Richard Peralta's First Black Belt, Mr. Edward Shepard.
Mr. Shepard is the first Black Belt promoted by Richard L. Peralta.
For many years the story was told that Mr. Edward Shepard passed away in a car crash in 1977. Mr. Shepard was searching to reconnect with Mr. Peralta and found my web site. He contacted me directly to inform me that he was still alive. He has since reconnected with Mr. Peralta’s black belts and is onboard with support for Richard Peralta’s K.S.D.S system. This is his Biography Sifu Shepard provided me. I honor his friendship and respect his loyalty to our K.S.D.S system.
Sigung Burt Vickers
Biography Of Edward Shepard
Born May 24 1942, Cincinnati Ohio
I started my training in Kajukembo as a white belt while in the US Air Force in 1964 with GM Tony Lasit while deployed on temporary duty to Ubon AB Thailand. Prior to that time I had no formal martial arts training. After only three months of training with GM Lasit I returned to George AFB in the United States. In 1965 I returned to Ubon and continued my training under GM Lasit’s disciple, Sifu Precha Mahatanavong. My training with Sifu Precha was the Kajukenbo taught to him by GM Lasit with Akido and Thai boxing added to the training later by ‘Precha. I left Thailand in 1966 and was awarded a green belt by Sifu Precha.
After a brief stint in the U.S. I deployed to Clark AB Philippines in 1967 and started my training in Kajukembo with GM Peralta. I spent nearly 18 months training with GM Peralta and was awarded a first degree black belt in late 1968. My training with GM Peralta was at times sporadic because both he and I were at different times deployed all over Southeast Asia in support of the Vietnam war effort. After another short stint in the United States I deployed to Udorn Thailand in 1971 and guess who was there? GM Peralta. I continued my training with GM Peralta and worked hard to refine the techniques that he had shown me over the years. GM Peralta was adamant that the techniques and forms first be learned in their basic format to preserve the integrity of the Kaju art. ‘Peralta then taught additions or slight modifications to the techniques that he called adlibs. These techniques emphasized the economy of motion , multiple simultaneous quick hand strikes to joints tendon and pressure points, and maximum striking power generation from the hips. I left Udorn Thailand in 1972 and was stationed at Luke AFB Arizona.
In January 1974 I was assigned to Torrojon AB Spain. In February of that same year I started a Kajukembo(M) school in a vacant barracks on the air base. On 9 May 1975 GM Peralta awarded me a second degree black belt. Both Spanish and American Students were in my class and we trained every day. There were two other martial arts schools on the base along with my school. The other schools were Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do. In June 1976 after a lot of negotiating and planning with high level U.S Air Force base officials the base commander declared an open house so that Spanish citizens could enter the Air Base and allow the three schools to host the first joint Spanish/American martial arts tournament ever held on a Spanish military base. The tournament was an overwhelming success. Our school demonstrated both Kajukembo (M) form and self -defense against multiple opponents’. The demonstrations of self -defense unique to Kajukembo (M) and the fact that there were both Spanish and American students training together in my school caught the attention of the Spanish Ministry Of Defense. My class size doubled with Spanish Army and Air Force personnel joining my school.
From those roots Kajukembo (M) flourished and is now one of the premiere form of Martial Arts taught in Spain.
I left Spain in October 1977 and went to Cannon AFB in Clovis NM. Shortly after arriving at Clovis I was severely injured and almost killed in an auto accident. After a very long recovery from the accident I taught Kajukembo to a small group of students on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University, worked out at home, but remained in a state of inactivity and did not actively teach Kajukembo because of declining health and physical condition. I retired from the Air Force in 1981.
In June 2014 while surfing the internet I saw my name mentioned on a Kajukembo Self Defense System school web site in Houston Texas that stated that I was GM Peralta’s first black belt and that I was no longer living. Sadly I also found out that my teacher and friend GM Richard Peralta had died years earlier. I called the school instructor Sigung Burt Vickers, introduced myself, told him that I was alive and well and updated my status. After many phone calls, cross checks, verification, and messages Sigung Vickers told me that I was indeed GM Peralta’s first black belt, was credited with starting the first kajukembo school in Spain , the starting point for all Kajukem/nbo in Europe, and that I was internationally known all over Europe. I was overwhelmed, humble and excited.
In July 2014 I participated in a small training seminar at Sigung Israel Gonzales’s KSDS training facility in Fort Worth Texas and was formally accepted into the KSDS organization with the rank of 5th degree black belt awarded by SGM Dan Fraizer. (* see note at bottom of bio *) After my active status became publicly known I started receiving phone calls and messages of respect, long life well wishes, invitation requests from Kaju Grand Masters, instructors, and students in the U.S. and all over the world.
It has been a long martial arts journey from the jungles of Ubon Thailand in 1964 to my acceptance into KSDS in 2014.
I cannot complete this Bio without paying tribute to my first Kaju instructors’ GM Tony Lasit and Ajarn Precha Mahatchanavong ; a very special tribute to GM Richard Peralta, my teacher and friend that showed me the way forward in Kajukembo(M, to Sigung’s Burt Vickers, Israel Gonzales, GM George Jackson, SGM’s Dan Fraizer and Don Nahawlewa for making it possible for this old warrior to find his way back to Kajukembo after a long period of inactivity.
Note: Mr. Edward Shepard was promoted in July 2015 to 9th Degree Black Belt - Grand Master status by Grand Master Dan Frazier with the approval from S.G.M Dechi Emperado head of K.S.D.I and the K.S.D.I Board of Directors. Mr. Shepard was the first Black Belt from Richard L. Peralta. Mr. Shepard is responsible for all of the Kajukenbo / Kajukembo development in Europe. His contributions to the spread of the system alone merits His Grand Master status. Without Mr. Shepard spreading the art, The Kajukembo system would not have flourished in Spain and in Europe.
Mr. Shepard is the Grand Father to all Kajukembo in Spain. Mr. Shepard is a council member of the Kajukembo Self Defense Systems International Organization alongside of S.G.M Manuel Arcos, G.M Dan Frazier, Professor Israel Gonzales and Professor Burt Vickers.
I am honored to have this man by our side as a friend and as a senior black belt of our Kajukembo Self Defense Systems under G.M. Richard L Peralta.