Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There's a warning label on my shoes

The world has gone crazy, ya' think?
Jan was complaining she didn't like the look of me in shorts and cowboy boots, so I broke down and bought a pair of Crocs. Not the ugly ones with the holes in the sides. These look like real shoes. Like most stuff you buy anymore, they had tags hanging off them. I think most of us just tear them off but I read them. I think that's a habit I acquired from aviation. I was taught to read the notes outlined in boxes in pilot operationg handbooks because that's where you really learn about an aircraft and the stuff that can kill you.
  Turns out these shoes won't kill you but they may hurt you. I had seen on the news that people were getting their Crocs caught in escalator steps. I guess the lawyers got involved and now the Crocs people have to put a warning label on their shoes telling me I should stand in the middle of the escalator step to prevent injury.
  That got me thinking about that label - pilots call them placards - that are now on the sunvisor of your car. It's in the black and yellow hazard colors and advises you that driving a car can injure or kill you. No kidding?
  Martial arts can injure and kill you, too. I was talking with a European kenpo instructor about liability and how an instructor can be sued in the US. He was surprised and told me you can't sue a karate teacher in his country. Apparently, their government thinks people are adult enough to realize there is risk in taking martial arts lessons and when they do, they release the teacher. I believe it must be to an extent because negligence is world-wide but stuff happens in class that an instructor just can't control. I'm sure you can think of an example such as the teacher being right there on top of you and someone simply slips and an injury occurs. That's why they call them accidents.
  In that same country they have no 4-way stop signs. They don't think they have to tell everyone what to do.  I think you get the point. If you look around you may be surprised to see just how many examples of the warning label are directed at you. Watch the ads for medication on television. You can take something for your condition but may, among other things, get thoughts of suicide, a heart attack or stroke or anal leakage.
  The world has gone crazy, ya' think?


I had the privilege of attending Lee Wedlake and Dr. Rowe's first ever "Functional Anatomy for Martial Artists" seminar. This is a must for all instructors and serious martial artists! Instructors often teach students that if they do "a certain move" on an opponent the effect will be a break or injury. However; if a practitioner themselves move in an incorrect way, the effect on themselves may also result in a break or serious injury.

Ed Parker often stated that; "The man who knows how will always be the student, but the man who knows why will continue to be the instructor." Taking SGM Parker's quote to the next level, participants in these seminars will learn the "hows" that make these "whys" work or in some cases not work.

I can't wait for part two of this seminar series.

Tim Walker, 4th degree black belt

American Kenpo Karate University, Inc.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Functional anatomy seminar

About a dozen kenpo and tai chi students attended our first functional anatomy for martial artists seminar here in Celebration, FL. The feedback has been  great! I was told Dr. Rowe kept what could have been presented as "over one's head" as very understandable and relevant to what we do.

   We used a combination of handouts, lecture, PowerPoint, anatomy models and hands-on in the sessions.  Doc and I are planning two more parts to the series and if there is enough interest, we can "take it on the road" to other parts of the country.
   If you're interested in attending the next one or in having one at your studio, please watch my website for dates or contact me at

Friday, June 24, 2011


Like the weather, there are all sorts of conditions in our personal lives: clear days, cloudy days, rainy ones, and stormy ones. These are all waves produced by the power of nature and are not things over which we have control. No matter how much we fight against these waves, there is no way we can make a cloudy day clear up. Cloudy days are cloudy; clear days are clear. It is only natural that thoughts come and go and that psychological and physiological conditions fluctuate accordingly. All of this is the very reality and manifestation of life. Seeing all of this as the scenery of life, without being pulled apart by it—this is the stability of human life, this is settling down in our life.

                                                                     Kosho Uchiyama

                                                                               Let go

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Further Insights into Kenpo

My book of the title above has gone out of print. There are a few copies out there still for sale by some studios. You may find it through Amazon, Asian World or Ryukyu books.
  I don't have any plans to reprint it and I can't upload it to electronic delivery. Seems I was told the copyrights for the articles compiled in the book would revert to me after first publication in magazines but that's apparently not so.
   So, if you see one, grab it.

What's a Huk?

A Filipino rebel. Bet you didn't know that.

Panther Kenpo Karate

Congratulations on 25 years in business! Steve Hatfield's Panther Kenpo Karate in Mount Vernon, OH, near Columbus, was established at the same time Steve came in under me to train. He's been with me since 2nd degree black and is working on his 7th.
   This past weekend I was up there to be part of the anniversary celebration. I taught a seminar on joint-locking techniques and their counters. I also worked with the instructors on Form Five.
   Steve has been assembling a list of the instructors he has been on the mat with over the years and there are some very well-known names on it. From kick-boxing there is Benny "The Jet" and Bill Wallace. In kenpo he worked with Ed Parker, Frank Trejo, Tom Kelly, Joe Palanzo, Huk Planas, Jeff Speakman and more. His experience in Chinese arts, particularly in chi-kung is deep as well. He's worked with Frank Chan over the past years. He's also done some Russian Systema. All in all, a prety well-versed instructor.
   You can see his website at
Here's to many more years!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mont Vernon seminar June 11

6th degree Bill Gaudette of Massachusetts kicked off the 20th anniversary seminars at Jim Peacock's Mont Vernon Karate in New Hampshire Saturday. He did a nice presentation on limb destruction. He was followed by our host, Mr. Peacock.
  I've known Jim since he was a blue or green belt and it's nice to see how he's progressed over the years. His session was on how to blend techniques from Long Three as a situation changes. Very nice.
  Mr. Steve White, instructor to both Peacock and Gaudette followed the lunch break with a seminar he calls "Fun with Five Swords".
   In the picture below you'll see all the instructors along with one of my long-time guys, Robert Wallace out of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  I wrapped up the day with a session on expanding your knowledge with an application of one of Mr. Parker's sayings, that being; "For every move, concept, principle and definition, there is an opposite and a reverse." I've been doing this seminar recently and it's been well-received.

The crowd of close to 40 on a cool, rainy day in New England enjoyed all the classes and some anniversary cake, too.

 Our congratulations to Mont Vernon Karate on their 20 years!

Good quote by John Wooden

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I had to go thru the Fresno airport to come home from the Wonder Valley camp. What you've heard about the intrusive pat-downs are true. I had it done to me. These guys told me they had to pat down the paper money I had in my pocket. Maybe I should have worn my kilt through security.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ron Chapel

When I was in Los Angeles on my way to Graham Lelliott's camp I was able to look up my old friend, Ron Chapel. Many of you know him as Doc.
   He was gracious enough to take some time out from work for lunch and met us (myself and Aussie Jack Nilon). We spent hours talking. Long enough that the waitress asked if we now wanted to order dinner!
  Ron is a fascinating man to talk with and we covered a range of subjects besides kenpo (and its politics). We talked about how the mind works, body mechanics, and who makes a good handgun. Motion Kenpo came up. Below I've passed on an article he wrote about the term a few weeks before I recently met with him. As he points out in it, I and some others don't take any offense to the term while others get pretty upset about it. I'll have him explain.

You use the term Motion Kenpo a lot, why?

Yes, many do, but like myself, only in mixed company. Most describe the Kenpo they do or teach as "based on motion," so I don't get the fuss. In all fairness it should be pointed out that I got the term "motion-Kenpo" from Ed Parker Sr. directly. The term is not a negative, only an apt description of the vehicle as is the term "commercial." Although not everyone teaches motion-kenpo commercially, that system is designed and built around a business model specifically for the purpose of commercial proliferation. Therefore both terms are correct. Among my own students it's just "Kenpo." But like any other discipline, when you mix company distinctions must be drawn to establish and understanding and to communicate. If I don't make that delineation many will presume I think and do as they were taught, and I do not.

There are others outside my lineage who utilize the term as well. I should also point out it is not a matter of "SL-Kenpo versus everything else." That would be incorrect. There are many who pre-date the creation of the motion model kenpo who also make a distinction in their interpretations. Many old the Old School Kenpo Students from when Mr. Parker first set up shop in Southern California, also either left before its creation or continued without adopting the motion based kenpo business concept, so I'm in very good company.

It is not unusual for those with one perspective to be protective of the point of view that is the totality of their understanding, and supports their knowledge, rank, and status investment. Moton-kenpo is "A" version of Kenpo not "the" only version of kenpo. However, I also recognize and have always said that the level of significance of motion/commercial kenpo is predicated in totality on the quality of the teacher, and as such there are individuals that do an exemplary job with what is by design limited material by continuing to educate themselves beyond its limited parameters to the benefit of their students, as Mr. Parker wanted.

Motion based kenpo is neither good or bad in and of itself. It is, what it is. Like many entities it has great potential, but that is no guarantee that teachers or students will fill that potential. Human nature being what it is, and adding business considerations to the process would suggest that most would fall short. Mr. Parker designed the material to allow everyone to seek their own level of competence within the boundaries of the teacher. Most who have visited or taken a class with me don't seem to have a problem with the distinction I and others make, which is quite easily demonstrable, and the truly gifted and intelligent teachers like a Steve LaBounty, Bob White, Lee Wedlake, etc seem to know and do well no matter what its called. Imagine that.
Those of you who know me and have taken classes or seminars know it's the expansion on the base that makes Parker kenpoa deep system. It takes a good teacher to do that. I'll take Doc's compliment, especially since I'm in good company with Mr. White and Sigung LaBounty. Next time I get out to LA, and I hope it won't be another almost 20 years, I plan to see what he's got for our law enforcement people. Should be interesting.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Member's Section article added for June

I added an article entitled Random Points Worth Repeating to my site at Here is an excerpt.

Look at other instructors and systems

Take advantage of camps and seminars. See live instruction and get a better feel for the teacher and their perspective on the art. I’d seen things that looked fake on video but in person found the material was the real deal. You’ll usually get a few nuggets of info or wisdom at any event. Mr. Parker stressed individuality and you’ll see it manifested in the multitude of ways the system is presented.

A yearly subscription which includes the present list of over 100 articles and a new one monthly is at my site and is $29/yr.

Wonder Valley Camp

The bi-annual camp near Fresno, hosted by the Lelliotts, has come and gone. There were people from parts of the US, Sweden, Denmark, England, Spain, South America, New Zealand and Australia there. It was a blast.
   Graham Lelliott taught a seminar on Friday evening to kick it off. Myself, John Sepulveda, Steve White, Paul McMurray, Ed Parker Jr and Ingmar Johansson rounded out the staff. There were a lot of brown and black belts but the lower ranks seminars were well-supported, too. Subjects included "Fun with Five Swords", pattern recognition, and lots of self-defense practice.
  One of the traditions of these camps are the games, something started by Ingmar with his Viking Camp in the 1990s. The participants break into teams and compete in a variety of events for points to see which team tops out. I don't know what the results were but it was fun to watch.
  The Saturday and Sunday evening dinners were great for meeting people, catching up with old friends and maybe even winning a raffle or two. A storm rained out the Saturday party toward its end but we made up for it Sunday.

   And the rumors you heard are true, I did wear a kilt to the party. Graham and Jaydean had me in a sumo outfit two years ago so I had to do something this year. Jack Nilon and Ross White both kilted up as well. If you have to know, a Scot wears only his pride under a kilt.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Technology Turns your Mind to Mush

A friend and I were talking about how it seems that our attention spans have gotten shorter. Found a recent article in Brain in the News on that subject and it said that technology is actually re-wiring our brains. Here is more on the subject.