Rich Hale - Founder OKKA
I credit my life-long devotion to Kenpo to be a result of my 47-year friendship with Rich Callahan. No other person has had such a profound effect on my martial arts. Mr. Callahan was my first Kenpo teacher and to this day a great example of what a martial artist, teacher, and friend should be.
I also give a great deal of credit to Roger Thomas, who was a close friend and training partner, during our early years at the Alaska Martial Arts Center, in Anchorage, Alaska. In time Roger and I were joined by AC Rainey, Dale Eberwein, and Art Copeland. These three men were instrumental in our progression as martial artists.
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. 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 still needed 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 said: "You are." On June 4, 2016, AC promoted me to 8th-degree black.
I began my study of Kenpo in 1972 at Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, in Colton, CA, under the instruction of Rich Callahan.
In the early and mid-eighties, I was fortunate enough to have been a personal student of Mr. Parker, taking private lessons at his home in Pasadena. This is why Mr. Parker chose to sign (as my instructor) on my 1st and 2nd Degree Black Belt certificates.
A great teacher isn't just someone who has a lot of knowledge and conveys it well, it's someone who inspires you to continue learning after they're gone. Mr. Parker was a great teacher.
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, whom I've known since the early eighties. Mr. Hughes is President of the American Silver Tiger Kenpo Association and currently one of my personal instructors.