.
Let's just say that's a helluva line of questioning if you ask the right person.
There are no direct answers to questions about mysteries born out of ancient cultures.
The Masters I met didn't give straight answers; they just showed me things that blew my mind.
These conversations were filled with clues meant to mind munch on over time.
Which is WHY these moves are rarely seen and definitely not explained.
Answers don't come from time spent on a mat. They come when your Mind has matured enough to have the right Adjusted Mental Scope.
Answers come when ego is gone and open spiritual channels of awareness exist.
A Master opens the Mind to pure understanding and knowledge about things like the Universal Laws of Duality, Yin-Yang and Tai Chi Energy.
To become a balanced Master you must develop with equal energy your MIND, SOUL and BODY on the Yin side as well as on the Yang side of life.
Without opening this spiritual balance and dimension in the quest for Mastery a student is simply performing empty and lopsided movements that have no meaning to self or the world around you.
This is why most Masters are old; like Yoda.
It takes time and life; life and time.
OPPOSITES & REVERSES
It is said that 80% of amputee patients experience Phantom Pain in the missing limb.
Scans show that amputees with Phantom Pain have the same pattern of brain activity as individuals with both hands.
It's a great metaphor of my dad and I because his sudden absence had the same effect on my life. Phantom Pains.
Detailed conversations we had would flash in my mind like he was still there along with his reminders to me on 'HOW to THINK.'
Which is basically to 'THINK PROGRESSIVE!'
These lightbulb moments about his notes titled 'Other' and 'Specialized Moves & Methods' happened often.
If I was to nail down my biggest 'Aha!' from my dad's teachings it would be this;
There is an Opposite and Reverse to EVERYTHING.
Including the Martial Arts.
This truth cannot be repeated enough. It is a golden nugget.
I knew my dad's Mind well but he also knew my Mind. He knew that I would follow his threads of knowledge. And I did.
These were the notes he said he didn't have time to work.
So his life turned the notes over to me.
For the 33 years following my dad's passing his notes and my notes intertwined like a tapestry. I experienced key breakthroughs while traveling the world teaching Martial Arts and Testing Kinetic Theory at Seminars.
Theory came full circle; merging with discovery.
Many of my discoveries happened under the tutelage of Martial Arts Masters who shared pieces of my dad's Mind and Energy.
These Masters knew my father and loved him. So they shared with me their insights and passion about their own Style of Art.
I became very close to some of these Masters.
I gained significant knowledge and wisdom from my years of teaching Martial Arts Seminars around the world.
I met Martial Artists in my dad's circle, outside my dad's circle, on their turf and in their own cultural setting.
1 Ed Parker Sr.- Sr. Grandmaster founder of the American Kenpo System
2 Dr. Ron Chapél, - Executive Director of the Martial Science University
3 Ken Herman - Historian and Scribe of the American Kenpo System, Co-owner EPAKS inc.
4 Vladimir Vasiliev - Director & Chief Instructor Systema Russian Martial Arts, Toronto
5 Bruce Lee - Martial Artist and Actor. Founder of Jeet Kune Do, Philosopher
In Tribute to the Top Five Most Influential Martial Arts Masters who guided me to Peaceful Kinetic Discoveries; this is my public THANK YOU:
To My Dad, Ed Parker Sr., for teaching me HOW to THINK. For teaching me about the importance of balancing JUSTICE and MERCY. For teaching me that the road to the BODY and SOUL is through the MIND and HEART.
To Dr. Ron Chapél, for teaching me about nerves; where they are and how they work. For teaching me about the mechanics of human anatomy and how to understand the sciences embedded in the Martial Arts and the Paxtial Arts.
To Ken Herman, for teaching me about structure, balance, integrity and patience. For teaching me the power of leading by example and diving to the depths of intelligence while topping that with an honor code worthy of emulation.
To Vladimir Vasiliev, for instruction on the memory bank of emotion in the muscular system. For lessons in 1/2 beats, oscillation, and unconventional movement. And for teaching me the intricacies of timing.
To Bruce Lee, for teaching symbolically with a flow through nature and wisdom. For influencing me to look to nature and embrace calm. For the impact of the water/teacup metaphor of which became a central tenet of the Paxtial Arts by following the philosophy that we are the water and not the cup.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” ~Bruce Lee
We can choose whatever cup we need to fill, and become the cup that circumstances require.
The Martial cup or the Paxtial cup.
It is our choice.
Be the water, not the cup.
THE FORREST GUMP OF MARTIAL ARTS
My exposure to the Martial Arts world is vast.
For decades I have crossed paths with Martial Art Greats who gave me trainings in their Various Arts; Ala Carte style.
Martial Arts is like a Golden Corral Ala Carte Buffet, you never know what you're going to get.
This is why I am sometimes called 'The Forrest Gump of Martial Arts.'
Martial Arts Masters wanted to share with me key insights about their Arts so they trained me.
I am no fool. I know that all these trainings happened because I am the only son of Ed Parker.
I have had a blessed life.
Out of a buffet line of Martial Arts styles ONLY the meat was extracted and Ta-Da!
MMA was born.
Based on that example, it would be appropriate to say that I took the fruits and vegetables and even some desserts OUT of the Martial Arts styles that I was exposed to.
Then I ADDED IN my own Peaceful Self Defense Discoveries.
And the Paxtial Arts Peaceful Non-Combative Self Defense System was born.
The perception exists out there that the more perfect you train in Martial Arts, the more glorious your outcome in any conflict.
Osmosis is real but that's not. That is NOT real life.
This false perception noted above leads to imaginations running wild without taking careful consideration of new laws and cultural change.
I am well versed with movie production teams steeping the audience's imagination to a level where the viewer actually can SEE THEMSELF up there on the screen as the hero.
They never see themself in Jail.
Hollywood is in the business of selling false perceptions and as a kid the movie magic drew me in as well, seeding my mind with wonderment.
But my perceptions hit the wall when I witnessed and in time experienced real blood and deadly fighting for myself .
The kind of fighting that most people never see or experience in real life.
What kept coming to my mind was always the question, "are the awe-inspiring subtle maneuvers used by the Martial Arts Masters real or not?"
Because for me the subtle moves far out weighed the sledge hammer of death moves that are so prolific in the Martial Arts world and it could mean the difference between jail or no jail; death or no death.
My perceptions changed when I started looking outside the Martial Arts.
If parts of The Paxtial Arts System sound or feel familiar to you it is because these are parts I drew out of various Martial Arts styles.
The Peaceful Paxtial Arts Self Defense System is a picture of my life journey.
To quote the Australian Pastor Steve Cioccolanti:
"The problem that you see is the problem that you are called to solve.”
I saw something missing in the Martial Arts Self Defense Arena and that became the one problem I was compelled to solve.
The problem I saw was that no Self Defense Training System existed exclusively to train Peace Makers qualified to offer Mercy to an attacker through a Non Confrontational Approach and Win-Win Outcome.
And the Martial Arts world didn't notice that Justice was on the scale but Mercy was missing.
Self Defense as a whole is imbalanced with trained Peace Keepers delivering Justice Verdicts through Combat Tactics and it is the only verdict available for the assailant.
MERCY sits quietly on the scale opposite JUSTICE; waiting to be seen.
The Court of Self Defense must offer assailants one of two trained verdicts; Pay Justice or Receive Mercy.
THE MASTERS STANDARD
My dad was a Master but his life did not mimic his Master Teacher.
My dad became a Master in his own right standing on his own innovations, inspiring his students to progress their minds and thinking.
My dad’s point was to become bigger than himself. And he did.
My path is to follow my dad's example.
There are no sequels in Mastery.
When Martial Artists reach their end game most of the time they believe they can win any fight. This is a common belief.
Not so with my dad. My dad's end game was to beat his opponent's MIND first because he KNEW without a doubt that he could win the physical altercation.
It was my dad's way of delivering MERCY to anyone dumb enough to attack him.
Which was born out of his Opposites and Reverses notebook.
Today in 2023 we are living in a New Time & Season.
And the rules of life have changed dramatically.
So what's the next end game? The deadly deadly of deadly deadly x10?
Or might it be the opposite?
A Master passes on wisdom to the student who truly seeks knowledge beyond mimicry.
Those who know and understand the mysterious moves and techniques are old.
There are no shortcuts.
Now I am old.
I am at a place in time where I can pass on my own discoveries.
So I will add my own thoughts to Lao Tzu's words about a thousand miles and single steps;
It requires a thousand single steps to find out WHY it takes a Journey.
THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE
You cannot work two sides of an opposite force simultaneously.
Opposite is opposite.
Training in conflict and peace CANNOT occupy the same space simultaneously.
Therefore you must separate Martial Arts training from Paxtial Arts training.
Opposite trainings need to exist at opposite times as delivering JUSTICE is contrary to offering MERCY.
Yes, you can train in Martial Arts. Yes, you can ADD Paxtial Arts training to your school. No, you cannot merge both training regiments at the same time.
This obvious fact should speak for itself.
Martial Artists train with a particular muscle memory and with one philosophy only which is Dominate.
Martial Muscle memory in most cases is an automatic triggered response. Therefore, the only solution to two chiral opposite training styles is to train the Mind, Soul and Body at different times.
For example, training in Paxtial Arts material at a dojo takes place and on a break eyes drift over to the nunchakus on the wall and suddenly they are swinging around and the student is like 'WUT?'
Then when they go back to training Paxtial Arts they are anything but peaceful.
The Peace Maker side of the coin has to fully train with the capacity to maintain safety while at the same time offering MERCY to the aggressor.
It is the highest challenge to protect the aggressor from himself and at the same time teach Peace as the outcome YOU desire. It is tantamount to petting a vicious dog while it is trying to bite you.
THE MISSING PEACE
Until you do what you believe in you don't know if you believe it or not.
~Leo Tolstoy, Author of War and Peace
Ed Parker's Quest for Peace was written by my wife S M Baer Parker.
No one on earth knows me better than my wife.
Absent Peace in my own life it was impossible to achieve my hope of finding or teaching a Peaceful Self Defense Art.
The artist's life is a solitary life. That is how you create.
If you are not at Peace you cannot teach Peace.
The collection of valuable discoveries from my 30 year Quest for a Peaceful Self Defense Art was hollow and I was out of balance because I had no Peace.
Then came Baer my childhood friend.
Forty eight years ago Baer and I were innocent teenagers sharing a golden summer of friendship.
Life and distance took us separate ways for thirty years and in our middle age intersections crossed.
Finally in the past decade I have found Peace as my life and Baer's life became One.
Our marriage is the continuation of a flawless friendship that never died.
My life before Baer was like flying with one wing. What I can do as an orator in front of a crowd; my wife Baer can do as a writer on the page.
My thoughts and ideas written down are often misunderstood.
Baer's subtle reorganizing of my words on the page of my life healed my written language barriers.
She saw that the communication around my life wasn't clear. She understood me but outsiders didn't.
Baer said it's probably because people don't understand my blunt straight talking Hawaiian speak. She said even though I wasn't born in Hawaii I was raised in a Hawaiian home.
Baer is a talented linguist reading faces and interpreting physical body language. And Baer can write.
She would often say quietly I don't think they know what you mean.
That is how my Baer began to bridge the gaps of my life as my interpreter. And that set me free to do what I do what I love which is to invent and create.
Baer speaks 'Ed as a Second Language.' She playfully calls it 'ESL.'
And why not? She was an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Taiwan.
Baer is the Yin to my Yang and she brings decades of editing, writing and educational gifts to the Paxtial Arts.
Baer is the quiet part of the Paxtial Arts.
She has built a vast library of her photo and video journalism documenting the Paxtial journey over the past decade as well as performing countless hours of editing, writing and note taking.
Baer is my second wing. She is my marriage to balance, wholeness and PEACE.
To re-visit Tolstoy's quote about having to DO what you BELIEVE in before you know if you believe it or not. I had to have Peace before I could believe that Peace is possible.
The Hawaiian culture is a culture of warriors. War comes easy to me.
Who better than a Retired Warrior to be the Architect of a Peaceful Self Defense System?
I was a Martial Artist for decades.
And like Sun Tzu, Chuan Tzu, Socrates and Mr. Miyagi I got sick and tired of training, fighting and thinking about war and war tactics. Ten years ago I retired from Martial Arts and left culture to the furthest reaches of society in search of more Peaceful ways of solving conflict.
Martial Arts is named after the Roman god of WAR. He was a real person named Mars. He loved death and blood; he loved war. Mars represents Yang the masculine side; opposite of Yin.
Paxtial Arts is named after Pax the Roman goddess of PEACE. She was a real person. Like Mars, Pax was born into a world at war. Pax loved growing gardens, beautifying her world and teaching about Peace. She is most often seen holding a cornucopia of plenty. Pax is the feminine side; opposite of Yang.
In 1863 Leo Tolstoy began writing his now famous novel titled War and Peace. Many are familiar with Tolstoy's novel in spite of never having read the book.
Today in 2023 we can easily describe the results of war but can we easily talk about the benefits of 'Walking the Walk of Peace?'
The Paxtial Arts is a 'Kinetic Conversation of Peace.'
A legitimate Self Defense Training System in Mind, Soul and Body taking the first step in a thousand mile journey to finding a more perfect balance of opposite forces in this life.
This is about finding balance in the marriage of Mars to Pax; acting as two parts of one Self Defense Arena of Peace Keepers and Peace Makers and solving the complex puzzle of finding Peace in a world at War.
To end with a quote from my dad.
"To see is to be deceived, to hear is to doubt, but to feel, is to believe."
~Ed Parker Sr
JOIN US AS A PEACE MAKER AND LET US GUIDE YOU ON YOUR OWN QUEST FOR PEACE