Editor's note: Please see the bottom of this page for updated
information. Which was last updated on 8/30/01.
On March 19 1931
on the island of Honolulu Hawaii Edmund Kealoha Parker Sr. was born.
Carrying the bloodline of King Kamehameha "the hard shell
crab" in his veins he began his martial arts training at the age of
sixteen under the tutelage of Frank Chow and then his brother William.
The system in which he was trained was called Kenpo Karate. When Ed
Parker witnessed William Chow and his students practice he was moved by
a "strong and spiritual feeling that penetrated the very depth of
his soul communicating to him that Kenpo would become his lifeís
work". And that it did.
Equipped with an
active and intelligent mind he realized the need for new innovations to
combat modern day methods of fighting. He later developed revolutionary
concepts and theories that are practical not classical. His innovative
concepts and ideas have enhanced the martial arts in the United States
and beyond. The system that he created is the one I have been training
in and teaching for over twenty years.
Ten years before
his death Mr. Parker started coming to the area where I lived to give
seminars and train us. I have spent time with people that were what I
would call spiritually advanced; swamis priest etc. I have friends and
acquaintances who are physically gifted in strength and skill. I have
friends and students who are brilliant in their collective fields of
medicine and science. I have never met anyone who encompassed all
three categories like Ed Parker. Ask the martial arts experts today who
knew him Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Bruce Lee (when he was alive), Gene
LeBelle, Billy Blanks, Bill Wallace and many more all who speak and
remember him with respect. He pioneered martial arts in this country and
others broke tradition and helped us to free our minds and constantly
look for ways to improve.
Mr. Parker was
always looking for ways to share our art. This included movies
television and books. The movie "The Perfect Weapon" I had
seen five years before it was made animated by Mr. Parker at many dinner
conversations who was always eager to share his ideas. I marveled at the
level of his intellect and looked on with awe at the magnitude of his
martial prowess. On a few occasions I was used for demonstrative
purposes. The more comfortable he became with you and the more he liked
you the more he would hit you. On one occasion I felt my collar bone and
rib cage flex inward close to breaking. It was as close to being in a
fight with Ed Parker as I never wanted to be.
Mr. Parker thought
a television show based on the Kenpo system would be an effective way to
promote "our" art. (He always called it our art not just his
since he felt we all made our contributions to it). A blow by blow
analysis of any fight scene that would take place in an episode would
only work once in my opinion and would fail to hold an audienceís
attention for any length of time.
However a comic
book told through the narrative of the title character where actions are
frozen in time on paper would certainly be a more effective way to
promote and teach the art. It is one of my greatest regrets that I never
shared this idea and this project with him before he died. I think it
would have excited him and I would have been elated to have his input.
Which brings us to
the purpose behind "Legend of the Fist". It is my intent to
use this book for entertainment and instructional purposes. To my
knowledge no comic book has ever been completely done by a martial
artist. Some may have written them. Some may even have drawn them but
none have done every task involved in the creative process yet alone use
it for instructional as well as entertaining purposes. Again at least
not to my knowledge.
This book and the
many that will follow (many many more I hope) contains the techniques
and the principles of motion that are taught in the Kenpo system as they
were taught to me by Mr. Parker and his contemporaries as I understand
them. Let me stress that last point clearly; "as I understand
them". Mr. Parker believed in the concept of tailoring to the
individual since no one is exactly the same. Therefore he would teach
one person slightly differently than he would another. Anyone who knows
Joe Palonzo knows that he did not exactly receive the same instructions
as Tom Kelly (inside joke sorry). So any Kenpo practitioner who feels
compelled to tell me "Thatís not the way Mr. Parker showed
me!" please keep my previous comments in mind.
Also since Mr.
Parkerís death there has been a symphony of in-house fighting and
struggles for power. Let me now explain that I loath politics and want
nothing to do with choosing sides in political struggles. I just want to
share with everyone what Mr. Parker shared with me and my class mates.
If you are entertained by this book or even better educated by it then I
have done my job.
It has been a long
hard road getting this book published. The details I will not got into
at this time. There were plenty of times that Iíd come close to giving
up. The obstacles that life has put in the road were many. Fortunately
there are exceptionally good people in my life who continue to believe
in me even in the weakened moments when I canít believe in myself. But
adversity is the main ingredient in all worth while successes. Iíve
learned to embrace it as a necessary training tool much like pain in
class. If it doesnít hurt youíre probably doing something wrong.
And the fight is
not over just because this book has finally seen print. Now I have the
task of getting others to learn of it. Iím hoping the internet and you
the reader will help with that.
Yours in Kenpo
New Information 8/30/01
Let me start this
second introduction by explaining what has changed, why it changed,
and what I hope for the future.
First, I had intended to
make "Fist Law" a bi-monthly book. It quickly became obvious how
impossible that would be. Writing, drawing, inking, lettering, painting
covers, shading interior pages, editing, marketing, distributing, (is
anybody dizzy, yet?) etc; were SO time consuming that even two months
between issues was not enough time for me to produce the work with which I
would be satisfied . Also, I had hoped to interest some distributors in my
product. And while they were intrigued with the concept of this book, they
were unwilling to commit themselves to monthly or bi-monthly distribution.
Not that I blame them. From a marketing standpoint it wasnít worth their
efforts, plus they donít know me and didnít know if I could keep up on
my deadlines, anyway. Therefore, I decided it would be more advantageous
to put the current story line (all four issues) together into one graphic
novel. This makes it easier to market and allows me time to do the follow
up novels the way I would like .
Second, when I started this
project the book was titled "Fist Law", the literal translation
of Kenpo. But before I went to print I did a quick copyright search on the
internet and found that some people had their names attached to that title
though I didnít know in which copyright class they were using it.
Choosing to be safe rather than sorry I temporarily changed the title to
"Legend of the Fist". I have since performed a full legal search
and found that I could, indeed, use "Fist Law". For those of you
who purchased the first issue of this work I hoped you are not too
And third, the feedback I
received from the first issue has been inspiring to say the least. The
fact that ANYBODY finds my work enjoyable never ceases to amaze me. From
the fan letters to the e-mails and the personal praises from all over
(even Australia) the comments has been appreciated and Iím glad I get to
share this with you.
Quitting has never been an
option for this book. Even through all of the adversities. And there were
many, I assure you. Wayne Dyer had once said, "Donít die with your
song still in you." I couldnít agree more. This project has been
something that Iíve felt I had to get out of me for sometime. There were
times that it was overpowering and caused tensions in my personal life.
But I couldnít ignore the call. It was as if some voice or spirit was
pushing me to complete it.
Looking towards the future,
I hope that I can continue to publish "Fist Law" as an ongoing
series. The next one is plotted out, already. If Iím able to sell enough
of this first graphic novel then, hopefully, Iíll be able to afford to
create the second. This will, also, give me the opportunity to improve on
my work. In describing comic book artists it has been said that you have
two thousand bad pages in you. The more you continue to work at it the
closer you get to your true potential. Like Michelangelo chipping away at
the stone to reveal Moses. I look forward to page two thousand one and
sharing it with you. I hope it will be worth the wait and you donít mind
In closing, I urge all of
you to discover what YOUR passions are and pursue them. Like Wayne Dyer, I
believe you come into this world with an agenda and it is up to you to
follow it. Iíll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Richard
"You are never given a wish
without being given the ability to make it come true.
However, you may have to work at it."
Yours in Kenpo,
by Agoge Press/Jeff Palmer. Copyright © 2001 Jeff Palmer/Agoge Press.
All rights reserved. Price $12.95 per copy. No similarity between any of
the names characters persons and/or institutions in this magazine with
those of any living or dead person or institution is intended and any
such similarity which may exist is purely coincidental. Fist Law (including all prominent characters featured in this issue and the
distinctive likenesses thereof) is a trademark of Jeff Palmer/Agoge