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Mr. Ed Parker Sr.
Was the founder of American Kenpo, author of the training material, and the final voice of approval. With his passing, we've been left with an extensive library of his books, manuals, and articles to guide us in our continued learning.
Mr. Parker began his training under Professor Chow in Honolulu, HI. He credits Professor Chow with giving him the ideas for innovations and starting him thinking about master key movements and increasing his knowledge. After Mr. Parker settled in Pasadena, CA, his first job was in a bodybuilding studio in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Through the contacts he made teaching, he was introduced to directors, producers, and movie stars and was soon out on his own. After opening his first karate school and introducing his art to the media, he created an international chain of Kenpo Studios, sponsored major tournaments, wrote books and made films. He became more than a teacher; he became a legend.
The business side of it started slowly, beginning in 1964 and accelerating in the 1978-1980 period, eventually culminating with 170 karate schools throughout a dozen countries by 1990. During this period, he was involved in other ventures: seven films, roles in TV shows, and 11 books on his approach to his art. One of his foremost publications is the Encyclopedia of Kenpo, designed as a guide for students and instructors in his system. Mr. Parker had success in smaller but equally meaningful ways, among them teaching disabled youth in helping young people find themselves. "I found a lot of kids who don't get any recognition in their home, did it by belonging to the tough group on the street corner," said Parker. "But once you give a kid confidence, he becomes independent. He becomes capable of doing his own thing without the need to congregate with this element. These are the kind of stories that are more meaningful to me than some guy who went down to the local bar and cleaned out 10 guys." Getting the lesson across may just sum up what Mr. Parker's career was all about.
No other martial art exists that is so well explained and documented for the benefit of the students. Mr. Parker's art of American Kenpo is truly a masterpiece. He was the first major commercial karate school owner, the first major promoter, the originator and also head of one the largest karate organizations in the world. Inside Kung-Fu July 1977 Ed Parker is often credited with opening the first commercial karate school in the continental U.S. in the 1950s, and his International Kenpo Karate Association is one of the most successful martial arts organizations worldwide. Black Belt November 1985 Personal Biography of Ed Parker Sr.
Mr. Dave Hebler
One of “the originals” was the 5th student promoted to Black Belt by Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker (circa…1961-62) and has the unique distinction of being first to be promoted to the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Degree Black Belt levels by Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker. Mr. Hebler, as one of the originators of the annual International Karate Championship held in Long Beach, California, personally developed the set of rules for the first, and many subsequent, IKC competitions, and served as a Director of the IKC for 12 years. As President of Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker’s International Kenpo Karate Association for a number of years, Dave was instrumental in developing the basis of the ever-evolving curriculum of the Ed Parker American System of Kenpo.
After one of the first major splits in the Ed Parker American Kenpo System, Dave was among the few who stayed with Ed and taught for him for over 7 years at the Pasadena School. Mr. Hebler’s first school was in Glendora, California, and for years, many students were attracted to his school in Laguna Hills, California. At present, there are more than 10 O.A.K.K.A. member-affiliate Kenpo Schools in three Southern California Counties, while more seek affiliation each month.
Dave Hebler was a personal bodyguard/companion of Elvis Presley’s from 1972 to 1976 and as a member of the “Memphis Mafia”, his primary responsibility was the protection of Elvis and his family in all aspects of their lives, wherever they were . . . no mean feat during Elvis’ more wild years! Dave co-authored the best-selling book, Elvis, What Happened which was released two weeks prior to Elvis’ death in 1977, this book, at one time, held the distinction of being “the best-selling original non-fiction paperback book” in the history of publishing.
Dave Hebler authored an instruction manual entitled Self-Defense for Women and Self-Defense for Women and Children. He is currently writing two more manuals: Solutions to Violent Assaults Against Women and Children and A Million Tips on How Not to Become a Victim. Dave Hebler is founder and director of The Gift of Power Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to assist women and children who are victims of physical abuse to learn self-defense techniques, at no cost to them.
As Founder and Executive Director of the Original American Kenpo Karate Association with member-affiliated schools in 7 states and Honduras, he is personally responsible for the training of over 40,000 Kenpo stylists, during his 40-plus years in American Kenpo. Dave Hebler is a much sought-after speaker and trainer for corporations and small businesses. Not only does he train individuals in simple, easy to learn techniques to protect themselves against violence, he teaches them key methods to recognize and prevent such attacks before they happen.