Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you

Many of the people who attended the Ft. Myers seminar chipped in to get me a group birthday present. I received a gift certificate for the local shop that services my motorcycle. It is for a sizeable amount and while I don't know all your names, I do want to thank you all for it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Studio is OPEN!

All the inspections are done and we have a business license now. Kenpo classes will start on Monday, March 2nd. The new phone number is 239-362-1393.

They came, they saw, they partied

This past weekend we had a combination seminar and birthday party for my 55th. They came from around Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Ed Cabrera taught more of his kenpo/boxing fusion techniques. De-escalation was the subject of Lance Soare's seminar. After lunch our special guest, Pai Lum grandmaster Glenn Wilson shared some stories and two techniques, followed by Jack Nilon's presentation on using the eight things you can do to a technique but from the opponent's perspective. 7th degree Steve White wrapped up the seminars with a fine section on moving from the free technique to grappling. (Mr. White trains in Judo with Olympic medalist Jimmy Pedro.)

Master Wilson's Pai Lum group had come down from Orlando to be with us and the two groups meshed well. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with my friend for an hour or so and get caught up. We've known each other for 29 years and hadn't been in touch until recently. It was great to get reacquainted and I plan to keep the connections open. They surprised me with a gift that I will treasure, a Pai Lum family katana. I was blown away.

That evening we gathered at the home of one of my black belts, Bob Brandt. Long-time and new friends, students and family members enjoyed a cool evening with music, great food, and even some "dancing girls". I was swamped with generous and unexpected gifts and I thank everyone for those. I have to say I got one or two with no tags and one with no name by mail, so I don't know who sent them and have no way to thank you - but if you read this, THANKS.

On Sunday, some of the out-of-town guests delayed their departures to stop and see the new studio. We had a short open house from 1-3 pm for local people and about 60 showed up. Don Espiritu's wife made a birthday cake with the Parker crest on it and it was delicious.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. I am blessed to have so many good friends who took time out to come and be with us here in Ft. Myers. I am humbled and grateful.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More of the new studio

If you've been following the previous entries, I updated them with more "before" photos.

This one is the mat area getting closer to being done. Here are some more of nearing completion.

Jack Nilon is excited.

The lobby area.

Mat area.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Before photos

The studio will be opening later this week at 12451 Metro Pkwy, Unit 104.

I found some more photos of the new studio location before we took over.

Birthday Bash

My sister Mary and Jack Nilon, with the assistance of many others, have planned a birthday weekend event from me here in Fort Myers. Last evening at Mike Squatrito's school in Cape Coral, Bruce Meyer taught a kids seminar to kick off the weekend. Close to 20 attended. He did a wonderful job, as always. I love to watch him teach. Jack and Georgia's Keith Mathews assisted, they're in the photo.
Afterward, I was asked to stand in front of a sizable group of people who were there to say a few words. I was wondering where the blindfold and rifles were. I was then overwhelmed by the words of many of my friends, students and family members - so much so that I don't remember saying Thank You. And I do thank you all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The NEW Ft. Myers studio

We passed our last inspection and are waiting for our occupancy certificate and business license. In the meantime, I though you'd like to see some before, during, and after photos of the new facility.
This was the outside.
This was the lobby before.

This was what would become the mat area.

This is that back area in the works.
Here's the lobby (now office), from the other side.

Lobby from the front door. We moved that counter.

Lobby from the opposite side.

More to come.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An attitude of gratitude

I read the e-mails below and give thanks again that I was so fortunate to have known Mr. Parker and am able to pass that experience on.

Hi Mr. Wedlake,

I finished reading your new book last night. Great job! I thoroughly enjoyed reading those experiences you shared. Thanks so much for your hard work.

Rocky Fails


I just finished your latest book, Lessons with Ed Parker, and really enjoyed it. Although I have been a instructor of Kenpo since 1968, I never met the Master, nor did I ever attend one of the International Karate Championships. Indeed my Kenpo circle has been small. So I thank you for allowing me to meet SGM Ed Parker through your book.
Yours in Kenpo

I just finished your new book and wanted to give you some feedback.Not having the privilege of meeting or training with Mr. Parker, it was a pleasure to gain insights into the founder of our great system. You have allowed us all to be that "fly on the wall" and I am grateful that you chose to share those treasured memories. Thank you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A story omission

I recently reconnected with one of my Chicago black belts, Bill Roma. I had sent him a copy of Lessons with Ed Parker since he had been there for many of the events in the book. He said "You left the best part out" regarding the story in the book about being in a Chinese restaurant one night with Mr. Parker and a group of my students. The entertainer there was a Hawaiian man who recognized Mr. Parker and acknowledged him. What Bill reminded me of was that the man said, 'You white guys, when you were young, wanted to grow up to be Roy Rogers. In Hawaii, we wanted to grow up to be Ed Parker."
Also, the man pointed out that the author of On Golden Pond was there as was the mayor of Gary, Indiana. All in this cheesy place in Tinley Park, Illinois on a Saturday night. Who'd have thought?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recent article

I had an article published in Mentor, the monthly publication of the National Association of Flight Instructors. I had written it a while back and hadn't heard anything about it after submission, so I was very surprised when I opened this month's issue and saw it in there. The nice thing about it was that I got feedback from a New Mexico check pilot and the magazine editor asked me if he could distribute it to the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol because they asked if they could send it to all their pilots.
I have a few of these things lurking somewhere, waiting for publication. One's at Black Belt, another at Journal of Asian Martial Arts, and one in an encyclopedia. I'm working on another one for my Members Only section about group dynamics, and Marc Rowe and I have discussed one on concussions.
If you have the bug to write, do it! Jump through all the hoops to be accurate and don't be afraid to ask for help. You never know who you might help or trigger an idea in.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another new studio opening

In the Land of Oz, Tony Perez and Simon Rea are opening Studio Plus - Health, Fitness and Martial Arts at units 35/36, 302 South Pine Rd. Brendale Queensland, in Australia on March 7. Contact is

Looks like they'll have a host of classes in a variety of subjects. I wish them well.

Get to know the Doctor

If you read my blog regularly you've read "The doctor is in" articles submitted by Marc Rowe.

Marc is a fascinating guy and he's going to be included in a book. The following are from a draft sent to him about a conference and the book, both of which focus on how adversity in the workings of the mind are dealt with, resulting in personal success.

Proposed Title (up to 250 characters): “Never Trust a Surgeon Who Can Spell or an Astronomer Who's a Fast Reader" -- Recognizing the Advantages and Paradoxes of Dyslexia in Medicine, Surgery, Astronomy, Physics, Molecular Biology, Paleontology and Other Sciences: Neurological, Developmental, and Educational Implications.

The new book will feature profiles of dyslexic scientists such as the late William J. Dreyer, a Caltech professor who used his highly visual imagination to see things in molecular biology and immunology well before others -- and in so doing helped to start the biotech revolution, developing one new theory 12 years ahead of others in the field, creating new sets of data by inventing his own new instruments (first automated protein sequencer, 1977) and starting seven new biotech companies. Another profile in the new book will focus on John R. (Jack) Horner who flunked out of the University of Montana seven times but is now known as one of the three most important paleontologists in the world. The new book is to include a review of the advantages of dyslexia and strong visual and 3D thinking in a range of occupations: surgery, radiology, dermotology, molecular biology, nanotechnology, physics, astronomy, engineering, navigation and piloting of boats and ships, stunt pilots, military pilots, architecture, industrial design, among others.

Marc I. Rowe, MD, currently retired, was Benjamin R. Fischer Professor of Surgery and Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Surgeon in Chief, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is a graduate Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors from Brown University, received his M.D. (AOA) from Tufts University School of Medicine, and trained in general and pediatric surgery at Boston City Hospital and Columbus Children’s Hospital. He is past President of the American Pediatric Surgery Association, was Associate Editor of Journal of Pediatric Surgery, and was the winner of the prestigious Ladd Medal for Pediatric Surgical Excellence from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The editor of 5 books, he is the author of 186 articles in peer-reviewed journals and of 98 book chapters. Currently living in Florida, he is Visiting Professor at the University of Miami Department of Surgery. In his early schooling, Dr. Rowe had severe learning problems. He was warned never to even try college and he was signed up for a welding course to begin when he graduated from high school.

If learning is difficult for you, take heart from the proposed titles;

In Medical school, Surgery Was Like Coming Home or Surgery Was Easy -- But Elementary School Was Murder!

Dr. Rowe will discuss how he rose from the "dumb class" in elementary school to become Professor of Pediatric Surgery and winner of the highest national award for surgical excellence.

More commentary

This is one reason why I wrote the books.

Dear Sir,

I have enjoyed your books very much. The insights are very enlightening. I feel knowing where you come from is essential to where you are going. You have provided an important base from which to journey from. Capturing this part of our art is critical for its legacy to continue and I commend you for doing so.
K Corning
Dover, MA

Thanks, Ken.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More memories

This is from one of the "old-timers" who knew Mr. Parker.

Hey Lee,
Just finished your new book. and as usual and like all your work it was fantastic. It brought back many fond memories of my training with SGM Parker. So I know all that was written to be true and valid as usual. I was also surprised to read a story of one of my Linguica "incidents". I would like to share with you another true incident that happened in the mid 1980's at a Revere, MA tournament held by the Cogliandros. I and Lance Soares attended this one also and as usual we had to bring Master Parker his staple of Portuguese Sausage (About 10 lbs. of it). Well, the tournament was held in the Revere High School gym and he was located at the end of the area conducting a ring where forms where being judged. After the trophies where given out I presented him with his prize. His eyes lit up (like they usually did) and he said, "Come with me". He then proceeded to walk through four rings that where in the process of students performing their Kata. Ya, I was right in back of him and tried to stop him from disrupting the contestants, but he was hell-bent in getting to the front of the gym where the concession stands were so that he could put his package on ice so it would not go bad (Linguica is a Pork product). Well needless to say, I was called many a name from the judges and had more dirty looks thrown my way than I care to remember. Ya, I put my face to the ground and, not looking up, followed. When we did get to the concession stand he went in back where they where selling soda/drinks and proceeded to pull out different beverages so that he could put his package on ice, I looked at the lady proprietor and said "It's OK, he's Ed Parker". He then gave me the Kenpo Hug, and went back to judging. I stayed behind for Lord knows how long waiting for people to forget who I was. Hope you enjoy this story, and you are welcome to share it with others. Leo Lacerte

Mr. Lacerte teaches in New Bedford, MA.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bok Leen Pai Kenpo and Feb Camp

We'll have a special guest this month at the "55 is the new 35" camp here in Ft. Myers on Feb 21st. Sifu Glenn Wilson of Orlando is an old friend and will be attending. He's got a new book in the works called Bok Leen Pai Kenpo. It will be published by Unique Publications.
Those of you who got the recent newsletter may have tried to call the info number on it for the camp. It was a misprint and should be 239-826-3378. Sorry for the confusion.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book feedback

It seems that my latest book, Lessons with Ed Parker, has taken quite some time to get delivered to people who pre-purchased. I started sending them about two weeks ago and I'm getting reports that they just arrived. I don't know why but at least they're getting there. Here is some feedback on the book from two men who knew him.

I just received your book yesterday. I took it home to read and had a dream that I was at a seminar with Mr. Parker. Which doesn't surprise me because your book gives that feeling of being there; not to mention it has a ton of information and reminders. I also wanted you to know that on a number of occasions I have had students ask me something about a form and I would say that's a good question let me check Mr. Wedlake's book and 99 percent of the time the answer to some obscure transition or hand position answer will be found. So I just want to thank you for all the time and effort you have put into your books. I don't think their could be any better way of expressing your respect to Mr. Parker.
Thanks, Steve

Hi Lee,
The book you wrote was great. It was like walking down memory lane.
When I was reading I could hear Mr. Parker talking, and see him moving like it was this morning. I remember him with the black gi that did not need ironing and his wrist bandaged up. Also the stories he told standing with one leg braced against the wall, brushing his hair away from his face with his hand, at first with the grey spot in the front and later with all grey hair.I remember him doing moves on us and how it felt.
I did not know it at the time but being there for all those seminars was part of history being made I am glad I was there. We learned a lot from him and he became a friend as well. He was great at making everyone feel welcome no matter what walk of life you were from.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My new studio

I, along with Peter Annazone and Kevin Coykendall, have been very busy putting together the new studio here in Ft. Myers. Peter and Kevin are in the construction-related trades and have been hugely helpful in expediting the process.
The space we are working on is efficient and we're all looking forward to teaching there. Peter is a certified instructor in Russian System and will teach three classes a week. Kevin holds instructor rank in Filipino martial arts and will have regular classes, too.
A new Integrated Skills class will be instituted for Kenpo members along with the standard classes and cross-training in the other disciplines will be made available.
I'm planning an open house to introduce you to the facility. It looks like we're on track for a mid-February opening.