The Self Defense School Of Kenpo

Self Defense in empty hand, stick and edged weapons - Private Instruction - No Belt Testing Fee's - No Contracts






Tomas Connor

The Forgotten Master


Bill Hensel


Back in 1973 I started studying the Tomas Connor Kenpo system. I was clear eyed and wet behind the ears. I have been studying Kenpo ever since that first lesson that I took back in Denver. The Tom Connor system of Kenpo became my base, my foundation in movement. I would then go on to study Al Tracy's Kenpo system the rest of my life. However, today my thoughts mingle with the movement that was mixed in my blood and bone thus developing the essence of my core movement which came from the FORMS that Tomas Connor created.  These Forms such as The Boxing Form, Stalking Panther, Flowing Hands and  The Leopard to name a few, there are others I did not learn that were created after I left his system. The Forms that I learned provided me with a unique kinestheic experience. The result of learning these forms gave me a unique perspective regarding flow and application to his Self Defense Techniques. In fact I was able to view motion though a wonderful set of spectacles.  Back in the late 60s and through out the mid 70s his system of self defense from orange – green belt was fundamentally composed of techniques that are found to this day in the Tracy Kenpo System. From Brown belt to Black belt is where one saw the unique Forms that Connor put into his system.

To label Connor as only a “dancer” would not afford him his due credit as a Martial Artist. Connor was a splendid athlete and that coupled with his dance ability made him a quick study of Kenpo.  I competed in Form completion in the 70s and late 80s often doing quite well against classical Chinese stylist using his forms. They stood up well against the Tracy and the Parker Kenpo Forms as well.

Many of his Self Defense techniques were built around Iron Palm concepts and some of them were actually closely tied to Ed Parkers self defense techniques. Connor actually had a business Partnership with Parker at one point in time. Even the Connor numbered Forms from Short 1 up though Long 5 were very close to the Ed Parkers forms. However, the Forms he created that I mentioned above are in my mind “diamonds just waiting for the creative mind of Kenpo students to stumble upon and find.” 


I have seen many derivations to the Connor Forms. I don't see this as a weakness but a strength. His Forms remain impressionistic in my mind.


You may ask yourself, Who teaches the Connor system of Kenpo at this point in time? There are many instructors that stem from Master Bill Packer's family tree that teach his system. Two men come quickly to my mind and they would be Grand Master Gary McGhee who was a private student of Tomas Connor, .Grand  Master McGhee of which I have the greatest respect for in regarding his transmission of the Tomas Connor system of Kenpo, he has not watered it down. Grand Master John Nieto also teaches the system as well.

 May I say this in ending“I can say this unequivocally. "there are members of the Tomas Connor lineage that are very knowledgeable...I believe this to be true in the sense that the Tomas Connor Kenpo forms were constructed in the "fluid smoke of Chuan Fa ", a smoke that takes the form of the specter, becomes impressionistic and thus a formidable tool for the Kenpo stylist.”