Mr. Mark Schiffman started his martial arts training, like so many of us, with Judo at the local “Y” in 1972. After finding that Judo did not meet the need for self-defense, he moved on to join a local “American Karate Studios”, and attained the rank of Black Belt in 1983, from Mr. Dennis Nackord. Mr. Schiffman first met Mr. Ed Parker at a tournament in York, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Parker was a guest. After driving for 3 hours in the snow and arriving late, the tournament director said; “you are too late to enter”, Mr. Parker countermanded that order with a final; “let them in”. Coincidentally, this was the first time that Mr. Schiffman won first place in competition, he was a purple belt.
Mr. Schiffman opened his studio, AMERICAN KARATE SYSTEM in 1987. After opening his studio, he was again in the market for an instructor, the IKKA recommended Joe Palanzo. In 1990, just six weeks before he died, Mr. Parker promoted Mr. Schiffman to 4th Degree Black Belt at the last East Coast training camp. Mr. Schiffman is careful to point out that he was not a student of Mr. Parker, but trained with him. He never formally asked to be his student. “I don't want to be like some other people that go to a few seminars or a few camps, and then announce to the world that they were a personal student of Ed Parker”. Mr. Schiffman met Mr. Sean Kelley in 1989 in New York, where Mr. Schiffman drove with Mr. Parker for a meeting with Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels. Through Mr. Kelly, Mr. Schiffman has met and trained with; Mr. Lee Wedlake, Master Knife Maker Mr. Gil Hibben, and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. It was at Mr. Parker's funeral in 1990 that Mr. Schiffman and Mr. Kelley met Mr. Jeff Speakman, star of the movie THE PERFECT WEAPON. The first movie to showcase Ed Parker's American Kenpo.