The “I Love Me” Page
June 2, 1975 1st degree black belt.
June 1976 Opened my first studio in Palos Hills, IL.
June 1977 Graduated from University of Illinois, with a B.A. in Criminal Justice.
Fall 1978 I met Chuck Norris!
August 1979 I place in Kenpo forms at the International Karate Championships in Long Beach, CA.
November 1979 Started training directly with Ed Parker at the Pasadena studio and his home.
1980 Karate Illustrated magazine lists me in the national top ten competitors.
1981 Awarded third degree black by Ed Parker, my first rank from him.
Fall 1981 Fought Bill “Superfoot” Wallace in an exhibition match. Of course he won, he was the world champ.
February 1982 My first in a twenty-year string of articles is published by Inside Kung-Fu magazine (my real first one was published in my high school newspaper, to which I was a regular contributor.)
Summer 1982 First jump out of a perfectly good airplane (this is going somewhere about three years later).
Fall 1982 Ed Parker’s Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol. 1 is published and I am mentioned in the acknowledgements.
Fall 1983 I attend Executive Security International, a professional bodyguard academy in Aspen, CO. I learn to combat shoot and later become a Class A (barely) IPSC competitor.
1985 I began taking flying lessons, making my first solo on the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded (Jan. 1986). I also learned how to rappel at the Soldier of Fortune convention In Las Vegas.
I wrote the foreword to Ed Parker’s Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Vol.3, a real honor.
1986 I passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot check ride.
1986-87 Traveled with Ed Parker representing Kenpo in Europe and Australia.
1987 Volume Five of Infinite Insights into Kenpo is published and I am mentioned in it as the model for the drawings of the forms.
1988 I became a Commercial pilot and Certificated Flight Instructor (Airplane). I closed my studio in Oak Lawn, IL. Many studios in the US closed in the fall.
October 1989 I become an Instrument instructor (airplane).
1990 Promoted to Chief Flight Instructor at Lumanair, Inc. Aurora (IL) Airport. Also a first officer for Centel Corp. in a King Air 200 and Citation III bizjet. The FAA awards me a Gold Seal on my instructor certificate, as I have a high pass rate for my students and have passed the exams for Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor. I also pass the multi-engine instructor certification tests. Now I have an alphabet behind my name.
November 1990 Promoted to sixth degree black by Ed Parker, one month before he passed away.
1991 Earned the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) multi-engine certificate. Moved from Chicago to New Hampshire, then to Ft. Myers, FL.
January 1992 Opened my studio in Ft. Myers with zero students. It paid the bills the first month (as did my first one in Chicago). I met former world champion Joe Lewis and had him teach a seminar at my school.
August 1993 I placed in the Internationals again, but in the senior division. I met karate legend Mike Stone there.
January 1994 Started training for a helicopter license.
December 1994 Earned the helicopter license, (Private) and attend Skip Barber’s high performance driving school at Sebring, FL.
1995 Air Combat training in CA, IL, and FL. Fly in the Top Gun Challenge. I got shot down by a guy named “Marbles”.
August 1995 Gil Hibben presents me with my commission as a “Kentucky Colonel”, signed by the Governor of Kentucky, making me “Col.” Wedlake.
1995 & 1996 I get to fly 757 and 767 simulators at Delta Airlines. Thanks, Frank!
1996 Re-learn how to ride a motorcycle the right way with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and get the license. I almost killed myself doing wheelies back in 1971 on a Honda 450. I rode my Harley on the Space Shuttle’s runway at Kennedy Space Center. It was the last time any group was allowed to do that (not my fault). I also begin aerobatic training with the goal of competing. The airplane breaks down and I never get back to it.
1997 Do you think I’m a Type A personality?
I’m in a photo with Ed Parker’s team in Australia that appears in the book Memories of Ed Parker.
October 1998 I was awarded an eighth degree by Huk Planas. By 2004, he doesn’t even remember he did it. But, like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, I have a diploma to prove it.
December 1999 I revisit Australia to teach and manage to ride solo around southern New Zealand on a motorcycle for a week.
2000 My first book, Kenpo Karate 101 is published.
March 2001 Further Insights into Kenpo, my second book, is published
Summer 2001 My niece and I go to Space Camp at Cape Canaveral. Yeehaa!
My biography is included in a book called The Journey.
2002 I published Kenpo Karate 201, which I wrote and Huk Planas okayed
July 2002 Earned an instructor certificate in Russian Systema from Vladimir Vasiliev
August 2002 I earn the FAA “Wings” Phase Nine Proficiency award (no accidents). I went to the National Air Races at Reno, NV. Sat next to world renowned air show pilot Bob Hoover and two astronauts. Note to self, just because you’ve been to the moon doesn’t mean you’re not a jerk.
January 2003 My niece and I go to Aviation Challenge in Huntsville, AL. More Yeehaa!
February 2003 I joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the auxiliary of the US Air Force. www.gocivilairpatrol.com
Summer 2003 The CAP chief check pilot for our area OK’s me to fly their airplanes as a pilot, cadet orientation ride pilot and instructor. Promoted to captain and squadron flight operations officer.
September 2003 I earn the FAA Phase 10 Pilot Proficiency Wings.
October 2003 The WWII B-17 bomber owned by the Experimental Aviation Association visits Ft. Myers and I go for a ride. I can appreciate even more what those guys went through – being shot at, shot down, killed, captured, and at least, cold and scared. I salute the veterans, especially my father. He served in both WWII and the Korean “police action”.
Nov. 2003 My first book, Kenpo Karate 101, becomes a textbook for an Iowa university Kenpo class.
Jan. 2004 I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Experienced Rider Course. Did you want to be invisible when you were a kid? Ride a motorcycle. www.msf-usa.org
I take the Chuck Yeager Aerospace Exam with the CAP and get a perfect score. I did it to keep my mind stimulated and to show the kids that even “old” people still have to take tests.
Feb. 2004 I turn 50. I have dedicated almost 39 years of my life to the martial arts. They threw me a party that over 100 people showed up for from as far away as Australia. Unforgettable, and a high point of my life.
April 2004 I pass the U.S. Air Force AFIADL Officers Exam with what they call an “outstanding” score.
June 2004 Austria, southern Germany, northern Italy and Switzerland on a BMW motorcycle for a week. Now I’ve been in both the Alps and the Southern Alps (New Zealand) which our guide said were “musts” for motorcyclists. Hairpin turns, mountain switchbacks, no guard rails, cows on the road, spectacular scenery, and an interesting group of people to ride with. I could not take trips like this without students who support my work. Thank you all again.
I qualified for Mensa, the “High IQ Society”. I be smart! www.us.mensa.org
June 2005 I have my 30th anniversary as a black belt.
July 2005 I am designated by the FAA as an Aviation Safety Counselor. I also take a position as the Air Operations safety officer for the entire Florida Wing of the CAP. www.flwg.us
October 2005 Went through my third hurricane; “I gotta get outta here!”.
I was a staff instructor at Disney’s Martial Arts Festival at Disney World.
Had an article on the mind-body connection published in the Mensa Bulletin.
Jan. 2006 I earned the FAA Phase XII Pilot Proficiency Wings.
I was appointed deputy commander of Group Five of the Civil Air Patrol’s Florida wing. We cover over 9,000 square miles of south FL and have 13 units in our group.
May 2006 I passed my CAP “Mission Pilot” flight test and got my designation as a Search and Rescue/Disaster Relief pilot.
An article I wrote was published online on the American Mensa website.
June 2006 My fourth book, Kenpo Karate 301, is published.
I earned my Senior Pilot wings from the CAP.
I’ve started writing aviation product reviews in Aviation for Women magazine.
July 2006 I earned a designation from the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) as a Master CFI. There are only 500 Masters in the U.S.
I have been in the commercial karate school business for 30 years.
September 2006 I was promoted to the rank of Major in the Civil Air Patrol.
October 2006 I accepted the designation of Master of the Arts, ninth degree black, with the acknowledgement of my seniors and peers in the system. Click here to read their comments.
I took my first ride in a hot air balloon.
January 2007 I sold my studio in Ft. Myers to one of my third degree black belts.
I earned the FAA Phase XIII Wings.
My seminar series started in the Orlando area and it’s a success so far.
February 2007 I was asked to participate in a “Meet the Masters” roundtable at the Women in Aviation International conference, which I did. I was amazed to see the size of the group there at the conference. The Navy’s only female F-14 Tomcat pilot was there.
March 2007 My book, Kenpo Karate 401, is published.
July 2007 I am designated as the Stan/Eval officer for the Florida wing. I am now the director of Standards and Evaluation for all the 200+ CAP pilots in the state. Florida is the largest and busiest wing in the US and I have its busiest job.
I am awarded the CAP Meritorious Service Award.
August 2007 I received my designation as a Chief Check Pilot. And I have been designated as a certified proctor for Mensa, which allows me to administer the Mensa admission tests.
October 2007 The Ed Parker Memorial Award is presented to me by the Worldwide Kenpo Karate Association (WKKA) at their annual conference in Baltimore, MD. I was surprised and honored.
November 2007 My sixth book, Kenpo Karate 501 – Form 5 is published.
February 2008 I am awarded my second Meritorious Service Award by the CAP for my work as the Southeast Region Standards and Evaluation Officer of the Year. I was also awarded a Circle of Excellence plaque by the Florida Wing Operations directorate.
June 2008 I have earned my re-designation as a Master Certificated Flight Instructor (M-CFI). I also received my Command Pilot wings from the CAP, marking five years as a CAP pilot.
July 2008 I released my seventh book, Kenpo Karate 601.
November 2008 The Civil Air Patrol designates me as a Master level in their Standardization and Evaluation specialty. I also earned the Master level in the FAA Wings program.
January 2009 I graduated from the US Air Force Squadron Officer School.
My eighth and longest book, Lessons with Ed Parker, is released.
I was recognized by Shidokan International as a Hanshi, “Chief Grand Master Instructor”.
It’s not a rank but a teaching license granted through the Ministry of Education in Japan. 10th Dan Richie Bernard made the appointment.
I also received the “Official Black Belt International Hall of Fame Award” for 2008 from Kenpo people in Ireland. It’s much appreciated.
The Florida Civil Air Patrol Wing Commander awarded me a Commander’s Commendation.
February 2009 After two years away, I’m going back into the karate school business. The studio re-opened on Feb. 25.
I completed Level Four of the Civil Air Patrol’s professional development program. Level Five is the highest.
May 2009 I promoted Gary Ellis, Steve White and Graham Lelliott to eighth degree black. Between them they have almost 100 years experience as black belts. I am proud to have them as my representatives.
September 2009 I had an article published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts on sleeper holds with Dr. Marc Rowe. It was an honor for me to co-author it with him. He was the Ed Parker of pediatric surgery in the US.
November 2009 I completed my first year at the National Sergeant-at-Arms of the Special Forces Motorcycle Club. The organization is a group of mostly current and former military, typically Special Operations qualified, from every service. It’s an honor to be accepted by them and to serve as a National Officer. The club has a highly philanthropic bent and raises money for the Special Operations Warrior Fundation scholarship program, among others. www.specialforcesmc.org.
June 2010– 35 years as a black belt
August 2010 I launched KenpoTV, my online learning site. It’s a “brain-dump” to the web. kenpotv.com
Sept 2010 I was promoted to Lt. Colonel in CAP.
2010 – I contributed the article on Parker Kenpo to the two-volume Martial Arts of the World, An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, by Green and Svinth.
January 2011 – I earned my American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor and Skills Evaluator certificate.
October 2011 – I relocated to Round Rock, Texas, near Austin.
April 2012 – I am included the the sequel to the Journey book, entitled The International Journey.
The World Registry of Black Belts, Organizations and Federations (WRBBOF) names me to their Board of Directors.
July 2012 – I am now a Commander in the Texas Navy Association, a historical group. I was made an Admiral in August, 2012.
October 2012 – Steve White and I co-hosted the first Kenpo Senior Conference here in Austin, TX. We were honored to have Steve LaBounty, Bob White and John Sepulveda as our staff instructors.
November 2012 – Martial Arts Success magazine published the memorial piece I wrote on the passing of Sibok Tom Kelly.
The German translation of my book, Kenpo Karate 201, is now published.
July 2013 – I signed a contract with a large book publisher to consolidate six of my books into one volume to be released in Fall of 2014. Additions will include information on Forms 7 and 8 as well as sets. Errors and typos in the originals are corrected, too. (There were not many.)
February 2014 – I have ended my terms as National Sgt-at-Arms for the SFMC. It was a pleasure to serve. I also turned 60. The Chicago people threw me a birthday party that was a ton of fun.
March 2014 – Kenpo TV has a new webmaster after Scott Dolloff of Dallas, TX made a most unprofessional move of suddenly dropping myself and some other clients I know without notice. The site is being cleaned up and the videos are being converted so they will work on ipads, etc. Mr. Dolloff was paid a lot of money to do work on the site he either started and never finished or just never did, such as connecting the credit card function for subscribers and more.
May 2014 – We held the Texas Kenpo Conference at Rancho Cortez in Bandera, TX. It was a success and we plan to have it again in 2016. See the Facebook page for photos. Steve White had custom-made belts made and presented them to me, Bob White, John Sepulveda and Steve LaBounty.
May 2014 – Blue Snake books will publish the aforementioned compilation of my books. The title is The Kenpo Karate Compendium. It is looking good at this point in time. New photos, much additional information and it should be available in January 2015. The current books are off the market with the exception of Lessons with Ed Parker.
October 2014 – I’m now a member of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse here in Texas.
November 2014 – The Kenpo Karate Compendium goes to the printer. It’s almost 400 pages with almost as many photos.
December 2014 – My book is done and should be out in mid-January, 2015.
January 2015 – The Kenpo Karate Compendium is released on January 13 by Blue Snake Books. It is available in soft cover and e-book versions.
February 26, 2015 – I have been appointed as Sergeant of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse here in Texas.
2015 – I am selected as an Advisory Board member for the Ed Parker Sr. International Kenpo Karate Association.
April 3, 2015 – Inducted into the Illinois State Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
May 9, 2015 – I married my long-time girlfriend, Janis.
December 2015 – Aforementioned Janis dragged me back to live in Florida.
March 2016 – I dragged the aforementioned Janis back to Texas.
April 2016 – I am accepted as a volunteer docent at The Alamo in San Antonio.
May 2016 – I’m back as Sergeant of the Sheriff’s Posse.
April 2017 – I was given the Outstanding Volunteer of 2016 award by The Alamo staff.
May 2017 – My first fiction work, Whisper From The Alamo, co-authored with Phil Buck, is released. https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Alamo-Wedlake-Buck/dp/1365937070/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498910611&sr=8-1&keywords=whisper+from+the+alamo
June 2017 – 42 years as a black belt.