About Our Hapkido Program
Hapkido is an eclectic art centered around inner strength. Hapkido is well known throughout the world for it’s outstanding self-defense techniques. It uses the striking and kicking skills popular in styles like Tae Kwon Do and blends them with the ease and flow of arts like Aikido, using the opponent’s energy for personal power.
We offer classes 5 days a week for all ranks - beginners and advanced. We recommend training 2 classes per week, so look below to see how these times work for you. Note: All trial classes must be scheduled in advance and can be made here.
Learn directly from Grandmaster Dave and his hand chosen instructors at Martial Arts Family Fitness (MAFF). This school happens to be the world-headquarters for Hapkido International - (formed in 1981), responsible for training hundreds of Black Belts over the years.
Grandmaster Dave Wheaton holds a 9th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido under Grandmaster Song Ok Hong and an 8th Dan in Chung Do Kwon Taekwondo under Grandmaster Tae Hee Yi (Lee). GM Dave is the founder of Hapkido International and the recipient of the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award (World Karate Union Martial Arts Hall of Fame). Aside from teaching Black Belts and Fitness classes, GM Dave loves to spend time with his wife Master Mel, his dog Fletch, and his family - including 4 grandchildren. READ MORE
Master Austin Curtis is a 6th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and a Black Belt in Taekwondo - both under Grandmaster Dave Wheaton. He is also a Certified Kickboxing Instructor, a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Justin Tevis, and a Certified Kali Instructor under Master Apolo Ladra. Aside from teaching the evening Hapkido classes, Master Austin is the Operations Director at MAFF. Outside of the dojo, Master Austin, his wife, and 3 daughters love road tripping and camping up and down the coast.
Master Alex Rodriguez is a 4th an Black Belt in Hapkido, as well as a Certified Full Instructor in Jeet Kune Do. Master Alex teaches the Saturday morning Adult Hapkido class and has been at MAFF with his son (Master Joey) for over a decade. When he’s not teaching, Master Alex is the President of Diversity Consulting Group - an advocacy and strategic communications consultancy where he assists Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and small businesses. Master Alex is a California native and resides in Santa Barbara with his wife and son.
Sensei Christian Sierra is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and a Certified Kickboxing instructor. When he’s not teaching an amazing class, you’ll find Sensei Christian training hard on the mat or working in the office as the Martial Arts Director. He’s all about improving lives through the Martial Arts! Outside of the dojo, Sensei Christian enjoys catching up with friends, weight training, and re-reading his favorite book series, Harry Potter.
Sensei Ray Janik is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and is an instructor in both the Youth and the Adult Hapkido class. Ray works at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara and when he’s not working, he is at the dojo training! If it’s not Kickboxing or Black Belt class, Sensei Ray is out scuba diving, and/or traveling on some epic world adventure with his wife.
History of Hapkido
Below is a brief history of the origins of Hapkido as we know it. You can click through this gallery and read the text below each photo.
There once was a famous Japanese Martial Artist named Master Sokaku Takeda, who had grown up as the privileged son of a Samurai Warrior in the late 1800’s. His father made sure that Takeda studied with all the greatest martial artists of the time.
One of his students, was Yong Sul Choi, an undocumented Korean orphan that Takeda had originally taken under his wing as a domestic servant at the age of 13. Over time, Choi became like a son to Takeda, and traveled as his assistant during Takeda’s many tours as a martial art instructor and demonstrator.
After World War II, at the age of 47, Choi was finally granted a visa to move back to Korea where he dreamed of continuing as a martial arts instructor. One day in a rice wine factory, Choi was attacked by several men. Although the odds were not in his favor, Master Choi was able to successfully defend himself and impress the owner of the factory who saw the whole fight.
Our Hapkido Classes
Saturday is an awesome day to train - especially with Master Alex! All ranks get to workout together and go over techniques in a fun and safe atmosphere. Hit the pads, get a sweat, and get the weekend started right.
The most advanced ranked students train with Grandmaster Dave on Tuesday and Thursday nights in the Black Belt class. This class is arguably the funnest and hardest workout on the schedule. Anyone can come watch, but only Candidates and above can participate!
Adults and Teens are training Monday and Wednesday nights with Master Austin and learning how to defend themselves with Dynamic Circle Hapkido. All levels are welcome.
Want to train on your lunch break? Come train with Sensei Christian on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You’ll have a smaller class and get a lot done in the 45 minute class. All levels are welcome.
What Martial Artists are Saying
“I've been practicing martial arts at various schools for nearly 20 years. Of all the schools I've trained with, this is definitely among the top. The school is very well structured, allowing for participation at all levels. Advancement is never guaranteed, but it is scaled for kids and adults alike. The atmosphere is full of respect, tho it doesn't follow the heavy handed discipline of some more extreme schools.”
- Adam L.
“The best place in town! They run a great place and everyone there keeps you fit and happy. Who would ever guess that kicking and punching would be so loving?”
“I came to Martial Arts Family Fitness for to get in shape; I stayed because it became a family. MAFF is an incredible, supportive community where I go almost every day to work out, challenge myself, and share the joy of physical fitness with others. I don't know of any other 'gym' like it.”
“Martial Arts Family Fitness was the best thing I could have done for myself. No only am I taking care of my physical well being, I'm also taking care of myself mentally, spiritually and emotionally. The family environment at Martial Arts Family Fitness has really helped me grow in so many ways, and has given me the support I needed. I am a changed person thanks to MAFF and I couldn't imagine my life without it.”