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.
SEMPAI 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 Black Belt and achieved her goal of being the youngest female student to not only get her Midnight Blue Belt (given to Black Belt students who are not yet 16) but also her Black Belt shortly before her 16th birthday. Sarah has accumulated more leadership assisting hours than any student ever (currently over 285 classes in addition to her own class training) and helps lead many of our Saturday classes in addition to many of our summer camps.
SEMPAI ED PARAY
One of the newer members of the Life Ki-do team is Sempai Ed Paray. Sempai Ed comes to Life Ki-do from My Gym in the Los Angeles area where he lead martial arts classes for multiple locations over 15 years. He has over 20 years experience in martial arts including being a certified instructor in Wing Chun kung fu and Tang Soo Do Korean karate. His 15 years with My Gym gives Sempai Ed a wealth of experience in teaching children. Sempai Ed can be seen both assisting and leading classes at both our Westlake and Lakeway dojos.
Chandler has been a student of Life Ki-do since 2008, and he currently holds a Black Belt which he earned in May 2015. Chandler has a rare combination of sweetness, sensitivity and power that makes him an amazing martial artist, instructor and human being. Chandler currently assists three days a week and we look forward to his increased involvement with our amazing team!
Kelsey started with Life Ki-do many years ago as a student achieving the very high belt of Brown before leaving to go off to college. Kelsey returned to Life Ki-do both as student and assistant instructor in 2014. Kelsey currently assists primarily in Lakeway on Saturdays but also with both weekday classes and camps during the summer!
The newest member of the team, Shriya joined Life Ki-do in the spring of 2016. Shriya began her martial arts training at the age of 4 and currently holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo. Shriya assists in classes both in Westlake and Lakeway while attending college. We are very pleased to welcome Shriya to the Life Ki-do team!
Etienne Vidal began working with Life Ki-do last year leading a series of ongoing Capoeira classes as well as teaching our instructors about this amazing African/Brazilian martial art. Etienne is a former Holistic Wellness instructor and a current teacher at the Khabele Middle and High School! Etienne is leading our ongoing classes at Life Ki-do South where he’s blending traditional Life Ki-do Martial Arts and Capoeira.
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.