1ST DEGREE BLACK BELT PLEDGE
I HOLD THAT MY TIME AND MY SKILL ARE THE ASSETS TO MY PROFESSION, ASSETS WHICH GROW IN VALUE AS I PROGRESS IN KENPO, UNTIL AS A THIRD DEGREE BLACK BELT I STAND AS A FULLY QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR. IT SHALL ALSO BE MY RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT ANY INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD TRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PERSONAL WEAKNESSES TO DIVEST THE GULLIBLE INTO UNPROFITABLE PATHS. TO PRESERVE THE SACRED THINGS, FAMILY, GOD, AND COUNTRY, I PLEDGE MY ALL.

ED PARKER.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ED PARKER BLACK BELT
While physical skills are mandatory prerequisites for obtaining a Black Belt, a true Black Belt is one who is expedient in his use of psychological strategy. Psychological strategy transpires when the attitude of a Black Belt is such that his spiritual qualities overcome his physical fixations. When a Black Belt conveys kindness instead of hate, peace instead of animosity, and uses words instead of his fists, he is truly a Black Belt.

 President Abraham Lincoln, in my estimation, conveyed this spirit. He was an expert when it came to utilising psychological strategy. The following story is proof of his convictions:

Lincoln, in his youth, was hated by Sam Brown who looked for every opportunity to fight with him. One day an opportunity presented itself when Sam accidentally (or purposely) bumped Lincoln. Using this as an excuse to start a confrontation, Brown challenged Lincoln to a duel. The choice off weapons were determined by Brown who naturally picked a weapon with which he was an expert -- that weapon was an axe. Lincoln refused the challenge and was then told that he had no choice except to name the time and place. Having no knowledge about fighting with an axe, Lincoln decided to take advantage of the two choices left him. According to history, Lincoln was well over six feet four inches tall while Sam was only five feet eight inches in height. Taking into account their difference in height, Lincoln answered, "I'll fight you tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. under six feet of water". The episode ended with Sam Brown shaking Lincoln's hand and saying, "Let me shake the hand of the man who beat me verbally." Lincoln's psychological strategy worked and both men later became good friends.

Should you lack knowledge of the Martial Arts and, Like Lincoln, be challenged to a duel by a Martial Artist who is an expert kicker and who allows you to name the time and place, give him this reply--"I will fight you tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. in the telephone booth located on the corner of___and_____". When your opponent arrives, invite him into the telephone booth with you and shut the door. The lack of space will thwart his efforts to retaliate with kicks. Psychological strategy would have triumphed again as you utilise environment as a means of defeat.

QUALITIES
The following is a list of some of the qualities you should evaluate in critiquing yourself as a Black Belt in Ed Parker's American Kenpo:

  1. Build a solid foundation of basics with knowledge of every component part.
  2. Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of principles associated with your basics.
  3. As you understand and internalise your principles, learn to logically assemble them so that your moves flow with continuity.
  4. Once internalising all of the above in establishing basics that are competent, reliable, and dependable TAILORING is your next order of priority. Tailoring is the result of understanding what constitutes good basics. It is the ability to randomly convert your art from the IDEAL, to the WHAT IF, and finally to the FORMULATION PHASE.
  5. Develop creativity once having knowledge of formulating your basics.
  6. Know your forms from all levels -- skeletal to levels of intricacy.
  7. Know how to create forms as well as the what's and the whys so that you'll be able to help the lower belts in their creations.
  8. With your forms develop:
    • Basic principles of technique movement, understand the central idea of each form and have both the ability and desire to discover what they teach and how to apply that knowledge to the art of self defence.
    • Your individual style of movement.
  9. Know as well as teach the IDEAL techniques and their associated themes and principles. Expand into the WHAT IF and the FORMULATION PHASES.
  10. Continue to improve your freestyle skills by participating in it regularly. Include street freestyle in your class sessions and the logical criteria that it is based on. Pass on your skills to fellow members or students.
  11. When freestyling remember:
  12. Every angle that you choose as a defence your opponent may choose as an offence, and vice-versa.
  13. Stances are the foundation of your art.
  14. Develop Timing - know when to move in and when to move back.
  15. Be a capable counter puncher.
  16. Have a solid base move to build upon.
  17. Be able to analyse motion so that you can employ proper angles and directions when entering or departing.
  18. Develop your ability to teach others. Remember to teach others is to teach yourself.
  19. Develop qualities of leadership that will influence, encourage and guide those of lesser rank.
  20. Cultivate an attitude of respect and regard toward others no matter what their rank might be.
  21. Develop diplomacy and use it wisely.
  22. Encourage others to become association members.
  23. Continue to seek higher goals. Endeavour to continue learning and updating your material.
  24. Make every effort to continually improve yourself: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  25. Remember that there are no stereotypes.
  26. You will need years of training, but that should be ultimately measured in the number of quality, intelligent hours that you train.
  27. You must put time back into your school (teaching, etc.).
  28. Your attitude should be positive and confident. Believe in yourself.
  29. For Black Belts to obtain advanced degrees, their names must be submitted for testing by their instructor.

ATTITUDE
You must again explore the idea that, "For every move, concept, theory, principle, and definition there is an opposite and a reverse." For First Degree Brown Belt you are encouraged to apply this idea when blocking, especially with your feet. While most systems stress blocking and striking with their hands, do not overlook the importance of learning how to block and strike with your feet. Since the majority of street encounters result in one or more opponents on the ground, it only stands to reason that you should be confident in your ability to block as well as strike with your legs and feet. When confronted with such predicaments there is a high probability of your legs being used to block with. Therefore, you should familiarise yourself with a variety of dimensional predicaments. It is imperative that you spend hours learning to block as well as strike with your legs and feet when confronted with such encounters.

REQUIRED TECHNIQUES FOR FIRST DEGREE BLACK BELT
(In the order they are to be taught)
  1. DESTRUCTIVE KNEEL
    Front Right Step through Punch

  2. ENTWINED MACES
    Front Right and Left Punch (Opponent's Left Leg is Forward)

  3. MARRIAGE OF THE RAMS
    Right and Left Shoulder Grabs, Close by Two Men

  4. RAM AND THE EAGLE
    Front Right Punch and Rear Left Collar Grab by Two Men

  5. ESCAPE FROM THE STORM
    Right Step through Overhead Club -- Right Flank

  6. THRUSTING LANCE
    Front Right Step through Knife Thrust

  7. CAPTURING THE ROD
    Front Right Pistol, Against Your Chest

  8. PRANCE OF THE TIGER
    Right Step through Uppercut from Right Flank

  9. FATAL DEVIATION
    Front Right and Left Punch (Opponent's Right Leg is Forward)

  10. SNAKES OF WISDOM
    Flank Left & Right Shoulder Grabs by Two Men

  11. REPRIMANDING THE BEARS
    Right Front Punch and Rear Bear-Hug, Arms Pinned by Two Men

  12. CIRCLING THE STORM
    Right Front Club Thrust

  13. ENTWINED LANCE
    Front Right Step through Knife Thrust

  14. BROKEN ROD
    Rear Right Hand Pistol Holdup

  15. TWIRLING HAMMERS
    Front Left Step through Punch

  16. PIERCING LANCE
    Front Left Step through Punch
    Front Right Knife Thrust

  17. UNFOLDING THE DARK
    Left Step through Punch from Right Rear Flank

  18. DEFYING THE ROD
    Front Right Pistol Holdup

  19. ESCAPE FROM DARKNESS
    Right Punch from Left Rear Flank

  20. TWISTED ROD
    Front Right Pistol Holdup