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About Us

I am John Hackleman.  I am a 44-year martial arts veteran who has worked and trained with some of the world’s greatest champions.  I am the founder of the Pit. The creator of the Online Pit Dojo membership site and a variety of martial arts video training courses.  I host a weekly Podcast called "Pit Master & The Doc" and I am active everyday on Facebook Instagram and YouTube 

The Pit is the name of our gym, Ohana, brand.  Hawaiian Kempo is the name of the system or style of the martial art that we teach at The Pit (Hawaiian Kempo is a belted martial art that is a no-nonsense, no forms or Katas martial art that focuses on protecting children from Bullies and adults from evil attacker.  We also Teach CrossPt, Pit Jitsu, and an MMA fight team.  Those entities all part of The Pit.

My interest in martial arts began in childhood. I was raised in Hawaii and was often the target of bullies for the simple reason of being different (white and blonde)—in my case, not local to Hawaii. Local children picked on me and, as bullies often do, stole my lunch money.

Me at 12 or 13... I was never a bully, but I was very confident

So at 10 years old, I went on my own and found a martial arts school.  I caught the bus and when I walked into that small, smelly dojo, I knew I was home.  

I threw myself into training.  I wanted to be the toughest kid in school.  No titles or trophies on my mind... I just wanted to keep my lunch money!

                                  Here I am at 13 years old training in my backyard 

A familiar story for many. Then one day, I was sick of it.  I knew I could either be a victim or fight back. I trained hard, even when I was home I would train.

Then one day Darryl Silva tried to take my lunch money.  He was the school bully and a lot bigger than I was, and most of the kids in the cafeteria though that this skinny blonde kid would give up my lunch money, Godin had taught me well, he did not get my lunch money. He got beat up in front of the entire cafeteria full of kids, and my life changed forever that day.

I was never bullied again.

Me at 16 years old fighting a 21-year-old... full contact, including elbows, knees, and throws

Me on my Army Boxing Team... can you find me

Me in my first pro Boxing match... Left Hook KO winner!

That was 1970. Since that time, I have been training martial arts non-stop and I fought from 1974-1996.  I won many amateur boxing titles, including the Army. 

After the Army I turned pro and competed in boxing and kickboxing, winning some state, North American, and a world title.  I retired in 1996 and focused on teaching martial arts, fitness and coaching a sport fighting team (boxing, kickboxing, MMA) which got pretty well known and respected.

I have trained some of the BEST fighters in the world in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA. My MMA team was ranked #4 in the world with a 94% win rate! 

My time spent with Tony Robbins changed my life

My most famous student is Chuck Liddell

I had the honor of being on Joe Rogan's Podcast

I have been fortunate to work with and learn from the best Martial Arts master-minds in the world


My beautiful daughter running a half marathon

I still train very hard every day


We run a successful martial art & fitness gym where we have students for 3 years old to 70, and some UFC champions as well... we go to Hawaii every year to promote students to black belt.  The Pit is a very close Ohana (family).

I was super privileged to be on the cover of Black Belt magazine... my favorite magazine ever 

Now I want to train you. I teach very simple, tested and proven techniques.  I can definitely help you shorten your learning curve to become a GREAT martial artist. Whether you want to be safe in the street or win a UFC title, my content is for you.  


 Here's A Q & A about The Pit

Q & A The Pit from The Pit on Vimeo.


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