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Ed Parker

Board of Credentials Co-Chair

Edmund Kealoha Parker, Jr. (professionally known as Ed Parker, Jr.) was born on November 15, 1959, in Glendale, California. Ed is the son of the late Ed Parker, Sr., Senior Grandmaster and founder of American Kenpo Karate. Some consider Ed’s father to be one of the greatest martial artists who ever lived. Ed, Sr. was named by Black Belt Magazine as “the Father of American Karate.” He was noted for launching the careers of many martial arts motion picture stars such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris; and he was the personal karate instructor, bodyguard and friend to the late King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Elvis was so involved with Kenpo and with his instructor, Ed Parker, Sr., that he put his martial arts logo on the side of his guitar. This crest is present on the Elvis Presley guitar pin, now displayed in all Hard Rock Cafes. Ed, Jr. was reared in Southern California. His early years were focused on the study of art and theater and, at that time, he received the Bank of America Art Award. At the age of 19 he moved to Arizona, doing social work as a voluntary missionary on numerous American Indian reservations. Ed worked for two years with the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Southern Ute, Havasupai, White Mountain and Jicarilla Apache tribes. He then moved to the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, where he focused on Illustration and the Theatrical Arts at Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus. During this schooling he studied and made student films, one of which won him an award for the Best Student Film for 1982 in the State of Hawaii Film Festival. He was awarded an internship on the television show “Magnum P.I.” He also received 12 University art and theatrical scholarship awards. After finishing his education, Ed returned to California where he continued to study at the Art Center College of Design. Upon completion of his training, he went into partnership with his father. From 1983 to 1991. Ed produced nine International Karate Championships, annual karate tournaments that host over 6,000 competitors each. “The Internationals” was the largest and longest- running martial arts tournaments in the world having run for over 40 years. He has co-published and designed over 20 martial arts books. In December of 1990, Ed’s father passed away. Since then, Ed has continued his involvement with the martial arts industry and has produced six educational martial arts videos. In June of 1992, he published “The Encyclopedia of Kenpo,” a complete reference resource on American Kenpo karate, based on the teachings of his father, Ed Parker, Sr. In March of 1993, Ed produced the first annual Martial Arts Expo. This event attracted over 8,000 participants. The Expo featured the first- ever martial arts talent star search. Celebrity support for this event came from actors Wesley Snipes (“Passenger 57”), Steven Ho (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.2” & “-3”), Don “The Dragon” Wilson (“Ring of Fire”), Jeff Speakman (“The Perfect Weapon”), and World Kickboxing Champion, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez Support was also derived from producers Aaron Norris (“Side Kicks”) and Rick Nathanson (“Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story”). During this same year, Ed earned his First Degree Black Belt.

Ed has appeared in several movies and television shows such as, “Seven”; “Magnum P.I”; “Jake and the Fat Man”; “Inside Edition”; “Hello L. A”; “The Curse of the Dragon” with Chuck Norris, James Colburn and Kareem Abdul Jabbar; “E! Entertainment television, The Biography Channel, and his appearance in a major motion picture, Universal Pictures’ feature film “Dragon: The Life of Bruce Lee,” wherein he portrayed his own father. The University Times honored Ed with a cameo award for his performance in “Dragon.” He hosted “The Night of the Golden Masters,” a martial arts special for Showtime which features many martial arts masters from all over the world including film star, Ernie Reyes, Jr. He completed the choreography for the movie “Deadly Takeover” (starring martial arts film star, Jeff Speakman and veteran actor, Ron Silver), as well as the film “Cage II,” starring Lou Ferrigno, in which he served as the Associate Art Director.

During the past 20 years Ed has taught, lectured, produced, published, written, illustrated, designed, choreographed and acted in various martial arts-related areas. He has a Black Belt in American Kenpo karate under the instruction of Ron Chapél and has trained for 40 years with such noted instructors as SGM Ed Parker Sr., Richard Planas, Lee Wedlake, Tommy Chavies, Martin Wheeler, Vladimier Vslilas, Frank Trejo and many others. He also cross trains in other arts such as the Russian art Systema, Jiu Jitsu and some Phillipino arts. Ed worked for over 20 years as a freelance illustrator and graphic artist, Ed worked on numerous design campaigns, and has produced over 5,000 pieces of artwork, two of which were for National Public Radio; and with Leonard Nimoy on a two-part series of dramatic audio tapes entitled “Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New” and “Jewish Short Stories from Eastern Europe and Beyond.”

For 4 years Ed focused his talents to the drawing of a tribute to the legacy of Ed Parker, Sr.: a series of portraits of prominent individuals within martial arts and the Kenpo industry. Thus far, over 500 portraits have been completed. Ed has recently been involved on a publication called “The Journey, The oral histories of 25 of the most prominent kenpoists today”. Ed did the complete design and layout of the book as well as illustrated 25 portraits and the cover. This book features some of his tribute to the kenpo industry. Ed is also on the international lecture circuit, conducting martial arts workshops and seminars. In 1999 Ed traveled around the world, teaching over 100 seminars in 35 of the United States and in Ireland, England, Greece, Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela. Ed also published a book on his father (Memories of Ed Parker) that has sold over 10,000 copies, to-date. He was featured in two consecutive magazine articles in Black Belt Magazine, the largest and most widely distributed martial arts periodical in the world. Those profiles appear in the November ’99 and December ’99 issues. He has also been featured in Inside Kung Fu, Karate/Kung-Fu Illustrated, Karate and Fitness International, Budo, Fighters, Kampfkunst (Germany), Artes Marciales (Mexico), and Full Contact magazines and is scheduled for 3 more magazine articles in the European market.

In the year 2004, he founded and started EPAKS, Inc. a company dedicated towards the publishing and producing of high quality teaching and learning materials for the martial arts industry. He has just produced over 120 paintings featuring kenpo techniques, each painting has been transformed into decks of training cards in which he has produced two decks of 60 cards each. He has also just released his first authored book on the “Kenpo Kards” that he produced. Ed has also just released the first kenpo designed martial arts uniform. This uniform is ground breaking history for the branch of martial arts known as kenpo, one of the largest growing new martial arts. This uniform has gotten international recognition and is expected to be used by thousands of martial artists around the world.

Ed is the proud father of four children‹three daughters and one son, and the Grandfather of two grandchildren. Ed lives with his wife in Pasadena, California.