Book review:

"Much needed look at Elvis' passion for karate"

Elvis’ Karate Legacy, Wayne Carman, Legacy Entertainment, Inc. in late 1998

Elvis' love of the martial arts is an area only minimally covered in Elvis literature. Apart from Ed Parker's book 'Inside Elvis' and several good articles in magazines such as ''The Fighter' and 'American Karate', fans are unusually hard pressed to find much on Elvis and karate.

This reasonably new book, 'Elvis' Karate Legacy', is a very welcome release which benefits from its primary focus being on Elvis and the martial arts.

The author, Wayne Carman, was one of Elvis' training partners in the Kang Rhee Institute in Memphis. He became a good friend of Elvis' and in his book provides a rare and detailed look behind the scenes of Elvis' martial arts world, shedding light on aspects of Elvis as a person rather than as a stage performer.

The 190 page book is well written, entertaining and offers a rare look into both Elvis as a martial artist and his love of God: "Elvis and I shared a background of the Bible, very rooted in Christian teachings, so we continued to worship God."

Carman includes Elvis' TCB Creed and provides many wonderful insights into Elvis' passion for the spiritual side of life: "the ([karate] training is very repetitious and often gets tedious. Therefore, we appreciated it when Elvis would take over class and share his self-defence sets and techniques that were new to us.Of course, the best part was that Elvis was teaching them."

For those of you who were wondering whatever happened to the film footage of Elvis' own documentary project 'The New Gladiators', look no further, Wayne Carman now owns the footage and in Elvis' Karate Legacy Wayne provides a detailed account of the project.

Other chapters in the book include a history of karate, Elvis' friendship with Ed Parker, 'Superfoot' Bill Wallace and Red West and Elvis' liking for guns:

"Besides the protection aspect of carrying a gun, Elvis liked the power of the weapon."

Elvis' Karate Legacy also includes some great colour and black & white photos of The King practicing his martial art that will please many fans.

Verdict: If you want to know more about Elvis the man, Elvis' Karate Legacy should be mandatory reading.

The author plans Elvis' Karate Legacy to be the first in a series of books about Elvis. I for one hope it is.

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson. © EIN June 2002

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