Senior Grandmaster Founder
Senior Grandmaster Edmund K. Parker
Senior Grandmaster Edmund K. Parker, 10th degree black belt, is the undisputed Father of American Kenpo Karate. A native of Honolulu, Parker was already a black belt in Judo at the age of 16, when he began studying Kenpo with Frank Chow in Hawaii. Parker quickly learned everything Frank could teach him, and Frank soon arranged for his brother, William Chow, to help Parker reach a higher level. After only two years of training, Parker earned his brown belt. Like Mr. Chow, Parker was a street fighter and adapted what he learned to fit with the type of fighting he encountered on the streets, and Chow imparted in Parker the necessity for change in the Kenpo system to meet the modern needs of the American people. Parker organized every technique and movement into a format that could be broken down into levels for all students and renamed it “American Kenpo Karate.” When Mr. Parker moved to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University, he opened his first studio. After graduating in 1956 with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, Parker moved to California, opened his second school and founded the International Kenpo Karate Association. By 1964, when he held his first tournament, Parker had become a household name in Hollywood, teaching his art to the likes of Elvis Presley and Steve McQueen. Mr. Parker passed away in 1990 at the age of 59, in Honolulu.
Master of the Arts. 9th degree black belt
Sigung Stephen LaBounty
Sigung Stephen LaBounty began his martial arts training in 1958 at a Judo school in Fort Worth, Texas. After earning his brown belt in 1961, Mr. LaBounty traveled to San Francisco and began looking for a Judo school to continue his training. He found three karate schools in the phone book and figured they could point him in the right direction, however after observing a Kenpo class at the Ocean Avenue Tracy Kenpo School, he was hooked. LaBounty began his Kenpo training under Steve Fox, moved through the ranks rather quickly and began competing in the tournament circuit, where he is recognized as an international fighting champion. In 1969, Mr. LaBounty formed the National Chinese Kenpo Karate Association (NCKKA). In addition to the martial arts, Mr. LaBounty has also taken an interest in acupressure and shiatsu to aid in developing his yin side. Currently a 9th degree black belt, LaBounty is active as a Law Enforcement Self-Defense Consultant and is widely sought after on the seminar circuit.
Master of the Arts. 9th Degree Black Belt
Master John Sepulveda
Master John Sepulveda, who has over 40 years experience in American Kenpo, holds a 9th Degree Black Belt (Master of the Arts). Mr. John Sepulveda was one of a very few who was a direct student of Senior Grandmaster Parker before his untimely passing. Mr. Sepulveda is featured prominently in Joe Hyams’ recent book, The Journey, which profiles prominent students of Ed Parker. This is a singular honor. Mr. Sepulveda has actively and successfully competed in many Open, National and International tournaments and has many junior and senior students who have also competed successfully at the same levels of competition. His students are known for their speed and explosive power as well as their character. Mr. Sepulveda has also appeared on television, in national and international martial arts magazines, and has written numerous articles on the art of American Kenpo as perpetuated by Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker. Mr. Sepulveda is the founder of the American Kenpo Training Systems, which boasts over 50 member schools in the United States, Europe and Mexico. He is one of the founding members of the “American Kenpo Senior Council” which consists of some of the best Kenpo practitioners worldwide. He has been recognized and awarded worldwide for his committed efforts in promoting Kenpo, which included the California Karate League’s “Official of the Year Award,” and the Associated Teachers Association of the Martial Artists (ATAMA) “Hall of Fame Award.”
Owner/Associate Professor 5th Degree Black Belt
Owner / Associate Professor
Associate Professor Chris Tanaka, a 5th Degree Black Belt, has been a martial arts enthusiast for most of his life. He began training in martial arts in 1986 at the age of 5. In 1995 he began his journey in Kenpo and began training privately with Master John Sepulveda in 2000. Because of his love for martial arts and love of teaching, he decided to take over Sher Khan Karate in 2002 at the age of 21. Mr. Tanaka is always working towards improving upon his knowledge of Kenpo and has dedicated his life to helping others in their knowledge of self defense. He is an active member of the Nor-Cal Kenpo Group, training and teaching as much as possible. He also trains as a knife student under Mr. Marty Zaninovich and is consistently working to increase his knowledge in that art as well. Because of his love for the art, Mr. Tanaka will continue to train and teach as often as possible so he can give back to the martial arts community.