A native born son to the city of Chicago Illinois Jeff started his athletic career very early in life. Training and competing as a gymnast during the school year and as a springboard diver in the summer consumed much of his young life. Jeff’s talent as a springboard diver blossomed in high school where Jeff set new records in the conference and district and earned the honor of being named All American without the assistance of a diving coach. Waiting for the bus at 5:30 a.m. every morning in the winters of Chicago to practise at the neighbouring high school’s pool ultimately gave Jeff the discipline and the drive to succeed.
Working his way through his undergraduate studies at Missouri Southern State University Jeff was able to complete his degree in general psychology with a supporting area in biology. During his college years Jeff began his martial arts career by earning a black belt in Japanese Goju-Ryu Karate from the legendary master Lou Angel in 1980.
Upon Jeff’s graduation from college Mr. Angel told Jeff to move to California to study Kenpo Karate from master Ed Parker if he wanted to make martial arts his life. Selling his car to pay for the U-Haul truck Jeff was off to Los Angeles to follow his dream and feed his passion.
Two years after arriving in Los Angeles Jeff was invited by Mr. Parker to join three other people at Mr. Parker’s house in Pasadena California to become what would be known as his last group of protégés. Jeff began studying acting at the same time with the same dedication he had approached everything else in his life. After five years of workshops, auditions and small bit parts here and there
Jeff got his break with his first feature film with Paramount Pictures called “The Perfect Weapon”.To date Jeff has starred in 10 feature films such as “Perfect Weapon” (Paramount), “Street Knight” (Warner Bros.) “The Expert” (MGM) and “Escape from Atlantis” (Universal). According to the internationally recognized web site Jeff is now rated as the most popular martial artist in the world. Jeff is the only martial artist rated higher than Bruce Lee who is second and Chuck Norris third.In addition Jeff is a certified Defensive Tactics Instructor (DTI) for the Department of Justice, teaching DEA, FBI, Homeland Security and Special Teams, and the “sharp edge weapons instructor” for the California Department of Corrections teaching at Pelican Bay and Folsom.Currently Jeff resides in Lake Arrowhead California where he oversees the largest Kenpo Karate organization in the world the AKKS and operates the Jeff Spreakman’s Kenpo Karate franchise schools now in 14 counties. In addition Jeff has the Champions Foundation, a non-profit organization teaching the discipline of Kenpo Karate to underprivileged children currently in the U.S., Bolivia, Mexico, Germany and soon in Australia and Chile.
“I hold that the meaningfulness of life can be measured in one’s accomplishments to the common good.” This is the spirit and intent we adhere to, and now on the other side of cancer, I can say without hesitation that the road ahead is clear and our commitment resolute and undeterred by anyone or anything. It is the love and connection of our Kenpo 5.0 family that drives me, and will continue to do so for all my remaining days on this earth. To this end I dedicate myself.
Edmund Kealoha Parker
Mr. Ed Parker was the foremost authority and instructor of Kenpo Karate in the United States and was known worldwide as "Mr. Karate". He was the "Founder of American Kenpo", the president and founder of the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate Studio chain, as well as the International Kenpo Karate Association.
He was the Father of American Karate having originated the first American version of Karate. He commenced teaching professionally in Provo, Utah in 1954. He opened his first professional Karate studio in the United States in Pasadena, California in 1956.
He was featured in National and International magazines: Time, Look, Strength and Health, Show Business Illustrated, Iron Man, Action Karate, Black Belt, Karate Illustrated, Official Karate, Inside Kung Fu, American Karate, and Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated; in newspapers nation-wide; Martial Arts' magazines world wide; articles in the World Encyclopaedia and many others.
He appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, including Revenge of the Pink Panther and The Curse of the Pink Panther. In addition, he taught Karate to nearly every big name actor and actress in Hollywood -- including, Robert Culp, Joey Bishop, Jose Ferrar, Rick Jason, Nick Adams, Frank Lovejoy, Robert Wagner, Elvis Presley, Natalie Wood and Elke Sommer, to name a few. He was also been a technical advisor for motion pictures and T.V.
Mr. Parker was well known for his exciting demonstrations at: high schools, colleges, civic clubs, clinics, tournaments, church groups, youth groups, etc. He was a highly sought-after speaker and his Karate demonstrations are famous in the United States and worldwide. He was in great
demand throughout the world to put on his blinding demonstrations of speed, skill and power along with his picturesque analogies when explaining the Art so all can understand. He frequently travelled giving Seminars and Demonstrations in Australia, England, Spain, Ireland, Chile, Venezuela, and Greece and has many worldwide government officials as his students.
Throughout the years Mr. Parker authored many books: Basic Karate Book, Kenpo Karate, The Women's Guide to Self Defence, Secrets of Chinese Karate, A Guide to Law Enforcement, Home Study Karate Workshop Course, A Guide To The Nunchaku, Infinite Insights into Kenpo (Volumes 1-5), The Zen Of Kenpo, Kenpo In The Streets, Speak With A Knife, Speak With A Club, Everyday Gestures That Can Save Your Life, Answers To Multiple Attacks On The Street, Inside Elvis, Accumulative Journals (Yellow - 5th Black), and his revolutionary Encyclopaedia of Kenpo. Instructional videotapes are also products of his endeavours to enlighten others of the merits of Kenpo.
He was a graduate of Kamehameha High School (1949), Honolulu, Hawaii where he was born and raised. Mr. Parker has a B.S. Degree from Brigham Young University (1956) with a Major in Sociology and Psychology, and a Minor in Political Science.
Mr. Parker founded the world's largest and foremost Karate tournament, the International Karate Championships in Long Beach, California. Mr. Parker was also a consultant and advisor to numerous other Karate tournaments worldwide.
Mr. Parker's uniqueness rests in his continuous efforts to combat traditional restrictions binding progressive thinking. He was truly a creative genius because of his incredible ability to discover the problems within the Martial Arts. His contributions and innovations are endless; encompassing logic and reasoning not yet employed by others. His four decades of experience, contributions, and endeavours establish him as the Master of our system, the author of our training material, and the final voice of approval.
Before martial arts pioneer Ed Parker's death on December 18, 1990, he imparted these words to us:
When I am gone, I hope that people won't try to traditionalize my Art. I want you to always remember that Kenpo will always be the Art of Perpetual Change. If you remember this, then the Art will never become obsolete because it will change with the times. While the ignorant refuse to study and the intelligent never stop, we should always be mindful of the fact that our reward in life is proportionate with the contributions we make. A true Martial Artist is not one who fears change, but one who causes it to happen. To live is to change, and to obtain perfection is to have changed often. Progress is a necessity that is a part of nature. While it is true that casting the old aside is not necessary in order to obtain something new, we should study old theories not as a means of discrediting them, but to see if they can be modified to improve our present conditions. A word of advice, The humble man makes room for progress; the proud man believes he is already there.
- Grandmaster Ed K. Parker
I come to you with only Karate, empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor, should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong; then here are my weapons, Karate. My empty hands.