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Kenpo In Europe - The Beginning

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June 10, 2009

The canons of Kenpo and the traditions of our doctrine have found homes in many countries across our globe, but the keys to those kingdoms are the Kenpoists who dutifully made those journeys. This document is meant to establish an understanding of how Kenpo began in Europe as well as honor those that fostered this significant part of our history.

On March 28, 2008 on the island of Jersey (off the coast of France) a discussion took place between Tommy Jordan, Maurice Mahon, Rainer Schulte and Wes A. Idol III which began as an effort to clear up misunderstandings and verify the true history of Kenpo in Europe. On the following day a private round table discussion occurred between representatives from America and Ireland. Present at this round table discussion from America was Michael Robert Pick Sr., Marcus Buonfiglio and Wes A. Idol III; present from Ireland was Tommy Jordan, Maurice Mahon, Peter Coyle, Barney Coleman, Dave Quinn, Vivion Spain, Alan Corrigan, John Reddin and Tony Dunne. From these discussions as well as documentation and photos supplied by David Hebler, Tommy Jordan, Peter Whitney, Terry Lewis, Rainer Schulte and Willie Kelly, the following information of our history has been found as such:

In 1962 Senior Grand Master, Edmund Kealoha Parker Sr. established the International Kenpo Karate Association, also known as the IKKA, in Pasadena, California, United States of America. John McSweeney received his first black belt from Ed Parker Sr. in Pasadena, California on September 27, 1962 and in November of 1962 was appointed as the first IKKA European Director. In December 1962 Mr. McSweeney left for Ireland and on February 22, 1963 he opened the first IKKA School in Europe at no 40 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, Ireland. The first four black belts that came from Mr. McSweeney were Tommy Jordan, Maurice Mahon, James Rice and John Conway Sr.

In November 1964 Mr. McSweeney returned to America. Before leaving Ireland John McSweeney, with the blessings of Ed Parker Sr., turned over his IKKA European Directorship into the trusted hands of Tommy Jordan, James Rice, Maurice Mahon and John Conway Sr.

In April 1965 Ronald Gurey, a student from John McSweeney’s school in Ireland, opened the first Kenpo School in Swindon, Wiltshire, England.

On May 5, 1968 Maurice Mahon opened the first Kenpo School on the Island of Jersey in the reverend Maten’s, St. John’s Rectory Barn.

In July 1972 Rainer Schulte opened the first Kenpo School in Germany.

In 1978 John Conway Sr. left Ireland to live in America, Ed Parker Sr. then appointed Rainer Schulte as the new IKKA European Director.

In 1980 Willie Kelly became the first to expose Holland to Kenpo followed later that same year by Rainier Schulte.

  • In June Willie Kelly, a student from Barney Coleman and Shay Paget’s School in Ireland (from Maurice Mahon’s lineage), began teaching in Amsterdam, Holland.
  • In November Rainer Schulte began teaching in Utrecht, Holland.

In 1954 Senior Grand Master, Edmund Kealoha Parker Sr. started teaching in America with the dream of availing this art and way of life to anyone who wanted to learn and grown through Kenpo. Due to the efforts of John McSweeney, Tommy Jordan, Maurice Mahon, James Rice, John Conway Sr., Ronald Gurey, Rainer Schulte, Willie Kelly, as wells as their teachers, peers and students, the continuation of Ed Parker’s dream was made possible and Europe was subsequently birthed a great number of exceptional and devoted Kenpoists which America is proud to regard as family.

In conclusion, all of us who have signed below state without reservation what we know as verified truth. The Irish have earned their place as the original progenitors of Kenpo in Europe and through their respected standard of training have earned their right to be acknowledged and honoured as such.

Michael Pick Signature

Michael Robert Pick Sr., GMA
10th Deg. Black, UKF
United Kenpo Federation

Chuck Sullivan Signature

Chuck Sullivan, SMA
10th Deg. Black, IKCA
International Karate Connection Association

David Hebler Signature

David Hebler, SMA
10th Deg. Black

*Above are the only three students in American Kenpo that were trained and promoted from White belt to 7th Deg. Black belt by Ed Parker Sr.

Tommy Jordan Signature

Tommy Jordan, SMA
10th Deg. Black, IKA
Irish Karate Association

Maurice Mahon Signature

Maurice Mahon, SMA
10th Deg. Black, IKA / AKI
Irish Karate Association
American Kenpo International

Peter Coyle Signature

Peter Coyle, SMA
10th Deg. Black, IKA
Irish Karate Association

Shay Paget Signature

Shay Paget, MA
9th Deg. Black, AKI
American Kenpo International

Tony Cogliandro Signature

Tony Coglaindro, MA
9th Deg. Black, AKI
American Kenpo International

Barney Coleman Signature

Barney Coleman, AMA
8th Deg. Black, AKI
American Kenpo International

Rainer Schulte Signature

Rainer Schulte, AMA
8th Deg. Black, CKF
Chinese Karate Federation

Dave Quinn Signature

Dave Quinn, SP
7th Deg. Black, IKA
Irish Karate Association

Willie Kelly Signature

Willie Kelly, SP
7th Deg. Black, AKKI
American Kenpo Karate International

Sean Kelley Signature

Sean Kelley, SP
7th Deg. Black, CKF
Chinese Karate Federation

Marcus Buonfiglio Signature

Marcus Buonfiglio, SP
7th Deg. Black, UKF
Universal Kenpo Federation

Wes Idol Signature

Wes A. Idol III, AP
5th Deg. Black, UKS
United Kenpo Systems

Compiled and authored by Wes A. Idol III, a member of the American Kenpo Alliance.

American Kenpo Alliance, P.O. Box 13745, San Luis Obispo, California, 93406-3745, United States of America

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