I began training in martial arts at the age of 15 in Kyokushin Karate at the Parramatta Police Citizens’ Youth Club. Although I tried different styles such as boxing, kick boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), achieving a Blue Belt in BJJ and a Brown Belt in Kyokushin Karate, I soon found that I could not find a discipline that met all of my needs and answered all of my questions.
Still hungry for knowledge, I came across Kenpo through a friend who showed me a DVD of Larry Tatum. Shortly after, in 1999, I was introduced to Mr Jeff Speakman, a 7th Degree in the Goju-Ryu Karate style, and I realised immediately that I had found a complete art with a true martial artist, a leader who led from the front. Not knowing who Mr Speakman was and knowing anything about Kenpo, I did know that I wanted to be a Jeff Speakman Black Belt – not just in title, but in personality as well.
I achieved my goal after five years of every-day hard training. In 2004 in Las Vegas, I was tested for my 1st Degree Black Belt alongside my instructor and mentor (who was testing for his 8th Degree Black Belt) and in front of a panel that consisted of Mr Lou Angel, Sigun Steve Labounty, Mr ‘Benny the Jet’ Urquidez, Mr Dan Inosanto and Mr Gokor Chivichyan. Two years later and again in Las Vegas I tested for my 2nd Degree Black Belt in front of a panel headed by Mr Lou Angel, Mr Jeff Speakman and Mr Eric Lee. I am now a 4th Degree Black Belt in Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 as well as being a personal student of his, and am the American Kenpo Karate Systems (AKKS) representative for Australia.
Born and still living in Sydney, Australia, I run a school in Newington teaching Kenpo 5.0 as taught to me directly by Mr Speakman, the 8th degree black belt in Kenpo. To ensure I keep up to date with the latest information I travel interstate and overseas on a regular basis, and attend Mr Speakman’s yearly ‘Down Under’ training and teaching sessions.
Mr Speakman has always instilled in me the belief that life is about making a difference, that a true martial artist leaves the world a better place than he found it. In turn, this is the first thing I teach at my school. I am proud to be a Jeff Speakman Black Belt, to be part of his Kenpo family and the one he chose to lead Australia in the evolution of Kenpo 5.0. With the support and strength of all of the AKKS schools across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we will bring Kenpo 5.0 to this wonderful country.
I work casually as a tactical defence instructor for Secta Security (the largest registered training organisation in Australia), teaching security guards correct eviction procedure, self defence and weapons training, and have also taught conflict resolution strategies to State Transit Authority employees.
I intend to keep my promise to Mr Speakman to promote and teach Kenpo 5.0 in Australia. I want to build a safe and friendly environment in which everyone can learn self defence and leadership skills, in the process further increasing my own knowledge in the amazing martial arts system called Kenpo 5.0.