Elvis Presley’s Karate Moves Left Permanent Damage at Graceland That Fans Can Still Today

by Keeli Parkey

Elvis Presley was a man of many talents. When he wasn’t on the road thrilling fans with his performances, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll enjoyed practicing karate at his Graceland home. During one of his practice sessions he reportedly caused damage to the home that can still be seen to this very day.

Elvis became aware of karate during the 1950s during his time in the U.S. Army, Express reports. In the years that followed, he continued to learn more and more karate. He eventually became an eighth-degree Black Belt. The legendary singer would even show off his skills during his concerts, according to the article.

Elvis Presley reportedly also put his karate abilities on display when guests came to visit his Graceland home in Memphis. He often liked to practice near the front door, according to Angie Marchese. She is an expert on the King, the article states.

“If Elvis was here he’d probably welcome you by doing a karate demonstration here in the hallway,” Marchese said during a recent virtual tour of Graceland.

Marchese then directed viewers’ attention to a chandelier that hangs from the ceiling near the front door of the famous home.

“As a matter of fact, you might take a look at the chandelier and notice that it is missing one of its links,” Marchese said. “And that was because Elvis accidentally caught it with a karate demonstration one day, accidentally hitting the link here. Boys will be boys sometimes!”

Bodyguard, Karate Champion Taught Elvis Presley

According to Express, Ed Parker was a bodyguard for Elvis Presley. Prior to his job protecting the King, Parker was a karate champion in Japan. This connection led a Japanese veteran to make a trip to Memphis to present the King with a special gift.

According to the article, one night in either late 1976 or early 1977 Elvis was getting ready for bed when Dick Grob, the King’s head of security, got a call from the front gate that a man in uniform wanted to see him.

Instead of the police officer Grob expected at the gate, he met the Japanese veteran. In addition to wearing his military attire, the veteran also had a samurai sword with him.

Dick thought it would be one of his police officer friends but it turned out to be an elderly Japanese veteran in his military uniform and carrying a samurai sword. According to the article, the veteran said: “I brought this to give to Mr. Presley. I was an officer in the Japanese military during World War II and I want to apologize to you and to Mr. Presley for us fighting you guys. I’m really sorry about that. Because Mr. Presley studied karate and learned from Mr. Ed Parker, who was a champion in Japan, I want to give this to Mr. Presley as a token of my appreciation.”