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Chronomorte
12/21/2004 8:36pm,
I came across an add where I work about a place nearby
that will teach 'real' self-defense. One of the first promises on the
add said 'You will learn how to instantly assume a defensive stance'
I've never seen that advertised as something awesome before.
My personal philosophy is to screw worriying about a stance if
I'm jumped, and just start fighting back or running right away.

The style is 'Kempo Karate' I'm thinking Bullshido. I'll try to get
the whole add if anyone is interested in all the stuff they claim to
teach in the self-defense class.

I know, I need to check it out personally, but the plate glass front
window is full of trophies and the belts have stripes, and it's
'Kempo Karate' so I hate to put myself through it.

Omega Supreme
12/21/2004 8:53pm,
.... defensive stance. Middle finger in persons face....yay I rock.

Aesopian
12/21/2004 8:56pm,
Omegian self defense is so awesome.

http://tinypic.com/ygowp

DEFENSIVE STANCE!

albert
12/21/2004 8:56pm,
Is it Fred Villari's Kempo Karate? If so, don't bother. They have a dojo here, I checked it out a couple years ago. A bunch of romos in black suits doing quasi-athletic things, instructed by some chunky woman.

Omega Supreme
12/21/2004 9:19pm,
Amercian Kenpo albert not Villari.

Omega Supreme
12/21/2004 9:20pm,
Never mind, I thought it was Kenpo Karate, not Kempo Karate.

Chronomorte
12/22/2004 12:04pm,
I'm still confused by the whole kempo/kenpo thing. Is any of it
non-bullshido? I remember hearing that Elvis got a black belt
just after Ed Parker got a car from him as a present.

Peter H.
12/22/2004 12:12pm,
Ed came out ahead on that trade.

Omega Supreme
12/22/2004 2:17pm,
I know to many guys in both systems to call it all bullshido what about it do you think is bullshido?

Red Elvis
12/23/2004 1:44pm,
I'm still confused by the whole kempo/kenpo thing. Is any of it
non-bullshido? I remember hearing that Elvis got a black belt
just after Ed Parker got a car from him as a present.

Why you gotta kick a brotha when he's dead? Man, I earned that **** fair and square! Haven't you ever seen my concert video footage? I owned those imaginary stage divers and the woman swooned over my high kick in heels baby! Check out my bad self for the real story!



Elvis was first exposed to Karate in 1958 after he was drafted into the Army and stationed in Germany. His first instructor was a German shotokan stylist named Juergen Seydel who taught Elvis at his off-base housing in Nauheim. One nice thing about the military was that you got thirty days of paid vacation (leave) each year. During his leaves in Paris he would take private lessons with Tetsugio Murakami, one of Japan=s top shotokan stylists, who would help pioneer shotokan in Europe. On one occasion he spend nine straight days studying several hours each day with Murakami. With a lot of spare time on his hands Elvis would spend hours training with Rex Mansfield, another soldier stationed with Elvis in Germany. It was during this time than Elvis would also start conditioning his hands for board breaking by banging his knuckles against hard surfaces. Little did he know then that this was something he would need when he finally test for his Shodan under Hank Slomanski. At this time he would also start collecting book on Karate. At this early stage Elvis became very impressed by Mas Oyama and his legendary breaking. Including killing bulls with his bare hands. **
After getting out of the Army Elvis would continue to study under different instructors, but there was no one instructor to call Sensei.
Ed Parker (1931-1960) first met Elvis in 1960 when Ed Parker was putting on a Kenpo demonstration at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. (Both myself and my brother Jim was part of the demo team, we were both brown belts at that time . I did the board breaking with the fists - Ed did the breaking with his feet.) I remember how humble and unassuming Elvis was. He walked up to Ed Parker and introduced himself as Elvis Presley. As if the whole world did not know who Elvis was. This would, be the start of a friendship with Ed Parker that would last until Elvis=s death August 16, 1977. He would start his studies with Ed but at this time he was not ready for Black Belt.
Another historical note might be in order here. Back then, in the '50s and '60s a Black Belt had true meaning. There was no such thing as a four - or 5-year-old black belt. Any instructor who trivialized the arts to that degree would have been laughed out of the country. Judo had established the minimum age of 16 for black belts, and even then you could search a long time without finding a 16-year-old judo black belt.
And so there was nothing else for it -- Elvis Presley was going to have to earn his black belt.
His instructors were understandably reluctant to promote him to that level. None of them had forgotten the derision piled on instructor-author Bruce Tegner when he presented a black belt to Ricky Nelson. Nobody believed for a minute that the pop singer deserved it.
The solution: send Elvis to Hank Slomanski. If he survived, he'd have proved he qualified. One thing stood in his favor: he had not dodged the draft nor taken a soft role in "special services". He had served his country as a loyal American soldier.
Last year I, with my wife, Pat, took a two day vacation to return to Ft. Campbell, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee (the 101 Airborne "Screaming Eagles" is located on the Kentucky side). I wanted to search the actual military records to confirm what Elvis and Hank had told us. After hours of going through micro-filch of old records and the Camp newspapers I was able to confirm what we had originally been told. The Karate club met at the base gym for 2-3 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All military personal were invited to attend - especially airborne. But as the Camp newspaper reported only a handful of the toughest of the 101st airborne attended. As one soldier stated, you have to be crazy to take Karate with Hank - at the end of each training session these guys all come out with blood all over their GI's, grinning from ear to ear - and after beating the hell out of each other go have a cold [email protected]
Training was broken down into the following sections: Basics; Kick-Punch-Block - over and over again. Rolling and falling. Close hand-to-hand self defense. Lots of hand-to-hand against real knives and other weapons. As part of the course, and your test for Black Belt, you had to know how to set broken and dislocated bones (happened all the time): no one got sued and the military gave free medical. Breaking of boards - no spacers - no padding only - bare first - and fingers against real boards - Yes part of the test was to break a board with your finger-tips - more about that later. the real fun - Kumite - no pads - no groves - Contact - especially to the body was expected and demanded. And yes Hank took his turn with each advanced ranger. Here was you chance to show Hank what you were made of and (if possible) to get even for all the hell he put you through as a "screaming Eagle"! But as every G.I. found out very early: fight hard, but let there be no misunderstanding. Hank was "The Man." The older recruits would watch and smile as the New Kids, with something to prove, tried to kick the "Old Man's" ass; most encounters ended with Hank knocking out the "wise-ass"! The report was that no one ever tried twice to become "top gun" - your first "ass kicking" by Hank or his top assistant, fourth degree black belt Sgt. Saur, was your official initiation into the real world of "self defense".
This was the world that a young country singer stepped into.
As Hank would tell us later: He wanted to find out what the kid was made of. The first day of training was simply designed to let Elvis get used to the type of training he was in for. To his credit, Elvis was in great shape physically and came through the hard, tough, training drills as well as most of Hank's own "rangers."
Come the second session, Elvis was going to get his first taste of REAL - full contact training. Hank took his top student, 4th degree Black Belt Sgt, Saur, aside and told him: Keep away from his face, but put him down. I want you to hurt him bad - break a few ribs if you have to. Everyone sat back to watch Elvis to see if he was really the "King" or a whimpering "candy ass." The "match-up between Elvis and Saur started out slowly as Saur was feeling him out and setting up his man. Of course Elvis had watched other fights the previous lesson and realized this was something he had never been exposed to before. Then at a nod from Hank, Sgt Saur exploded with a series of full contact blows to Elvis's body which dropped Elvis to his hands and knees. It was obvious that Elvis was hurt and feeling the pain. Then Hank related, "I saw Elvis slowly get up with that sneer on his face ... then I saw in his eyes what we usually see only in war: Elvis wanted to [email protected]
As the two men once again clashed I stepped in to break Elvis and Stg. Saur apart, "Hank further related, "but I found out what I wanted to know. The kid was a fighter - not a [email protected] Also Sgt, Saur would comment that they would occasionally have a beer after training, but he and Elvis never became friends. As a rule Elvis rarely drank, but he made an exception to sit down and have a beer with the boys. Elvis would relate how, during the "bull sessions" he would slip his full beer in front of one of the "dying for another [email protected] fighters and replace it with an empty bottle.
And prove it Elvis did. He was awarded his coveted black belt after six weeks of persistent suffering inflicted by Hank Slomanski, and anyone who knew the principals in this little drama knew there could be no favoritism involved. It should also be noted that Elvis was only one of a handful of civilians to whom Hank ever awarded "Black Belt".
The word came back from Hank to my instructor, Ed Parker, about Elvis: "The kid ain't pretty, but he's tough and he's a Black Belt."
Later, as random skirmishing in a tiny country in Southeast Asia escalated into full-scale war, Hank Slomanski was chosen as one of the elite representatives of the original Special Forces under President John F. Kennedy.
"(Elvis Presley) qualified for 1st degree black belt in 1960 in Memphis with the late Hank Slemansky, a Chito-ryu stylist. Slemansky was killed on active duty in Vietnam sometime in the mid 1960s."
Thirty-two words, a handful of lines.
Hank Slemansky deserves better. He's a man we should be telling our students about.
Now that we know his story, perhaps we can.
September 11, 2001 - has made us aware of the need for men like Hank Slemansky. Historical note: I thought that this is where the story would end. But I wanted to finish my research so I could end the story of Hank Slemansky - but fate would take me on another trail.

Omega Supreme
12/23/2004 2:40pm,
Yeah! And that's why he be the king.