Senior Grandmaster Edmund K. Parker is the undisputed "Father of American Karate" and the Founder of American Kenpo Karate. He was a native of Honolulu, Hawaii and began teaching Kenpo Karate commercially in 1954 at a gymnasium in Provo, Utah. Mr. Parker graduated in 1956 from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a B.S. in Psychology.
After graduation from Brigham Young, Grand Master Parker moved to California and opened his Kenpo Karate second school in Pasadena. Due to his skill and prowess as a martial artist, within two years Grandmaster Parker was teaching many well-known entertainment personalities.
As Grand Master Parker learned Kenpo Karate in Hawaii, he realized the need for innovations to address modern day methods of fighting. To fulfill this need, he developed concepts, theories, and principles that are practical - not classical. Because of this, his innovative concepts and ideas have greatly enhanced martial arts in the United States and throughout the world.
Mr. Parker's interest in logical analysis of the art dates to his early Martial Arts studies in Honolulu. He approved of the exciting methods that he learned as a novice in Kenpo Karate, but as an experienced street fighter, he felt that changes were necessary if the classical methods he learned were to become practical on the street. By studying and comparing experience with the functional aspects of Kenpo Karate, he arrived at breakthroughs in kinesiology (body mechanics) as they apply to martial arts, power shifting, and strength concepts.
Mr. Parker was able to develop his Kenpo Karate Concepts and Principles from an understanding of the sciences of physics, mathematics, and alpha-numeric. By applying these Concepts and Principles to real world experience, a new Kenpo Karate discipline emerged which is without equal in the world today. His use of analogies, short stories, and quotes as teaching aids has created distinctive methods to convert verbal language into physical body motion.
Through formal martial arts training under William K.S. Chow, experience, experimentation, and intense personal research, Mr. Parker developed the American Kenpo Karate System as we know it today.
Sr. Grand Master Parker died on December 15, 1990 at the young age of 59.
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. Grandmaster Dave Hebler is still alive and kicking.