Master, Grand Master, Senior Grandmaster for Kenpo Explained by Skip Hancock
The Path to Excellence.
I just posted Part1 of an article in Spanish on 10th Degree Black Belts in Ed Parker’s Kenpo. I have translated it into English – following.
Why are there so many 10th Degree Black Belts in Ed Parker’s Kenpo?
Since the death of Ed Parker, there has been an ever-increasing number of “10th Degree” Black Belts in Ed Parker’s Kenpo. So, many people have been asking “Why?” In this article I will begin to answer this question. In a subsequent article I will go deeper into the subject. In this first part I offer specific definitions of major titles to clarify the question.
Part 1 (of 2 Parts)
The Senior Grandmaster is the founder of the Art.
There can only ever be one. No one else of that system
may have this title. A Martial Artist is not promoted to
Senior Grandmaster. He/She is recognized as one.
Knowledgeable individuals and groups of Martial Artists
recognize that this individual has created his/her own,
unique system of Martial Arts. The creator of this system
also recognizes that he/she has actually created
something new and that he/she is a Senior Grandmaster
of the Arts.
The Grandmaster is the current head of a system.
When a Senior Grandmaster creates his system, at the
same time, he becomes the Grandmaster o his system.
When the Senior Grandmaster desires to retire, he
should promote one of his senior students to
Grandmaster of the system. The Senior Grandmaster
does not have to, but should consult his senior students
and promote a Grandmaster to lead the system. In the
absence of his teacher the new Grandmaster should be
promoted by the senior students of the system.
There can only be 1 Grandmaster at a time for any
system. Other senior students may hold the same belt
rank as the Grandmaster, but not the title. And, it is not
necessary that the Grandmaster of the system be a 10th
Degree Black Belt. This title indicates no rank, but rather
that the individual is the head of the system.
Ed Parker organized the belt structure of his system so
that there are different levels of Mastery:
8th Degree Black Belt is an Associate Master of the Art
9th Degree Black Belt is a Master of the Art
10th Degree Black Belt is a Senior Master of the Art
The structure of Masters, Grandmaster, and Senior
Grandmaster allows for any number of 8th, 9th and 10th
Degree Masters of the Art in Ed Parker’s Kenpo. But
there can only be 1 Grandmaster of Ed Parker’s Kenpo –
the current leader of the Art. There can only be 1 Senior
Grandmaster of Ed Parker’s Kenpo, and that is Ed Parker.
No one else can ever claim this title in Ed Parker’s
It must be noted that Ed Parker did not ever name a
Grandmaster for his system. Nor did his advanced
students ever convene to name a Grandmaster
to Ed Parker’s Kenpo. Thus, in the absence of the Senior
Grandmaster Ed Parker, there is NO Grandmaster of Ed