My name is Rainer Schulte. From 1978 until 1990, I worked for Senior
Grandmaster Ed Parker as the Representative and Head Instructor for the
IKKA in Europe. I guess you could consider me one of the ‘Old Timers’ who
traveled extensively with Grandmaster Ed Parker. Like you, I owe my movie
debut to Mr. Parker, as I worked with the ‘Old Man’ and Larry
Tatum in TO KILL A GOLDEN GOOSE back in the 1980’s.
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting you personally, your name
and work are familiar to me through my close friends Sean Kelley and
Dave Hebler. I very much enjoyed your work in THE PERFECT WEAPON. I know
Mr. Parker worked with you on the set. He would mention your work with
pride, as he was pleased to have his art finally exposed to the public
in the context of this movie, which was a great asset to the Kenpo community.
For that I thank you.
At this point, Mr. Speakman, I would like to give you a few thoughts
on the Kenpo community in Europe, with which I am very familiar. Numerous
American Kenpo instructors have made their way to Europe (especially
to Germany) to teach at various seminars and camps. By and large, this
has been a lucrative source of income for them. The European Black Belts
have searched the websites, and have been excited at the prospect of
learning the true Art of Ed Parker’s American Kenpo through the
teachings of yourself, John Sepulveda, Lee Wedlake, Richard Planas, Ron
Chapel, Doreen Cogliandro, Gilber Velez, Larry Tatum, Gary Ellis, and
others. The European clubs and schools have enthusiastically invited
MANY Kenpo masters through their doors.
Sadly, the Europeans have often been left scratching their heads over
the claims of individual instructors that “everyone else is doing
Kenpo wrong” and that they are the only ones “doing Kenpo
as Ed Parked wanted it to be done.” The gossip this type of behavior
has caused, and the questions it has raised have been overwhelming for
people whose only objective was to learn from good instructors of the
Art. They are confused as to why the Americans can’t seem to get
In this vein, the speech you delivered on your recent visit in Balve
has been brought to my attention. This was a venue in which many dedicated
martial artists had come to train and meet you. Apparently, many of them
left not only discontented, but also with many unanswered questions in
I am gravely concerned over the fact that someone who was close to Mr.
Parker, and trained by Larry Tatum, an excellent instructor, would stoop
to claiming he is “the only one doing Kenpo correctly.” This
is not only untrue, Mr. Speakman, but is also a serious disservice to
students looking to join the Kenpo family. Your ego-based assertions
presented American Kenpo as being a backstabbing, power hungry, politically
maladjusted collection of self-centered primadonna instructors who have
no concept of decorum, protocol or etiquette.
In the interests of loyalty, not to mention truth, I would have to ask
why you felt it was in any way appropriate to publicly insult your own
instructor, Mr. Tatum? This was the man you trained with in California,
and the man you received rank from. Mr. Tatum managed Ed Parker’s
school in Santa Monica until 1988, and I must remind you, has a loyal
following in Europe of people who enjoy his teachings. These people certainly
did not need to be exposed to your startling lack of Kenpo Brotherhood,
nor did the other Kenpo instructors who visit Europe need you “poisoning
the water” there for them.
I feel obliged to point out to you that Mr. Parker himself, was quoted
as saying, “Larry Tatum is a guy who moves like me, looks like
me and is one of my top guys along with Tom Kelly who he is working close
with.” I hope you would not presume to questions Mr. Parker’s
judgment of his own student.
I know you mentioned the “exhausting test” you went through
with Ed Parker when you were being examined by him for rank. And I’m
certain this is true. You went through an “exhausting test” along
with the likes of Dian Tanaka and Brian Hawkins to name just two students
from your era. My point is that, although you are “a” Torch
Carrier of the Kenpo Flame, you are not “THE” Torch Carrier
of the Kenpo flame. You, like me, are one of many students of the Legend
named Ed Parker. At this point, in light of your recent regrettable “performance” in
Balve I would have to question your worthiness to carry that Torch.
It is with profound sorrow that I send this letter off to you. But the
flurry of negative response in Germany to your recent visit has made
it necessary to express the points I have made.
I hope you can appreciate my views and take them in the spirit they
are intended. I regret any pain this letter may have caused you, and
still hope we might meet one day in Kenpo brotherhood.
CKF Board of Directors