Start here

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

How do I start at The Pit Vegas?

1. Fill out a digital waiver HERE before attending class. All those under 18 must have a legal guardian sign.

2. You can try one CrossPIT / Pit Yoga class for $10. No trials for Hawaiian Kempo, Pit Jitsu, or Sparring. ALL students begin with CrossPIT.

3. CrossPIT / Pit Kids / Pit Pee Wee can try one 30 minute Private Lesson and one CrossPIT / Pit Kids  / Pit Pee Wee class afterwards for $20. You will be contacted to confirm scheduling of your Private Lesson.

4. Normal rates vary and will be discussed AFTER your trial classes. We do not offer punch cards or pay per class rates.

Please handle the waiver and fees above now; unannounced drop ins are not accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions


I want to fight! Do you have a fight team?

No, not officially. We are not a “fight gym.” We have several students who compete (grappling, amateur MMA fights, etc) but they are special cases. If you want to pursue a career in fighting then click HERE and best of luck!

Is Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell there?

No, he’s in California…enjoying the sun and mild weather, probably drinking an iced tea.

Does John “The Pit Master” Hackleman teach there?

Not regularly and when he is in town he may teach a few classes depending on his schedule.

I want to roll! Do you guys teach jiu jitsu?

We are not a brazilian jiu jitsu school, though we do train No-Gi grappling in our Hawaiian Kempo and Pit Jitsu class. If you are looking for gi jiu jitsu or to become a high level jiu jitsu player and win IBJJF, NAGA, etc…click here, but if you’re interested in rolling with us, start with CrossPit then chat with your instructor to be invited to Hawaiian Kempo and/or Pit Jitsu.

What is CrossPIT and is it like Crossfit?

Simply, CrossPIT is very similar to crossfit except:

  • No traditional olympic lifting
  • Less emphasis on the competitive aspect of workouts
  • Striking heavy bags in longer periods of cardio

We actually share the gym with our partners Sin City Crossfit, though we’re two totally separate businesses. Check them out   if you want to get in a great crossfit workout!

Do I need to get in shape first to workout?

No! Jump right into a CrossPit class and if the only thing you can do is the warm up, that’s fine. You need to start somewhere! If you are really hesitant then we offer private lessons as well.




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Julia Palmer is the Student of the Month!

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

Julia Palmer has been training at The Pit Vegas for almost a year. She began in our CrossPit program where she gained a lot of technique and improved her strength and conditioning.

Always wanting to learn more, Julia transitioned to our Hawaiian Kempo classes where she most recently earned her Orange Belt. Julia always comes to class with a positive and helpful attitude. Julia works as a hair stylist but when she’s not clipping hair she’s working to improve, grow, and compete. Thank you Julia for your hard work!

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Do some good in the world

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

We are not just a “gym” or karate school. The Pit not only gets you in great shape but looks to help out the community and less fortunate in any way possible. Here are a few charities and organizations who we have supported. Be thankful for what you have and always help others!


Hosted two UNLV Fight Nights to raise money the Dave Rice Foundation


Self Defense seminars and several events to raise money for The Shade Tree


CrossPIT to raise money for Living Beyond Breast Cancer


Pit Yoga to raise money for Susan G. Komen of Southern NV


Hosted a couple events for the Nevada Police and Fire Games

Food and clothing drive for HELP of Southern NV


CrossPIT seminars for LV Metro


CrossPIT seminar for Army recruits


Several CrossPIT seminars for marine recruits


Pit class for local boy scout troupes


If you would like The Pit to support a local charity, cause, or fundraiser, contact us and maybe we can help out!
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The Pit World Kumite 2

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

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Online Store

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

Check out the items for your class and place an order on the form at the bottom of this page.

**Exact items subject to change. We will notify you if the specific brand/size/color are unavailable**

We do not carry these items in stock they must be purchased FIRST then we will order them. If you have any questions or comments EMAIL US or talk to one of your instructors!

**These are some of the most cost efficient items. If you want something fancier check out Venum Fight Gear or Century Martial Arts and let us know what specific item you want instead**

Featured Item


pit charcoal front

Pit Charcoal Shorts (front)

pit charcoal shorts back

Pit Charcoal Shorts (back)

Items required for CrossPIT

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 12.56.12 PM

Onnit Speed Rope = $10

Items required for Hawaiian Kempo

Optional – Heavyweight Karate (not jiu jitsu) embroidered gi. $140

Not recommended for kids as they will grow out of them quickly.

Items required for Sparring


Youth Shinguards (will either be Adult XS, S, M)

Groin Protector (Males)

Sized based on waist…not pee pee and balls




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Paxton Shafer is The Student of the Month!

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator



Paxton Shafer has been training in our Pit Pee Wee program and recently earned his Yellow Belt! Paxton is one of the fittest kids in class, has great coordination, and grappling skills for a six year old.

Most importantly, Paxton is always well behaved and leads by example. Congrats Paxton we’re looking forward to watching you grow as a Pit Monster! Newly minted Yellow Belt AND Student of the Month? Dad, maybe he deserves that Christmas present!

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Kevin Dykstra is The Student of the Month!

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

Kevin Dykstra

Kevin Dykstra is the SECOND student to ever join The Pit Vegas! He signed up before our school was even open, almost four years ago, and has been training with us ever since.

With a full time job, a family (that includes a new baby), and overcoming a couple injuries that set him back months, making it to classes regularly always posed a challenge. Yet Kevin could always make it to class somehow, sometime, and he never quit.

Kevin has gotten into great shape, finally earned his purple belt after years of training and NEVER complaining, and now has his wife working out as well in our CrossPit classes. Kevin is a fantastic training partner, possessing great technique and control when he could be steamrolling people with his size. He is a true martial artists and we are proud to have him represent The Pit Ohana!

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CrossPit 24 Hour Challenge…COMPLETED!

Posted on 30, Aug | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

The CrossPIT 24 Hour Challenge


To test our mental and physical limits

To bond with our Ohana

To raise money for The Shade Tree

Mission: To provide safe shelter to homeless and abused women and children in crisis and to offer life-changing services promoting stability, dignity, and self-reliance. Donate and help!


Danny, Michael, & Lisa Galan for the amazing catering

Catherine Ramos for the delicious cupcakes

Danny Aleman for your donation

Debbie Oliver for your donation

Kelly Meyers for the much needed massages

Kim Robinson for the moral support and refreshments

The Workout

workoutEach person does the above. Once finished you tag your partner in. Repeat for 24 hours.

The Teams


Team TBD: Josh Aguinaldo, Alexis Wakefield, Jeff Froehlich, Hunter Castaneda, Jake Russell

Ginger Power: Raymond Rivera, Jesse Reynosa, Noelle Morris, Wyatt Morgan, Kiley Morris


Photo Nov 22, 12 23 27 PM

The Wrecked Crew: Erica Bohannon, AJ Shingoose, Simon Anderson, Thomas Robert, Kason Dow

Photo Nov 22, 12 24 08 PM

Team Insomnia: Anna Borja, Josie Blackwell, Landan Morgan, Shaun Martin, Mike Meyers


24 Hours Later

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 4.03.51 PM

The Results

5th – Team Drop In (31 reps…there were only 3 cut us some slack)

4th – Wrecked Crew (130 reps)

3rd – Team TBD (135 reps)

2nd – Ginger Power (140 reps)

1st – Team Insomnia (141 reps)

One of the participants' Fit Bit stats

One of the participants’ Fit Bit stats

The Stats

24 Pit Monsters in 24 hours accomplished:

172,200 straight punches

28,700 kicks

22,960 sit ups

17,220 push ups

45,920 hook punches

11,480 sprawls

28.5 miles bear crawled

13 miles of lunges

Congrats to all these Pit Monsters (and those who helped) in completing the first ever CrossPIT 24 Hour Challenge! It takes a lot of guts and discipline to accomplish such a daunting task. Some people are too scared, prideful, or physically unfit to test themselves like these Pit Monsters did. Nobody truly understood what to expect, yet nobody ever quit. Here is a challenge, an obstacle, a goal…do your best to crush it. Lose any and all excuses. Go out swinging, win or lose. Be grateful for what you have. Help those in need.

That is what it means to be a Pit Monster..

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Eliana Aguilar is The Student of The Month!

Posted on 30, Jul | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator


Eliana is one of our star Pit Kids! She just earned her 2nd degree Yellowbelt and always works hard in class. Eliana leads by example, never complaining, whining, or giving anything less than 100% effort. Congrats Eliana and thank you for leading by quiet example for all the other Pit Monsters to follow!


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The Pit Vegas Instructors

Posted on 30, Jul | Posted by Pit Vegas Administrator

john hackleman

Grandmaster John Hackleman is the founder of Hawaiian Kempo school, “The Pit” and is a 10th degree blackbelt. He has been studying martial arts for over 30 years, and holds two black belts. In addition, John has fought on the US Army boxing team, where he won numerous National titles. After turning professional, John fought the world’s best boxers and kickboxers winning many State, National, and World titles.

John has trained thousands of people into the best shape of their lives as well as  coaching many of the world’s best fighters, including former UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell, Antonio Banuelos, Ramsey Nijem, Steven Siler, Glover Texeira and The Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee. John is sought out by professional martial artists from all over the world.

John continually evolves and incorporates only the most effective training and fitness methods into his curriculum.  The Pit grows everyday, with branches throughout California and Nevada, in addition to the numerous Pit affiliates nationwide. On occasion he will pay The Pit Vegas a surprise visit and teach classes.


Eric Umali 

Eric Umali

Eric Umali began his martial arts career at age nine in Isshinryu Karate.  He attained the rank of 3rd degree blackbelt in addition to working as one of his dojo’s top instructors.   Eric also was an active competitor in statewide Sport Karate tournaments where he excelled at kata and point sparring, garnering many top finishes in over 10 years of active competition.

Over a decade ago, Eric was introduced to John Hackleman to teach The Pit’s kids program, which was new at the time.  Eric helped The Pit HQ grow, working as Kumu (Hawaiian for “teacher”) John’s Chief Instructor where he taught men, women, and children in group and private settings.  Along the way, Eric trained in Hawaiian Kempo and attained a Pit Blackbelt; enduring a rigorous belt testing in Hawaii under Kumu John and Pit Blackbelts Rick Metzler and Chuck Liddell.

Eric is currently a 3rd Degree Pit Blackbelt where he continues to learn and grow. He has competed in a handful of regional grappling tournaments and MMA smokers. Eric enjoys  keeping fit by training his students to compete in grappling competitions, amateur kickboxing fights, and MMA bouts.  In addition to his day to day duties overseeing The Pit Vegas, Eric is always looking to grow The Pit brand.

Steven Llamas

Steve LLamas

Steve hails from Texas where he earned a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a blue belt in Yoseikan Aikido. During his studies at Baylor University, Steve was an instructor for his campus’ Self Defense course. In addition to training with notables Relson Gracie, Daniel Moraes, and Scott Epstein, Steven continues to hone his skills in grappling and striking competitions. Steve is a dedicated member of our Hawaiian Kempo class and holds the rank of 2nd Degree Blue Belt.


Nick Paladeni

Nick Paladeni

Nick Paladeni was the very first student of The Pit Vegas.  Before his time at The Pit,  Nick was a lifelong scholar (attended MIT) and collegiate athlete where he played tennis at the University of Oregon.  Nick is a member of our Hawaiian Kempo class where he holds the rank of Green Belt.  He has trained at The Pit Headquarters under John Hackleman in California as well as with the amateur fighters at The Pit Elevated in Utah. Initially coming to The Pit Vegas out of shape and with a litany of health problems, Nick has improved his fitness dramatically and is one of the most loyal and hardworking members of the Ohana. Nick is an avid competitor, completing various fun runs, Half Marathons, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Bad Ass Dash, as well as the Red Rock Canyon Full Marathon.


Kim Robinson


Kim has been training non stop with us for over a year in our CrossPit program. While always lean, Kim has improved her overall strength, cardio, and coordination. Her technique improves constantly and she has shown great fighting heart sparring with other girls in two of our “Girls Can Fight,” fight nights. A lifelong Henderson resident, Kim’s bubbly personality is infectious. She continues to grow and was recently CrossPit Certified under John Hackleman directly.

Kelly Meyers

Kelly Meyers

Kelly Meyers teaches Pit Yoga and is a Certified CrossPit Instructor. She has been training with us for over a year and placed 3rd in The Pit World Kumite. Her classes are always upbeat and her enthusiasm is infectious. In addition, Kelly is also a licensed massage therapist. Check out her website here to book a great massage.


Scott Seelinger

Scott is a Purple Belt in our Hawaiian Kempo class and is one of our top CrossPIT instructors. He shows great attention to detail as he enthusiastically helps each student during class. Scott recently was CrossPit Certified by John Hackleman and he continues to constantly improve his game – whether it be sparring, grappling, or devising unique workouts. One of the first Pit Vegas students with his daughter Morgan and wife Katie, we are proud to always have Scott teaching and helping the Ohana.

Wyatt Morgan

Wyatt is one of our top Hawaiian Kempo students and holds the rank of Green Belt. When he’s not assisting with the children’s classes he helps make everyone better with his always improving jiu jitsu and sparring skills. He wrestled Varsity for Foothill High School where he was Champion of the Southern Nevada District. He has won the Teen Middleweight Title at the National Kickboxing Circuit’s Championships and won 1st and 2nd at FightBlok’s Grappling tournaments. Wyatt recently won his first MMA fight at King of the Cage via 1st round TKO.

Other Instructors (more info coming soon)

Jeremy Taylor

Jeremy Taylor

Jesse Leeb 

Jesse Leeb


Josie Blackwell 

Josie Blackwell

Kaipo Dumaran

Kaipo Dumaran





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