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November 06, 2016  - Brian Quinn  /  Elvis Express Radio
Elvis loved the Martial Arts and last night he was honored at the 2016 Kenpo Karate Hall of Fame.

The award ceremony was held in California during a special Induction Dinner where 16 talented individuals were inducted into the KKHoF for their contributions to the Kenpo art.
Along with these were 4 posthumous inductees which included our man himself, Elvis Presley.

Elvis' step brother, David Stanley was at the ceremony in order to accept the award on behalf of Elvis and we assume that this latest honour will be displayed at Graceland very

Another Stanley, this time round, Billy, had this to say regarding the induction ... "This  is an honour that Elvis would be very proud of... What makes this event even more special is,
that my brother David is accepting this honour for Elvis ... When I heard this, a tear of joy came to my eyes ... Elvis has received many awards, but this is one he would be the
proudest of... And, knowing Elvis' protege will be representing him makes it even more special... Elvis and the family will be smiling tonight, make us all proud David...

Included within the 16 inductee's is Dave Hebler, who became on of Elvis' bodyguards.
Elvis first encountered Martial Arts during his time in the U.S. Army.

Elvis would spend as much of his free time as possible while in Germany, training under a local instructor
named Juergen Seydel in the martial art of 'Shotokan'.

When Elvis spent time on leave in Paris, France, he continued to work hard training in his newly found discipline with Japanese
shotokan instructor Tetsugio Mirakami. Upon leaving the Army, Elvis continued with the Martial Arts.

In 1960, while Elvis was in Beverly Hills, he went along to a special Kenpo demo at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where he first
met with the Kenpo master, Ed Parker.

Elvis was so impressed with Ed Parkers discipline and mastery of the art that he would go on to be trained in the style of Kenpo
by Ed Parker for the majority of his martial arts career and the pair would become lifelong friends, with Parker also employed
as security.

When it came time for Elvis to earn his first black belt, Ed Parker made the decision NOT to be his examiner. Instead, Elvis had
to take his black belt examination in front of an independent instructor / examiner due to a bit of a scandal involving another
Rock 'N' Roll singer.

Ever since starting Karate in 1958, Elvis committed himself and would train on an almost daily basis, and before the end of
1960, he was ready to work for his first black belt. However, during the mid to late 1950's and into early 1960, there had been
many phony black belts issued to various famous faces in the entertainment world because they simply wanted the status, and
this issue is said to have come to a head when singer Ricky Nelson, who was said to be a "Terrible Martial Artist" by fellow
students, was given one all the same by his then instructor Bruce Tegner.
Japanese Shotokan instructor Tetsugio Mirakami (Left)
who became Elvis' instructor in Paris, France.
Ed Parker was obviously well aware of this on going scandal which is why he refused
to be Elvis' examiner, choosing instead to call in the help from friend and Champion
Karate Master, Henry "Hammering Hank" Slomanski, who happened to be the
International Commissioner of Karate in the United States.

As a result of the many bogus celebrity black belts handed out, Slemansky wanted to
ensure his reputation was never at risk and to be sure of this, he made sure that
Elvis worked harder than other students.

In fact, Elvis was pushed very hard in order to earn his 1st black belt, as Slemansky
put Elvis through a rigorous six-week training program to justify his belt.

And so Hank awarded Elvis his first black belt, and while the legitimacy for his rank
over the years had come into question in martial arts circles, many that trained with
Hank have stated that if anyone (including Elvis) ever earned a black belt from Hank,
you can bet it was earned.

Hank tested Elvis hard and tried to break him but found out that Elvis had a true
"fighter's spirit".
Kenpo Master, Ed Parker with Elvis during a training session
After Presley passed he's exam, Slemansky told Ed Parker, "The kid ain't pretty, but he's tough and he's a Black Belt." .... What on earth he meant by the kid ain't pretty is a rather
odd thing to say?

Elvis went on, continuing to work hard in the Martial Arts and would soon start training with Khan Rhee on Ed Parker’s recommendation. Elvis went on to teach kenpo with Master
Rhee at the Pasaryu Karate Association.

Elvis' Karate Gi' was very flashy, specially designed, but according to Master Rhee, though, that was a special uniform he made for a demonstration/performance that Elvis wanted
to put on for his students. In normal training, he wore a more traditional uniform (see below).