William Paki – Senior Instructor

William Paki – Senior Instructor

I am a local from Northland and was born and raised in Whangarei and from memory I have always had an interest in Martial Arts. I come from a very large family. My Grandfather Kirimatou Percy Paki was a WW2 veteran. He and other family members inspired me to join the New Zealand Army in 1997.

Whilst serving in the Army I participated in what my instructors called milling which is a form of close quarter combat. This training was based around maintaining a very low guarded fighting stance moving around your opponent looking for openings deploying numerous open handed strikes coupled with low combative kicks. The Army taught me great respect and discipline. I enjoyed my time in the Army but for family reasons I left.

In 2001 joined the New Zealand Police and commenced training at the New Zealand Police College where I was taught defensive tactics which consisted of empty hand techniques and some joint locks.

This defensive tactics training looked at using the least amount of resistance to overcome a confrontational and assaultive person whilst being able to stand up to the rule of law amidst the scrutiny of both the public and my employers internally. My frontline experience has allowed me to talk to our students about what self defence of yourself and others looks like from the Police investigations perspective.

My formal martial arts training started in 2002, training privately with Master Instructor Ron Mason a then 5th Degree Black Belt from Kempo Bushido Ryu. I have learnt many lessons during my time training with Mr. Mason making me a well-rounded student in the art of Kenpo. This was the start of our self defence school being established in Dargaville. Mr. Mason made an executive decision to break away from Kempo Bushido Ryu and make Parker Kenpo our default system. I quickly emptied my cup and readily took on the American Kenpo system designed by Senior Grandmaster Edmund Kealoha Parker. We quickly became an associate school of the LTKKA head by Grandmaster Larry Tatum, current 10th Degree Black Belt and one of Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker’s first generation black belts based in Prescott, Arizona, United States Of America.

In 2007 I took on a leadership role within our Kenpo School and after spending many hours, and consecutive days basically living at the Mason household, with my family’s support I felt that I had accumulated the knowledge to test for my black belt.

My black belt grading had the added pressure of Mr. Mason’s friends in attendance in long serving Kenpo Instructors Shane Rongonui (Current – 6th Degree Black Belt Certificate – LTKKA) and Grant Morrison (Current – 5th Degree Black Belt Certificate – LTKKA) from Wellington. I met both Mr. Rongonui and Mr. Morrison as they have a similar background to Mr. Mason. They head the New Zealand Kenpo Karate Association School based in Porirua, Wellington which is a very successful and well established Martial Arts School.

In October 2008 after being put through my paces and after complete exhaustion I was graded to my 1st Degree Black Belt with Mr. Mason, Rongonui and Morrison signing my Black Belt Certificate along with each providing me with a ceremonial kick to say thanks for coming as well as a passing comment that having reached this mountain there were several others waiting around the corner on this journey. We have built a very close working relationship with our Wellington based friends attending their annual national tournament since 2008.

I am personally thankful to both Mr. Rongonui and Morrison for placing their signatures on my certificate in 2016 witnessing Mr. Mason’s recommendation to grade me to a qualified Kenpo instructor, attaining the rank of ‘Head Instructor – 3rd Degree Black Belt.’

In 2009 Mr. Mason and his wife Gail travelled to America and trained directly with Grandmaster Larry Tatum and his wife Jill Tatum. Mrs. Tatum is an amazing martial artist in her own right and is currently ranked ‘Associate Master of the Arts – 8th Degree Black Belt.’ On this trip Mr. Mason was put through his paces and was rewarded with his title of ‘Associate Professor’ and the qualifying 5th Degree Black Belt certificate establishing our schools standing not just in New Zealand but globally.

I have been privileged to have seen him rewarded for his service to our community in Dargaville during my 16 years training under his guidance and seeing him graded in the American Kenpo system from ‘Associate Professor – 5th Degree Black Belt’ to ‘Professor – 6th Degree Black Belt’ and most recently to his current rank of ‘Senior Professor – 7th Degree Black Belt.’

Since I have been involved in Kenpo it has allowed me to meet so many people and interact with our communities in such a positive way. I have been fortunate to mix with other instructors of integrity such as Mr Mason, Rongonui and Morrison.

In 2009 I had the opportunity to meet and train with then ranked ‘Senior Professor – 7th Degree Black Belt’ Graham Lelliott of San Francisco, America. Mr. Lelliott is another black belt who has the designation of being classed as one of the late Senior Grandmaster Ed Parker’s first generation Black Belts. Our students have enjoyed Mr. Lelliott’s seminars that he has given at our Whangarei and Dargaville branches. This friendship has seen Mr. Lelliott return a number of times holding seminars at our Kenpo School over the last 10 years. The last set of seminars held in 2018 gave me a chance to congratulate Mr. Lelliott on his recent promotion to ‘Master Of The Arts – 9th Degree Black Belt.’ This visit also allowed me the opportunity to thank him in person for placing his signature on my certificate, witnessing Mr. Mason’s recommendation to grade me to a qualified Kenpo instructor, attaining the rank of ‘Head Instructor – 3rd Degree Black Belt.’

In 2010 I was diagnosed late in life with Autism Spectrum Disorder formally known as Aspergers Syndrome and being involved with Kenpo helped me with my autism by getting me out amongst the community training initially in an unfamiliar environment building up in confidence to instructing it and overcome the barriers of being out in front. I am a family man and being a student of Kenpo enables parents to participate in the art alongside their children. My family have supported Mr. Mason’s school ever since I had my first lesson. I enjoy empowering our students on how they can keep themselves or their loved ones safe. I have made many new friendships amongst our Kenpo School especially within the core group of students and their extended families.

In 2017 Mr. Morrison introduced 10th Degree Black Belt Grandmaster Richard ‘Huk’ Planas to a small number of senior students in our leadership group. Mr. Planas and Mr. Tatum were Senior Grandmaster Ed Parkers senior instructors who looked after each of his two studios based in Pasadena. Each have their own lineage of Kenpo Associations.

My long term goal in Kenpo still involves helping my very good friend and teacher Mr. Mason in an effort to assist him in the running of our Kenpo School. Our small senior leadership group of qualified instructors assisting Mr. Mason within our Kenpo School, supporting my other senior instructors Gail Mason and my brother in law Shane Joyce has seen our school become a leading authority in teaching the Parker Kenpo syllabus here in New Zealand.

2002 – Commence training in Kempo Bushido Ryu.

2008 – Graded: ‘Junior Instructor – 1st Degree Black Belt’ – American Kenpo.

2011 – Graded: ‘Associate Instructor – 2nd Degree Black Belt’ – American Kenpo.

2017 – Graded: ‘Head Instructor – 3rd Degree Black Belt’ – American Kenpo.

2018 – October. 10th year as a Black Belt Instructor.

2020 – Graded: ‘Senior Instructor – 4th Degree Black Belt’ – American Kenpo.

Karakia:

“Ma te hau mahana. O te kahui o te rangi. Me te wairua o nga tupuna. Tatou e manaaki. E tiaki i nga wa katoa. Amene. May the warm winds of the heavenly realm and the spirit of our ancestors guide us forever. Amen.”

Whakatauki:

“Whaia te iti kahurangi ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei. Seek the treasure you value most dearly. If you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.”
Tuturu whakamaua kia tina. Haumi e. Hui e. Taiki e. No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

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William Paki
Senior Instructor – 4th Degree Black Belt
Foundation Member: Northland Kenpo Karate – LTKKA.