Was Elvis really a karate master? Did he deserve to receive an 8th degree in black belt?
Last edited by Steamroller Blues; 02-26-2011 at 10:40 AM.
Thats some really interesting information, I remember when Ricky Nelson was studying karate.....it was worked into an episode of the " Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" tv show Ricks family had on for years. Rick broke some boards, and he sparred with his instructor in the episode called "The Manly Arts" Ricks brother David was into collegate style wrestling and he worked out with his instructor. Both seemed fairly competent-but I would have to say Elvis seems to have had the fairer path to the black belt status.
"Black Belt" magazine has had a couple Elvis related articles over the years-the last article I read gave an overview of Elvis as a martial artist on the occasion of his being inducted into the "Karate Hall of Fame".
Work in Progress!
Heres an excerpt from a Chuck Norris article about Elvis and Priscilla concerning karate:
......Afterwards Elvis invited us up to his suite, where we talked until 4:00 in the morning. At first I thought, 'What are we going to talk about?' I knew nothing about music, but I knew I could talk about martial arts all night long! And we did! I was impressed with his self defense insight and devotion. Even after two shows earlier that evening, Elvis stayed to the early morning hours shooting the breeze with us. That was a special night for all of us, which I'll never forget.
Elvis was a real nice, down-to-earth guy, who made you feel in a few hours like you had known him forever. I still enjoy his music and films. I wasn't always a big fan of his morality, but then I wasn't always a big fan of mine.
I hope, despite his struggles near the end, that Elvis too made peace with God, believing those gospel truths as well as he belted them out as a singer. God's amazing grace is still all sufficient, able to forgive us all of all we've done wrong, even those king-sized vices. When we ask Him to do so, as Elvis sang, we too can sing, 'O happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.'
Despite some personal objections to his lifestyle, no one can doubt Elvis' musical and theatrical genius, creativity and magnetism as a performer. And as far as his martial arts abilities, he truly was pretty impressive, flexible and tough. He may not have been a Bruce Lee, me or other notables in the field of professional competition, but then again have you ever heard about any of our singing careers?
Work in Progress!
Elvis was a legit 1st degree black belt. Anything after was honorary. He didn't have the inclination, nor the time, really, to devot anywhere near the effort needed after 1960 to achieve further degrees despite his apparent interest in the Arts.
Hmmmm...wrong...when when Elvis was on the road he study his art. And he would loose weight during down time. So, was he a legit 8th Degree, you better believe it.
Kang Rhee in Elvis by those who knew him best, siad he was a very good 5th dan black belt but the rest of the levels were honoury at least those given by him.
I never looked for trouble but I never ran.
I guess this question could only be answered in "the eye of the beholder."
Since I wasn't there and am no karate expert, I can't say.
Sorry, Tim, but I'll have to agree with the above posters that replied. Anything that Elvis was give after 1972 onwards was just rewarded to him because of who he was because, as has probably been said here, I don't believe that his physical condition after 1975 would allow him to practice daily like he was supposed to so he could keep up the demanding physical interaction that was required.....
I guess he was good. If karate made him feel good, then he didn't need the "black belt" thing.
Let the stars fade and fall, and I won't care at all, as long as I have you.
"You've got it all together like a lovin' machine
You're lookin' like glory and walkin' like a dream...
Mother nature's sure been good to Y-O-U"
The understanding that I have is that he was awarded his 1st degree black belt by Hank Slemansky in the early 60's. He trained with Ed Parker in the 60's and of course Kang Rhee in the 70's. Also Dave Hebler(one of Parkers Kenpo black belts) taught the whole entourage at some point. I know he certified Red and Sonny West as Kenpo Black Belts, so I'm reasonably sure that he taught Elvis too. I would see he was a legitimate 2nd or 3rd Degree before he let himself go.
I'm the king of the jungle, they call me Tiger Man. If you cross my path, you take your own life in your hands.
Anything after Black belt is based less on skill and more on teaching ability, innovation, and dedication to the art.
Check out my new blog about Elvis Presley @ http://elvis21century.blogspot.com/
Nice article from Chuck.
I'd say Elvis was a decent black belt, but 8th Dan was certainly stretching it