Great Grand Master Al Tracy
Grandmaster Al Tracy and his brother Jim began studying Kenpo with Ed Parker and James Ibrao in 1957 and each were promoted to black belt in 1962. Over time the Tracy brothers developed a close relationship with Mr. Parker, and soon began teaching all the beginner and intermediate classes. The Tracy brothers would also run Mr. Parker's studio when he would periodically return to Hawaii.
The Tracy brothers created belt manuals (which contained 40 techniques per belt at that time) and gave the techniques names, like Attacking Circle, Raising the Staff, etc. Ed Parker turned the Kenpo Karate Association of America (KKAA) over to the Tracy brothers and then formed the International Kenpo Karate Association (IKKA). The Tracy brothers then agreed to join the IKKA, on the condition that they could keep the standards of teaching for their own students. The Tracy brothers later opened schools throughout California, as well as other states, and formed the Tracy's International Studios of Self-Defense.
By 1982, Ed Parker had changed what he was calling American Kenpo, so much so as to make it in Parker's own words, "no more than 10% Kenpo." It was around this time that the Tracy's completely broke from Ed Parker. Al Tracy's Kenpo Karate remains to this day teaching the "original" Kenpo as first taught to him by Ed Parker.
The Tracy's International Studios of Self Defense is a worldwide organization, based out of Lexington, Kentucky, comprised of over 1,000 schools. It is the largest system of affiliated schools and the longest-running self-defense chain in the world.
Grand Master Al Tracy organized the largest "gathering" of Kenpo Karate members in the world. A true historic event called "The Gathering of Eagles" in 1999. That first Gathering brought together over seventy masters, representing Kenpo, American Kenpo, Shaolin Kenpo, Nick Cerios Kenpo, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu, Wun Hop Kuen Do, Lima Lama, Kajukenbo, etc., and included some of the biggest names in the Kenpo Karate / Kajukenbo family of black belts.
Grand Master Al Tracy is one of the few remaining patriarchs within the Kenpo-Karate family and should be honored as an innovator for his work in spreading this martial-art style throughout the world and bringing the community together with the Gathering of Eagles.
Here is the "Mission Statement" of Tracy Kenpo. This will give you an idea of why these instructors are comming to Dallas to donate their time, effort and knowledger through teaching at this event and to honor a man who has done more than most to support others and the traditions of the martial arts.
To help preserve and pass on over 800 years of history, traditions, legacy and the true lineage of Kenpo. Our heritage has been preserved and passed down by the senior members of the "Yudanshakai" to each new generation of "disciples".
The future of Kenpo is tied to our past. Kenpo's senior leaders with their years of knowledge and experience form the bridge between the old and what appears to be new. Ours is a heritage of "Bushido"; the "warrior spirit" - that has been preserved for over 800 years.
For over 22 generations Kenpo was the closely guarded Martial Art System of one family. That system is now our heritage. It's not what you take or gain from the art of Kenpo that will endure, it's what you give back. It's who you teach and what you teach that will form your legacy.
The family of Kenpo is no longer of just "one blood", but it is still one family. We all come from a common heritage. Kenpo's heritage has always been that of a true Martial Art System (Military Art) - (War Art!).
Kenpo will never be united under one name - one leader - one set of standards but we will remain united as one family by a common "Warrior Spirit!"
This is an intangible that must be passed down from generation to generation! It has nothing to do with a belt rank or physical fighting ability. It has to do with "spirit", "attitude" and what you have given back to the system!
Where there is no "spirit" or if just one generation has lost it; there is nothing to pass on. Call it anything you like but it is not Kenpo. Motion becomes only motion, words become only words.
Old Zen saying; the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon!
May the family of Kenpo based styles remain united through the "Yudanshakai" and held together by the true "Fighting Spirit" that has always been the sign of the "Warrior!"
GGM Al Tracy with his son Master Mark Tracy, Dr. Kimberly Jones and Grand Master Bart Vale during GGM's history session on Saturday night at the 2016 "Last Man Standing" event in Dallas, TX!