This lecture serves as a preface to the James Mitose lecture. Its purpose is to discuss how and why James became a point of contention to his ideological descendents as he was generally absent through most of the greatest developments and seedings of the modern lineages.
In essence, there was almost no need for a James Mitose. The descendents of Kenpo came very close to establishing modern authorities to their knowledge lines. They established social and peer groups. They established ranking systems, curriculum and katas. They established notoriety, whether good or bad. In any case, the lines of knowledge had coming into being known not only in the martial art community, but the term Kenpo gained access in remote areas of the public community where the many kenpo schools had come to exist.
Few individuals, who learned the kenpo arts from 1950 though 1980, would ever know of a kenpo founder other than a name. James was the "law of fist". He would be idealized as the first in a line that knew how to strike fast and strike hard. He would be first of a line that could control the world of interaction. The first of a line that could isolate the outcomes and consider them simply countable.
James had almost faded into obscurity with his withdraw from teaching in Hawaii in 1953 up until his incarceration at Folsom Prison in 1974. The most prominent individual in Kenpo would very easily be described as Edmund Parker by most kenpo practitioners, due in part to his public persona and published literature.
Descendents of the Parker lineage often cite that Ed not only taught the Kenpo arts, but that he improved them, honed them and established the most elite version of these arts. The largest percentage of the modern line stems from the teachings of Edmund Parker. In these lines, few will describe James as having a place or a purpose other than being the name of an archaic founder. Still, James must matter as there is a position fo thought in regards to James.
So why James? The interest in James would not take place until the late 1970s when Bruce Juchnik laid claim as an endorsed kenpo authority. This would become a significant event that would ripple through the kempo community. Juchnik would be known for his active presence in the martial arts as not only a participant but as a generally successful school owner in the Tracy System. The endorsement by James, whether as a token of motivation to gain materials and efforts or as an endorsement of future potential, none the less, threatened the hierarchal structure.
The social consequences served to defend the peer structure and hierarchy. Sides were chosen, individuals were diminished and inflated in value depending on the hierarchal skewing. James became more of an object and much less a founder. He was stripped of his role as a teacher, condensed to a point of credential and evaluated on only his deeds-and rightfully so.
The reader should bear in mind that James never really taught to gain notoriety. If he had wished for notoriety, he could have played the game as others have done and are doing. He had the opportunities. He was capable of motivating people. He was capable of fund raising. He could simply have gone on the seminar circuit promising ranks and titles to gain his notoriety. James was very capable of this, but he did not through the many years that he knew of Kenpo being taught in the contigous 48 states. Martial arts while important to many of its practitioners may not have been as important to James as we would like to think. It may be the case that at best Kenpo as a martial art was a novel or hobby interest to James. Imagine, if that were the case, the consequences that that would have in knowing that the art is founded by a dabbler. It is suspected that that is not the case, but it definitely was not James' most motivating outward and public interest.
Ed Parker knew of James' existence in Los Angeles and did have minimal points of interaction with James. Bruce Juchnik claims to hold evidence of an account between Edmund and James in regards to passage of the lineage. Whether the evidence is true or not, it does not change the fact that there is a known fragility in the Kempo lineage and the demand for James Mitose as authority would increase drastically with Bruce Juchnik's endorsed right of claim. It should be noted that all other rights of endorsement due not take place until after the Juchnik claim.
The kempo lineage in comparison to the many other established traditions tends to forage weak bonds between teachers and students. Some will argue this point of course citing examples of themselves, but by and large there is a failure amongst the kenpo community to develope the spectrum of the human life cycle. It is a critical flaw in the Kenpo community. This flaw forces the lineage to demand physical attribute to hold authority. This forces the lineage to compete with adolescent thought processes that undermine their passage through life and adulthood. James wrote of the issue, though he does not explain in detail the errors.
Physical attribute as authority is the modern endorsement. Most of the Kenpo practitioners will recount the folklore of a James that was given the opportunity to teach at Ed Parker's school and how he failed with his laughable ideas. He was evaluated by his physical toughness, strength, speed and quickness. James essentially did not meet the measure. Such was the fate of James and his attempted quests for notoriety. He had little control of the fate of this lineage, and yet this lineage demands his endorsement. An interesting paradox that the kenpo community should considered.
So again why James? James is the trace of inheritance-the point of acceptance between past and present. He is sought and demanded for this, only because some discovered that they could use his endorsement to establish authority with the community and general public. If James had died or never been rediscovered, James most likely would not have been considered at all. There would be no quests for a temple or for an ancient line of teachings. Kenpo would be a modern "science" as the lineages state. The founders of the lineages would be a handful of descendents who learned during the 1950s and 1960s.
The rediscovery, however, happened and it results in all students of the kempo lineage desiring to quest for this point of connection. Students of kenpo will at some point consider their potential voids in study. The modern kenpo student must now consider whether their kenpo is the most complet, the most accurate, the most effective, and/or the most lethal.
As the reader, this may be why you typed James Mitose at some point in google. This may be why you clicked on those links. This may be why you are on page nine of this lecture series. There is a curiosity at the core of the lineage due to the fact that there is a James Mitose. We can try to deny James' existence, but there will always be some that will discover him as they grow within the community.
Thusly, we can see that James means something. For some James establishes family almost lost. For others James is the link to the world that we wish we had-one of mystical honor and knowledge. James may be the link to power and command, justifying the obsession with the physical power of youth. James may be the link and the endorsement so that we can stop questioning, forcing the teachings to become dogma. Again, history and James matters in some way to his ideological descendents.