About Us2019-07-11T10:15:02+00:00


MAFF was founded in 2002 by Grandmaster Dave Wheaton, his wife Master Mel, and their sons Master Austin & Master Garret.  They had previously lived in Hawaii – where they owned and operated a school for many years.  The boys attended college in Santa Barbara, and together the four of them managed to teach all of the classes and run the business.  Within a year, MAFF had established itself as a great place for fitness and martial arts training, and to date more than 10,000 Santa Barbarians have walked through the doors to experience a great workout.

The business is still family owned and operated today.  In fact, Mel & Dave’s 3 grandkids are growing up training in the same tradition, and are already talking about teaching one day as well.  When you walk into MAFF, you become a part of the family.  We hope to see you soon!


MAFF has been consistently voted “Best Martial Arts School” in Santa Barbara since it’s founding and has also won “Best Weight Loss Program” and “Best Summer Camp.”

In 2013, Martial Arts Family Fitness was recognized on a national level by the Martial Arts Hall of Honors as “USA Dojo of the Year.”


Grandmaster Dave
Grandmaster DaveCo-Founder/Instructor

Teaching and training in the Martial Arts for over 50 years, Grandmaster Dave Wheaton is a revered Instructor, Mentor, and Coach to thousands of students across the country. His unique approach to mind/body training empowers his students to discover excellence within themselves and tap into their greatest potential.

Grandmaster Dave developed Dynamic Circle Hapkido, a formidable system of self-defense that trains students to instinctively respond with the appropriate measure of force required.

Grandmaster Dave holds a 9th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and a 7th Dan in Taekwondo and was awarded the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 by the World Karate Union Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Master Mel
Master MelCo-Founder/Instructor
Fav. Weapon: Sword

Master Melodee Meyer is a Fitness Kickboxing Instructor and 6th Dan Black Belt recently inducted into the Karate Union Hall of Fame. She is also a Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Personal Empowerment Mentor.

Master Mel developed the award-winning fitness program KUT (Kickboxers Ultimate Training), is the creator of Clean KUT Nutrition and is the founder of Real Deal Self Defense. She is the author of two #1 international bestselling books: Black Belt Power; Inspirational Stories by Extraordinary Martial Artists and Clean Food Diet; The 21-Day Clean Eating Guide to Lose Weight, Reduce Inflammation, Boost Energy and Look Better Naked.

Master Austin
Master AustinOperations Director / Instructor
Master Austin has been training and teaching under his step-father, Grandmaster Dave for over 20 years. He is a 6th Degree Black Belt in Hapkido, a 1st Degree in Taekwondo, and is working toward his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Master Austin loves the “white belt mindset” – continually developing himself as a Martial Artist and a person. He is a loving husband and father of 3 young girls.
Sensei Christian
Sensei ChristianDirector of Martial Arts / Instructor
Fav. Combo : Roundhouse into Hook Kick

Sensei Christian is one of our veteran instructors on the mat; he’s been a part of the MAFF team since 2014, and has loved every day of teaching the “little ones”! He enjoys time away from the mat by catching up with friends or re-reading his favorite book series (Harry Potter). He currently holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, working toward his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and looks forward to expanding his martial arts résumé.

Sensei Amanda
Sensei AmandaStudent Services Director / Instructor
Fav. Technique: Jump Spinning Inside Crescent Kick

As a 2nd Degree Black Belt and Certified Kickboxing Instructor, Sensei Amanda loves teaching Kickboxing and Resistance Training classes at MAFF. She is a health nut, an awesome mom (of a Black Belt!), and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in math. Aside from being a great instructor, Sensei Amanda works as the Student Services Director at MAFF where she helps students accomplish their goals.

Sensei KevinOperations Assistant / Instructor
Fav. Technique: Axe Kick

Sensei Kevin has been training at MAFF since he was 14 years old, and joined our employee team in 2012. Sensei Kevin is a Second Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, and will be testing for his 3rd Degree in November 2019. He has some of the fastest kicks around, and is a formidable sparring opponent! Sensei Kevin attends SBCC and studies film when he is not busy kicking butt.

Master Alex
Master AlexMartial Arts Instructor
Fav. Drill: Free Training with Knife

Master Alex is 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 currently a 4th Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, as well as a Certified Full Instructor in Jeet Kune Do. He is a California native and resides in Santa Barbara with his wife and son.

Master Sarah
Master SarahFitness & Martial Arts Instructor
Favorite Technique: Shoulder Throw

Master Sarah started Martial Arts when she was 11 years old. She currently has a 3rd degree black belt in American Tang Soo Do, a 4th Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, a 1st degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and has been certified to teach Krav Maga Levels 1 and 2. As a Fitness Instructor at MAFF, Master Sarah is a joy to be around and really knows how to get her class sweating! She is also a dental hygienist, and sits on the board of The Kurt Caselli Foundation. She hopes her story can inspire others and show them how amazing martial arts truly is.

Sensei Michelle
Sensei MichelleMartial Arts Instructor
Fav Combo: Spinning Back Heel to Downround

Sensei Michelle is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, and is testing for her 3rd Degree Black Belt in November. She teaches our Mentor Session for Black Belt Candidates and our Sparring Class. She’s an inspirational Martial Artist with a warm and genuine personality. Sensei Michelle is an accomplished Financial Consultant who loves Kickboxing, wine tasting, traveling, and reading a good book.

Sensei Blake
Sensei BlakeMartial Arts Instructor
Fav. Technique: Double Jump Front Kick

Sensei Blake has been training at MAFF since the age of 4. He is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido, having tested for his 3rd in May. In addition to teaching almost all of our Kids’ Martial Arts classes, he is our uke in Black Belt class, where he is thrown by our Masters! He currently attends SBCC, but will soon transfer to a 4-year where he hopes to major in business. Sensei Blake spends his free time studying, eating Korean BBQ, or playing spike ball on the beach.

Sensei Ray
Sensei RayMartial Arts Instructor
Favorite Weapon: Knife

Sensei Ray is the Clinical Training Administrator for Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. When he’s not working, he is Kickboxing, training in Black Belt class, scuba diving, and/or on some epic world travel adventure with his wife. Sensei Ray is a 2nd Degree Black Belt and a great example of service on and off the mat.

Sensei Kicke
Sensei KickeMartial Arts & Fitness Instructor
Fav. Weapon: Knife

Sensei Enrique (or “Kicke”) is an outgoing and friendly 1st Degree Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido. He teaches Fitness Kickboxing, Resistance Bands, and Kids’ Martial Arts. He loves challenging his students to work hard and enjoys leaving each with a big smile on their face. When he is not training at MAFF, Sensei Kicke enjoys weightlifting, walking the beach, hiking, and spending time with family.

Professor JustinBJJ Instructor
Favorite Technique: Attacking Armbars

Professor Justin began American Freestyle Wrestling at the age of 3 and has been actively competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He earned his Gracie BJJ Black Belt in 2015. Professor Justin has won 4x IBJJF American National Championships and 5x IBJJF World Championship Silver Medals! When he’s not at the Dojo, you can find Professor Justin surfing, snowboarding, barbecuing, or spending time with his tuxedo cat (Amelia) and puggle (Sunny Bono).

Sensei Jen
Sensei JenFitness & MA Instructor
Fav. Technique: Full Nelson

Sensei Jen has been training at MAFF for six years and tested for her 1st Degree Black Belt in May! She our Jane-of-all-trades; she teaches fitness classes, works the front desk, and can even be found on the mat teaching kids’ classes! Outside of the Dojo, Sensei Jen spends all of her free time at the beach or with friends.

Ms. AmeliaFitness Instructor
Fav. Combo: Roundhouse, Elbow, Elbow, Knee

Ms. Amelia is one of our newest faces, but is no stranger to the world of fitness. As a certified yoga instructor, Ms. Amelia found kickboxing to be the perfect balance to her yoga practice; she tries to incorporate her yogi roots by strengthening form and increasing flexibility in her classes. Ms. Amelia loves the community at MAFF and makes her classes fun and energizing. On her time off, she’s out hiking, camping, and exploring with her rescue pup, Goliath.

Ms. Genevieve
Ms. GenevieveFitness Instructor

Fav. Combo: Front Leg Front Kick into Roundhouse

Ms. Genevieve, or Ms. Genny as you’ll sometimes hear her called, grew up in Carpinteria and is a proud UCSB Alum. You can usually find her teaching Kickboxing or kicking your butts in her Lower Body Bands Class first thing in the morning. When she isn’t at the dojo, Ms. Genny is likely enjoying the sunshine on a beach or hiking somewhere in her favorite town.

Ms. Meg
Ms. MegFitness Instructor
Fav. Weapon: Escrima

Ms. Meg teaches Fitness Kickboxing classes and is training towards her Black Belt in Dynamic Circle Hapkido. She is pursuing her PhD in Counseling Psychology at UCSB, and loves to read, hike, and spend time with family & friends. In every aspect of her life, Ms. Meg is passionate about helping people enjoy the journey of becoming who they want to be!

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