Lambert makes his mark in Hawaii |

Lambert makes his mark in Hawaii

A back fist to the head with a simultaneous snap kick brought Parkite Ken Lambert to victory in the 2005 Aloha Martial Arts Expo in Kauai, Hawaii on Oct. 22. Lambert, 53, won the senior division freestyle competition. Then he went on to defeat each of the three winners from the younger divisions in round-robin style matches. His last competitor was 26 years younger and an emerging martial arts star from the islands. "It’s just living proof that old age and trickery beats youth and enthusiasm," he said. There were over 1,000 competitors from 20 countries who participated in the Aloha Martial Arts Expo, including over 100 black belts. Lambert was sent home with a medal and a seven-foot tall trophy. Lambert said after winning the competition a top sponsor of a professional team that competes on the worldwide fighting circuit expressed interest in inviting him to join their team. Instead, he said he will continue his role as Mr. mom, a duty he took on after his wife passed away in February. Leading up to the tournament, Lambert trained eight hours a day. He said he will now slow down and focus on preparation for the ski season. He said jump kicks help him prepare for bump skiing and he hopes to build strength, elasticity, flexibility and core and back strength. "[Martial Arts] is something you can do all your life," he said. "It helps your flexibility, it helps your attitude and it translates into other sports."

Lambert said he has practiced every day since he started learning martial arts in 1965. Lambert began studying under Grand Master Al Dacascos, a ninth-level black belt, in the early ’70s. Dacascos said he taught Lambert about the character development that goes hand-in-hand with martial arts, which includes humbleness, respect, moderation and focus. Dacascos, one of the officials at the Aloha Martial Arts Expo who was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, said he got to watch Lambert’s final competition. He said Lambert’s opponent was quick and tactful, but Lambert is a thinking man when he fights and he was able to corner his opponent.

"You have an older guy over fifty going up against some younger guys, and what made him win was that he has experience," Dacascos said. Lambert is a fifth-degree black belt from the Kajukenbo system. There are only about 1,000 black belts in this martial arts system in the world. Lambert was the Rocky Mountain Region Full Contact Champion in 1973 and 1974. He was in the top 10 in the United States for full contact karate and fought on one of the U.S. teams in Latin America in 1975. He has competed and lived in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In his travels he worked as a martial arts instructor for the King of Thailand’s family in 1992. Lambert also worked as a professional ballet dancer, and when he combined Kung Fu karate with classical ballet in 1974, one of his martial arts instructors demoted him from a black belt to a beginner white belt. He said times have changed and combining the two arts is now common and accepted. "Now dance and martial arts have become very popular and the hybrid of the two has spawned a new medium, or art form"

Lambert travels to Hawaii each year to get recertified and to test for his belts. He also travels to Oakland, Calif. as much as once a month to teach martial arts to impoverished youth and seniors. "It’s wonderful for kids physically, mentally, for self esteem and respect," he said, "and it’s great exercise for adults."

Lambert said martial arts are making a recent comeback, especially after what he calls "the Bruce Lee phenomenon." He said there are opportunities for family martial arts classes in Park City at Bobby Lawrence Karate Schools and the Silver Mountain Sports Club. Lambert said he trains solo at the Silver Mountain Sports Club with bags, mirrors, balls and weights. The 53-year-old said he will travel back to Hawaii next year to defend his trophy.

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