Jeff Speakman

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Jeff Speakman
Jeff Speakman Moscow.jpg
Speakman in Moscow, 2008
Born Jeffrey F. Speakman
(1958-11-08) November 8, 1958 (age 57)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality United States American
Style Kenpo Karate
Rank      9th degree black belt in American Kenpo Karate
     9th degree black belt in Japanese Goju-Ryu
Years active 1988-present
Occupation Actor
Martial artist

Jeff Speakman (born November 8, 1958) is an American actor and a martial artist in the art of American kenpo karate and Japanese Goju-Ryu,[1] earning black belts in each.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Speakman was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he was a springboard diver at John Hersey High School and achieved All-American status.[2] He graduated from Missouri Southern State College.[1]

He has said that the television show Kung Fu got him interested in martial arts,[3] and he began by studying in the Okinawan martial art of Goju Ryu Karate until achieving black belt rank. His instructor then recommended that, if he was really intent in pursuing martial arts as a lifestyle, then he should go looking for Ed Parker, a friend of his master. Speakman sold his car to pay for the moving expenses and succeeded in meeting Parker at one of his famous tournaments. Speakman spent years training in American Kenpo under his principal instructor, Larry Tatum, as well as under Ed Parker, the founder of the system.[4]

Speakman received his 1st degree black belt in American Kenpo in 1984. He has subsequently obtained an 9th-degree rank in kenpo karate with other instructors,[who?] and also currently holds a 9th-degree black belt[5] in the Goju-Ryu Karate style which he began to study under Grandmaster Lou Angel starting in 1978.[1]

Speakman is also founder and director of American Kenpo Karate Systems (AKKS), an international kenpo karate organization with more than 50 schools.

In 2013, Speakman was ill with throat cancer, however he has since fully recovered from it. He has continued his martial arts labor, transforming his previous association, AKKS into Kenpo 5.0. Citing some of Ed Parker's last statements about American Kenpo, Speakman decided to make an attempt to integrate ground fighting techniques to Kenpo's self defense curriculum. Speakman is adamant that in doing this he is preserving the will of Parker, who always intended Kenpo to continue evolving, and that his additions to the system will increase the students ability to repel any type of attack.[citation needed]


Speakman started acting in 1988 and became an actor in 1991 with the release of The Perfect Weapon,[2] He followed this up with the feature film Street Knight.[2] In the United Kingdom, this movie was released straight to video in 1993. Other action films followed, including The Expert and Deadly Outbreak.[2]

Speakman holds training camps every year (Jeff Speakman International Kenpo Camp) for American kenpo. In 1993, Jeff was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame for "Instructor of the Year". He was also recognized for excellence in martial arts and was inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame in 2009 where he received the "Silver Life Achievement Award".


Film and television credits[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1988 Side Roads Joseph Velasco Film and First Lead Role
Slaughterhouse Rock Cafe Patron Film
1989 Blades Of The Sun Unknown IMDB lists it as one of Speakman's movies
1990 Lionheart Mansion Security Man Film
1991 The Perfect Weapon Jeff Sanders Film
1993 Street Knight Jake Barrett Film
1994 The Expert John Lomax Film
1995 Deadly Outbreak Sgt. Dutton Hatfield Film
1996 Timelock McMasters Film
1997 Escape From Atlantis Matt Spencer TV Movie
Plato's Run Dominick Film
1998 Memorial Day Edward Downey Film
Scorpio One Jared Stone Film
1999 Land of the Free Frank Jennings Film
Hot Boyz Master Keaton Video
2000 Running Red Greg/Gregori Film (also Executive Producer)
2002 Night Terror Professor Eric Lang Film
2004 The Gunman Scott Sherwin Film
2006 Striking Range (aka: Bloodlines) Kilmer Film


  1. ^ a b c Krance, Magda (1991-03-03). "A `Perfect' homecoming What's `the next Bruce Lee' doing kicking around Hersey High?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bradham, Kelly (1996-05-05). "Knowledge of martial arts made Speakman a star". The Nevada Daily Mail. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  3. ^ "Hollywood chops until you drop". The Bryan Times. United Press International. 1991-03-28. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  4. ^ Ketcham, Diane (1991-03-10). "LONG ISLAND JOURNAL". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  5. ^ Jeff Speakman was promoted to 9th degree black belt in kenpo karate by Mills Crenshaw and Bob White, and 9th degree black belt in goju-ryu karate by Lou Angel on July 2, 2013.

External links[edit]