Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comments on Lessons with Ed Parker

I receive e-mails about my books from time to time. This week I got two I'd like to pass on. When I wrote the book, these two gentlemen are exactly the type of people I had in mind when describing Mr. Parker to their generation of kenpoists. Their feedback, like that of others, reinforces that my concept came through.

This is from Sean Carey in Colorado. His full review is linked in his writing below.

I would like to say that I just finished reading "Lessons with Ed Parker". I found it to be an amazing read, and I wish to thank Mr. Wedlake for sharing his personal experiences, and allowing those of us who were not Mr. Parker's personal students, a glimpse of what it was like to study with SGM Parker. I met him three times at seminars, and feel privileged to have done so, but "Lessons with Ed Parker" is on my 'to read once each year' reading list, and gives me lots of material to use in my own classes. I recently posted a review (VERY positive) of the book on the website, and used a few quotes from the book to demonstrate the style of the book (with page number's referenced), I hope that is acceptable, as I directly quoted and gave credit and reference.

A full salute to Mr. Wedlake for sharing his journey with the rest of us.


Sean J. Carey
Head Instructor
Front Range Kenpo Karate
(303) 587-6486

This one is from David McVey in Georgia.

I just wanted to let you know that, I like many other Kenpoists have gone without ever meeting Mr. Parker and a book like this offers a perspective many of us never had the opportunity to see. Not only do you provide valuable information about Kenpo, but it also gives us a brief glimpse into history and what it was like to train with Mr. Parker. When I started many years ago back in the mid-nineties in San Antonio TX, fellow students and I would joke “Wouldn’t it be neat to get kicked by him?” Or one other student even said, “It’d be great to get a scar, nothing serious, but just a scar or an accidental cut and say – ‘yeah I got this from Mr. Parker at the such ‘n such seminar’.” I guess the equivalent to that would be comparing battle wounds with the guys. That’s how feverish we were then to gather as much information as we could that lead back to the source. With the advent of the internet today and the myriad of youtube videos, this helps to satiate that appetite but nothing beats the written word, in my opinion. I guess because it’s tangible.

When this book was released, I spent some time reading it and making my own notes. I found it very informative and very enlightening. Mr. Mathews and I would often discuss certain aspects of it too and it made me wonder, why haven’t other books like this have been published? On your website you stated that you had found an additional tape and was considering doing a second volume in the LWEP series. I think it’d be a wonderful addition to your library and I am sure that many of us would appreciate the information that you would provide and hear your thoughts about with Mr. Parker.

In closing, I also would like to say that I truly enjoy the lessons you provide on your books and I thoroughly enjoy the seminars I’ve attended that you’ve conducted and look forward to more.


David M. McVey

Once again, thank you all for supporting my writing habit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Guess what I found?

If you look carefully at the dates of the seminars in the table of contents of my book, Lessons with Ed Parker, you'll see there is a gap in 1983. I had Mr. Parker in to teach every six months. I found the video of his seminar in May 1983 in a box recently. So I have another 4 hours of instruction from the master. I've been considering a second book in the LWEP series with stuff that was left out and thoughts and experiences with him (their lessons from him) from other seniors in the system who trained with him. I'd like your thoughts on the idea. E-mail me at

Si vis pacem, para bellum

My latest studio t-shirt has the Latin for "Who desires peace, prepares for war". It's available ot the studio and in my online store.

Writing projects

Some of you may remember that I mentioned I wrote an entry for an upcoming martial arts encyclopedia book on Kenpo. Here's an update from the author.

Hi Lee,

All entries, our introductions to the various sections, table of contents, preliminary revisions requested by the publisher, etc. (360,000 words) are scheduled for upload to the publisher on September 1. After that come their editorial queries, formatting, and galleys. We're currently looking at a January 2010 release date. A long time coming, but I think you'll like the final product.



In addition, the Journal of Asian Martial Arts will publish the article on sleeper holds Marc Rowe and I wrote in their next issue. JAMA is the quarterly, high-brow $10 magazine you can get at a Barnes and Noble, etc.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New stuff added to my website

Those of you who are subscribers to my website will find a new article entitled Now you see it....
In July I also added some interesting documentation from Ed Parker's studio and have some more of that coming in August.
Registration for the blue belt technique seminar at my studio in Ft Myers on Sat, Aug 8 is live, as is the registration for the Form Six PDS in Chicago scheduled for Sept 12.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Variations on the Parker crest

Like a lot of people, I have a collection of patches. This particular grouping on the left is of variations on the Parker crest. At the very top are two I got from Ed Parker. One has all eight lines in the circle, the other only seven. People said the version with the missing line indicated that something was always left out or hidden in our teaching. Mr. Parker said the patchmaker just made a mistake.

This photo and others of the patch collection will be added to my website's photo gallery with descriptions.

A piece of history

When I was in high school I was part of a program in which high school students were involved in a spaceflight simulation. I had written to NASA for any info they could provide and in one of the packets I got was this, an Apollo 11 flight plan. This being the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, I remembered I had this in a box all these years. I brought it out and showed to the people at the studio and thought maybe you'd like to see it, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tai chi

I met Bob Amacker through my tai chi teacher, Tom Baeli, about 14-15 years ago. He taught a seminar for Tom's students at my studio. I sat in on it and have to say that when he said something to the effect of "If you can't do a side-kick, you're not doing tai chi", I gave a mental cheer. Bob does the ch'uan (fist) martial application of tai chi. He made a few analogies that I refer to today when I teach and his presentation confirmed once again that certain principles cross cross style and system lines.

Tom recently got an e-mail from Bob, who is currently living and teaching in Moscow. Yes, the Russian Moscow, not Idaho. Below is what Bob wrote.

Please give my best to Lee Wedlake. He is one of the few people in America that seems interested in TCC as something other than an inadequate religion, and I really appreciate his interest, more than he can imagine.

I'm sure that some of the stuff in that workshop (at Lee's) I may have revised or even contradicted by now, as my understanding is much greater than at that time.

Tell Lee that my martial explanations were actually somewhat incomplete, as I did not understand the full implications of the separation of substantial and insubstantial. One thing is for sure: T'ai Chi Ch'uan is the most sophisticated view of boxing that has ever been created, and there seems no end to its depth. How anyone can call himself a master of it is beyond my comprehension, and my respect for the geniuses who contributed to its evolution constantly increases.

Bob mirrors my thinking in that the complexities of the arts make mastery truly difficult and the level of genius is astounding. He also acknowledges that we grow over time and that what we taught in the past may not be what we teach today. I hear complaints from people that their teachers don't teach the way they did before or what they did previously. But teachers have to grow, too and that creates change. I have to thank both Tom and Bob for this short exchange. There are substantial lessons here.

You can see Bob on YouTube. His website is
Tom Baeli has a site at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy weekend

Keith Mathews was down from Canton, Georgia for a few days to train with me. I asked him to teach a class for my beginners and intermediates. They got a high-energy class! It's always fun to watch my black belts teach and Mr. Mathews did not disappoint. There were lots of grins.

On Saturday, Ed Cabrera was scheduled to teach his boxing class but his car overheated on the way down from Tampa. Not hard to understand as it's been over 100 down here lately. Keith Wadsworth and Alicia Martorelli were on their way over from the Ft. Lauderdale area to take the class and Keith volunteered to take over the class as our guest instructor. Keith has boxing experience as well as being a 3rd degree in Kenpo.

One of the big things Keith worked on was the mechanics of punching (of course) but with applications and drills to promote transference of knowledge. The mechanics of a karate punch are not all that different from a right cross. I'm always amazed to see how experienced karate people won't consistently rotate their hips when punching in a boxing class. It's like their mind says "this is a different system" so they don't apply what they already know. If they do, then we have the transference of knowledge.

Mr. Wadsworth did a fine job. It's always good to have him around.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Safest and most dangerous cities

Sent in by Tim Walker. Note that Florida has three in the top 15.

This is a Forbes list compiled from 2008 data:
Most Dangerous Cities:
1 Detroit, Mich. 2 Memphis, Tenn.3. Miami, Fla. 4 Las Vegas, Nev. 5 Stockton, Calif. 6 Orlando, Fla. 7 Little Rock, Ark. 8 Charleston, S.C. 9 Nashville, Tenn. 10 Baltimore, Md. 11 New Orleans, La. 12 Baton Rouge, La13 West Palm Beach, Fla. 14 Charlotte, N.C. 15 Philadelphia, Pa.
1. Mission Viejo, Calif.2. Clarkstown, N.Y.3. Brick, N.J.4. Amherst, N.Y.5. Sugar Land, Texas6. Colonie, N.Y.7. Thousand Oaks, Calif.8. Newton, Mass.9. Toms River, N.J.10. Lake Forest, Calif.11. Irvine, Calif.12. Orem, Utah13. Round Rock, Texas14. Cary, N.C.15. Greece, N.Y.16 Chino Hills, Calif.17 Coral Springs, Fla.18 Troy, Mich.19 Farmington Hills, Mich.20. Centennial, Colo.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Austria camp

I was at Mike Haselwanter's Sommercamp in Lustenau, Austria over the 4th of July weekend. That's Mike on the right. You can see he's a strong boy. I've known Mike for years and I finally got a chance to meet his family. He has a lovely wife and two good-looking children. He even gets along with his in-laws!
With the help of his team, he put together a very well-organized weekend event. I heard many comments on how well it came together, from class timing and subjects, food, location, transportation, the Saturday evening party on the edge of Lake Konstanz. People are already looking forward to next year.

Much of the event was held outside on a soccer field next to the Rhine river. You could see the Alps from there and the foothills of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Kenpo people from Dusseldorf, Saarbruecken and Esslingen attended.

Subjects covered included extensions, lock flows, Staff Set, my defending the third person concept class, question and answer sessions and more.

Friday night in Esslingen, near Stuttgart, I sat on an exam board at Marc Sigle's Bushido ES. Three people were tested and all passed. I congratulate Friedman, Nadja, and Paul.

It was a great weekend. I can't say enough good things about the hospitality. You may want to think about going next year.


As you know, we have a connection to Elvis in that he was a friend of Ed Parker's. Mr. Parker promoted him to 7th black and I'm told he was a good black belt. When asked if Elvis was really a 7th Mr. Parker would sometimes say "When you're dead, what degree of dead are you?" meaning Elvis was a black belt and the degree didn't matter.

Here are two links I was mailed recently that have Elvis and/or Ed Parker in them.

Click here: A Tribute to our Flag

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mike Sanders

One of my first, and certainly one of my best, teachers was Mike Sanders of Sterling, Illinois. Over the 4th of July weekend a memorial for him was held by remaining students and practitioners of his art, which was called Bujin Kenpo. As one of my newer students pointed out, it's quite something for someone to be remembered 30 years after their passing, especially by those not in his family.

Nelson Kari coordinated it and thanked me for being there in spirit by my sending a video tribute since I had committed to be in Austria that weekend. I will post photos of the memorial when I get them.