For the past several weeks, I have been watching Dancing With The Stars and rooting for Priscilla Presley.  Give the woman some credit.  She is sixty-two years old and has already out-danced four other competitors.  It did get a little hairy last Tuesday when she came in next-to-last, but the week before Priscilla and partner earned the second-highest score by the panel of judges.  It looks like Kristi Yamaguchi would have to screw up big time not to win this thing, but Priscilla is already a winner in my book.


Priscilla and her Dancing With The Stars partner

How does a woman of her age hang in there against folks so much younger?  Perhaps all those ballet lessons she took during her years with Elvis provided some help.  Maybe she did very well in ballet, and that gave her confidence that she could master the other dances required for the TV competition.  Perhaps another thing that helped Priscilla was her karate training, with all that emphasis on focus and discipline.  Certainly, plenty of both are required for Dancing With The Stars.
Did you know that Priscilla started her karate training with none other than Chuck Norris?  In the early 70s, Priscilla was living in Beverly Hills, and Norris had his martial-arts studio in nearby Sherman Oaks.  They had been introduced at a karate tournament by Ed Parker, the man Elvis trained under at the time.  In an article in WorldNetDaily last year, Norris told this story: “Priscilla called me to say she wanted to study karate with me.  I asked her why she didn’t study with Ed, to which she replied, ‘Ed can’t teach me because he is Elvis’ private trainer as well as his personal bodyguard.’”
However, there is a different account given by an associate of Ed Parker, Al Tracy, on his website According to Tracy, both Elvis and Priscilla were private students of Ed Parker, and both by preference wore black Gis (uniforms).  “As fate would have it, Ed Parker went to Hawaii on vacation, which left Priscilla with no private lessons from Ed.  Because Priscilla wanted to continue training during Ed’s vacation, she decided to attend a class run by one of Ed Parker’s senior students.”
Well, this substitute instructor apparently was more hung up than his boss about one of the karate traditions — only instructors were allowed to wear black uniforms.  When Priscilla arrived for class, she was informed that she could not attend wearing a black uniform.  She was then told she was more than welcome to attend class if she wore a white uniform.  So, do you think Priscilla said, “OK, sell me a white uniform.”?  No way.  She dropped out of Ed Parker’s studio and immediately contacted Chuck Norris.
Although Elvis did not train under Chuck Norris, the two did have some contact.  Priscilla invited Norris and Bob Wall (his karate studio partner) to Las Vegas to see Elvis perform at the Hilton Hotel.  Norris later commented, “I’ll never forget sitting in the front booth with Priscilla at that dinner show and being captivated by his charisma and showmanship… No one can doubt Elvis’ musical and theatrical genius, creativity, and magnetism as a performer.” 
We all know Elvis incorporated some karate moves into his live shows, but he must have really done it big time that night with Chuck Norris in the audience.  Norris was moved to say, “I’ll never forget seeing him perform in Las Vegas, where he kicked, punched, postured and even did splits holding his guitar in his hand.”
After the show, Elvis invited Norris up to his suite, and what do you guess they talked about until 4:00 in the morning?  It wasn’t music.  Of course, it was martial arts.  Norris remembers, “I was impressed with his self defense insight and devotion.”
Norris obviously watched most of Elvis’ films, because he has noted the influence of karate in the following movies (in the fight scenes, I assume):  G.I. Blues, Wild In The Country, Blue Hawaii, Kid Galahad, Follow That Dream, Double Trouble, Harum Scarum, and Flaming Star.
Perhaps you are familiar with those Chuck Norris Facts that seemed to be all over the Internet a few years ago.  If not, they are essentially little jokes based on what a super-tough badass he is.  Here’s an example:  Chuck Norris tried to shoot himself, but the bullet was too scared to come out of the barrel.  So, I’ve been trying to come up with similar Elvis Facts, based on the old rumors that he didn’t really die in 1977.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
    Elvis had a two way mirror installed at Graceland so he could
    watch all the fans come by on the tours.
    The security cameras at the Graceland Car Museum are turned
    off at midnight, so Elvis can take the pink Caddy out for a spin.
    Elvis is the secret cook at the Graceland Crossing restaurant
    that serves peanut butter and nanner sandwiches.  When one
    is ordered, he makes two more for himself.
If you can think of any more, please click on Leave Comment and share them with us.
©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All rights Reserved

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