The curriculum that makes up Kenpo as we study it at Bluegrass Martial Arts is drawn in full from both the Ed Parker American Kenpo system as well as the Tracy Traditional Kenpo system. If someone is interested in studying just the American or Traditional systems we are fully certified to teach both. Our usual classes would still be available for training the basics, but instruction for Belt promotion would have to come in the form of private instruction. See our tab labeled :price?: for details.
Traditional Kenpo Karate was founded by the Tracy Brothers, Al and Jim. The Tracy brothers were lawyers
when began their martial arts training in Kenpo they saw a huge industry being
created and wanted in on the action. They embarked on their study of Kenpo with
Ed Parker and his black belt student James Ibrao in 1957, while attending
Pasadena City College.
On January 2, 1962, Al Tracy was the fifth person promoted to black belt. Jim
Tracy was the sixth person promoted to black belt (January 2, 1962). Both
certificates were dated January 7, 1962 and signed by Ed Parker and Mills
Crenshaw. The third Tracy brother, Will Tracy received his black belt in 1961,
under both William K.S. Chow and Fusae Oshita.
In the spring of 1962, the Tracy brothers opened their first studio in San
Francisco, which they named the Kenpo
Karate Studio. As the northern branch of Ed Parker’s organization, it was there
that the Tracy brothers created the three new Kyu ranks and the Kenpo
"colored belt system". They sorted the techniques into groups of 40
and divided the white belt into four levels instead of two. There would be two katas per
belt.The Tracy brothers also created belt manuals (which contained 40
techniques per belt at that time) and gave the techniques names.
The Tracy brothers opened a second school, in Sacramento, in 1962, and a
third, in San Jose, California, in 1963. They later changed the name of the
schools to Tracy’s Kenpo Karate. Ed Parker turned the Kenpo Karate Association
of America (KKAA) over to the Tracy brothers.
Ed Parker promoted Al Tracy to 3rd degree black belt on December 4, 1964.The
certificate is signed by Ed Parker, Mills Crenshaw, Stan
Hall, and Charles Sullivan.
The Tracy brothers later opened more schools throughout California and other
states, forming Tracy’s International Studios of Self-Defense. By 1982, Ed
Parker had changed the name to American Kenpo. It was around this time that the
Tracys completely broke from Ed Parker.
Tracy's Kenpo Karate today teaches what they describe as Traditional Kenpo,
as taught to Al and Jim Tracy by Ed Parker, and to Will Tracy by William Chow and
Fusae Oshita. Tracy's International Studios of Self Defense is a worldwide
organization of over 1,000 schools, based out of Lexington, Kentucky. It is the
largest system of affiliated schools and the longest-running self-defense chain
in the world.