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What is your Kenpo Legacy?

The American Kenpo Legacy Association was developed to promote and preserve American Kenpo as is was being taught prior to Ed Parker's death. Our association has become a cornerstone for numerous schools and association that wish to continue the art of American Kenpo Karate as outlined by the many publications and teachings of Ed Parker. The AKLA resource materials that are found on this site have assisted many schools and instructors to uphold the quality of instruction and the detailed content of American Kenpo. In the past several years, many students and instructors have come to the AKLA for certification for belt ranking promotions, instructor certification, and school affiliation. Our promotional examinations are noted to be tough - but fair - yielding a high-quality standard for others to follow.

In the past few years, we have noted that a few problems exist in the American Kenpo community that is causing a great deal of confusion with regards to curriculum standards, belt ranking quality standards, instructor legitimacy, etc. resulting in students dropping out from American Kenpo schools, instructors bouncing from one association to the next, and an overall decline of the reputation that American Kenpo once held. It is the mission of the AKLA to offer methods to repair the damage that has been created by certain unethical individual.

Problems with American Kenpo

Here is a partial list of problems that we have identified over the past few years:

  • Students of American Kenpo desire the authentic 24 technique per belt system outlined in Ed Parker's books and magazine publications, not a watered down version of lesser curriculum.
  • There is a lack of consistency of belt ranking standards across the American Kenpo community
  • American Kenpo is quickly becoming fused with other martial arts tactics, techniques and concepts outside where it is becoming unrecoginzable as kenpo.
    [Note - in the past 4 months, I have received 3 different video tests where the students submitting the examination 'tailored' the techniques to such a great extent, that although the technique names were the same, there could be no recognition of it being kenpo. Two of the exams were of very skilled martial artists, one very sub-standard. I had to return the examinations to these individuals to re-test with the etablished American Kenpo curriculum, or else find another association that would accept their 'adaptations and standards']
  • American Kenpo Students are being 'orphaned' due to the numerous school closing because of the economy
  • Students are learning that the kenpo that they have been taught is not American Kenpo.
    [ Monthly, I get calls from students and instructors wanting resource material to aid in their training. After questioning them, I often have to explain to them that they are not studying American Kenpo, but Tracy's Kenpo, Shaolin Kempo or some conglomerate of different martial arts. I literally have seen schools displaying the IKKA crest, instructors spouting all sorts of historical lectures about Ed Parker, yet teach other kenpo systems. When I tell them that they are not doing American Kenpo, they argue until I prove it to them. I always point them to the source where they can go for further instruction. My point is not to win them over to American Kenpo, but to be fully invested in the system that they practice and teach. Al Tracy will tell you of several students that I have pointed his way who fall under this category. Often these students, and even instructors, have been misled by someone in their past, wanting to be part of Ed Parker's kenpo - and usually claim high rank]
  • Over the decades, Ed Parker had planted seeds of different variants of Kenpo.
    If you analyze the development of American Kenpo, you will find many varieties of kenpo. Students of Ed Parker throughout the years were taught by different methods, curriculum, and standards as Ed Parker refined his system. You will find no one who studied with Ed Parker, and kept consistent through his teachings from the 60s until his death. You will find, however, many 'seniors' who teach the system as they knew it when they dropped off the vine. Many of these are very acomplished martial artists. Yet, it causes a great deal of confusion and division among the students of American Kenpo. Most of these 'seniors' you will not find listed as a high ranking black belt associated with the IKKA just after Ed Parker's death [see IKKA newsletter]
  • Honest students of Kenpo have difficulty in obtaining higher black belts without submitting to a "good 'ol boy" system, or paying high fees.
  • Despite the acknowledgement of the above listed problems, many practitioners will continue to move away from the established 24 techniques system, documented by Ed Parker prior to his death.


Solutions to the recognized American Kenpo Problems

A wise man never states a problem without offering a solution:

  • Students who desire the 24 techniques system of American Kenpo can find the best Complete Home Study Course [click] available as outlined by Ed Parker, at this website. The AKLA is devoted to continuing the Legacy of the American Kenpo System. Here you can earn belt promotions, become a certified instructor, affiliated school and host seminars by the high ranking founders of the AKLA.
  • Belt ranking standards should be maintained by the standards that Ed Parker had outlined. Read the Qualities and Characteristics of Kenpo Belt Rank. This should be the minimum standard for each belt ranking. The established 24 techniques per belt curriculum can be found here.
  • Instructors of American that wish to 'tailor' the system, should do so by calling it by another name. [names like, BJJ Kenpo, American Aikido Kenpo, Jeet Kune Do Kenpo, or by your own name like 'John Smith Kenpo oudl suffice]. One particular student did the honorable thing and called his system Southern American Kenpo, and it is now being offered in South Carolina. The reason that most resist changing the name is becuase they fear to stand out on their own. The AKLA has a solution for that, too. The Kenpo Legacy Program
  • Students that have becomed orphaned because their instructors had to quit teaching, or because they simply can't afford to study in the dojo can find friendly, and encouraging home with us that the AKLA. Our Complete Home Study Course will allow you to continue your studies.
  • Students that have learned that they have not learned the authentic American Kenpo System, can do one of two things. They can remain in their system and give their full devotion to what their instructor has been teaching. Or they, and their instructor can convert over to the American Kenpo System under the AKLA. We don't make anyone start over at white belt. But, instead we work with you until you, and your school has been brought up to the minimum standards and curriculum of the AKLA.
  • Students, instructors and systems that remained consistent to a time previous to Ed Parker's final years, can also be allowed to advance in belt rank, or have their system to be recognized in a consistent manner through the Kenpo Community. The Kenpo Legacy Program

For Futher information about our various programs, click below:




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Contact us at 502-797-8827 or email webmaster@american-kenpo-legacy.com