american kenpo

AMERICAN KENPO - the Kenpo Patch

The Parker Patch was designed between 1959 and 1960 by one of Ed Parker's Pasadena Students, Dick Tercell, for the Kenpo Karate Association of America (KKAA). The curved outline, as well as the tiger, dragon and K, are all Tercell's artwork. The compass circle and lettering are Ed Parker's design. The outline of the patch was taken from a photograph of a Chinese temple which Tercell traced and made numerous drawings until the final form took place. The bottom was designed from a Chinese hatchet.

The emblem was used by the KKAA from 1960 to 1964 when Ed Parker resigned from that organization to head the newly formed International Kenpo Karate Association (IKKA). While Ed loved the design of the KKAA patch, he openly expressed bitterness over the 1961 "defection" when all of his black belts and many of his top students, including Dick Tercell, left him to train with Kung Fu master Jimmy Wing Woo.

Tercell died in 1962 while unsuccessfully practicing a kung fu technique in which he hanged himself. His death was ruled a suicide.

After the "Parker Patch" was designed, Ed continued experimenting with designs for a new emblem. He was not satisfied with the Tercell emblem because it was not his own design. He also wanted a patch that would make a complete break from the past.

In late 1963 that the concept of the International Kenpo Karate Association began to take serious form, and Ed began designing a new patch, one with a flame in the center of a horizontal elliptical oval. But the new emblem was not well received, and Mills Crenshaw used his considerable influence on Ed to keep the original KKAA emblem for the IKKA.

American Kenpo
True Kenpo Techniques
The Kenpo Patch
Belt Requirements
IKKA Black Belts
Kevin Lamkin
That Changed Kenpo

     BYU 1955
     January 1957
     Robert Trias' first karate tournament in August 1963
     Long Beach Ed Parker's tournament August 1964

Kenpo Karate
Another event in the summer of 1963 also shaped Ed's thinking. He had seen the success of the first karate tournament held in Chicago by Robert Trias in August, 1963. He knew he could produce a bigger and better tournament, and sent Will Tracy around the country to gather support for what would become the Internationals. Ed's new "flame emblem" and its patch thus became the symbol for the Ed Parker "International Karate Championships" which was first held in Long Beach in August 1964.

Ed continued to experiment with other designs that would express his philosophy of Kenpo. One of those designs expanded on his original compass used in the KKAA emblem. The compass was Ed Parker's idea, which he derived from Kung Fu master James Wing Woo's explanation of the Chinese characters for ten (+ cross), tree, ( 2 apitional lines on the ten) lines, and rice, (octagon); and, by aping new lines and circles he created a third emblem for which he could hold the copyright.

This new "Universal" design was a circle inside of which were lines, curves and circles which represented the directions of movement. This new emblem and patch along with an arched IKKA over it, would eventually become the emblem of the IKKA. However, the Parker patch remained the traditional patch of many Parker black belts and is worn by many outside the IKKA as a legacy Ed Parker. The patch is always worn over the left breast, while the "flame" emblem was originally worn anywhere, but eventually found its place over the right breast. The newer "mystic circle" IKKA patch was worn high on the left arm.

In retrospect, it appears that the founding of the IKKA in 1964 and Ed's International Tournament later that year marked Ed's movement away from True Kenpo and toward a new system of American Kenpo.

While copyright law does not permit an exclusive copyright, except by the original author, the Kenpo Karate patch on the home page is copyrighted by Will Tracy, as Dick Tercell's parents, as executors of his estates assigned his rights to the design to Will Tracy in 1963. The design is from the original hard plates given to him by Ed Parker in 1962. The design was reworked and altered by Mr. Tracy to correct numerous graphic errors. Mr. Tracy has granted a copyleft for the use of the patch on on the condition that acknowledgement of copyright be made here, and notice be given that his design may not be reproduced or used by any person without permission of Mr. Tracy.