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The Bay Area Martial Arts Podcast

Mixed Martial Arts

Welcome to the Bay Area Martial Arts Podcast with your host, Wade Pitts. As a Krav Maga Instructor and Financial Advisor, he is inspired to help people, personally and financially, protect themselves and build confidence. In this podcast Wade interviews Bay Area martial arts practitioners who are leaders in business and/or martial arts. This podcast provides an opportunity to share the strong culture and history of martial arts in the Bay Area. Ultimately, the goal is provide distilled understandings of how training in martial arts has impacted personal and professional lives.


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Welcome to the Bay Area Martial Arts Podcast with your host, Wade Pitts. As a Krav Maga Instructor and Financial Advisor, he is inspired to help people, personally and financially, protect themselves and build confidence. In this podcast Wade interviews Bay Area martial arts practitioners who are leaders in business and/or martial arts. This podcast provides an opportunity to share the strong culture and history of martial arts in the Bay Area. Ultimately, the goal is provide distilled understandings of how training in martial arts has impacted personal and professional lives.




The Importance of Principles, Virtues, and Community at One Tribe Martial Arts Academy, with Mike Lee

In the famous book, The Hero’s Journey, it talks about somebody being unprepared, facing a challenge, having to train, and then coming back home and realizing it is home, with a new set of eyes. That’s a pretty common theme in martial arts, and that’s no exception with today’s guest, Mike Lee. Mike Lee teaches Tat Wong Kung Fu and has been training in it since 13. He’s even gone on to compete nationally and internationally and now has his own martial arts school, One Tribe Martial Arts...


Juan Zazueta on Systema and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

In this week’s episode, Wade is interviewing Juan Zazueta, who has an interesting background in both his practicing of martial arts and his career in teaching martial arts. He teaches two unique martial arts; a Russian styled called Systema and an Asian style called Budo Taijutsu. Juan started practicing martial arts at 18 (now 36) and has been training in Bujinkan since 2000 and Systema since 2005. Currently, he works as an instructor in these styles, teaching at San Francisco Systema...


A Brief History of Martial Arts in the Bay Area, with Ron Esteller

It is often said that an expert is someone who has made every possible mistake in a given level of study. Wade’s next guest has been studying martial arts for over 51 years — and he may not have made every possible mistake, but he’s probably pretty close (and is definitely consider an expert in his field!) He also, perhaps, has one of the longest lineages of martial arts history out of all the guests Wade has interviewed thus far. Ron Esteller is the owner and Head Instructor of Esteller...


Diabo Martial Arts, the Family-Run Tae Kwon Do Dojang

In today’s episode, your host, Wade Pitts, interviews Scott Frazer of Yu’s Martial Arts (changing to Diablo Martial Arts in 2019) in Lafayette, California. His family took over the school that had originally opened back in 1974. They focus on teaching Tae Kwon Do to the youth demographic but also serve adults and teenagers. Scott explains how the Dojang originally came to be, how he and his family became involved (ultimately taking it over), about his financial career prior to his “third...


Matt Lucas on Being a Lead Stuntman and Teaching Yama Series Yoga

If your dad is a Navy Seal, chances are you’re going to learn how to defend yourself pretty quick — at least that was the case for today’s guest, Matt Lucas. Early on, his dad got him into martial arts as a way to practice discipline and personal responsibility. Since then, he has tried a multitude of styles out, settling on a rather unique one for the premise of his current school (The Open Matt), called: Yama Series Yoga. On top of that, Matt is also a Lead Stuntman for the show, Into the...


The Passion, Drive, and Vision Behind the Non-Profit Guardian Gym, with Sacha Feinman

Today’s guest may very well be the most “connected” guest Wade has had on the podcast yet. He’s with Guardian Gym (of which the first guest of the podcast was a part); his LinkedIn has connections with about six other guests Wade has already featured; and on top of all that, he’s even had a professional bout against one of the people that have been featured on the podcast! So who is he? Sacha Feinman is the Managing Director of Guardian Gym. Sacha has an interesting start in martial arts...


Celebrating the Traditional Chinese Arts of Wudang, China, with David Wei

Today, Wade is speaking with David Wei of Wudang West Cultural Heritage Center, a non-profit wellness ministry based in Oakland, California. David Wei has a unique story. He started off as your average kid in the Bay Area but become so inspired by a certain western movie (can you guess?) that he went to the Wudang Mountains in China to study martial arts. After 20 years of studying, he returned to the Bay Area and was tasked by his master to start a Chinese cultural center — which is now...


The Rich Culture of Capoeira with Marcelo Caveirinha

Today, Wade gets to interview Marcelo Caveirinha, a long-time Capoeira practitioner who originally came from Brazil and immigrated to the U.S. — and with him, brought the rich culture of Brazilian Capoeira. In this episode, Marcelo gives describes some of the rich history of Brazilian Capoeira, how he first got introduced to martial arts and began practicing Capoeira, and some of the biggest differences between Capoeira in the United States compared to Brazil. He also explains why it is...


Sifu Zhong Luo of Dragon House MMA

Wade has a special, “historical” interview today with Sifu Zhong Luo, the owner and founder of Dragon House MMA. Zhong Luo has been training in the martial arts since he was a kid because his dad was a well-known professional martial artist back in China. When Zhong came to the States he ended up having a story somewhat reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s. He started out bussing tables, showed a couple people that he knew martial arts, and within a couple of months he had started his own school...


Learning Krav Maga as an Adult, with David Breslauer

Today, Wade has an interesting interview with David Breslauer, one of three co-founders of Bolt Threads — a company that has mastered the production of replicating spiders’ silk for large-scale production of fabrics and garments. Other than running his successful company, David also trains in Krav Maga. And interestingly enough, he only recently began training as an adult and is just coming up on 2 years now! In this episode, David explains the “non-traditional” reasons as to why he...


The EDGE Training Center’s Vernie Inocencio on All Things BJJ

Today, Wade drives out to Hayward, California, to visit the EDGE Training Center. There, he speaks with Vernie Inocencio, one of the founders of the EDGE Training Center and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Originally starting by getting into kickboxing fairly casually, Vernie eventually branched out into BJJ, which became his tried and true passion. Now, running the school, EDGE Training Center for the last five years or so, he runs several successful programs from kickboxing to BJJ...


Choosing the Path of Becoming an Instructor in Jiu Jitsu with Tryfon Stathopoulos

In today’s episode, Wade has a fantastic conversation with Tryfon Stathopoulos of North Bay Jiu Jitsu. This episode touches on the theme of choices and choosing what matters the most to you as a person. Tryfon tells the story of how he ultimately chose the path of training in Jiu Jitsu — then, later on — choosing the path to become an instructor and open up his own school. Tryfon is a black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, under the 4th-degree black belt, Professor Eduardo Rocha; a 3rd-degree...


Damon Evans on the World of Jeet Kune Do

In this week’s episode, Wade was up in Petaluma, California, with his guest, Damon Evans of Jeet Kune Do Sciences. Damon is a martial artist with a capital M, focusing on the applicability of self-defense vs. any sport. Jeet Kune Do, the martial art Damon practices and teaches, is a very unique martial art. It was created by Bruce Lee and has now grown into several different aspects (which Damon further explains this episode!) When Damon was growing up, his dad was a master in boxing but...


The Black Belt that Trains with a White Belt Mentality, Ramin Ettehad

In this episode, Wade interviews Ramin Ettehad, co-founder of Oomnitza, an enterprise software company, and a black belt in Brazilian-Jiu Jitsu. Although he’s a black belt, he has a true white belt mentality — training with a variety of camps, continuing to train while traveling, and practicing wherever and whenever he can. Ramin has been integrating martial arts into his life from a very early age and was even throwing punches and kicks in the air before he knew what martial arts were!...


How Martial Arts Impacts Your Life Outside the Dojo with Mike Valentine

Many of Wade’s interviewees have said that the moment they saw a Bruce Lee movie, it inspired them to go down the path to become a martial artist — and his guest today is no exception. However, when Wade asked him, “Where would martial arts in the U.S. be without the impact of Bruce Lee?” you might want to stay tuned to hear his answer. Mike Valentine is the founder and co-owner of Practical Martial Arts in Corte Madera, CA. Practical Martial Arts (or PMA for short) is a mixed martial...


Michael Regnier Eats, Breathes, and Sleeps Martial Arts — Literally

Michael Regnier eats, breathes, and sleeps martial arts — literally. When he went on to become a Muay Thai instructor he ended up living at the studio, and that studio was attached to a Thai restaurant and club. So not only did he sleep at the studio, but he ate Thai food almost every day and even worked at the club as a bouncer. Michael had a professional fight career of about eight fights, and then started his own martial arts studio in Oakland called Pacific Ring Sports. In this...


Building an Inclusive Community at the Quantum Dojo, with Master Rachael Evans

What do you get when you cross a Hell’s Angel with a marine and a musician? Master Rachael Evans of course. Master Rachael Evans runs the nonprofit martial arts school, Quantum Dojo, in San Francisco, California. And in this episode, she shares her unique start in how she got into the martial arts; how she opened up her school, Quantum; and provides information on the programs and classes they provide, from adults to children. Rachael really highlights the idea that the martial arts are...


The Journey of a Capoeira Practitioner with Armando Ibarra

If you’re anything like Wade, you’ve heard of Capoeira — but if you’re honest, you probably don’t know a ton. Wade’s guest, Armando Ibarra, will help you get that much more familiar with all things Capoeira in today’s episode. He talks about the history of it, what makes it so unique, as well as his own journey in it from 13 years old to professional practitioner. Armando teaches Capoeira in San Francisco and has a long history of martial arts, it having been instilled in him from a young...


The Perfect Blend of Business and Martial Arts with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner, James Kilpatrick

Today Wade interviews James Kilpatrick. James is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and has a commercial real estate business in San Francisco. James perfectly represents the blending of martial arts and business by taking the same approach with both. He’s always open to trying new tactics and new ways of doing business — the same goes for his training in BJJ. James has practiced in the martial arts since an early age. In college, he boxed and wrestled but it was there that he discovered...


Life of a Lawyer and Black Belt in Krav Maga with Raphael Gutierrez

Today Wade has a fun interview with his good friend, Raphael Gutierrez. Raphael is a lawyer on Uber’s legal team, leading the trademarks group, and has a black belt in Krav Maga. Raphael has a full life, from a day job of supporting the Uber trademark globally — whether that’s overseeing disputes, to managing licensing and domains — to balance his family life, and training in Krav Maga. This episode, Raphael talks about his first introduction into martial arts, his journey to earning his...