“Kenpo, karate, kung fu, tae kwon do and tang soo do are Oriental forms of boxing. But again, if you were to compare American boxing to the Oriental means of boxing, because of the limitations on weapons, we can say that American boxing is to checkers as what we do is to chess. The variables are greater.
“But I would then say that kenpo is a three-dimensional chess game. It really is.”
Parker said he also plans a work on the subject of commonplace body movements and how they may be turned to one’s defensive advantage. Titled Everyday Gestures that Can Save Your Life, he said that even the most common movements-opening or closing a swinging door or using a hairbrush on long hair-may be used to advantage to thwart an attacker.
Parker admitted more than the fear of jealous rivals has motivated his reticence regarding his American kenpo. He said he has worried over former students who would leave and open up kenpo studios of their own.
“I always had the fear of guys taking off, being disloyal and opening up on their own,” he said. “And so I left out a lot of stuff.”
Parker said he found some students resenting his secretiveness, once they found out he had hidden knowledge from them.
“They were somewhat hurt in a way,” he admitted, “but they still feel happy. They are (the now-complete techniques) some minor additions in the whole puzzle. I am teaching those who stuck by me. The fact is, I was going to reserve it (the knowledge) for my children and my son. He’s not interested in the martial arts. He studies, but his heart is in the (fine) arts.”
In place of children lost as successors, Parker noted he has taken on protégés to insure the continuity of the kenpo system.
“My key protégé is this kid Larry Tatum,” Parker said with a laugh, continuing that “anyone younger than me I call a kid. He’s my number one guy right now. He moves like me. He looks like me. He’s got the power-everything.”
The kenpoist noted that he is helping 15-year student Tatum complete a book, Confidence, A Child’s First Weapon. He also named two others he considers protégés, insiders with whom he shared the full scope of his knowledge. Tom Kelly, who Parker said is the highest-degree black belt at a seventh-degree level, operates a Parker school in Salt Lake City; Joe Palanzo, another former student who Parker said holds a fifth degree black belt, teaches at a school in Baltimore.
In addition to his select protégé Parker insisted he will offer his knowledge to “anyone else who’s definitely sincere, because when I go to the grave want to know that there are other people who (know) outside of my family. They would have the mountain of knowledge.”
Once he sees his students and protégés have the mountain securely within their grip, Parker said he will rest easy regarding the future of kenpo.
“I don’t see that once my students learn kenpo, they’ll modify it,” he said “They’ll perfect it. And that’s where they will excel.”
But again, the entire mountain will be too much for anyone of them to grasp, according to the kenpoist. Each will call his own only “a portion of the whole-only that which suits each person.”
There will be enough to go around however. For Parker said he believes his system is more all-encompassing than any other at this point.
“It’s the most updated version of the martial arts, employing more concepts and principles than in other arts now, he said. And though there may be plethora of content available to students of kenpo, Parker said the real truth (their mastery of the art taken as a whole) may be gleaned in one fashion only.
“When it comes down to the end”, Parker said, “what is true for one person may not be true for another. The real truth for both lies in the moment of actual combat.”