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American Kenpo Legacy Association

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

(last updated - 10-21-11)

We receive numerous emails and telephone calls regarding various questions in the martial arts and Kenpo Karate.  This section should benefit all.

  1. Why did you start the AKLA - American Kenpo Legacy Association? Don't we have enough associations already?

    The AKLA was created to preserve the teachings of American Kenpo Karate as Ed Parker had outlined it in his Infinite Insights Into Kenpo Series, Vol. 5, prior to his death. Since his death many Kenpo association have sprung up, each making variations from Ed Parker's system, claiming it to be the 'best', or newest rendition of Kenpo. What has happened in the process during this short time-span is that the original art is becoming lost, with many concepts and principles being dropped out. The AKLA is designed to teach a standard base from the Ideal Phase Techniques that Ed Parker had prescribed. From this standard base, the student is then encouraged to utilize the 'Formulation Equation' to tailor the art to the individual. This is the method of transmitting Kenpo that Ed Parker had devised. We believe that maintaining a strong base of standards that Ed Parker had set forth will produce the high quality kenpoists that was evident from his personal teaching methods.

  2. What will membership with the AKLA provide?

    Detailed description of the AKLA memberships types is found here - memberships.

  3. Can you really learn enough from the Home Study Course to become proficient in American Kenpo?

    Yes!  Our Home Study Course gives a complete knowledge of Kenpo.  Many of the participants have skills as sharp as my personal students.  We carefully grade each test and offer advice and support to each participant.  Nothing can replace a good qualified instructor, however.  If you are blessed with a great instructor, then follow his/her direction.  Most of our customers/students are instructors and use our materials as study materials.  Some instructors are requiring our products as supplements to their instruction, as well.

    The bottom line is this - you will get as good as your potential allows, as long as you do your best.

  4. Our most frequent question is, "Which program is best for me to study at home?"

    We let you choose which path is best for you.  But here is our best suggestion;

    A.  If you have been in Kenpo before, then the Rapid Review Series may be what you need to get going again.  It is designed for review.  I have had many students to get ranked through this method.  Lynn Hahn received her 3rd Degree Black Belt this way, and did a very good job on her test.  We have manuals and videos for the techniques, form and sets.  It is best to use the videos to understand the flow, and the manuals to be sure that you are doing the proper basics.  The Rapid Review techniques video tapes contain the sharpest performance of Kenpo on film performed by Eric Lamkin.

    B.   If you are an instructor needing resources, any of our material is beneficial.  But the Library of Kenpo written manuals are the best.  It contains over 1,800 pages of in-depth theory, concepts and principles of the self defense techniques.  There have been many high ranking instructors that have purchased these manuals.

    C.  If you are in a situation where you cannot attend a school and want to learn from scratch, our Library of Kenpo Video Series is the best.   There are 26 video tapes in total to teach all of the techniques, forms and sets from Yellow Belt to 3rd Degree Black Belt.  Each belt also has a student workbook to assist the learning process.  I have had several students to do very well this way.  There is one guy in particular to keep you eye on - Geoff Johnson from Florida has the potential to be a national star in martial arts.  He has achieved 3rd Degree Black Belt so far.  I haven't seen a martial artist as sharp as him in years.

    D. If you possess a black belt in Kenpo and wish to progress beyond the 3rd Degree Black Belt, the AKLA has belt ranking material all the way to 9th Degree Black Belt! Click here for the Advanced Kenpo Black Belt Material.

  5. I've heard that you teach both American Kenpo and Tracy's Kenpo.  What's the difference?  Which is better?

    Yes, I teach both arts.  I am a 8th Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo and a 7th Dan in the Tracy's System of Kenpo.

    The difference in the systems are both small and large.  The main difference that I have noticed is the teaching method.  The Tracy's System involves a  neuromuscular approach requiring intense training to get good at fighting.  Muscle memory becomes fine tuned so that you will instinctively respond to an attack stimulus.  The American Kenpo system should also require the same intense training, however, I have found that most American Kenpo schools focus so heavily on theory that the students can't fight.  This is not always the rule in either system.  However, it is an accurate generality that is noticeable.  The Tracy's System has a great deal more techniques to learn.  In addition, the Tracy's System has many family groupings that no longer exists in American Kenpo.

    So which is better?  If you are an American Kenpoist, make sure you really know what you say that you know and then apply those theories to the Techniques; i.e., be able to demonstrate that you can make the techniques work.  If you are a Tracy's Kenpo Stylist, then make sure that you know all of the theory behind what you know.  You will find, as I have, both systems have a lot to offer.

    In addition, the Tracy's system really requires private instruction to completely learn; whereas, the American Kenpo system can be learned in a group classroom setting.  This is mainly due to the great volume of Tracy's material to learn.

  6. If there are only 18 Family Groupings in American Kenpo, then why learn 250 techniques?

    If you only knew the Family Heads, then great.  But what if the situation call for a variant?  All of the techniques teach different methods that may include, follow-ups, answers to what-if situations, and cover-ups in case your defense doesn't work.  Some techniques require power, others require speed.  If you are not sufficient in these areas, then only knowing the family head may not be enough.  You will find that there is a selection  of techniques that fits your own personal make-up.  Understanding the Family Groupings will allow you to make up your own response to an attack instinctively.  Ed Parker liked to refer to this as extemporaneous techniques.  Myamoto Musashi wrote in the Book of Five Rings, "To truly know one thing is to know ten thousand."  So, learn the Family Groupings and then your knowledge can be limitless.

  7. What is this new Elite-Fighters System?  How does it form a partnership with the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

    The Elite-Fighters System is a new martial art system developed my Eric Lamkin and Kevin Lamkin.  It is an outgrowth of many problems that exists in the American Kenpo system.  While the American kenpo system is very good, we feel that this new approach answers the problems that many of you have expressed in seminars and personal lessons.

    One of the great problems that is currently going on is the bastardization of the kenpo belt ranking system.  It seems as though there is a promotion war going on to say who has the highest number of the highest ranking belts. We are committed to continuing to develop new study aids and to continue utilizing the legitimate method of rank promotion for American Kenpo.

    We understand that there are many who desire to learn Ed Parker's American Kenpo as was taught prior to his death.  This web site is the best source of information for that knowledge.  All promotion to belt ranking should be submitted using the method that we have posted on this web site.  But for those of you who have been burned by some of these ravenous scavengers who are changing the system and promoting themselves to 10th degree black belt every month, and you're tired of school hopping around looking for a legitimate system that doesn't live by the "good ol' boy system", then you have come to the right place.

    The Elite-Fighters System of Martial Arts is centered on the scientific approach to fighting. Therefore, it has much in common with American Kenpo. The Elite-Fighters Reactionary Defensive Methods are similar to American Kenpo. The difference lies in how the Elite-Fighters approach completes the techniques. For those who are interested in Family Groupings and Master Key Moves, the Elite-Fighters System completes these areas of study and makes them available to the student. The system is so complete, the American Kenpo Legacy Association has made the six Elite-Fighters Levels to be the curriculum for 4th Degree Black Belt through 9th Degree Black Belt. Those who are currently involved in this program will admit that the program is rewarding in the knowledge and physical ability that is required for advancement. Finally, there is a belt system based on merit and not just on being with the 'inner circle' or paying outrageous fees to the association.


    8 . What is your return policy?

    We will gladly replace any defective items. If you receive a disc that is defective, mail it within one week of receipt of the item to:
    Kevin Lamkin
    P.O.. Box 5517
    Louisville, KY 40255-0517
    Once the item is received we will send a new replacement.

    Unfortunately, due to the potential illegal pirating of our material, we cannot give cash refunds.




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the American Kenpo Legacy Association (AKLA).
Contact us at 502-797-8827 or email