Parker enlightens students with martial arts
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Video by Priscilla DaSilva
KCBY Staff Member
Most students that take Bill Parker’s outdoor adventures class don’t realize that he has another set of students and that to those students; he is Parker Sensei.
After watching a Judo class at a local YMCA when he was 10, Parker was enthralled by the sport. He practiced at home while he waited for the next beginner class to start.
In the first six months of his practice, he walked away from his first Judo tournament with two wins and two losses, which he was told was pretty good considering that normally people don’t win anything their first time.
“I was kind of stuck on it then and I’ve practiced Judo ever since. It’s been a lifelong adventure for me,” Parker said.
When Parker was 16, he competed in the Michigan state championship for Judo. He entered in the boys tournament and won, so he entered in the men’s division at the same tournament. Since there was no one at the competition his size, Parker had to choose between going down and competing against men that were smaller than him or going up and competing against people that were larger than him. He chose to go up a division and won.
“It was a pretty good experience for me to beat a man who weighed about 240 pounds and I think I weighed 160 at the time,” Parker said.
For the last eight years, Parker has volunteered his time to instruct Judo at Chamberlain Studios of Self-Defense in Dallas. Parker’s eyes light up when he instructs his students in their movements and he takes every moment of instructing seriously.
“Parker Sensei, as a teacher, is very confident, very thorough; he explores every avenue of every little crevice and nook and cranny of every problem that he can come up with. And then he goes to other people to have them come up with problems,” a student of Parker’s at Chamberlain Studios, Bruno Smith, said. “He tries to deconstruct things to put them back together so he can understand it.”
Parker works hard inside and outside of the studio to help his students in every way he can. Parker’s students respect him immensely and appreciate the effort that he puts into aiding them in their growth.
“Parker Sensei is dedicated because of his own practice, the things he does on his own when he’s not here,” Smith said. “He doesn’t just come here to class and teach whatever he feels like teaching. It’s always prepared, he’s got direction, everything’s connected, and everything has reason.”
Parker has been trying to start a girls’ self defense class at CHS for the last two years. This year, there were enough girls signed up for the class to make his dream become a reality.
“I felt that young ladies in the school should get some sort of self defense training before heading off to college,” Parker said. “I thought that I have some skills that could help build the skill level of students so they can protect themselves.”
The main thing that Parker teaches his students in his self-defense class is to escape. He tells the girls how to do just that by teaching them movement drills and techniques to use in the case of a situation they would need to get away from. The girls demonstrate these moves on wrestling dummies during class, but Parker has brought in two male student volunteers to make it more realistic.
“[Parker] is very passionate about what he does,” junior self-defense student Nikki Dabney said. “You can tell that he knows a lot about what he’s doing which I think is important. He has a lot to teach us.”
After 46 years of practicing the art of Judo, Parker still works hard at it. Over the years, he has imparted his knowledge to many students, and has not stopped putting forth effort to improve his own skills.
“The reason I stayed in this class is because I’ve been to several dojos all over the country, and if there was a better one, with a better teacher, I’d be there,” Smith said.