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Worldwide Kenpo Karate Association


The mission of the Worldwide Kenpo Karate Association (WKKA) is to preserve the art of Kenpo and provide an international platform for the growth and advancement of Kenpo. The 1991 the WKKA was founded by Joe Palanzo, who was a  protégé of Ed Parker - Creator of American Kenpo.


The WKKA hosts annual Kenpo seminars and the American Karate Championships which are open to all Kenpo practitioners. In order to elevate the art of kenpo, the WKKA provides rank certification, instructor training, business consulting, and online Kenpo training. 


Over 500 martial arts schools have joined the WKKA since its inception and the WKKA has certified over a 1000 Black Belts.

WKKA Board of Directors, 1991

Joe Palanzo

Joe Palanzo is a Tenth Degree Black Belt in Kenpo, and has operated successful martial arts schools in Baltimore, Maryland, since 1969. He began his martial arts training in 1964 while studying at the Peabody Music Conservatory. He later studied with Grandmaster Ed Parker, founder of American Kenpo, from 1966 to 1990, and achieved the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt (The highest rank Ed Parker awarded in Kenpo). Mr. Palanzo served as Vice President of Ed Parker's International Kenpo Karate Association (IKKA), and owned and operated the only East Coast Ed Parker Franchise School from 1970 until Mr. Parker's untimely death in 1990. Ed Parker considered Joe Palanzo one of his key protégés. Mr. Palanzo has taught seminars all around the world, and is a sought out by Black Belt instructors and school owners for training and mentoring. In 1991 Joe Palanzo established the WKKA in order to preserve and elevate the art of Kenpo.Joe Palanzo’s career in martial arts enabled him teach professional athletes such as, NFL Linebacker Barry Krauss, and Orioles pitchers Storm Davis and Pete Harnisch to name a few. As the coach of the Budweiser National Karate Team he had the chance to work with Billy Blanks, Founder of Tae-Bo. His friend and karate student Nick Charles, Former CNN Sports anchor, provided Joe Palanzo the opportunity to run and do some “road work” with boxing great Mohammed Ali. Mr. Palanzo has been featured in local news, television, and movies. His most memorable appearance was on Oprah Winfrey’s show in Baltimore when he demonstrated his self-defense skills.  He acted and helped choreograph a fight scene in the movie “The Hitter.” In the movie Palanzo had the honor of acting in a scene with Academy Award Nominee actor Adolph Caesar. He has trained police officers, military, professional athletes, and has taught self-defense workshops for numerous professional organizations and groups. One of his most memorable workshops was in New York when he taught the Guardian Angels and Guardian Angel’s Founder Curtis Sliwa.And of course, there was Elvis Presley. Elvis was a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. Ed Parker was his instructor and close friend. Mr. Palanzo spent a great deal of time with Elvis while he toured the East coast; often performing some of the most difficult Kenpo self-defense for him. Elvis loved watching the fluidity of Mr. Palanzo’s techniques.

Russell Palanzo

Russell Palanzo is the Executive Director of the WKKA and President of Palanzo Martial Arts Schools. Mr. Palanzo is a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate and has been training for nearly 30 years. He is the Executive Director of the WKKA and President of Palanzo Martial Arts. Russell Palanzo's knowledge comes from a life engrossed in the Martial Arts through his father Senior Master Joe Palanzo. Russell Palanzo has trained under many great martial arts masters including Dr. Maung Gyi (Founder of the American Bando Association), and Bart Vale (Founder of the International Shootfighting Association), and was coached by Ed Parker (Founder of American Kenpo). He is a champion tournament competitor, and is proficient in karate, wrestling, kickboxing, MMA, submission grappling, and weapons. Russell Palanzo continues in his father’s footsteps, and has dedicated his life to spreading martial arts through the WKKA and the Palanzo Martial Arts schools.

Tom LoVarco

Tom LoVarco is a 8th degree Black Belt (Professor) in Kenpo and Vice President of the WKKA. Mr. LoVarco and his wife Lorraine are the owners of American Black Belt Academy in Massapequa Park, NY. The American Black Belt Academy is one of the most successful and largest schools in the North East and has a reputation for producing exceptionally high quality students. The LoVarco's have been hosting the American Karate Championships each year since 1995, an event that has grown to be the largest tournament on Long Island and is part of the Worldwide Kenpo Karate League. Additionally Mr. LoVarco and his staff coach several National Championship Demo Teams, one of which was recently featured on The Montel Williams Show.  Mr. LoVarco continues his studying of American Kenpo under Mr. Palanzo and is continually developing the WKKA tournament circuit and the expansion of Kenpo through training seminars offered by the association.

Ken Herman

Ken Herman is a 8th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo and has studied martial arts for more than 30 years.  Mr. Herman is the cofounder of EPAKS that developed the Kenpo Kards and Kenpo Forms books.  Mr. Herman is a loyal Ed Parker advocate, and dedicated to preserving the art of Kenpo.


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