My name is Don Woods, I currently hold a 3rd Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo. My wife Suzanne and I are instructors in Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 in our home city of Brisbane, Australia. Our school is in Sunnybank on Brisbane’s southside, and has been running since January 2004. We teach both children’s and adults’ classes every week, and have developed a solid skills base across all the ranks.
I started martial arts in Brisbane back in 1988, and progressed through the ranks of freestyle Tae kwon Do, achieving a 2nd degree black belt in November 1997. I continued with Tae Kwon Do for another 6 years.
In January 2003, I had the great pleasure of attending a seminar with Mr Jeff Speakman in Brisbane. I clearly remember Mr Speakman demonstrating a few Kenpo techniques using me as the “dummy”. I couldn’t believe his incredible power and speed – it was literally like getting hit by a machine gun!! I returned home and told Suzanne all about it, and showed her my “checker board” chest (a result of all the hits from the Kenpo techniques).
After experiencing the awesome power of Kenpo, and listening to Mr Speakman’s clear and concise explanations of the underlying principles and concepts, Suzanne and I decided to leave Tae Kwon Do after 15 years and study Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo Karate with a group of friends in Brisbane. Suzanne and I quickly developed a great relationship with our instructor Mr David Giovenco in Sydney. Mr Giovenco is an excellent martial artist, and is one of our closest friends.
One of the great things about Mr Speakman’s Kenpo is that it is a continually evolving art, to provide it’s students with solutions to new threats that develop in the street. The ever-increasing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts in Australia has resulted in many more people who have skills both stand-up and on the ground. To provide solutions for self defence against opponents on the street with these types of superior skills, Mr Speakman evolved his system to Kenpo 5.0 in 2006 (yes, the previous version was Kenpo 4.0).
The Kenpo ground fighting system was created, adding many ground fighting techniques to the curriculum. Kenpo 5.0 also introduces “offensive” techniques, where the student attacks first. Kenpo 5.0 is therefore now both a self defence and a self-offence system. To assist with my study of the ground fighting techniques, I started cross-training in freestyle wrestling in January 2007 (along with my son Daniel).
In June 2006, I had the great pleasure of testing for my 1st degree brown belt in Las Vegas USA. What an awesome place! And what a fantastic group of people Mr Speakman leads! I met new friends from countries such as America, New Zealand, Bolivia and France. The standard of Mr Speakman’s students from all over the world is extremely high. I returned to Las Vegas in June 2008 with my wife Suzanne, and we both tested for our 1st degree black belts. This was a huge reward for Suzanne and I for all the hard work, dedication, loyalty and sacrifice.
Suzanne and I have 3 children, and all train with us in Kenpo 5.0 (Rachel, Daniel & Sarah are all junior black belts). For us, it is truly a family affair. I take great pleasure in guiding all the children in our school towards their goals. They are all well on their way to becoming strong, kind, respectful, knowledgeable and humble members of our community.