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JOHN MCSWEENEY

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Passed Away: On Tuesday February 26, 2002 at 2:00 pm, Grand Master John McSweeney, at the age of 74, passed away from a massive heart attack. This happened at his home in Fort Meyers Florida. His wife, Mary Ann, called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital. The doctors could not help him.

Link to Grandmaster John McSweeney's website.

Master McSweeney introduced Karate to Ireland and to England thru his teaching. Kenpo Karate arrived in the U.K. by the most unlikely route when an Irish student who had studied the art of Kenpo in Dublin under one of the late Grand Master Ed Parker's Black Belts, a Mr John McSweeney. chose to settle in Swindon in 1966. He joined forces with Peter Presswell, Martin Sleeman and Phil Haggerty, to form the first U.K. Kenpo Karate Club. This club later affiliated itself to Wado Ryu, at which time Phil Haggerty who had reached 1st Kyu Brown Belt moved to Landrake in Cornwall, and set up a small village club, clung steadfastly to the Kenpo Style.

The first certificate issued by the IKKA was to John McSweeney, as Shodan, dated September 27, 1962. However, Chuck Sullivan, who was secretary of the IKKA was promoted to "First Degree Black Belt" about two weeks earlier in September, 1962, and received a KKAA certificate. Likewise, Dave Hebler, who was promoted to Shodan in October 1962 received a KKAA certificate, as did Sterling Peacock, Steve Fox who were promoted the following year. And Ralph Castro recalls that Ed Parker had sent Will Tracy to talk to him about joining the IKKA in December 1963.

The IKKA was the brainchild of Mills Crenshaw who was one of Ed's early students. Mills was the dynamic force behind Ed Parker's Salt Lake City school that Mills opened about 1963. 

Ed had talked to Mills and some of his other black belts about forming a new organization, but Ed had reservations over an organization he could not control. Miles, however, was completely loyal to Ed, and only looked at the IKKA as a vehicle for making Ed's organization truly international. John McSweeney (Ed Parker's 8 Shodan) had gone to Ireland in December 1962, and opened a school there the following year. The Kenpo Karate Association of America was not a name the Irish cared for, and John wanted an organization that was truly international.

Kenpo Karate is best known as the Ed Parker system because many of heads of kenpo today trained at one time or another directly under this great martial artists. James Ibrao was Ed Parker's first Shodan, followed by Rich Montgomery, Rick Flores, Ed Tabian, Al Tracy, Jim Tracy, and John McSweeney. Ralph Castro, Bill Ryusaki, Tino Tuiolosega and many others also trained with Ed Parker, and went on to teach his own system of kenpo.

Ed Parker was also a prolific writer and Hollywood celebrity whosepersonality attracted the famous. But Ed died at the age of 59 on December 15, 1990, leaving his system without a successor. Within months American Kenpo was hopelessly divided, and less than eight years after Ed's death there are over 50 different kenpo karate organizations.

WHITE TIGER KENPO KARATE - The art of Master John McSweeney (10th degree) and Thomas Saviano (5th degree). White Tiger springs from the training of Mr. Saviano and Mr McSweeney. Mr McSweeney was first introduced to martial arts through the military and he trained in Judo at the Kodokan in Tokyo (1952).

After returning state-side, he was introduced to Ed Parker and began training with him in 1959. Through Mr Parker, he also trained with many Kung Fu stylists, such as Jimmy Woo (Parker's assistant for some time) and James Lee (Bruce Lee's future training partner). Mr McSweeney trained in both Parker's Kenpo and White Crane Kung Fu (under Woo). He received his black belt from Mr. Parker in 1962. This combined with many street confrontations, turned into Mr McSweeney's style. Mr Saviano, also, trained in traditional Karate and forms of Northern Kung Fu. All this was combined into White Tiger Kenpo. If your looking for references to back this up, look up the AKKA (American Kenpo Karate Association). Mr McSweeney is Chairman and Mr Saviano is President.

Over 60 of the most senior and highest ranking "Kenpo Masters" from all over the world hosted the largest gathering of Kenpo/Kempo and Kenpo based styles practitioners in the long history of Kenpo. Over 1000 were in attendance in Las Vegas, Feb 5,6,7 at what was truly billed a "Once in a Lifetime" experience. To call yourself a "Master" is one thing! To be accepted as a "Master" by the gathering of masters indeed establishes one's true credentials. All the Kenpo masters and their representatives were given an opportunity conduct seminars and let everyone present could witness their (kenpo spirit), knowledge, ability, and contribution to the art! 

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