Rich Hale - OKKA President
Began Kenpo in 1972 at Ed Parker's Kenpo - Colton, CA
I credit my life-long devotion to Kenpo as a direct result of my 42 year friendship with Mr. Callahan. No other person has had such a profound effect on my life in the martial arts. I also give a great amount of credit to Roger Thomas, who was a close friend and training partner, during our early years and my partner in the Alaska Martial Arts Center, in Anchorage, Alaska.
In time Roger and I were joined by AC Rainey, Dale Eberwein and Jim Gradey. These three men were instrumental in our progression as martial artists. Another close friend, Tony Martin, came England and taught at our school for six months. Tony's energy and dedication to the art of Kenpo is beyond equal.
Like it was yesterday, I remember the day AC Rainey walked into the Alaska Martial Arts Center, introduced himself and told us he was a Kenpo black belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo and was looking for a place to train.
Now keep in mind, Roger and I were at the time still brown belts, and although we had been trained well by Mr. Callahan, we were still in need of some leadership and lots of instruction. So, after our introduction and brief conversation, when AC asked who the head instructor was at our school - I looked at him, smiled and said "Your are."
During this same time I was fortunate enough to have also been a personal student of Mr. Parker, taking private lessons at his home in Pasadena, which is why Mr. Parker chose to sign (as my instructor) on my 1st and 2nd Degree Black Belt certificates.
My time with Mr. Parker is irreplaceable in terms of my learning and understanding the art of Kenpo.
Mr. Parker was what I consider to be a great teacher. In my opinion, being a great teacher isn't just someone who has knowledge and conveys it wll, but , "Someone who inspires you to continue learning, after they're gone.
Mohamad Tabatabai awarded me my 5th degree black belt. I find it difficult to put into words how I feel about being awarded this rank from such a great friend and and leader in the art.
I was awarded my 7th Degree Black Belt from Master of the Art, Tony Martinez Sr. In doing so he gave me his personal belt which he had worn as a 5th through 7th. Mr. Martinez has been actively and consistently teaching Ed Parker's Kenpo for more than fifty years.
I was also awarded a 7th Degree Black Belt from Master of the Art, Rick Hughes, who I've known since the early eighties. Mr. Hughes is President of the American Silver Tiger Kenpo Association and currently my personal instructor.