Shedding New Skin

By: Sean Kelley


It’s been awhile since I have been able to sit down long enough to let everyone know updates, events and news within the CKF organization. This past year has been very busy with me traveling doing seminars and both working full-time in the security field as well as teaching my VIP Program.


Our recent Florida Kenpo Camp was another amazing venue with guest instructors Vinny Anfuso, Rich Hale and Mohamad Tabatabai (first time appearing at the camp). As a special addition to the weekend we had MMA/Kenpo instructor Fred Mergen and firearms expert Paul Pawela bring their worth to the 45 VIP Guests who attended this past February 2011 event.


I was honored to see old friends and dedicated students that have trained with me for over 20 years being able to visit us and travel to this year’s event. We had visitors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Kansas, Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska and throughout Florida attend. It was an awesome reunion for CKF members.


We are reviewing the new CKF Instructor’s manual and hope to have this available soon for those interested in getting the revised material as well as the new information that has been created for current CKF Members only. Hard work and effort in this project is being conducted by CKF Black Belts Susan Jordan and Buddy Morrison. We will keep you updated.


We are also planning to add to the web site my daughter Tori performing the forms Short Form 1 through Long Form 2 for those who enjoy a quick visual library. For those interested in getting a copy you can purchase these by contacting me at The investment for this DVD will be $15.95 plus shipping/handling and you can make checks payable to the Guardian Angels. We are using this project as fundraiser for the organization and as a reminder this is a tax deductible donation since this a Non Profit organization. It is our way of giving to a wonderful cause.


I would also like to mention my return trip to Chile has been scheduled for November 2012 hosted by CKF South American Rep Maestro Roberto Vidal. Going along with me will be Grandmaster Michael Robert Pick and Kickboxing Legend Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace.  I look forward to my return trip in seeing our CKF South American family.


If you have ever heard of the expression of Shedding New Skin I would like to say I too understand the phrase as of recent. Over the years I have taught hundreds if not thousands of people from ages 3 years old up to a senior citizen who hired me to be a coach, mentor and personal trainer. With over 30 years as a Martial Arts instructor I have given testimonies to many who have asked me to write something for their web sites, jobs, or social media only to help build a long time relationship. Sometimes it works and then there are times it comes to a dead end and we must then move on. I call it Shedding New Skin.


I was recently informed that someone posted on a forum that I was giving credit to a Black Belt as the top CKF student or that they were the best under my lineage. When I heard this I immediately recall the time SGM Ed Parker told me of his situation with having so many so called protégé’s and that some of them he himself never met. He also said he had many within his organization that were very talented but that there was no one person he could say was the guy to take over when he was ready to retire. He did say he had a few chosen Black Belts that were assigned for particular reasons but that was something he kept to himself.


Over the years I have written testimonies for people and even gave the okay for some to be self-written only because I was too busy to do it myself and I guess that could bite anyone in the tail bone down the road; matter of fact it happened to Ed Parker there in his last few years of being alive as I recall.

When someone takes on a career to be a facilitator you might think he/she would groom all his/her Black Belts well enough to end up better than they would be as a matter of producing quality and future leaders in the industry. Some forget though being a Black Belt requires a ‘Teachable Spirit’ and when you become self centered and driven by the idea of ‘I and Me’ versus the ‘We and Us’ way of thinking I would say immediately you need to be back in the class setting of learning the art as a Art not as a Hobby.


Being progressive and free thinking is a healthy stage we all can admit is needed in growing as a Martial Human; but do it with honor, dignity and humility.  Do not use the reputation of others to gain something for your own hidden agenda. This is not a good martial path to be on and in the Kenpo system we created an axe at the bottom of our Crest for a reason. You can be cut off from our inner circle, organization, network and family if you demonstrate disgrace, or are dishonorable as a Martial Human.


If I were to openly announce or even suggest at this time who might be the person I would say is my top student or who would represent me as a person it would be only one individual – my daughter Tori. She has been involved in the martial arts community since the age of 4. She started as a Little Dragon then became a Junior as soon as she turned 11 years old. Now she is 13 years old and ready to turn 14 years old come July 17th and is a qualified 2nd Degree Brown Belt learning the adult material and just finished learning Long Form 3 just like my adult students.


I’m insulted by any person thinking they have the right to take on the title of being my top student when in reality I have taught all over the world to all ages and have taught Black Belts of all levels as well. If we want to be technical I have even taught a few who were much higher in rank than myself only to prove knowledge will always out weigh cloth in my book.


Tori has the hours and years of being in my arena of teaching. She has been around many of my own personal Mentors and has assisted me in teaching as well as participated in seminars and camps where there were times she was the only young teenager in class. I’m proud of her dedication and I’m proud of her devotion in following my foot steps and when the time comes to strap on a Black Belt you can be assure of yourself she will know her stuff.


I do want to say over the years I have chosen a few of my closest Black Belts as assistants to my teaching staff. I have created a review teaching requirement venue called the ‘DNA’ Kenpo seminar series for those who are looking into the system as a Science and for being a certified CKF Instructor. So far people like Mike Friedman, Jeff Lewis, Susan Jordan, John Rhoads, Kevin Kuliga, Buddy Morrison, Alfred Magnan, Mike Miller, Doug Hotaling, Mike Miranda, Tony Capone, Bill Larson, Matt Trejo, Jamie Seabrook, Kurt Snyder, and a few of my Brown Belts have shown an interest in pursuing this level of training which will take a number of years to perfect. I’m proud in saying this will be what the Kenpo Community is missing in making future quality instructors if it is not passed on this way. Ed Parker’s system was a methodical, test proven science of learning how and why his art was so popular in its structure. Our goal is to qualify those interested in being carriers of the Kenpo torch with knowledge, ability to perform and to pass on the art as it was laid out as a science of street fighting with positive results. Those who will learn the academic side of the art will have the Master Key principles to advance into the combative mode for the sake of safety, survival and to protect those in a reality world of crime and disconnection. Use your studies as a means to find balance and peace in our modern day struggle for directional harmony.


Last piece of news is my returning as the leader of the Palm Beach County Guardian Angels here in West Palm Beach Florida. I have brushed off my cob webs on my Red Beret and have stepped back into the arena of leading the organization once again to do battle against bullies, teach crime prevention and to reach out as a speaker in schools or other places and be a voice in the need to create positive role models through martial science and the concepts created by Curtis Sliwa and his 32 years of success by creating a International Organization that lends a hand at helping others where others have stopped caring or in some cases Men forgot their role in life as protectors of the ‘Neighborhood’ when faced with things out of order….I say ‘Court is back in session’ and I’m back!

Curtis Sliwa Speaks Out – Local Terrorism

This is an interview article CKF Black Belt Michael Miller conducted with Guardian Angels’ founder Curtis Sliwa for Inside Kung-fu magazine.  They were about to publish it when they closed their magazine down.  Since it didn’t get published there Miller wanted to share it on the CKF Web site.  It’s a great article about local terrorism and Mr. Sliwa provides some great tips on how to tackle these problems.

Taking a Stand

Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa Provides Ways to Prevent Local Terrorism

Interview by: Michael Miller


Violence is an everyday occurrence around the world.  We read it in the newspapers and see it on the news daily. Rapes, murders, kidnappings, school shootings, assaults, and bullying are among the common problems we face as citizens in our communities. Perpetrators lurk the streets, schools, and internet creating havoc and increasing the fear we have for our children’s safety.

Curtis Sliwa has made a serious impact on deterring world violence since 1979 while living in the Bronx and watching his city deteriorate through drug and gang infestations.  He knew he had to do something to clean up his streets, so he took an active approach and created the Guardian Angels—a voluntary, weapon free program to take charge by patrolling the streets and making citizens arrests to create a safer environment.

The Guardian Angels began with thirteen people and has grown immensely over the past thirty years.  Aside from constantly patrolling the streets, the Guardian Angels provide education for everyday citizens to take responsibility for their environment. In this interview Sliwa talks about some of the problems we face and what we as citizens can do as preventative measures.

INSIDE KUNG-FU: Local Terrorism such as bullying, school shootings, gang violence, harassment, assaults, and abductions seems to be happening everywhere.  Can you explain why these kinds of activities occur in our society?

CURTIS SLIWA: I think today, because the way young people are brought up, they are exposed to this at younger and younger ages. There’s less supervision at home; less supervision in the community; so, often times, when they either become a bully or they become a victim, they do so at a much, much younger age and there is no intervention.  Nobody is telling them that’s right, or no it’s wrong.  [These negative behaviors are] also promoted by the culture: the rap videos, the hip hop videos, the videos that they see even from people who are successful in the business world.  They brag about how they bullied their way to the top. Like on the ‘Apprentice’ with Donald Trump. ‘You’re fired’, ‘You’re Fired.’ So they see this from the most successful people; they see this in sports, with people talking trash on the basketball court. So it just begins to affect every aspect of their life. Bullies always seem to become number one second to none and if you give into a bully, and as a victim, you just become a human speed bump.

IKF: How can we as citizens stop people from bullying us, and how can we keep from becoming a bully?

CS: I think in terms of the role modeling effect, human beings in general have to show far more humility.  We’ll call it the agony of defeat and the exaltation of triumph.  Too often now we dance on somebody’s grave; we exalt in their pain and their suffering.  We do this on so many different levels.  We need to understand the young people are absorbing all this so we have to show some humility, we have to be humble; there’s almost none of that around.

Simply at a young age we have to do intervention when we can see that a young person clearly is being affected by outside sources or the dysfunction of the home that they’re coming from. Either so much so they become inhibited, they’ve lost self-esteem, they’re introverted, or they themselves have imitated what they’ve seen and become a bully, because it’s very empowering and very exciting. So either or we have to intervene and we have to enable them to be able to change and yet still feel some of those things that excite young people.  That’s really the trick in all of that.  You know, how do you replace the excitement of being a gang member, a thug, bullying people where they’re very empowering?  You need to find something that is going to replace that and yet help them become a protector instead of a predator.

IKF: What is cyber bullying and what does it entail?

CS: Cyber bullying is just an extension of what we have seen in the school yard; what we have seen in homes across America, in neighborhoods, in parks.   And that is where young people will end up taking advantage of other young people and now can do that anonymously from the comfort of their own room.  In front of their computer or terminal they can take on various aliases, have different e-mail addresses, and now can search the networking sites.  They can literally almost stalk you, whether it’s tweeting on twitter, whether face booking, whether posting messages on message boards and virally sending images out that might be very disturbing in terms of what they are attempting to do to another person. It’s almost like a form of psychological warfare.

Cyber Angels is able to conduct that intervention, bring it to peoples attention, outsource a solution to people who deal with the subject matter—people who deal with both the victims and the bullies of cyber stalking and cyber bullying, and try to remedy it so that it doesn’t happen again; so these same people who are either victim or predator don’t fall into the same set of circumstances that triggered their either negative or passive response to begin with.

IKF: The internet seems to be a critical tool for perpetrators and bullies.  What are some things people can do to prevent their children from being bullied or targeted by these perpetrators online?

CS: First off, the main thing is to have an open line of communication with your child.  You don’t want them to just be a good news bear.  You want them to tell you bad things—the things they see.  The whole concept, if you see it, say it. Encourage the child, because they are facing an extraordinary array of pressures, an extraordinary array of peer group pressure that basically boils down to snitches get stitches and end up in ditches.  The idea is that you don’t rat anyone out.  In fact if you’re a victim, they have so perverted it, if you are a victim of bullying whether it be cyber bullying or regular old fashioned bullying maybe you deserved it because you were a punk, you were soft, you were weak.  So instead of people attempted to escape that, figuring out a way out of it, their believing that they are weak anyway and it’s survival of the fittest.

Naturally online it’s even more difficult, because a lot of parents and grandparents and adults are a dollar short and a day late when it comes to their computer skills and the kids can basically bounce rings around them when it comes to operating on the internet, or even operating on social networking sites or texting, or using any of these wireless technology that’s available.  And that’s the problem; parents, grandparents, young adults, they know about old fashioned bullying, but it’s very difficult for them to get a grip on cyber bullying and that usually impacts on children, girls, women, you know those who are most vulnerable.

IKF: Perpetrators lurk in schools, neighborhoods, streets, subways and the internet.  What can be done to identify these kinds of people and how can we as citizens take a stand?

CS: First off they have to be outed.  They cannot be allowed to remain anonymous.  They cannot be allowed to be able to operate in the shadows.  In fact, many of these bullies, those who become leaders of groups who commit these kinds of violations against humans, whether it’s cyberspace or in the normal realm of streets or neighborhoods, they do so and they get a vicarious thrill about organizing others to go out and do the deed.  They need to be outed.  Obviously, we need to put peer pressure on them and make it completely uncool to do it.  And then because some of them love to be a rebel without a cause and they love to be bad, because bad in their mind, according to the sub culture is good, then there has to be commiserate penalties.

If you’re found guilty of committing these violations you either have to face incarceration, or you’re gonna have to face spending some juvie time, or your gonna have to face some serious consequences that require you to go to counseling and then to reciprocate back to the victims or to the community by doing massive amounts of community service.  So we gotta make their lives miserable.  Right now it’s not.

IKF: It seems that the martial arts have played a key role in Guardian Angels training.  Can you explain your thoughts about the martial arts and the involvement they have had with the Guardian Angels?

CS: The martial arts has been a key when taken from it’s old school ways, which is the influence that I had from watching the seven samurai, which eventually was made into the magnificent seven, an American western that was based on the seven samurai:  Those who could defend themselves, but then offer their services to the defenseless—those who could not defend themselves.  The idea was that if you had these skills, if you were adept in martial arts and self-defense that you would use those skills not just in defense of yourself, but in defense of community and everyone else and not necessarily ask for anything in return; a form of selfless service.

Unfortunately, martial arts in the United States has gotten away from that old concept because in America everything epitomizes the individual—I and me.  They don’t think teamwork—us and we.  I have taken the concept initially that others had carried on, by applying the martial arts to group self-defense; protecting those who cannot defend themselves: the elderly, the women, the children.

Taking it to a whole different level, I would say that was the initial roots; whereas in America martial arts has become for the most part very much I and me.  You’re in the ring.  You’re testing your skill against an opponents’ skill.   And although there’s team competition and you might be part of a dojo or you might be a part of a participatory exercise that involves group techniques, it’s really all about you—all about the individual.  I try to stay away from that.

IKF: What kind of martial arts training do you have Guardian Angels go through?

CS: Because we have groups now in 14 countries and 140 cities, we first find who might be available locally in that community to conduct the training.  We have a set training program that involves the fine things that men, women and young adults have to be able to learn.  Let’s say in the case of Sean Kelley.  Here it is Kenpo.  This is his skill.  He moves to Florida from Pennsylvania.  He’s establishing his credentials in the martial arts world there, but he’s also living in a community that’s experiencing increasing crime.  He comes in voluntarily to offer his service, to volunteer and patrol, but he has the accreditation in Kenpo to actually teach others and after looking at the program and figuring out what in Kenpo we could use to help train the local group.

We allow the martial arts instructor to utilize their own form of martial art, those techniques that might actually be applicable to our training program which is pretty extensive.  It’s got two hundred and thirty six pages.  A lot of it deals with physical self-defense and conditioning and group defense.  But then there are other things like citizens arrest procedures, CPR and first aid, and role playing and simulation.

There are Sean Kelley’s all over the world.  Some of them are accredited in Kung-fu, some are accredited in Jiu-Jitsu, and some have been fighters, boxing and wrestling.  There is no one particular martial art or type of self-defense that is preferred.  What we say is, whatever your proficient in, whatever you are accredited in, as long as you can apply what you know of your particular form of self-defense to the training manual and you’re willing to give the time and supervise the training and be a role model and example, we say go for it.

IKF: The Guardian Angels believe in Inter-activism.  Could you explain this concept?

CS: We’re like an open book.  You want to see what we do, how we do it, feel free to do it at any point.  We don’t prevent people from understanding what we do and how we do it.  We encourage people to get involved and that’s where the interaction takes place.  We don’t care who you are: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, female.  Everyone is going to be treated equally.  Clearly we’ll give some people opportunities to participate because they have had problems in the past maybe with drugs or alcohol, or they’ve committed a crime or have been dysfunctional.

We give them an opportunity to rectify all that by becoming a guardian angel member, which is unique because there are a lot of groups who won’t do that.  We want to have partnerships with existing organizations whether it’s a boys club, girls club, social service organization, martial arts academy, we want to have as many partnerships in what communities we have a presence in as possible because we understand we don’t have the answer.  We are just one option in a wardrobe of options that people can have access to if they decide they have had enough and they are going to get involved and they want to fight back and they want to do it within the parameters of the law.

IKF: How can people get involved with the Guardian Angels?

CS: The first thing is they have to go to the website to see if there is an existing chapter in their area around the world in the fourteen countries, one hundred and forty cities.  And if there isn’t then obviously e-mail us about the possibility to begin an effort in establishing the guardian angel move.  Those groups range from areas as diverse as Mexico City (population 20 million) to little rural subjects in Western New Jersey (population 4,000) with no police department. It has nothing at all to do with the size of the community whether it’s a urban area, suburban or rural area, whether it’s in the United States or anywhere in the world.  It’s all about whether there is one person who is going to make the difference.  That’s all we need to start—one man or one woman.  If they’re willing to motivate themselves, do the heavy lifting, carry the efforts forward we will give the tactical air support for that.

IKF: It seems that many people complain about violence, but never want to take an active approach to deter it from happening.  What do you say to these people?

CS: Well they’re paralyzed in fear, apathy and indifference.  They don’t think that their participation in anything is gonna make any difference.  They become very jaded, very skeptical, and I understand.  They are also paralyzed because we live in a society where everyone is afraid of getting sued and losing every nickel, dime and penny.

In thirty one years we have done tens of thousands of physical interventions to break up fights and disputes to send people on their own way and it doesn’t necessitate getting the cops involved.  There’s been thousands of citizens’ arrests where we do get the cops involved because we have to physically detain a suspect and turn him over to law enforcement. And in all those years we’ve never once been sued.  In reality use the skills that you’ve been trained with and stop worrying about litigation or sued or losing every nickel, dime and penny you have, because that’s the kind of paralysis that keeps people from getting involved and making a difference.

About the author:

Michael Miller is a free-lance writer and full time martial arts instructor running his school, Miller’s Kenpo Karate Dojo, in Bradford, Pa.  He holds a 4th degree black belt in American Kenpo under Sean P. Kelley.  He can be reached through his Web site at

"Welcome Amongst Friends" Germany Seminar a Success

CKF Vice President and Kenpo legend Rainer Schulte and his wife Brigitte went to Germany so that Rainer could conduct an American Kenpo Seminar, which took place on December 18, 2010. It was a total success with 49 people in attendance to support Kenpo Team Willich.

The seminar lasted four hours total followed by dinner and a few drinks. Several awesome people attended including Peter Ritters, the first Kenpoist in Germany back in 1972 and the last of the original group to receive his black belt (2008 at Mike Friedman’s CKF Summer Camp).

Also attending was Rainer’s first black belt in Germany, Christian Springer, who flew out on his own dime to support his teacher and friends.  Marcel DeJong from Holland and some of his students made the trip as well as Christian Junge from Saarbruecken, Germany, who made it through horrific snow and ice traveling four hours to make the seminar on time.  Rainer explained that it was a great pleasure greeting Florian Hahn who has supported Kenpo in Germany since 1973.  He’s a true loyal Kenpoist who attended most of Rainer’s demos and tournaments held in Germany.

It was a great weekend with awesome camaraderie between Kenpo brothers and sisters.  You can look forward to seeing and possibly attending a Kenpo seminar in Casablanca in the spring of 2011 as a guest from Marocco has promised to sponsor a seminar.  To stay updated on the CKF visit You can visit the CKF European site at

Honoring a Hero – Master Francisco Conde

On August 23, 2010, the martial arts world lost an icon – Master Francisco Conde, who suffered a long-term illness that took his life at age 78.  Few martial arts Masters become legends, and even fewer are humble enough to step away from their legacy to turn the spotlight onto others.  Master Francisco Conde was a rarity in today’s world of ego driven “look at me” mentalities.

Conde wanted no recognition.  He cared more about the young generation of martial artists and through his integrity and honor he avoided the media explaining that they should focus on the young new-comers and not him.  Honesty and humility glowed throughout Conde’s soul and those who knew him respected him.

Conde was an Army veteran who served four tours in the Korean War and two tours in Vietnam.  He was a military man through and through beginning his service in 1949. After being discharged for one year, he re-enlisted since he preferred the military lifestyle.  Throughout his travels, both in and out of the military, Conde studied an array of different martial arts including Judo, Kajukenbo, Isshinryu, Kyokushinkai, and Moo Duk Kwan to name a few.

Although born in the Philippines in 1931, his travels as a young boy took him to Japan for a brief time, and then in 1948 he moved to the United States just before entering the military.  He trained in every country he stayed at (Philippines, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, and U.S.) under highly respected instructors such as Adriano Emperado, Ed Parker, Taek Moon Koo, and others.

In 1963 Conde founded the Oriental Defensive Arts Association (ODAA).  He was an innovator and believed that much could be done to develop the martial arts to work better for current times.  He was constantly refining techniques that he felt were outdated, much like American Kenpo founder and friend Ed Parker.

Conde was a successful tournament director on the East Coast for several years, and because of his strong reputation, there were always numerous attendees.  Aside from his tournament successes, he also developed martial arts equipment.  He designed the chonchaku, which was a modern day nunchaku made from polypropylene.

Conde’s teaching abilities were superb.  His students gleamed with passion every time he taught.  Chinese Karate Federation President, Sean P. Kelley, knows this first hand as Conde was his first instructor and the man who groomed him as a young boy teaching him how to handle bullies who were picking on his friends.  According to Kelley, Conde made him a fighter through intense training.  “He could bring the best out of anyone,” Kelley explained.

Kelley went from white belt through 3rd degree black belt under Conde, was a member of Conde’s fight team and also helped teach at Conde’s school.  Many memories are cherished by Kelley including being introduced to Ed Parker through Conde—a moment that impacted Kelley’s martial arts journey for the rest of his life.

Conde’s daughter Renee explained that one of the greatest things that she had ever witnessed was watching her father teach.  “He had a magical ability to adapt the teaching process to any and every individual he came in contact with, from the overly hyper seven year old to the middle aged woman who put on a gi for the first time,” she explained.

“When watching my father teach, there was always a perfect moment in which the student had a revelation, an understanding of how to make his body move in a particular way and the purpose of that movement. You could see the student’s eyes light up, and, as he finally executed the move correctly, a new passion for the martial arts was born.  If you looked hard enough at my dad, you could see a small smile on his face too.”

Francisco Conde will always be a martial arts pioneer who will be honored by those who he taught, served with, and came in contact with.  His legacy is now etched into the hearts of many martial artists who can share the stories of a true American hero.

Train Smarter, Not Harder as you Age

Train Smarter, Not Harder as you Age

–Michael Miller

As you get older in the martial arts its important to note that your body doesnt respond the way they did when you were in your twenties. You need to find a way to stay in tune with your training, but not find yourself trying to heal from multiple injuries. According to Bill Larson, a second degree black belt who is in the medical profession, you have to listen to your body. He explained that if you are in pain, its a good sign that your body is telling you something.

As you get older you have to understand the aging process and understand that injuries take longer to get over, Larson explains. What may have taken a couple of weeks or a month in your twenties and thirties; it takes you five to six months, maybe a year when you get older.

Working out should be tailored to the aging process. You need to know when to take it easy, when to stop, when to start, when to turn it on, when to slow it down, etc. You have to pace yourself in your training regimen. Larson says that it is important to train slowly when you are older, because you can always speed things up when necessary. You can slow down, because you know when to turn up the volume, he explains, where the young wheels want to do everything hard, fast, how much and how many.

Larson notes that as you age you will realize that you could probably still do all those things you did when you were younger, meeting your maximum potential, but you need to know when to customize things to your body type and your own style of performing and teaching the art.

Stretching plays an integral role in the aging process. Although it is no mystery how important stretching daily is to a martial artist, stretching properly is the key. Larson prefers to stretch the larger muscle groups and he makes a bi-weekly visit to his chiropractor to maintain appropriate body structure.

Larson feels that you need to do aerobic workouts and also do some weight training or other anaerobic workouts to strengthen the muscles as you age. You are going to lose muscle mass as you age, he explains. Just like anything else, if you dont use it you lose it.Calisthenics are a good supplement to weight training, which will stress the muscles and the joints to assist in maintaining muscle mass.

The trick is to stay with your training. You dont want to have long extended absences from stretching and training or it will only get more difficult. According to Larson, as you get older you lose the elasticity of your muscles and you also lose a lot of the fluids in your body including the lubricants of the joints. The bottom line is to keep loose and limber, Larson adds. The key is to not get away from stretching.If you dont keep stretching you will raise your susceptibility for an injury.

As you get older, use your head and common sense. Dont push yourself too far. Sometimes you will find that your body will hit a plateau and Larson suggests that you allow your body to take a vacation. Take a day off from training to get re-energized and you will feel much better and will overcome your obstacle.

Honor is Still Out There

From the Archives


I wanted to share something that took place recently and how much it meant to me. My daughter Tori had her birthday on July 17th, 2009 and has turned 12 years old. She is a big fan of the "Twilight" series and had a request for getting her own custom "Twilight" Sneakers done.

Her mother located on E-bay the ability to order these custom made sneakers and one could pick a particular design out of a selection of about 4 different choices. The only clench here was they were being ordered out of the country from the Philippines. My worry was getting them, buying them and of course never to ever receive the order and being out of $160 dollars plus Tori being let down out of her special gift.

The Order was placed on July 2, 2009, and I did this to give me a window of about 15 days to get them, since they were to be shipped within 3-5 business days. Well, there were a nightmare of problems through the United States Mail services and our Customs department.

There were a cluster of emails and phone calls to our customs and Miami Mail Division as well as reports of possible mail fraud. I found out that problems had been reported about ordering from China and claims have been coming in constantly that there was a mail fraud concern, but not yet from the Philippines.

I was so upset because it came down to the wire of it being one more day before her birthday and no item was mailed. It was now in the hands of customs and nobody was able to assist because there was no tracking of the item and they do not go after "A" item for anyone.

I ended up calling my American Express company as E-bay wants you to work it out with the seller, but AMX took immediate action and put the payment on hold for investigation reasons.

The situation was frustrating, but there is a positive side to this whole story. The woman who was responsible for the handcrafted sneakers goes by the name Ayin Gurling. She lives in Manila and runs an online business. She was sincere and very upset at the chain of events and was more than willing to go the extra mile to make sure I received Tori’s gift and her reputation was not damaged.

I have to say I learned that there still are many who are honest out there and it goes far on this planet, even to the place in Manila, Philippines. Not only did I eventually get my order on Saturday July 18th, 2009, the day after Tori’s actual birthday, but we waited for Saturday anyway to have a surprise party with karate friends and family at 3pm for everyone to come and be there. At 1:45pm the package arrived and it was the second pair that Ayin had done for Tori and Ayin drove an additional 90 miles to a mail delivery place to guarantee we would receive the gift.

Tori was so surprised and I was thrilled that it all worked out and I have to say this to those reading this, I highly recommend this lovely woman Ms. Gurling to anyone wanting to order these custom sneakers. She also put "Tori’s" name on them for no extra charge, and after all the problems, I received a second pair with extra small gifts from Ms.Gurling as well; So not only did I get what I ordered from out of the country, but also, I was given honesty treatment from a very special woman who displayed honor, dignity and my trust. I told her I look forward to many more business opportunities with her based on this situation that was a happy ending. Please check out her Web site at to see all that she has to offer. Ayinx custom hand painted sneakers.

Topic of Trust

In my recent travels I have found that many of the school/club owners have met up with customers not aware of the need of knowing how to understand that customer relationships and loyalty are built on mutual trust.

In today’s society the benefits and values taught at most karate schools is without the communication between parents and the coaches (karate instructors) in the commercial industry. Having taught as a professional facilitator for over 26 years now with over hundreds if not thousands of students I have found part of our lesson plan should be to educate our parents about their investment?the children!

There is no quick fix or mini-programs that is going to make any adolescent change in just a few months. This takes time, nurturing, and to change behavior it takes a team effort. I say welcome to the only school you get more than enough chances to make a change in life?no one quits and nobody gives up.

Karate is a discipline, which means like any education where mental, physical as well as emotional stages of improvement are being handled, it just can not be done without realizing it is a individual process and a skill that requires patience on all parties, especially in areas where there may be handicap challenges or for the sake a little extra care needed.

If our school system requires a 5 day/ 6 hours a day of habit forming time of investment to pass from one grade to another, then how is it people tend to believe that twice a week for a total of 8 hours a month qualifies them "Just Because" of paying a monthly tuition, to receive a minimum of 3 belts within a 12 month time period?

This is ludicrous as well as a disservice to our children and us as facilitators trying to bring out the best in every student we profile. Education is a must and we must take a roll of building trust with our parents to meet their goals but allow us to be the experts in our field as we would in their individual careers.

In reading a recent comment posted on Facebook by Michael Miller, who happens to be experienced in child protective services (as a caseworker for three years in McKean County) he reflects the need for parents to understand that children primarily learn through modeling behavior (social learning theory) by duplicating and repeating what they see and hear around them, primarily mirroring parental habits and behavior. This is a factor of concern to those wondering why their kids are developing or showing signs of improper behavior or lack of motivation to succeed.

The martial arts industry is place of improving character, self esteem, health/wellness, mental alertness, bully proofing, and developing strong work ethics for their future in corporate America. Let’s begin a new year with building stronger relationships at the front of classrooms and at the front door of our studios. If we neglect this we will lose another young kid who needs us, or a customer who needs a home for reconnection in his/her life. Let it be known your philosophy is about trust, dignity, motivation, and spiritual balance, not about engaging or endorsing violence, but prevention, intervention and solutions to what is missing in life; it still takes a neighborhood to raise a child!

Senior Teaching Black Belt

From the Archives

This letter is to provide an understanding as to why we in the Chinese Karate Federation have adopted the title "Senior Teaching Black belt" into our vocabulary and Lineage as it has been questioned by certain individuals and organizations in the past.

We chose this appropriate title because SGM Ed Parker passed away (in Loving memory) in the year 1990 leaving us vacant without a senior leader, to give us authentic first generation roots. With the help of training with the likes of many first generation Parker black belts I was fortunate to have trained and been on the mats with many top quality people, but I was missing something for me as the President of this organization and was dealing with some challenges that needed attention; and there was only one other guy other than Mr. Parker who I felt would be the man to fit that seat.

The CKF is about the future generations, not about me. It is about perpetuating the art of American Kenpo and passing on the Kenpo torch to those who carry it to the next level as well as future generations to come. After considerable thought and research I was at a loss for my own goals and path as a seed from Ed Parker’s garden and wanted what was missingleadership that was sound, and above all had honor, dignity as well as character; I chose to contact Michael Robert Pick.

Recently, we have had dialogue with many across the globe who have questioned, debated, or challenged our views and some tried to say we are lying in our attempt to document history as seen in the eyes of people like Master Rainer Schulte in his biography written by Michael Miller.

Like many who have written books about either themselves or topics that they have experienced, everyone will have his own opinion or view in terms of what he recalls on how things are remembered. The bottom line is thisits their biography, their book, and their point of view how they lived it.

If we look at the book Inside Elvis written by Ed Parker, he wrote about Elvis from his point of view and how he recalled the chain of events he was a part of. Some liked it, others said it was not true. Then we have a book that was written August 1, 1977 by Steve Dunleavy called Elvis – What Happened, a story by 3 of his personal bodyguards who told their stories after being fired by Elvis and Vernon Presley. This book was very controversial, damaging to Elvis career, and actually sold so many copies that had to have a second distribution series written; again, their point of view.

We in the CKF chose to bring Mr. Pick into our organization as the Senior Kenpo authority. He accepted it with honor, not with any agenda or goal. He spoke candidly with me on his ideals and we found out we knew each other through the same whispers of conversation, and that was by Ed Parker himself. I did not assume he knew me and went on to introduce myself, he stopped me immediately and said, I already know who you are and your place within the Kenpo community.I was stunned and was not sure if this was good or bad? I found out it was good.

Mr.Pick prefers the title "Senior Teaching Black belt" because it does not disqualify who Ed Parker was as our founder and as the Senior Grandmaster of our system, American Kenpo.

I am a student under Mr. Pick and have a relationship with him, as do my students and the organization the Chinese Karate Federation. He is in my school every February as a testimony of his role within our organization as well as the international "Alliance" that has been formed with many other organizations such as with Tony Cogliandro (AKI), Professor Brian Hawkins (UKS), Master Kevin Mills (BKKU), and many other independent Black belts who have come on board to network with us.

Mr. Pick does not push his authority; if anything, he is always open for dialogue with those who like debate, advice or opinion. Along with that, as my teacher, I mention his worth in my travels and to the CKF family and invite those to meet and train with him. As an example of this, he will go with me this year to Santiago, Chile in November to meet my CKF South American Rep Mr. Roberto Vidal and his students.

The series of books coming out by Michael Miller are personal biographies with title "Legends of Kenpo" just like the book written by Joe Hyams and Tom Bleecker in 2000; it was 24 honorees selected to appear in the book with their own stories about Kenpo and their individual history. Some agreed and some said it was not factual. Bottom line we all can show documents that are good on one day and terrible the next. Who cares! I say if you want to read it then buy; otherwise leave it on the shelf.

I found it very hard to digest the rank disease we have within the martial arts and how many obtain it. If Ed Parker’s system was called "American Kenpo" some might read it twice and realize it comes from its roots in America. This is not Japanese Kenpo, Hawaiian Kenpo, or any other pseudonym. We applaud our beginnings as Ed Parker did in his beginnings to the Chow line and Mitose lineage, but it was given the name Ed Parker’s American Kenpo for a reason and we must keep that in mind. The unique thing is we have brothers, sisters and many cousins in Chile, Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, and others to be very proud of. I call them family and am always honored to be invited by them to share my piece of the puzzle.

Over the years I have met some very special people who have become extended family such as Vivion Spain (Ireland), Jamie Seabrook (Canada), Kevin and Jenni Mills (United Kingdom) Thomas Kozitzky(Germany), Marcel DeJong (Netherlands), Roberto Vidal (Chile), and many others who stay in touch as well.

I’m a Professional in my career of teaching in Florida alone now for over 26 years. I teach almost 7 days a week with a schedule of 10 am-10 pm and have become an international facilitator. I can communicate my skill verbally as well as physically to a captured audience and can say with honor, I have the ability to address all ages from as young as 4 years old up to the levels of advanced black belts through my years of education. That education was my journey of being with some of the best of the best in their particular fields of expertise. This is better known as schooling yourself to have the ability to say, I am a professor, because I earned it and can demonstrate the skills, not because I have had X amount of birthdays or because I have stepped in or around the Kenpo arena on a few occasions.

I just read on a recent email sent to Mr. Pick where some so called master called him Mike. This is a sign of disrespect bottom line. I never called Mr. Parker Ed even though it was his name. I will never ever call my teacher Mike, and never have heard Wes Idol, Vinny, Marcus, or quite honestly Rainer Schulte say his name without proper etiquette.

The Kenpo community has new 8th-9th and 10th degrees almost monthly now. The youtube advertising, forums, and web sites all feature many with DVD’s and comments such as being former rangers, featured magazine cover holders and in high demand in the United States or globally and the fact is their con artists selling themselves with self made credentials.

One does not get rank or receive Hall of Fame awards by sending in coupons or filling out an application and sending in their $199 entry fee, or by rallying up their own students for new candy cane stripes on a beltyou are reviewed by your peers. This once happened in my living room with Mr.Dave Hebler as he was living with me at the time and I received the call. Mr. Hebler was so hurt and offended by the call he disbanded his organization O.A.K.K.A. because it lacked the loyalty he was hoping for. Not saying all were not up to par, but not enough to maintain the respect and history he brought to the table.

Kenpo is a generic term and we must educate those that Ed Parker was a figure head in the martial arts world. Many needed to have him in their cour
t for notoriety and for the ability like in other countries you must have affiliation to your training or you were not allowed to teach. The words credibility and authenticity are a serious undertaking and people like Mr. Pick, and many of the other first thru last generations of SGM Ed Parker’s disciples, must be careful not to prostitute themselves for the almighty dollar and give away or sell cheap our art as a cheap art. Please restrain yourself from letting this get out of hand as we are in a delicate situation.

A gathering is in place for a few of us to visit Ireland to repair a broken bridge that is over something that is more cultural pain than international pain. I only hope my Irish roots and adopted brother Vivion Spain can lead me through the "Irish Pub" wars that get stirred up as I am not a heavy drinker but enjoy watching my Irish roots beer-spar and I can be a awesome spectator of the events as they allow my handshake to a new friendship.

If anyone can make this happen I can say with confidence behind it will be 2 people with diplomacy in their monotone and that is my brother Wes Idol and my mentor "Senior Teaching Black Belt Mr. Michael Robert Pick" let’s bring peace back to our arena….TCB!

Relationships – Keeping them real

On my Journey, I have seen many people suffer from bad relationships and a few keep it alive and thriving. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your personal relationship with a friend, teacher, or significant other(male/female), relationships are built on trust. Trial and tribulations are common ground and constant communication is a must between all parties.

There comes a time in your life where you need to take a moment and ask yourself is this where I want to be? Is this a healthy place to be for my goals to be reached, or does it seem that I am just spinning my wheels and giving more than what is being returned as a healthy investment.

The martial arts are a place where many have found to reconnect what has been broken in their lives. Children, teenagers and adults all need to be nurtured through peaks and valleys and need to rebuild confidence and self-esteem through some spiritual balance.

The world is filled with crime, abuse, neglect, and other things that cause a person to seek counsel. We need balance in our lives both mentally and physically. The martial arts give us that. A recent colleague of mine took notice to a recent class I was teaching and said this, WOW, it is amazing to watch the full package of your philosophy as you share your knowledge to your students.He commented on saying I give a full spectrum of life’s lessons for a small investment but the return is like a jewel with value far past the eyes of the beholder.

He was impressed with the mix of education on a physical, mental and spiritual level. He noticed the inspiration of a motivational tone much like a professional coach who teaches his team the ability to go the extra mile and see the investment would protect their own lives, their children and those who are of weaker ability.

Like many of you, I have my own dark days and must dig deep down to find the flame to re-light and realize many rely on me for my teaching skills, counsel, and ability to push them the extra mile to become over achievers in their Journey.

I have had many relationships and even a recent one that was pretty devastating to get through. When you Love someone it is hard to let go knowing you cannot fix everything no matter how much you try. If you give it youre all and God knows youre sincere in your attempt then you just have to realize you have done your best and that is all that counts!

Friends and family are what you make of it. If it is broken try to fix it or at least come to terms with it. I will not give up my Integrity or character for anyone or for anything. I will step up to the plate to defend my honor and to aid in my families who need me as a support system. Some are not so fortunate and others come from a broken heart from childhood and leave as a victim.

I think loyalty, devotion and love is a common glue of long term relationships both personally and professionally. Organizationally we have a special bond with many of our immediate members and there are few who need to make the effort and step up to the plate and build their relationships closer to us rather than just sport the logo.

Today I ask you to forgive someone who has hurt you, or call an old friend and tell them you were thinking of them. I strongly believe when making relationships you must like them first before you say you love them. And don’t be surprised by the return response you sometime will get when you say to a friend or family member, "I Love You" and you get nothing back on the return. This is okay because you took the action first and were brave enough to say it, feel it and then share it! Some will never ever get it.

To all of you reading this thank you for the years of support and the dedication in our relationship as we have each other to assist us when the "Tide is High" and the "Weather is Dark"…..I salute you all….TCB

Guardian Angels Newsbrief

From May 2009

Members of the Guardian Angels came together on May 2, 2009, to pay tribute to the passing of Mildred Horton. She was 90 years young and was a woman with outstanding qualities from working with the original company of Walmart to supporting her son Steve Horton who has been a Guardian Angel for over 10 years serving the area of Port St.Lucie, Florida to many other cities throughout South Florida.

The pastor giving the service was Pastor Wendell Hilderman who gave a touching and peaceful speech as he announced that two days before giving his service he was looking over the web site of Michael Miller’s Kenpo Dojo and was taken by the very words that Mr.Miller had said that knowing the martial arts means nothing if you do not believe in Jesus.

Pastor Hilderman is not only a Pastor of his Church but also a Kenpo student at the Kelley Karate Center in which he trains personally with Professor Sean Kelley , and also takes private lessons from Black Belt instructor Mr. Brian Phelan.

I was asked to speak before the Church about Mildred and I was Honored to have been chosen by Steve Horton the son of this awesome mother, grandmother, friend and supporter of all the Guardian Angels she has gotten to know over the years.

Wearing the colors of the Red Beret and T-shirt is a symbol of giving your devotion into making a difference in your communities, let it be for changing the minds of our youth, speaking at schools, or attending funeral services in bowing our heads before those who have been lifted by God and now will watch over us as they too are now in better hands than before. The photo attached shows how we are looked at as "Angels" and prayer is a way of having a communication with yourself and to whom your faith is with.

This letter is dedicated to the many who attended this service, not as a sad moment, but a celebration of a 90 year "young" woman who impacted many and left smiles and tears on all who will keep special memories of happiness going and to say….save me a spot we will soon see you again and carry the mission to the next step into the Gates of Heaven…..GOD BLESS!