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Ed Parker BYU Judo Dojo
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Jewel Shepard

Ed Parker BYU Judo Dojo

by
Al Tracy & Will Tracy
with Comments by
Jim Tracy

June 10, 2009

"You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you mad."*
Ed Parker was a Judo Sandan and captain of the 1956 Brigham Young University Judo club, Officially Y Judo Dojo. The 1956 BYU Banyon (yearbook) page 242 has the above picture, with Ed Parker in the top row, far right next to Dr. Wayne Wright, who was the faculty advisor for both the Y Judo Dojo and Hawaiian clubs. Read the text from the 1956 Banyon carefully because this club was organized for the first time in the fall of 1955, not 1954 as Mills Crenshaw claims.

"Y Judo Dojo was organized for the first time during fall quarter of 1955. At first, membership was limited to advanced "judokas," but beginner's classes for men and women were started winter quarter. This year, judo contests were an intramural sport at BYU, but the club is planning to become a member of the intercollegiate tournament. Sponsored by the Extension Division, Y Judo Dojo offered instructions to law enforcement agencies in Utah County and representatives from the Provo Police Department and the Utah State Highway Patrol. Membership is open to all BYU students and faculty who accept and maintain the Judo Honor Code, which pertains to correct conduct and the use of judo knowledge in necessary situations." (Emphasis added)

The text under the picture reads:
"FRONT ROW: Howard Shurtleff, Yosh Miya, Bonnie Reide, Nobuyoshi Tachibana. Edmund Ramones. SECOND ROW: Donald Hamling, Reed Phippen, Le-
land Thomas, Eugene Thorne, Kent Butterfield. BACK ROW: Paul Hansen, Leon Larson, Thomas Tucker, Roger S. O'Brien, Edmund Parker, Dr. Wayne Wright."
Click here for the complete 1956 Banyon page 242.

Brigham Young University (the "Y") was on a 4 Quarter system, Fall (Sep-Dec), Winter (Jan-Mar), Spring (Apr-Jun) and Summer (Jul-Aug) while Ed Parker was there. Except for a shorter the summer quarter, each quarter was 10 weeks long with a week or more for finals.
Fall Quarter 1955 was from September to mid December and was the first Quarter of the 1956 academic year.
Brigham Young played UCLA at Provo for the first time EVER on December 2, 1955. Fall Quarter ended shortly after the BYU/UCLA game. There was not another BYU/UCLA game at Prove until December 1961. SEE: B.Y.U. Basketball All Time Results)

  1. The Judo club (Dojo) was organized for first time in Fall Quarter 1955.
  2. Ed Parker was in the Judo club.
  3. Judo club was limited to advanced "judokas" during the Fall Quarter (September-December).
  4. Open classes were first offered beginning Winter Quarter (January 1966)
  5. Winter Quarter (January 1956) BYU Extension classes were offered for the first time to law enforcement agencies.
  6. Ed Parker graduated in June 1956.
  7. 6 months is the longest Mills Crenshaw, Charles Beeder or anyone claiming to have trained with Ed Parker at BYU after Ed began teaching "outsiders".
Ed Parker set out the timeline for his teaching Kenpo at BYU, and with the exception of the date of the BYU/UCLA basketball game this agreed with what Ed and others who were with Ed at BYU told us. Recently, however, Mills Crenshaw has come forward with contrary claims as to what Ed had written, said and taught at BYU. Crenshaw claims that Ed Parker not only began teaching him 1954 and other "outsiders" in 1954, but that Ed Parker taught Forms, 1, 2 and 3 while at BYU. These claims are absurd and contradicted by the documents, Ed Parker's own writings and the personal knowledge of Al Tracy, Will Tracy and Jim Tracy.

To understand the place and time:

Ed Parker had attended BYU from 1949 to 1951 at which time he enlisted in the Coast Guard. He was not drafted as the Coast Guard has never been part of the draft. After discharge from the Coastguard in 1954 he returned to BYU for the 1954 Fall (September) Quarter.

Ed Parker wrote in Inside Elvis (1979) Rampart House, Ltd. Page 23:

"In September of 1954, I resumed studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It was difficult to readjust. Self-discipline now had to replace regimentation. There were some rough moments but I managed to weather the first few months before finally getting back into the swing of things.

"Physical exercise was as important to me as intellectual pursuits. I wanted to fine tune my reflexes, so I utilized my expertise as a Karate Black Belt by teaching a private group of students from Hawaii. I took pride in developing a tough, tight knit group. In retrospect, there may have been a touch of 'Polynesian Chauvinism," though I did not view it as such at the time."

NOTE: "There were some rough moments but I managed to weather the first few months before finally getting back into the swing of things."

This is MONTHS, not days or weeks. Those who were in Ed's "tight knit group" say they did not begin practicing together until early 1955. These were "Island boys" not "outsiders" and certainly not Mills Crenshaw.

Then on page 24 Ed Parker writes about his "Kenpo" classes that were not open to the public and states that he was asked:
"...to demonstrate at the B.Y.U. vs. U.C.L.A basketball game. The success of this demonstration launched an entirely new dimension in my life. Law officers witnessing the performance requested that a class be taught at B.Y.U. The university agreed and suddenly I was both a faculty member and student...."
NOTE: The B.Y.U. vs. U.C.L.A game was played December 2, 1955. It was only after this game that Ed Parker began teaching law officers
"As interest in the martial arts blossomed, I re-examined the policy of confining the class to the select group from Hawaii and law enforcement officers.... I began to accept the fact that there were other deserving individuals who needed self-defenses kills. As providence would have it, I met Roy Woodward.... He owned a gymnasium in the heart of downtown Prove.... It was soon ageed that a Karate class would be offered along with body conditioning...."
NOTE: It was only after Ed began teaching law enforcement officers that he began teaching "outsiders." In other words Ed did not teach Mills Crenshaw until after the Winter Quarter began in January, 1956. That makes 5 months the maximum Mills Crenshaw could possibly have trained with Ed Parker. However, Ed graduated in early June 1956, making the time even shorter.
Then on page 25 he writes:
"Interest on campus increased as well. To satisfy the demand a Judo club was organized on the B.Y.U. campus...."
NOTE: The Judo club was not formed until Winter Quarter (January) 1956 and Ed graduated 5 months later in early June 1956.

This of course was written 23 years after the event and is not quite correct as the Banyon states, the Judo club was actually formed during the Fall Quarter, but only open to beginners in the Winter Quarter.

Ed Parker relates a similar chain of events, although putting the date of the B.Y.U. and U.C.L.A. a year earlier than was possible in his 1982 book, Infinite Insights into Kenpo: Mental Stimulation (P. 26-27)

"While completing my education at B.Y.U. I formed a closed club teaching only students from Hawaii...I was asked to put on a Kenpo Karate demonstration during the basketball half-time intermission (early in December 1954) between B.Y.U. and U.C.L.A. The success of this demonstration launched an entirely new dimension in my life...In a matter of weeks I began teaching commercially in downtown Provo...."
Ed Parker's wife, Leilani Parker, confirms the BYU/UCLA game but also gives the year wrong in her Memories of Ed Parker, Delsby Publications 1997 (page 27) and stated of Ed Parker,
"...He started to teach a select, closed group of interested fellow students from Hawaii....Ed was invited to demonstrate his skills during intermission of a basketball game between BYU and UCLA early in December 1954...."

Although written many years after the fact, there are several indisputable facts,
  1. The demonstration took place during the B.Y.U. vs. U.C.L.A basketball game.
  2. The game was played on December 2, 1955, and it was impossible for the game to have been played in 1954.
  3. It was only after that demonstration that Ed Parker began teaching law enforcement officers in Winter Quarter (1956).
  4. The 1956 Banyon gives the date for the Judo club as being formed Fall Quarter 1955, and open to all student in 1956.
  5. The 1956 Banyon gives the date for the teaching law enforcement officers as 1956.
  6. It was only after Ed began teaching law enforcement officers (1956) that he began teaching "outsiders."

  7. Ed Parker graduated in June 1956, a mere five months after starting to teach "outsiders".
  8. The demonstration did not take place during another game as Mills Crenshaw claims. The Judo Club did not exist until 1955, and Ed Parker began teaching the law enforcement class until 1956 which was shortly after the demonstration.
Tom Loura who was one of the "club" founders told us (Al and Will Tracy) that Ed and he first began training with some "Island Boys" at the Church Polynesian Ward cultural hall in early 1955.
Mormon Churches (Wards) have a cultural hall, which usually has a full size basketball court and a stage. The Polynesian Ward had a large stage for its elaborate production, and they trained behind closed curtains.
It was not until the following school year, (September 1955) that they went into the BYU wrestling room where they could play (practice) Judo mat work. However in order to do this as a group they had to have a BYU sponsored club with a faculty advisor. That advisor was Dr. Wayne Wright,who was also the faculty advisor for the Hawaiian Club.
In the late 1950's Dr Wright told Will Tracy that Ed Parker was a Judo Sandan at BYU, and head instructor of the Y Judo Dojo.
Ed Parker was a Judo Sandan (3rd Black) not a Kenpo Sandan because there was only Shodan in Kenpo until 1961.
Judo was Ed's first martial art, which he began at age 12 and earned Shodan when he turned 18 (1949) although because of his size he had been competing as a Shodan since he was 16. Ed also took up boxing when he was 14. Ed told us that he was always being put up against a large Hawaiian who would try to put Jiujitsu holds on him. He got fed up with this so he laid the guy out with a punch - disguised as a fast attempt at a grab. Ed earned his Nidan when he returned to Hawaii in the Coast Guard and that was his rank when he returned to BYU in 1954 (5 years after Shodan). Dr. Wayne Wright told us he promoted Ed to Sandan (as a college rank) when the Judo club was formed.

What is beyond dispute is that Ed Parker only taught Island boys for the first year (1954-1955); and Ed claimed it was only after a demonstration Ed put on during half-time at a BYU, UCLA basketball game that he began teaching Haolies.

The significance of this is that Ed Parker did not start teaching Kenpo Karate until January/February 1956, and he graduated in early June 1956. That means no one in Utah trained with Ed Parker for more than 6 months.
Ed Parker had played (practiced) Judo with the Y Dojo from the beginning of the 1956 accademic year, yet I have only found one reference in Ed's writing about his learning Judo.
Infinite Insights into Kenpo : Mental Stimulation (p. 23) "Having learned Judo, I could see that handeling two or more men was not a problem utalizing the Kenpo methods taught me."
Ed Parker founded the Kenpo Karate Association in September 1956 and began teaching at the Bert Goodrich Bar Bell Gym on Fair Oak Street. On February 18, 1957 Ed opened his Walnut Street Studio. (I know the date because Ed celebrated the one year anniversary of the Studio opening with a large promotion, where I was promoted to Yonkyu.) It was after the founding of the KKAA when Ed opened his Pasadena studio on Walnut street that Ed created the Kenpo Karate Fist Patch. Infinite Insights into Kenpo: Mental Stimulation Page 34.
"There were two crests (patches) designed during these two periods. The crest for the K.K.A.A. was a fist encircled in red (see illustration 1-14). It was basically designed as a club patch or logo..."
That patch was NOT created while Ed was in Utah as Mills Crenshaw claims. Not only does Ed state it was created after the KKAA was formed in September 1965, but there is not a single picture of Ed Parker or anyone in Utah wearing the patch while Ed was in school there. Ed Parker had no money in Utah. The Patches were manufactured in Ohio and cost over $400 for less than 150 patches. We know, because Al Tracy ordered new patches for Ed in 1959, and we knew the price and where they were fabricated.
Mills Crenshaw also has stated that Ed Parker did not use any Japanese terms. When Jim Tracy was told this, he said, "So we did not go to the Dojo, where there were Tatamis and we didn't Kumutai, there was no Rondori, and no Shai, and we didn't have a Makawara. I must have dreamed all that."
Mills Crenshaw also stated that Ed Parker taught him Short Forms One, Two and Three at BYU in 1954, 1955, 1956. To which Jim Tracy said, "You mean the forms Ed Parker made up when we were with him?"
The International Kenpo Karate Association was created by Mills Crenshaw in late December 1963. He is not listed in the Kenpo Karate Association of America record for any rank. With only 5 months of Kenpo training with Ed Parker in 1956, Mills Crenshaw and Stanley Hall (who was unknown to any of us) promoted Ed Parker to Godan (5th black) and himself to Sandan (3rd black) through the IKKA. A year later he promoted himself to Yondan (4th black) through the IKKA.
A WORD OF ADVICE: Do Not Think Dishonestly; neither seek wisdom nor Kenpo knowledge from those who present imagination as reality.

* "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you mad." Aldous Huxley ©2009 by W. Tracy. All rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced without permission. The Law Offices of Michael Tracy.