Featured Coach: John Hackleman, Part 1 – Origins of The Pit

John Hackleman was born in Chicago Illinois. His father died when he was young, so his mother raised him and his younger brother Kevin. At age 12, he began working at a local ice cream parlor where he learned how to make vanilla ice cream with milk from a waitress named Mary Ann. After graduating high school, John went to work as a stock boy for the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands International) in Guatemala City, Guatemala. There he met his future wife, Elizabeth. They married in 1954 and had three children together. John worked hard to support them all, but it wasn’t easy. He was often away from home for long periods of time and the family struggled financially. John’s life changed dramatically one day when he saw a newsreel showing American soldiers torturing Guatemalans during World War II. He was deeply affected by what he saw and decided to become a war photographer. During the Vietnam War, John continued photographing atrocities there. When the war ended, John returned to Guatemala City where he became a photojournalist again. While still living in Guatemala City, John took up photography full time and started taking pictures of human rights abuses in Central America. His work soon gained him a lot of attention and in 1973 he was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top ten photographers in the world.

In the 70s, John worked as a photographer on assignment for various magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic. While on assignment in South America, he met the famous martial artist Ed Parker. Ed was a nine-time undefeated world Karate champion and the founder of American Kenpo Karate.

John was so impressed by Ed’s martial arts abilities that he became Ed’s student and learned how to fight. In 1978 Ed opened a martial arts school in Los Angeles that he named the Ultimate Martial Arts Academy. John moved to Los Angeles to teach Kenpo Karate and help Ed run his school. Ed and John’s relationship eventually grew strained and Ed asked John to leave the school. John felt betrayed by Ed and decided to open his own martial arts school.

John rented a small building in Hollywood and turned it into a new martial arts school. As his schools continued to grow in size and popularity, he started franchising them. John was a natural as a martial arts instructor and leader.

He provided his students with a disciplined and structured environment in which they could better themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. By 1985 there were over 70 franchised “Self Defense Institutes” in operation throughout the United States.

John is still the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the KICKSTART Fitness Centers . He has taken a slightly less active role in the day-to-day running of the company, but he still remains the public face of the business and assures that his high standards are maintained throughout all of the facilities. Nowadays John is a lot less intimidating then he once was.

He is in his late sixties now and struggles to keep up with some of his classes, but his passion for teaching and inspiring people never fades. He has been married three times and has a total of eight children.

John’s reasons for becoming a teacher are his own, but everyone who knows him can agree on one thing: John is an inspiration to all who meet him.

John is a man who has made a positive impact on the lives of millions and he continues to do so to this very day.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever struggles you may face in life, always remember that if you try your best then you can’t fail. This is John’s motto and a belief that has served him well. Never forget it.

John will always be remembered as a fitness legend and for good reason. Never before has one man had such a huge impact on so many people and motivated them to live a healthy and active lifestyle. John’s legacy will live forever.

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Your body is a temple.

John’s words of wisdom to all beginning students at the Self Defense Institute. These five words have stayed with me since I first heard them and will stay with me forever.

These five words can be interpreted in many different ways. There are many different facets of the self that we can dedicate ourselves to improving and maintaining: spirit, mind, and body.

Although people tend to focus on mind and spirit, it is the body that powers all else. The body provides the energy and drive to succeed in all other aspects of your life. A healthy body leads to a sound mind.

When in good physical condition, you will be more focused and energetic. You will have the endurance to complete tasks and the strength to persevere when facing challenges in your life.

Your body is a gift that you should always try your best to take care of. Being physically active is just one of the many ways that you can show this respect for yourself. Exercising and eating right is not always easy, but the benefits will help you in all aspects of your life.

Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just stay healthy and mobile, proper exercise and nutrition can help you reach your goals and vastly improve your quality of life.

I believe that even the simplest things can count as exercise. These days people are always in a hurry and often do not find the time to get their heart rates up and their blood pumping. As a result, they become less healthy and more prone to heart disease, diabetes, and many other illnesses.

Even if you are too busy to go to a gym or participate in an organized sport, there are always things that you can do in your spare time to get your body moving and blood flowing.

One thing that many people enjoy is dancing. Whether you choose to dance by yourself or with a partner, it is an excellent way to improve your fitness level. Dancing is not only a great way to improve your physical condition, but also your mental condition.

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It is fun and it allows you to express yourself and let go of any feelings or emotions that you may have built up. Dancing can be done by anyone of any age and it is an excellent way to stay healthy. So turn on your favorite song and let the rhythm move your body and free your mind.

Another way to get exercise whenever you have time is walking. Although it may not seem like it, walking is great exercise and can, over time, greatly improve your health. Whenever you have a chance, go for a walk instead of driving or taking the bus.

If possible, walk to places that are further away instead of driving. Not only will you benefit by getting more physically fit, but also your pocket book will too.

You can also take advantage of advances in technology to help you achieve your fitness goals. Today there are numerous workout videos that you can do in the comfort of your own home. There are also video games that will allow you to get in shape as you have fun.

Just be careful not to overdo it or else you may strain a muscle.

When considering a diet for fitness and health, it is important to remember that quantity does not always mean quality. Just because food is low in caloric content does not make it good. Processed food such as TV dinners and many snack foods may help you to lose weight, but they are not as healthy for you as natural foods.

Instead of starving yourself in an attempt to trim down, eat healthy and moderately. The weight you lose will come off much more easily and your body will feel and function much better because of it.


Why is it important to stay physically fit?

a) So you can brag to your friends about how much you can lift.

b) So you will have more energy to do things.

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c) So you will be healthier and have less sickness.

“So you can live a longer happier life.”


What are some ways that people often forget to keep fit?

a) Dancing, walking, and low fat diets

b) By eating junk food and not exercising at all.

c) By eating healthy foods and never exercising.

3You are on your lunch break and you go out to eat with your friends at a pizza parlor. The waitress brings you and your friends the menus and you all decide what you would like to eat. You look at the menu and it is tough to choose what you want, but you are really craving a slice of their Pepperoni Pizza.


a) Order a whole wheat pizza with olives, mushrooms, and extra cheese.

b) Ask the waitress to bring you a Salad Sandwich to share with your friends.

c) Get yourself a large Classic Pizza and have them load it up with everything : pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and anchovies.

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d) Get yourself a large Garlic Knots to start, a small Greek Salad, and a Personal Pan Pizza.

4) You visit the gym at least three times a week and typically spend two hours there. Each day you do a different activity for that allotted time. For example: Mondays are leg days, on those days you go to the gym and only use the leg machines, doing as many sets and reps as you can.

What day of the week will you go today?

“Sunday, because it’s the only day I don’t go.”

1) You come home from a long day at work.

It has been a brutal day and all you want to do is sit down in your recliner and veg out in front of the TV. Your wife comes home from work with you and sees you sitting in your recliner. She tells you that she made plans for the two of you to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant.

a) You grumble about not wanting to go and tell her that you would rather stay in.

b) You tell her that you will meet her there because you would like to shower first.

c) You grumble a bit, but agree to go because you don’t want to upset her.

d) You tell her that you’ll go if she will watch your favorite TV show with you after dinner.

2) You have been gaining weight recently.

Not enough to be considered “fat,” but enough that your clothes are starting to feel a bit tighter. Your best friend / spouse tells you that you have been gaining weight and suggests that you need to start exercising more and eating healthier. You:

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a) Agree wholeheartedly with everything she says.

b) Tell her that she is just jealous of your awesome body.

c) Tell her that you have been eating right and exercising for the past two months and there is no need to change anything.

d) Tell her that everything she knows about fitness she learned from Jane Fonda’s exercise tapes.

3) You’re at your favorite restaurant having dinner with your very best friend.

The waiter comes over and asks if you would like to see a dessert menu. You:

a) Order the cheesecake and ask for a spoon.

b) Tell the waiter that you don’t need a menu, you will have what she is having.

c) Order the salad and iced tea.

d) Order the apple pie a la mode and splurge by getting a cup of coffee with it.

4) You are at the grocery store and you reach for the cookie dough.

The package says there are 12 cookies in the dough.

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a) You get 12 plastic eggs instead and pick out 11 of them.

b) You get 12 eggs and put them in your cart.

c) You leave the package of dough on the shelf.

d) You put the dough in your cart, walk to the front of the store and pay for everything at the register. Then you return the package because you are not a thief.

5) It is payday and you have been saving up your money to buy something special.

a) You spend all of your money on a fancy dinner for two and a bottle of wine.

b) You take half of your paycheck to the casino and try to double it.

c) You buy the latest iPhone, which is way cooler than those fattening desserts.

d) You buy a toy for your niece and nephew. They are the most important people in your life, after all.

6) The local swimming pool has an important swim meet this weekend and you haven’t been swimming as much as you would like.


a) Swim every morning before work and a couple of days in the evening.

Featured Coach: John Hackleman, Part 1 - Origins of The Pit - | Gym Fit Workout

b) Go to the pool to cheer on your team mates.

c) Sit in the sun with some snacks and drinks.

d) Head straight home after work because you don’t want to get caught in traffic.

7) Your doctor calls and tells you your test results.


a) Go straight to the doctors office.

b) Ask your wife because she will know what you should do.

c) Say there must be a mistake, because you felt fine when you saw him last year.

d) Tell the doctor’s office you will call back next week and hang up.

8) Your daughter is on the honor roll at school and you are very proud of her.

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a) Take her out for an ice cream.

b) Buy her new cell phone.

c) Take her and your wife out to dinner at your favorite restaurant.

d) Tell her how proud of her you are.

How did you do?

Mostly As- You have a serious problem with over-indulgence. You need to control yourself or you are going to suffer some very serious health problems. Get a grip!

Mostly Bs- You are at a healthy weight. Take care of yourself and try to avoid gaining too much weight.

Mostly Cs- You are a little chubby, but not significantly overweight. Don’t worry too much about it, but do try to keep the pounds from piling on.

Mostly Ds- Yikes! You are overweight and you are really risking some very serious health issues if you don’t start taking better care of yourself.

Sources & references used in this article:

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Treating MMA Injuries: Featuring Advice from UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture, Ken Shamrock, Bas Rutten, Pat … by J Gelber – 2016 – books.google.com

Messenger; Vol. 8 No. 1 (Winter 1993) by D Watkins, MR George, C Dalton, KS Butcher… – 1993 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu

LLUSD Articulator-Volume 27, Number 1 by K Abramovitch – 2016 – scholarsrepository.llu.edu

Residential students to see renovated rooms and improved technology by USP Paid – scholarworks.bgsu.edu