SENSEI JONATHAN HEWITT
Sensei Jonathan Hewitt, founder of Life Ki-do® Martial Arts & Life Education, began his martial arts training and competitive athletics as a young boy. In addition to being a skilled martial artist, Sensei Jonathan was also a high school state wrestling champion and a very proficient soccer player. His childhood quest to find the ancient inner life skill teachings of the martial arts led to his training and teaching in a wide variety of systems including: Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, JKD, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Street Self-Defense, Wrestling, and Systema. He is a certified Systema instructor under world-renowned Systema master Vladimir Vasiliev. He has a degree in psychology from Emory University in addition to 25 years of study in meditation, mindfulness, and the brain-body connection. His great joy comes from sharing ancient, universal life skills to inspire students to discover and live from their inner strength.
SENSEI DOUG DIAMOND
Sensei Doug Diamond holds a black belt in Nisei Goju Ryu Karate and is the Director of the Youth Program at the Life Ki-do headquarters at Austin Martial Arts Academy. In high school he competed regularly and was ranked first in the state in forms, weapons, and sparring by the Florida Black Belt Association. After winning his championships and feeling disillusioned with the traditional martial arts teaching methodology, Sensei Doug decided to give up martial arts to pursue a career in Montessori education.
While teaching at Parkside Community Montessori School, Sensei Doug came across Life Ki-do. He immediately knew that this would be the medium that would combine his love of martial arts with his passion for nurturing and supporting the natural growth of children. He has a rare talent and genuine love for working with children.
SENSEI TOMMY SHULTZ
Sensei Tommy began training martial arts at age 15, and it has been a driving and defining force in his life ever since. He holds a black belt in Mushin Dao as well as belts in Kung Fu and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and has instructor certifications in Mushin Dao, SPEAR System, and CrossFit. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004, Tommy has dedicated every day to combating the disease and improving himself. It is his sincere pleasure to help people of all ages improve their lives through training.
SEMPAI JAKE PANKRATZ
Sempai Jake Pankratz joined the Life Ki-do team after graduating from Texas State University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Family and Child Development. He comes with nearly 10 years of martial arts experience holding a black belt in American Karate and currently trains in Life Ki-do Martial Arts. Additionally, he is the physical education guide for the primary and elementary programs at The Khabele School.
ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR DEVEN PENN
Deven comes to Life Ki-do after working at Parkside Community Montessori School as an assistant teacher in the classroom and as an assistant in Sensei Doug’s Life Ki-do classes at the school. In addition to training in Life Ki-do Martial Arts, Deven has trained in Aikido, boxing and kickboxing. He also has extensive physical fitness experience in gymnastics, baseball and track and field. Exercise and healthy living have always been a big part of Deven’s life.
ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR SARAH HAYES
Sarah has been a student of Life Ki-do since 2005; more than half her life! She currently holds a Brown Belt with a Black Stripe (the level just below Black) and is on par to achieve her goal of being the youngest female student to get her Midnight Blue Belt (given to Black Belt students who are not yet 16). Sarah has accumulated more leadership assisting hours than any student ever (currently over 285 classes in addition to her own class training) and helps Sempai Jake lead the Saturday 9:30 class. We could not be more pleased to welcome her to the Life Ki-do team!
ACADEMY DIRECTOR JEFF CAMPBELL
Jeff runs our front desk and handles scheduling, billing, communication, marketing and customer service for the dojo. Jeff joined the Life Ki-do team in April 2013 after a long career as a store manager with Whole Foods Market across the country. Father, husband, musician, former DJ, pop culture trivia buff and recovering foodie are just some of the hats he has worn. A native Texan who grew up in Austin, while Jeff is not a martial artist by trade, he trains here a number of times a week as do his daughters.
SENSEI GENE SMITHSON
Sensei Gene Smithson is the owner of Austin Systema and Tai Chi which is a licensed Life Ki-do school. In addition to teaching Life Ki-do to his youth program, he teaches Life Ki-do at our headquarters and at local academic schools. He has 35 years of reality based martial arts training, holds black belts in several styles of karate, and has extensive training in Chinese boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, JKD, Systema and in the internal arts of Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation. He is a certified Systema instructor under Vladimir Vasiliev. His real world experience combined with his internal martial arts training gives him a rare perception and ability to help students learn practical martial arts and life skills in a nurturing and flowing manner.
Sensei Gene teaches Life Ki-do to children at his academy in northwest Austin. For more information, visit www.austinsystema.com or call 512-207-0148.
SEMPAI BRUNO LEPORE
Sempai Bruno Lepore is a licensed psychotherapist with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. He has been involved in martial arts since the age of 8. He holds a second degree black belt in Aikido, a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and currently trains in Systema. In his therapy practice, he uses a variety of empirically validated interventions, including EMDR, hypnosis, mindfulness, cognitive-behavior therapy, and mind/body techniques to help his patients. His main goals are to help people deepen their quality of life through improving their coping resources and to foster a nurturing environment in which people can learn about themselves. He is available for individual and family counseling. Find more information at www.brunolepore.com.
Sarah alternates working the front desk on Saturdays with Jeff. While Sarah has been a part of the Life Ki-do team for a number of years she now spends most of her work week as the Assistant to Head of School at The Khabele School. Sarah has a passion for education continues to be an asset to Life Ki-do and our community.