Immortal Tiger Kenpo Karate patch:
Our school patch displays our name along with the tiger, the kanji characters for kenpo karate, and a katana (Japanese sword). It is worn over our heart on the left side of the body, front of the uniform.
The name of Immortal Tiger comes from Kata #17 in our system, which my instructor Master Professor Bill Grossman created as a gift for his instructor Senior Grand Master Rick Alemany. Alemany liked the form so much that it was incorporated into our system as key kata #17. I have always liked the imagery of tigers in martial arts, and wanted a way to pay homage to my instructor, so naming our school after Grossman's form was my way of doing this. Additionally, it holds a second meaning to me personally since when I had been studying Tae Kwon Do in Indiana (before my Kenpo journey began) the school there was Tiger Martial Arts. So the tiger here recognizes two instructors who played a large role in my martial arts career.
See Bill Grossman performing the attacks for Immortal Tiger in this 2009 video here on YouTube.
The Japanese sword, a katana, is included because iaido (the style of sword learned by samurai in old Japan) is what got me involved in the martial arts at my first dojo. To this day I still continue to train in iaido and wanted to have the sword represented in our school patch as a reminder to my first love. The sword is displayed in the traditional way it would be if it were in a sword rack, handle to the left and blade up. Since you draw with the right hand, this is a more peaceful positioning for the handle, and swords should always be displayed blade up to prevent the cutting edge from damaging the saya (scabbard).
The Japanese characters for kenpo karate are included in the right of the patch. This pays respect to Asia where most of the modern day martial arts began. I also speak Japanese at a conversational fluency and wanted to include the characters for this reason as well.
Since the tiger is in the name of our system I made sure to include the image of one on the patch. The eye is yellow in our patch because the tiger is always look back to his earlier beginner training. Fundamentals are key in any martial art, so the white and yellow in the patch remind us not to forget where we began. The patch is bordered with black as the reminder of our goal in the system, black belt. Black belt is not the end, just the beginning, so this we remember by it being the circle border which never ends.
Bill Grossman's School of Kenpo Karate patch:
We wear the patch from my instructors school on our right shoulder as a reminder of our origins.
Master Professor has a great write up for the explanation and history of his patch here:
Universal Pattern patch:
We wear the universal pattern on our left shoulder. It should be worn so that the heart shape is visible at the top. The universal pattern was developed by Ed Parker, the father of American Kenpo. Although we study Shaolin Kenpo Karate we still use the universal pattern to analyze all varieties of movement in the system. The universal pattern realistically should be perceived as a 3D representation, but in patch format is 2D. I think it is best explained by Ed Parker himself:
"To know the complete design is to know every conceivable direction, path, angle, or orbit that the hand or foot may travel whether they are used singularly, simultaneously, or as combinations. It contains straight lines, curved lines, quarter circles, half circles, full circles, circles that touch, overlapping circles, squares, diamonds, rectangles, triangles, crosses, crisscrosses, hearts, figure eights, overlapping figure eights, elongated figure eights, octagons, etc."
Parker, Ed. Ed Parker's Infinite Insights Into Kenpo: Mental & Physical Constituents, Kindle Edition.