Martial Arts by Age Group
You wouldn’t put your kindergartner in a classroom with a bunch of 3rd graders. Why? Because learning happens best among peers of the same age. This is why we have specialized classes that are divided by age and by ability. The physical requirements grow as their bodies grow, and each program leads seamlessly into the next. Whether your son is 3 or your daughter is 8 - there is always a beginners class for them to jump into.
We are Building Leaders
Whenever we hear about a one of our students standing up for herself on the playground, or saying “no” to negative peer pressure, we are excited to talk about it in our classes. Young leaders aren’t just born. They are built. Parents, teachers, and yes - martial arts instructors all need to work together to help raise these kids to stand up for themselves and take care of others.
It’s Not About Fighting
Learning how to shake hands with an adult is just as important as knowing how to throw a front kick. Maintaining eye contact is as equally as important as a holding a low horse-riding stance. We learn how to fight - YES - but only so that we have the confidence NOT to fight.
Your Kids Instructors
Sensei Jen Armstrong is a 1st Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and a Certified Fitness Instructor. She is our Jane-of-all-trades - not only teaching Fitness classes and Kids Martial Arts, but also working the front desk as well! Outside of the dojo, Sensei Jen spends all of her free time at the beach or with friends.
Sensei Blake Laviale is a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Hapkido, and has been training at MAFF since the age of 4 in the Lil’ Ninjas program with Master Austin as his instructor! In addition to teaching almost all of our Kids’ Martial Arts classes, Sensei Blake is the favorite “uke” in Black Belt class, where he is thrown all around by our Masters! Sensei Blake currently attends SBCC studying business, and he spends his free time studying, eating Korean BBQ, and playing spike ball on the beach.
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.
Sensei Megan Duffy is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and has been training at MAFF since the age of 6. She is “small but mighty” on the mat, which makes her an outstanding role model for the kids in her class. Outside of MAFF, Sensei Megan is a student at SBCC, studying Business, Economics, Sociology, and Spanish. She enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends and going to the beach.
Choosing a Martial Arts School
We love that there are a lot of dojos in Santa Barbara. In fact, we believe that there should be one on every street corner! We encourage you to do your due diligence so that you can find the one that best fits your family. Here is one dad’s story on how he found MAFF.
We understand that families have very busy schedules. This is why we offer classes 5 days a week for each age group. Each of our programs recommend 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.
In the Lil’ Ninjas program, we build skills for 3 and 4 year-old kids, through a combination of Martial Art drills and Pre-School games.
The Tigers Program is for children 5-6 years old who learn the basics of self defense, along with important life skills like how to listen the first time!
The Dragons program is for 7-9 years old who are hungry to learn new things and
The Youth program is for 10-12 years old who are hungry to learn new things and
What Parents Are Saying
“I was sold after our very first trial class with our 4-yr old at Martial Arts Family Fitness. That day, the "Little Ninjas" class emphasized memory techniques, people skills, running techniques, martial arts stances, and self-defense moves-ALL in 30 minutes AND made it fun”
- Binh P.
“Our 5 year old son has learned so much from his Sensei at Martial Arts Family Fitness. This is an outstanding school, committed to boosting a child's self confidence and discipline, both on and off the mat!”
- Nicole B.
“LOVE this place. Family owned and operated makes it even better. Our son takes Hapkido here, and they treat every child with respect and compassion. I think they are great. I especially love "Parents Night Out" once a month. Thank you for maintaining such an amazing place for kids and adults alike.”
- Tori F.
“I met another mom in the locker room at MAFF and she summed it up perfectly: the Little Ninjas program teaches so much more than martial arts. MAFF is in the business of people building, mind, body and spirit! The heart and soul of the program is really found in the outstanding teachers who care for each student as a whole person!”
- Aliza N.
“To my friends, I say “do it!” It’s super fun for the kiddos and rewarding for them (and the parents) to see them improve over time. It also develops respect for one another and the teachers and the skills themselves. I appreciate the kids having to earn their skill bars. There have been a few times that my son had to redo a skill test before being given his skill bar... which I like because it helps reinforce the idea that effort is required to learn skills. I also like the yes sir/ no ma’am thing.”
- Teresa W.
“I love the positivity. There is such encouragement from everyone involved and my son always feels good about himself when he goes to class.”
- Elizabeth W.