Kenpo History Is Sort of a Mess |

Kenpo Karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, and the history is, to put it lightly, a mess.There are three men who brought Kenpo to the streets of America. These are James Mitose, William ‘Thunderbolt Chow, and Ed Parker.James Mitose learned the art at a temple in Japan. Except, there is no temple there. The area is the home of kosho sect of the Yoshida clan, so maybe. Except… when you think about it, would there be much significance if your instructor learned Karate at a Baptist church somewhere in Illinois?Yes, there are differences in culture, and there is a potential zen aspect to it all, but churches are basically meeting places.The second man in this lineage is William ‘Thunderbolt’ Chow. Professor Chow claimed that he originally learned martial arts from his father, a Buddhist priest. Except, there are no records of his father as a priest. And how does that tie in with the Kenpo he learned from James Mitose?The third man in this saga is Edmund Parker.Parker brought Karate to the mainland, began teaching martial arts while at Brigham Young University. Except, he is said to have taught his students all he knew – he was only a brown belt – and when he went home and tried to get more to teach… Professor Chow wouldn’t teach him anything because he had been instructing without permission!Now, there are a lot more sordid details to this story. There are fights and arguments and people slandering one another, and the reader might think, at this point, the this writer is writing black headlines just to sell an article. Except… the real problem here is not the three men, it is the students learning their kenpo karate martial art.People seem to need to bolster themselves up, to give themselves airs, to make themselves sound more important than they are.So when Mitose says, in an offhanded remark, ‘Yes, my father used to show me tricks when I was a kid. We were living next to a church then, and we would roll around on the grass in the side yard. Lot of fun… ‘ the student bows deep and realizes that his instructor studied at a zen temple, was beaten with a bamboo rod for dozing, and had to go through rigamarole that would make Gordon Liu envious.And when Thunderbolt Chow says, ‘Yes, my father had dreams of being a priest, talked about it often. Priests know really great martial arts, you know,’ the student holds his finger aloft as the lightening strikes him, and knows that he studying ancient and arcane mysteries written down in scrolls dating back to the time of Buddha.And when Parker says, ‘My instructor didn’t have any more to teach me,’ the student catches his breath and claps his hands together, for obviously his instructor has surpassed his instructor, and the student is the real beneficiary of all this light and goodness.Yes, there are people who spread rumor and prevarication to make themselves look good, but it is up to the student to be discerning and find out the real truth… and, there is a lesson to be learned here.The lesson is that man learns best from his mistakes. He learns a little bit from doing something well, but he learns A LOT from messing up. And these three men, James Mitose, William ‘Thunderbolt’ Chow, and Ed Parker, they were human, and they messed up.So, are we going to make them saints and pretend they made no mistakes? Or are we going to look extra hard at their mistakes and learn, truly learn, from them?

The Appeal of Contemporary Art Tapestries |

Since antiquity people have used textiles for all range of purposes. From blankets for warmth, to elaborate woven fabrics for commerce, they have been at the very center of human life.The need for textiles, combined with our desire to embellish the world around us, has given rise to a huge range of fabric based art, everything from basic colored cloth to complex woven textiles. Tapestries and wall hangings have long been one of the most accomplished forms of this art, having a history dating back millennia, and artists from almost all cultures have contributed some form of textile wall art.Recently tapestries and wall hangings have enjoyed a rise in interest, with many people looking beyond traditional options for wall decor. The tactile nature of tapestries, combined with their long history, has made them once again a choice for the discriminating home improver.Contemporary tapestry designAlthough there are a vast range of traditional designs available, a more recent development is the growth in contemporary art as a basis for modern tapestry designs. Because of the nature of the modern weaving process almost any design can be successfully incorporated into a tapestry, providing the weaver has the skill to do so. This has led many contemporary artists to consider wall tapestries as an alternative medium to framed canvases and prints.The range of artists who now license their original work for tapestry wall hangings is impressive, and growing. Leading contemporary artists such as Malenda Trick, Elizabeth Brandon and Stewart Sherwood are now being introduced to a whole new group of art lovers.Encompassing a vast range of subject matter, from modern cityscapes and impressionist inspired landscapes, to idyllic coastal scenes and fantasy art, these contemporary works of art are adding a new dimension to fabric design, marrying traditional weaving techniques with modern, vibrant images.Although prints enjoy a unique position in home décor, paintings and designs from these popular artists are increasingly exploiting the unique qualities of woven textiles. The tactile nature of wall hangings adds depth and texture to these already impressive works and makes a distinctive alternative to framed art often bringing alive the designs in ways not originally planned by the artists.Modern textile artAdditionally many textile artists who use fabric as their main medium are enjoying a renewed prominence in the art world. Rather than plying their art in paintings there are a growing number of artists using tapestries and other types of wall hanging as their primary medium for expression. Modern artists such as Ulrika Leander, Monique Lehman and Elda Abramson combine their artistic vision with the depth and range available through fabrics to create a new, modern twist on this ancient art.Many of these textile works of art are abstract in nature, often employing bold colors and striking, modern designs that incorporate the weave of the fabric as an essential part of the design to create a depth not available with traditional materials like canvas. As a home décor option they can add a splash of color to brighten up a room, and often become a great focal point in almost any setting.Like abstract art prints, contemporary tapestry designs often allow art lovers to take more of a chance with their wall décor choices. Unlike a traditional painting, where the subject matter can be too modern, old-fashioned, fussy or just plain wrong, contemporary art allows us to concentrate more on the hues and tones of a piece to match the ambience of a room. Because of this they often afford a great deal of flexibility when decorating, adding to the reasons so many are looking towards contemporary tapestry art for their wall décor choices.An ancient appealContemporary artists are increasingly attracted to tapestries and textiles primarily because the individuality of the weaving process makes each piece produced a unique work of art unlike any other. In a world driven by mass production art lovers are often drawn to the uniqueness of wall tapestries as an antidote to the monotony of many other options.Now, despite their ancient origins, many people are again looking towards tapestries and wall hangings as an answer to their modern home decor aspirations. With an ever growing range of options the choice has never been better for art lovers.Copyright © The Tapestry House, all rights reserved

The History of American Painters |

Painting is one of the most interesting forms of art. It depicts life in vivid colors and speaks so much about oneself, the painter’s aspirations, his surroundings, and his nation. It has become a tool not only for personal expression but most importantly, a tool for preserving good memories of history’s most significant people and events.Below are some of the highlights in America’s painting history. Let’s take a look at how painting developed in America and some of the best American painters who in one way or another marked a lasting imprint in the history of American art.Early YearsThe puritan values of early English settlers in North America were so severe that they shunned all sorts of luxury including artistic expressions such as painting, a flourishing art in Europe especially in England. Beginning to settle in a strange land was very hard for these new settlers so they busied themselves with only the most essential things.However, there were already some portraits noted during the early years of their settlement. These paintings were done by painters who identified themselves as “limners.” They were the earliest known American painters. They were naturally artistic as they only trained themselves by going from one place to another to paint portraits of common folks. Training in an art school was contrary to their strict Puritan way of life.Growth of American ArtApparently, early Americans’ interest in painting grew bigger that several years later after having established their life in America, American painters began to go to England to study.Although early American painters were highly influenced by artistic styles already developed in Europe, as years passed by they began to create their own style in painting. In 19th century in particular, notable difference between paintings of American painters and those of their European counterparts began to show up. This distinctive American style was not only shown by American painters but as well as other American artists, especially in the field of architecture.Diversity in painting styles of American painters was also promoted by the country’s big geographical size. American painters from each region showed variations in their works. Moreover, there were differences in the works of American painters living in the cities and those of American painters living in rural areas.National Academy of DesignThe National Academy of Design, formed in 1825, was an honorary association of American artists, including American painters. Today it is now called The National Academy, which is also a museum and a school for fine arts.Society of American ArtistsFirst members of the Society of American Artists include American painters Robert Swain Gifford, an American landscape painter; John Henry Twachtman, most popular impressionist landscape painter in his time; John LaFarge who was also famous for his stained glass windows and writings; and Albert Pinkham Ryder, famous for his seascapes. These American painters left the National Academy of Design and formed their own association because the first failed to meet their needs as artists.Ten American PaintersDue to the Society of American Artists’ rising commercialism, ten significant American painters resigned from the association and were know as the “Ten American Painters.” Among them were John Henry Twachtman, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Edmund Charles Tarbell, and Frank Weston Benson. The group was identified as impressionists.