Meet Our Kicks Team Members

Kicks Team Leader

David Giovenco

Chief Instructor (Head Representative JSK-5.0 Aust)

Being a father myself, I understand how important it is for children to feel confidence in themselves. I want to create a safe and friendly after school martial arts program in which kids can learn self defence and build leadership qualities.

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 Kenpo 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 nothing 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 then for his 8th Degree Black Belt, he is now a 9th 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 5th Degree Black Belt (the highest rank held in Australia) 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 martial arts school in Newington teaching Kenpo 5.0 as taught to me directly by Mr Speakman, the 9th 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 martial arts school and in our Kicks After School Program. 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 kids 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.

In our Kicks After School Program we teach the children Kenpo Fundamentals which gives them a solid base and understanding. This allows them to continue training as they grow older by moving into our Teen and Adult system of Kenpo 5.0 with Internationaly recognized rankings allowing them to travel and train in over 160 locations around the World.

Kicks Team Member El


Centre Co-ordinator & Assistant Instructor

My name is Elif but everyone calls me El . I am the Centre Co-ordinator and one of the Assistant Instructors here at KICKS.

As a mother of four children, I understand the importance of finding a good work life balance. This is as true for children as it is for adults and here at KICKS we help shape and mould the students afternoon time to provide a healthy balance of study time, physical activity and recreational playtime.

I am currently undertaking studies to complete a diploma in child psychology and a Bachelors of arts at the University of Sydney.

While working as a KICKS Team Member I have developed strong relationships with the children and adults alike. We really are a big family! Watching the children flourish with their studies, excel on the mat and build strong foundations and friendships is inspiring.   To quote Mr Giovenco  “A black belt is a white belt that never gave up” and this saying is as true today as it was when I first began at Kicks and I use this to support and encourage the students in their own journeys.

Kicks Team Member Lauren



My name is Lauren Campbell and I am a 4th Degree Black Belt in Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0.

I am currently an Instructor based in Sydney at the Kenpo 5.0 Head Quarters, with Australian Representative and 5th Degree Black Belt, Mr David Giovenco.

As a 9 year old looking to learn self-defence I was drawn to martial arts. With great commitment & determination I achieved my first Black Belt in 1995 as a 14 year old. As a teenager I focused on my studies & martial arts until completing my HSC.

In 2001 I discovered Kenpo and have dedicated myself to learning the art and essence of Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 ever since. In 2002 I had the great opportunity to travel to Las Vegas to train with our inspirational leader Mr Jeff Speakman. I have returned on several occasions to represent Australia and to train and test alongside my international Kenpo family and friends.

I love the art of Kenpo 5.0 as it is a practical art. Not just for its practical application of self-defence but also for the way its lessons translate into everyday life. Kenpo teaches and requires Respect, Discipline, Commitment, Honour, Loyalty & Focus. In addition it teaches you how to deal with conflict, to have patience and a greater respect and understanding of people, their behaviours and awareness of your environment.

As an Instructor in the Kicks Team it has been amazing to watch the confidence of the students grow, as they learn, mature and build new friendships as they advance through the Kenpo Art.

Mr Speakman has taught me many things but most importantly:

  1. Strive for excellence and never settle for the status quo
  2. Never give up.

In addition to Kenpo I am also a qualified and practicing group fitness specialist and a qualified trainer. I hold a Certificate III in Fitness, Certificate IV in Training & Assessment and I hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate.

Something I believe in and have learnt along the way is:

“Respect yourself and one another, be disciplined to train and commit to learning the essence of the art, be loyal to your school and relationships, be honourable in your actions and words and love what you do and therefore do it with passion”.

Decide to be the best you can be and I will help you achieve things you never thought possible.

Kicks Team Member Josh



My name is Josh. My love for martial arts started from a young age when I would watch Asian/Kung Fu cinema and my journey in martial arts first started when I joined a karate dojo at age 10.

I have now been a student of Mr. Giovenco for close to 6 years and I hold the rank of 3rd degree brown belt and I intend to attain my first degree black belt next year. I personally believe Kenpo is a great tool for shaping the generations to come by instilling important ideals and principals such as Discipline, Wisdom, Strength and Kindness.

Being part of the Kicks Team of Instructors I have seen first hand how the KICKS After School Program can make a difference to children both Mentally and Physically through the power of Martial Arts.

Kicks Team Member Josh



Hi, I’m Ben and I work as an Instructor. Coming from a sport-filled upbringing, my passion for martial arts began as a junior undertaking Taekwondo. Kenpo 5.0 is a way for kids to express themselves, get out of their comfort zone and improve areas of discipline both on and off the mats- whilst having fun and learning useful skills.

I also have a background playing and coaching soccer, which has helped me to interact with students and bring a fun and exciting edge to the mats.

KICKS has shown me how children can be positively impacted both physically and mentally through martial arts training. I look forward to seeing students grow as individuals whilst having fun at KICKS After School!

Kicks Team Member Josh


Assistant Instructor

Hi my name is Taishalee and I’ve been training since the age of 5yrs. I have been a Martial Arts enthusiast since a young age and have trained in a broad variety of different types of styles and self defence systems. I am a black belt 1st Dan in Taekwondo. Trained two years in Krav Maga (P2 Graduate), Muay Thai, Boxing, Powerlifting and MMA. 

I a mother of one and I love promoting health and well-being, as I believe our health is wealth. I currently train Kenpo 5.0 as an Assistant instructor and I am highly passionate about assuring our kids and the next generation walk away in peace from learning self defence tactics. 

Kicks Team Member Lauren


Assistant Instructor

My name is Liam; I have been a member of the kicks family since the beginning of 2018. I developed a love for martial arts at a young age, listening to dad tell me about Bruce Lee and watching his famous Wing Chun movies in awe. From this wonder, spurred a decision to learn the revered art of Wing Chun Kung Fu myself. After 6 years of dedicated practice and all the knowledge of Bruce Lee (not really), I decided to broaden my knowledge, and went in search of a different martial art to learn. This search led me to an MMA gym. There, under the well-respected Alex Carioti, I learned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing for a short 1-year. However, my learning was cut short due to the constraints of high school.

After school, I was presented with an opportunity to join the Kicks family. This opportunity has allowed me to further develop my knowledge of martial arts, through learning the art of Kenpo 5.0. As well as this, being able to instil the values of Wisdom, Strength and Kindness into up-and-coming children has been a great experience, as I can empathise with their passions of reaching that coveted black belt. Under the knowledgeable eye of Mr Giovenco, I am happy to be able to continue to help these children strive in Kenpo 5.0, and all aspects of life.

Kicks Team Member Jeremy


Supervisor & Assistant Instructor

Hi there! My name is Josie and I’m a part of the team here at KICKS.

I help to facilitate the study spaces, assist with lessons on the mat and have fun with crafts and activities with the kids. I am also a student of Mr. Giovenco, currently holding an Orange belt in Kenpo 5.0.

I love seeing the teachings of wisdom, strength and kindness transform the lives of the children and families we work with. I’m very privileged to help guide the children at KICKS into becoming kind and confident leaders.

When I’m not at KICKS, I’m busy working on my Masters of Research in Anthropology, enjoying music and weaving the lessons of Kenpo 5.0 into my own every day experiences.

Kicks Team Member India


Junior Instructor

Hi I’m India and I am a Junior Instructor in the Kicks Team. As a child I used to practice martial arts after school just like the kids at Kicks, which has allowed me to see first hand how growing up with a martial art can benefit children in self confidence, focus, respect and health. These qualities assist not only with school, but all aspects of life.

I have been a student of Mr Giovenco in Kenpo 5.0 since November 2013 and currently have my green belt. Learning this art has been an exciting journey and I feel privileged to be able to share it with the great kids at Kicks and help teach them important skills whilst having lots of fun.  When not on the mat I also assist in the study space and have seen how martial arts also helps with school work and helps shape future leaders.

Kicks Team Member India


Leadership & Study

My name is Pegah and I am currently working in “KICKS” as a Leadership Programmer. I have completed my Bachelor and Masters in English Literature and also a second Masters in Linguistics and TESOL.

I have worked in England, China, and Iran as an English teacher. Being a teacher for seven years, and throughout my recent university studies, particularly through the completion of teaching subjects, I developed a passion for English Teaching in Australia also.

I consider myself a high performing individual, who demonstrates drive, enthusiasm and initiative, with the ability to work well under pressure with different age groups. I consistently deliver thorough and accurate strategies and results and have the ability to prioritise my workload.

Kicks Team Member India


Leadership & Study

Hi, I’m Ashleigh and I assist the students with their homework and other work while they are not on the mats.

I have worked in schools with children of all ages for almost 5 years now. I enjoy helping kids learn and seeing them grow. It is so rewarding being able to make a change in their lives.

I also have a love for sports, playing softball and netball for over 20 years plus a few other sports along the way. Although I have no experience in Martial Arts, I know what it’s like to have a hobby that I love and to train hard each and every day.

I am looking forward to seeing the children grow both on the mats and with their schoolwork.

Kicks Team Member India


Leadership & Study

My name is Cristine and I am a program coordinator here at Kicks. In 2016, I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Social Science (Criminal Justice). In the future, I plan to continue further studies and apply for the police force.

Growing up I attended afterschool care and vacation care regularly. Attending afterschool activities allowed me to socialise with friends and meet people from different schools and areas. I created lifelong memories while growing and learning with my friends. During my time at kicks I look forward to interacting and making memories with the children .

We Look Forward To Meeting Your Family

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