Regardless of national modifications that were developed and suited to their individual environment, we can say that four systems exist in the Orient today – Chinese, Okinawan, Korean, and Japanese. In comparison, the Chinese styles are graceful, flowing, circular, and are much more flexible than the Japanese styles (which utilize powerful punches and kicks), Okinawan styles (which stress breathing exercises), and Korean (which specialize in high kicks and breaking of boards and bricks) These other styles are basically rigid.
Unfortunately, many of the classical Chinese styles along with the Japanese, Okinawn, and these systems were originally designed for exercise. In addition, most of these styles today do not recognize the need for change, especially in our environment. While some offer excellent ideas on unarmed fighting, a number of their methods are outdated theories unfit for present day fighting in the United States or any part of the world for that matter.
These same arts, influenced by the Chinese, were brought to the Hawaiian Islands. It was here that Mr. Parker, a native of Hawaii, learned these arts under one of the world's leading Black Belt holders and American innovators of the art, the late Professor William K.S. Chow.
In addition to Professor Chow's modifications, Mr. Parker realized the need to revise the old methods to cope with modern day fighting. Thus the system is unique, practical, realistic, applicable, and encompasses sound logic, reasoning, and theoretical innovations not yet employed by other systems. Through Mr. Parker's innovations a fifth system has emerged – the American System -- to be more specific “The Parker System of Kenpo”.
Although we should respect the various styles of Kenpo stemming from the Orient, we must not overlook their need for improvement. While Mr. Parker's system still retains traditional flavor to enhance ethical behavior, it has been designed to fit the needs and ability of the individual concerned.