Our Heritage

Professor Matthew Moncreaff is a student of Skip Hancock.

Professor Skip Hancock is a student of and a successor of Senior Grandmaster of the Art, Ed Parker.

Ed Parker is the founder of Modern Kenpo Karate and opened the first commercial martial arts school in the entire United States in 1954.

Ed Parker

Ed Parker was born in Hawaii.  He began his training in the martial arts at a young age in judo and later boxing. Ed Parker's father enrolled his son in Judo classes at the age of twelve. Parker received his Shodan in Judo in 1949 at the age of eighteen.  He began his Kenpo training at age sixteen and by the time he achieved the rank of brown belt he was already expanding upon ideas he had learned from his Chinese-Hawaiian teacher, William Kwai Sun Chow.  In 1953 he was promoted to the rank of black belt in Kenpo.  Parker, seeing that modern times posed new situations that were not addressed in Kenpo, adapted the art to make it more easily applicable to the streets of America and called his style, American Kenpo Karate.

Parker was significantly influenced by the Japanese and Okinawan interpretations prevalent in Hawaii. Parker's Book Kenpo Karate, published in 1961, shows the many hard linear movements, albeit with modifications, that set his interpretations apart.
All of the influences up to that time were reflected in Parker's rigid, linear method of "Kenpo Karate," as it was called.  Between writing and publishing, however, he began to be influenced by the Chinese arts, and included this information in his system. He settled in Southern California after leaving the Coast Guard and finishing his education at B.Y.U. Here he found himself surrounded by other martial artists from a wide variety of systems, many of whom were willing to discuss and share their arts with him. Parker made contact with people like Ark Wong, Haumea Leiti, James (Jimmy) W. Woo (a.k.a. Chin Siu Dek), and Lau Bun. These martial artists were known for their skills in arts such as Splashing-Hands, San Soo, Tai Chi, and Hung Gar, and this influence remains visible in both historical material (such as forms that Parker taught for a period within his system) and current principles.
Exposed to new Chinese training concepts and history, he wrote a second book, Secrets of Chinese Karate published in 1963.  Parker drew comparisons in this and other books between karate (a better known art in the United States at that time) and the Chinese methods he adopted and taught.

Parker opened the first commercial karate school in the United States in Provo, Utah in 1954.  In 1956, Parker opened a Dojo in Pasadena, California. This dojo is still operating today.

Parker was well known for his business creativity and helped many martial artists open their own dojos including notables such as Chick Norris.  He was well known in Hollywood where he trained a great many stunt men and celebrities; most notable was Elvis Presley, to whom he awarded a black belt in Kenpo.  

He helped Bruce Lee gain national attention by introducing him at his International Karate Championships.  He served as Elvis Presley's bodyguard during the singer's final years, did movie stunt-work and acting, and was one of the Kenpo instructors of martial arts action movie actor Jeff Speakman.  He is best known to Kenpoists as the founder of American Kenpo and is referred to fondly as the "Father of American Karate".  He is formally referred to as Senior Grand Master of American Kenpo. Parker can be seen with Elvis Presley in the opening sequence of the 1977 TV special "Elvis in concert".  Parker wrote a book about his time with Elvis on the road.

Parker had a side career as a Hollywood actor and stunt man.   He appeared in numerous movies and television shows.  His most notable film was Kill the Golden Goose.  In this film, he co-stars with Hapkido master Bong Soo Han.  His acting work included the (uncredited) role of Mr. Chong in the Blake Edwards' Revenge of the Pink Panther. 

For a list of all of his movie and television appearances take a look at his IMDB entry:

Ed Parker was the author of a number of notable books including:

1960, Kenpo Karate: Law of the Fist and the Empty Hand. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-47-3
1963, Secrets of Chinese Karate. Prentice-Hall ISBN 0-13-797845-6
1975, Ed Parker's Guide to the Nunchaku ISBN 0-86568-104-X
1975, Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate Accumulative Journal. International Kenpo Karate Association.
1978, Inside Elvis. Rampart House ISBN 0-89773-000-3
1982, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 1: Mental Stimulation. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-00-7
1983, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 2: Physical Analyzation I. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-02-3
1985, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 3: Physical Analyzation II. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-04-X
1986, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo, Vol. 4: Mental and Physical Constituents. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-06-6
1987, Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo: Vol. 5: Mental and Physical Applications. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-08-2
1988, The Woman's Guide to Self Defense
1988, The Zen of Kenpo. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-10-4
1992, Ed Parker's Encyclopedia of Kenpo. Delsby Publications ISBN 0-910293-12-0

Edmund K. Parker died in Honolulu of a heart attack on December 15, 1990. His widow Leilani Parker died on June 12, 2006. They have four surviving children. Their son Ed Parker Jr. is very active in the system his father created.  Ed Parker Jr. has visited and taught at Moncreaff's American Kenpo Karate in Acton, Massachusetts three times.

Skip Hancock

detailed bio coming soon!
Founder of Kenpo2000

Author of:  Mastering Kenpo - The Path to Excellence
Author of:  Aware - Survival Stories to Help You Have a Safe Life
Author of the Kenpo2000 Training Guides (Yellow through Brown)

Featured Biography can be found in the book:  The Journey
The Journey features the Personal Stories of 24 of the Most Prominent American Kenpoists of Today As told to Joe Hyams ("Zen in the Martial Arts") Collectively over 1,000 years of martial arts training!  385 pages.

Matthew Moncreaff

1991 International Karate Championships - Bronze Medal
1993 International Karate Championships - Silver Medal
1996 International Karate Championships - Gold Medal
2003 International Karate Championships - Gold Medal

1991 Promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate and TKD
1995 Promoted to 2nd Degree Black Belt by Professor Tony Cogliandro
1997 Promoted to 3rd Degree Black Belt by Professor Tony Cogliandro
2010 Promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt by Professor Skip Hancock
2011 Promoted to 5th Degree Black Belt by Grandmaster Greg Silva

Co-Author of:  Aware - Survival Stories to Help You Have a Safe Life

1993 Founder of Moncreaff's American Kenpo Karate Academy
1993-1996 Editor in Chief of Kicks and Punches Magazine

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Psychology with a Minor in History​
from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

BodyforLife Success Coach
Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance RYT500 Certified Yoga Teacher
Certified Thai Yoga Massage Practicioner and Teacher
Founder of the NinjaBody Fitness Program

detailed bio coming soon!

Master Ed Partker
Professor Skip Hancock
Sensei Matthew Moncreaff