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Kelly Luce
My Experiences with Mr. Parker
Tue Oct 7, 2008 00:42

I first met the Old Man at Rusch Park in the Sacramento area the day Huk was promoted to 6th degree Black Belt, I believe Mr. Labounty went to 7th and Mr. McCoy went to 5th. I was a private student of W. Craig McCoy’s at the time, who was at that time was a student of Mr. Parker’s as well as Huk’s. In any case I remember the occasion very clearly as I was there to ask him formally to be accepted for training in his method. I was already a 3rd degree black in Castro, Long / Castro, Alemany lineage Northern school Kenpo today called American Shaolin Kenpo, as well as a couple other systems. As Mr. Parker was rather distrustful of other system’s people coming in and the fact that I was being schooled without having to pay, monetarily at least, there were rules I had to follow, no pictures, no writing books, no teaching Parker line without permission, errands to go on etc. I had been driving to Sacramento for lessons for a couple years at this point from the Bay Area to McCoy’s house or Davis once every month and a half to three months, get a piece, work for a weekend, work it until next time, etc. Being somewhat shy and reserved back then, I remember the Old Man smiling and saying, “yes” to my request and trying to put me at ease, complimenting me, on asking formally to join his association. He hadn’t had anyone do so in quite some time, he said. I told him my background, and he smiled and laughed. Then he said, “so you’re a student of Long, that guy that goes around looking like ‘Ed Parker”. So that began a trail of seminars in the Bay Area… Redding, Sacramento, Davis, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Rocklin, Belmont, San Rafael, San Jose, Orangevale and several other places I can’t remember. I started out just as a participant and later became someone he would task for little ‘jobs’, checking the count at seminars, making sure materials were where they were supposed to be, standing in front of someone’s video camera at strategic points as directed ‘accidentally’ of course. Within a year or so I was invited to some of the non-seminar activities which surrounded seminar weekends… Breakfasts, dinners, etc. such as the one in the little town of Woodside in California’s Bay Area. I think it was Dian Tanaka, Vinton Kochlich, Jim Byrnes, John Sepulveda, Craig McCoy, Huk Planas, Mr. Parker and I, when the waitress came up, she excused herself and asked ‘Aren’t you Mr. Chong from Hong Kong ?’ The Old Man beamed and said, “yes” and obligingly gave her his autograph, then told the story for years. I was witness to more little events like that as well. Then at seminars after I figured out it was better to sit and take notes than it was to participate. The Old Man would come up behind me and watch over my shoulder as I was writing. Then he let me know he was there and would ask to look through my note pad, which of course I always allowed. He would usually smile. I generally had pages of notes and he would commend me on how I had caught the threads from morning to afternoon seminars and from the last one to the current one and sometimes my bracketed suppositions on what the next should be given the lines he was running and how he ran his progressions. I never got a private lesson from Mr. Parker. I figured I couldn’t afford it so I didn’t ask. I did however get volumes of information through the many seminars I attended with him between the time I met him at Rusch park to the time I left in late 1987.
It was a nice feeling to have him know my name and smile when he would see me; he was good with people like that. His lessons were onion like in their layering, peel away one layer and there was another beneath. He was a man who charted his own path and would help you understand yours too IF you paid attention.
Good Luck to all on your journey down the 'Kenpo Road'