Paul Leworthy and Fran Lewis, 5th and 3rd degree black belts respectively, are the UK representatives for Jeff Speakman’s Kenpo 5.0 and Paul is the Chief Instructor.
Both have backgrounds in Kempo Ryu Karate Kickboxing under Phil Cawood, Paul starting in 1991 and achieving 3rd degree black belt in 2003 and Fran achieving black belt in 2006.
Paul originally started training in 1984 in Bujinkai Karate under Sampai Dave Ritchie but only trained for around eighteen months; however the passion for the martial arts never left him, resulting in him beginning his journey into the Kenpo family of the arts in ’91.
The earlier years of Kempo Ryu training brought students up hard and Paul is determined that this work ethic is revived and continued under himself.
His feeling that people these days don’t want to push themselves in training, don’t want to get hit and don’t want to step out of their comfort zones means he accepts that he will never have many students but he would rather that people training under him stand the best chance of coming out of a confrontation favourably and safely.
The pair started their transition into Kenpo 5.0 in 2007 after meeting Jeff Speakman in Las Vegas and having in depth discussions about the ethic of the group. Paul worked to re-test for 1st degree black belt in 2009 and then progressively coming back up through the grades, with Fran similarly re-testing for brown belts and so on.
He is also of the opinion that junior students are sold short by most instructors and their potential is never realised, with classes made up of games and acceptance of lack of effort from the students. Paul believes that parents should give full support to their children by taking an interest in what they are doing and encouraging them to work hard, as opposed to using classes as a child minding session. Paul and Fran aim to get the best out of each child, which requires a strong work ethic from students…this may one day save the child’s life…so they accept nothing less!
Paul and Fran have attended the Jeff Speakman 5.0 Fighter World Championships in Las Vegas every year since 2009, with considerable personal and financial sacrifice being made to achieve this level of dedication.
They have subsidised classes since they started teaching from hired halls in 2010 and are single handedly putting together new a dedicated training studio, where they are due to commence teaching from around October 2016, fully matted and equipped with punchbags and grappling dummies etc. This will also make running day classes easier and improve the potential for more varied additional sessions.
If you share similar values then this is the group for you.