Introducing Our Queensland Adult Kenpo Instructors
Kenpo Instructor – Don Woods
My name is Don Woods, I currently hold a 4th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo 5.0. My wife Suzanne and I are the 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 2004. We teach both Adult’s and Children’s Classes every week and have developed a solid skills base across all ranks.
I started Martial Arts in Brisbane back in 1988 & progressed through the ranks of Freestyle Tae Kwon Do achieving a 2nd Degree Black Belt in November 1997. I continued with TKD for another 6 years.
In Jan 2003 I had the 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 checkerboard chest (a result of all the hits from the Kenpo Techniques).
After experiencing the Awesome Power of Kenpo & listening to Mr Speakman’s clear and concise explanations of the underlying principles & concepts, Suzanne & I decided to leave TKD after 15 years and study Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo Karate. Suzanne & 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 its 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 in Stand-up and in Ground Fighting. To provide solution for self defence against opponents on the street with these types of advanced skills, Mr Speakman evolved his system into 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. To assist with my study of the ground fighting techniques I started cross-training in Freestyle Wrestling in January 2007 accompanied by 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 & France. The standard of Mr Speakman’s students from all over the World is Extremely High. I returned to Las Vegas in June 2008, 2010 and 2013 with my wife Suzanne and we both tested for our 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Black Belts…
This was a Huge Reward for Suzanne and I for all of the hard work, dedication, loyalty and sacrifice towards becoming kenpo instructors
Suzanne and I have three children that all train Kenpo 5.0 with us. Rachel, Daniel and Sarah have all earned Black Belts in our Junior System, and are currently working through the Adult System.
For us, it is truly a Family affair. I take great pleasure in guiding all the Children in our Martial Arts School towards their goals. They are all well on their way to becoming strong, kind, respectful, knowledgeable and humble members of our community.
Kenpo 5.0 – Wisdom, Strength, Kindness…
Kenpo Instructor – Suzanne Woods
My name is Suzanne Woods and I currently hold a 4th Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo. Along with my husband Don, we are the kenpo Instructors and Representatives for Jeff Speakman in Qld, Australia. We teach Kenpo 5.0 at our Martial Arts School in Sunnybank, Brisbane.
I began my Martial Arts journey way back in 1986 when I joined the local TKD School, looking to learn some self defence and to stay fit. After 4 years training I was awarded my 1st Degree Black Belt from the head of the organization Steven Cheah (7th Degree Black Belt and Head of Cheah’s Advanced Taekwondo in Australia)
I trained for a further 6 years with his organisation but in 1995 had to take a break when Don and I had our first child.
Seven years and two more kids later, Don attended a Jeff Speakman seminar in Brisbane in 2003. I still remember when he came home that night, his chest was like a checkerboard. Mr Speakman had used him as his training partner to demonstrate one of his techniques named “Shielding Hammer”. This was the beginning of our journey in American Kenpo and our Association with Mr Speakman.
We opened our Kenpo School in early 2004 at MacGregor in Brisbane and since then our School has steadily grown.
Under the direction of our kenpo Instructors and now a good friend Mr David Giovenco (Head Australian Representative for Mr Speakman), Don and I tested for our 1st Degree Black Belts with Mr Speakman in Las Vegas in 2008 followed by our 2nd Degree in 2010.
Recently I competed in the Las Vegas World Cup and won the Adults Self Defence Grand Championships for the second year in a row and was divisional Winner in Forms.
I am so proud and honoured to be a Jeff Speakman Black Belt and to be part of his Kenpo Family which now extends to over 17 Countries around the World.
Mr Speakman leads the finest group of Martial Artists and more importantly the greatest people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, training with and learning from.
Matt has been a member of our adult group since June 2011. He recently was graded to 1st Degree Black Belt in Las Vegas and becomes only our 2nd adult student to reach Black Belt.
Matt is a valued member of our Kenpo 5.0 instructors team. He regularly helps teach the junior classes where he is known for his enthusiasm and good humour. He is an asset to our team.
We look forward to Matt continuing his Kenpo journey with us and hope he will open a school of his own one day.
Meet Our Junior Black Belt Kenpo 5.0 Instructors
Rachel received her Junior Black Belt in 2008 after 7 years training in the Jeff Speakman Kenpo 5.0 System. She is currently making her way through the Adult System and holds a 2nd degree Brown Belt.
Rachel is a great asset to our school and competed in many International competitions as a junior ,winning Oceania Championships along the way. She represented Australia in Disneyland in 2005 and won the Self Defence for her age group.
In 2010 she was nominated in the Quest Newspaper Young Sportsperson of the Year after winning the category for May 2010.
Rachel excels in all types of sports and was nominated in the MacGregor State High School Sports Person of the Year Awards in 2010 and 2011.
Rachel was School Captain at her High School in 2012 and now holds a Bachelor Degree in Exercise Sports Science from the University of Queensland. She plans to be a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Rachel has had experience helping cancer patients in their recovery and also more recently helping at the Sporting Wheelies here in Brisbane.
Rachel is an integral part of our Junior Kenpo Instructors Team helping teach the Little Dragons and Junior Kids Classes.
Daniel received his Junior Black Belt in 2009 after training in Kenpo since the age of 4. He is now making his way through the Adult Kenpo 5.0 System and is currently graded to 2nd Degree Brown Belt.
Daniel has been a member of our Oceania Championship Team since 2008. He is the current Oceania Self Defence Champion after competing in Auckland this year (2017) He was also 2nd in adult 5-0 fighting at that event fighting a weight category up from his. Daniel has travelled internationally on several occasions to represent our Brisbane Kenpo 5.0 School.
He is an avid Sportsman and received MacGregor State High School’s “Spirit of Sport at MacGregor” Award in 2013. In 2014 Daniel was also elected School Captain and was the winner of the Australian Olympic Movement’s Pierre De Coubertin award. This prestigious award is given to students who excel in all sport and set a good example to others with their great sportsmanship and spirit. He follows in his big sister Rachel’s footsteps. Rachel won the award in 2012.
Dan is currently studying a Civil Engineering Degree at QUT in Brisbane. He helps as a kenpo Instructor for our Junior Beginner Classes and assists in coaching our International and Oceania teams.
Sarah began her Kenpo journey at age 4 and became our youngest Junior Black Belt at age 11.Sarah has been assisting in the junior classes for the past 5 years and is currently making her way through the adult system where she holds a 2nd degree Brown Belt.
She has competed at an International level and travelled overseas. She has been an Oceania Champion for her age group in self defence, and more recently competed at the Las Vegas World Cup where she was 2nd in her forms and also 2nd in Self Defence.
Sarah attends Macgregor State High School and is the 3rd of the Woods children to be School Captain (2017). She enjoys all sports but excels in touch football and volleyball.
She also excels academically and is hoping to study to be a paramedic at the end of her Grade 12 studies.
Sarah was also announced as the winner of the Australian Olympic Movement’s Pierre De Coubertin award in 2017. This prestigious award is given to students who excel in all sport and set a good example to others with their great sportsmanship and spirit.
Sarah is a valued member of our junior kenpo instructors team helping in the Junior Beginners classes.
Starting Kenpo at the age of 5, Julie Blaga is now a Junior Black Belt and trains with the adult class.
In 2016, Julie competed in all events at Oceania, coming first in self-defence and fighting. Although she has a small stature, Julie is always keen in fighting people twice her size earning her the nickname of “Tough Romanian Chick” and “Honey Badger.”
She now studies at Brisbane State High School and aspires to become a doctor.
Julie Blaga now helps out with the Little Dragons and Junior Beginner Classes.
Michael is also part of our valued Junior Instructor team and has competed at an Oceania Level for our school. He won several divisions at our Oceania Championships held in Sydney 2016.
Michael has completed the junior syllabus and is a Junior Black Belt. He is currently training in the adult class.
“I don’t think I remember when I first started doing Kenpo, it’s always been a part of my lifestyle. I find it funny looking back to when I was younger, there’s no doubt that Kenpo has shaped me into who I am right now and what I will eventually become. It’s fuelled my sense of competition and this competition is what has made sure that I am able to always improve and never give up. This competition will probably never leave me, even after the eventual end of my journey.” – Michael
Linze is our very first student who has trained all the way through the Little Dragons and Junior Belts. He is currently a Junior Black Belt and is now training with us in the adult classes. Linze has been training with us since he was 4 years old.
He is part of our junior team helping in the kids classes.