Over the last 20 years, I have taken many Hapkido classes from Sensei Dave Wheaton.  I admire his values, his ability to communicate well, his capacity to relate and connect to his students, and his mastery of martial arts. Rarely do I find a coach that has equal capacity to know his particular skill set, and is able to communicate it clearly. Typically it’s one or the other yet in sensei’s case; it is both.

Both of my children, now 36 and 37, diligently worked hard and got their black belts through him. As a single parent dad, I was awed observing his incorporation of universal values into his training for kids (and open-minded, curious adults) they took their training into a different dimension of character development. If we’re lucky in our lifetime, we have all had a great teacher that has done this for us. If the kids had the technique down-pat yet had not developed integrating their wider character mindsets, he would support them in these rather than advance them. His support never wavered, and treated most every student as if they were his own. That’s a master teacher in my opinion, as they grow up to not only be trained in martial arts but also grow to become great leaders who inspire us all. 

Master Dave Wheaton is one of those rare individuals that to this day keeps me in awe & gratitude for his gifts.

Gregory Rand


I’ve known Grand Master Wheaton for some fifteen years. I first met him through his dojo in Santa Barbara, Ca. At that time, I was interested in Kick Boxing and his program was highly recommended throughout the martial arts and fitness community. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and still look back on that time fondly. GM Wheaton is a stickler when it comes to technique, routine and movement. This led me to become a more proficient and better kickboxing athlete. The community that GM Wheaton built was like no other I’ve ever come across. Not only did I take away a new skill set, I also took away lifetime friendships. I still consider GM Wheaton a teacher and mentor, but most important of all, a confidant and friend. His influence has changed my life. You cannot say that about many people

Kim Fauskee

Santa Barbara, CA

I have known, and trained under, Grandmaster Dave Wheaton since 2004. His technique is phenomenal, as is his teaching. His TKD and Hapkido lineages are important to any serious martial artist. In my training I have only met two people that can break down a technique and demonstrate a practical application, and Grandmaster Wheaton is one of them. 

Alex Rodriquez


When I relocated to California in 2016 I was told by a friend if I wanted a good workout I should train with Master Wheaton. They failed to mention his program was not just a good workout but would keep me from getting injured in all aspects of life. Many parts of my work are physically demanding and the knowledge I gained working with Master Wheaton has helped me to improve my mobility and strength. As Master Wheaton says, I take care of myself so I can help take care of others. 

Alex Tate

Santa Barbara

I met Master Wheaton 16 years ago when I happened upon his dojo, looking for a gym. I drank the coo-laid, as they say, and got more than just the “gym” that I bargained for. I worked and taught in his dojo for the next 12 years, during which time my daughter and I earned our black belts together. I’ve since reached my third Dan, and truly believe the reason master Wheaton’s system is so valuable.. what sets it apart, is that it doesn’t require one to be bigger or stronger than an attacker. As a petite woman, the self-defense techniques I have learned are applicable, accessible, and effective. The have saved my life. 

Amanda Arcuri


I have been truly blessed to be a student of Grandmaster Dave Wheaton for over 35 years. Even though his incredible knowledge and experience in martial arts is profoundly vast, he constantly strives to learn so that he can be even more impactful and insightful. He is truly genuine in his drive to bring out the very best in everyone he meets. His method of teaching is multi-faceted so that he can reach a diverse audience. He changes lives on a daily basis because he truly cares about his students. There are not many people in this world like Grandmaster Dave. It has been an honor to have him in my life as my instructor and my friend. He is a big part of how I have grown as much in my life as I have. I highly recommend Grandmaster Dave Wheaton as an instructor and life coach.

Ellen Reichelt


I’ve been a student of Grand Master Dave Wheaton for the last thirteen years. Practicing Dynamic Circle Hapkido, I have reached a Third Dan. Over the years I’ve learned to carry our five tenets in my daily lifestyle Curtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, Indomia Spirit. I will forever be grateful and recommend people to learn from Dave Wheaton. 

en Espanol

Eh Sido un estudiante del Gran Maestro Dave Wheaton por los últimos trece años.  Practicando el Arte Marcial Llamado Círculo Dinámico Hapkido y eh alcanzado Tercer Dan. Sobre los años pasan eh aprendido a caminar con los cinco Principios en mi diario vivir. Cortesía, Integridad, Perseverancia, Auto Control, Espíritu Indomable. Yo por siempre estaré agradecido y con gusto le Recomiendo a la gente que aprendan de Un gran Maestro como Dave Wheaton.

Enrique Mercado Jr


My family and I have been training with Grandmaster Dave Wheaton since 2006 in Dynamic Circle Hapkido. We have all received our 5th Dan certification from Grandmaster.  Grandmaster is one of the most talented, patient and knowledgeable individuals that I know.  He selflessly gives of himself.  When he is teaching a technique it is so clear that he really wants you to learn and become a better martial artist.   He is so very patient in his teaching and will always include real life scenarios to really make you think.  Both of my sons as well as my husband and myself have gained so very much from his teaching.   My children were 11 and 12 years old when we started training.  Grandmaster has been such a powerful role model in all of our lives.  He has given us confidence and endless knowledge in Dynamic Circle hapkido.  We are all so very  greatful for having the opportunity to not only know but training for so many years with Grandmaster.   If you are ever so lucky to have an opportunity to learn and train with Grandmaster I highly recommend you do so! 

Jackie Knauss


I am delighted to share my heartfelt testimonial about the exceptional Grand Master Dave Wheaton who has played a monumental role in shaping my life. Words fail to express the profound impact he has had on me, not just as a martial arts mentor, but as an exemplary leader and confidant and friend. 

From the very first day I stepped into his dojo, I felt a great sense of community with a foundation based on core values such as honor and respect that I could align with. Grand Master’s passion and dedication to martial arts are palpable in every move he makes. 

Beyond his martial arts mastery, Grand Master embodies the essence of a true leader. He possesses a remarkable ability to inspire and motivate his students, instilling in us a sense of discipline, resilience, and self-belief. His unwavering commitment to our growth and development extends far beyond the four walls of the dojo. He has been a constant source of support, pushing me to surpass my limits and unlock my true potential.

Under his guidance, I have experienced a profound transformation on many levels. Grand Master’s teachings go beyond the physical techniques; he imparts invaluable life lessons that transcend the realm of martial arts. His wisdom and guidance have helped me navigate challenges, cultivate self-confidence, and develop a strong sense of purpose.

What sets GrandMaster apart is his genuine care and investment in his students’ personal growth. He takes the time to understand each individual’s strengths and weaknesses and fosters a nurturing and inclusive environment that allows everyone to thrive and feel like a part of a tight-knit community.

I am eternally grateful to have had the privilege of being mentored by Grand Master Dave Wheaton. His teachings have become an integral part of my life, and the impact he has made will forever resonate within me. I wholeheartedly recommend his teachings to anyone seeking a profound transformation, a mentorship experience that goes beyond the physical, and a remarkable leader who will guide you on the path to self-discovery and growth.

Randee Layne


I have had the privilege of training under Grand Master Dave Wheaton for over 25 years, and I can confidently say that he is an extraordinary individual who has left an indelible mark on my life. As an instructor and a person, Grand Master Dave Wheaton exemplifies excellence in every aspect.

One of the most admirable qualities that Grand Master Wheaton possesses is his remarkable sense of humor. Despite the intense discipline and focus required in martial arts training, he effortlessly infuses laughter and joy into every session. His ability to lighten the mood, even in the midst of rigorous training, creates an atmosphere that encourages growth, resilience, and camaraderie among his students.

Beyond his infectious humor, Grand Master Wheaton establishes a personal relationship with each of his students. He genuinely cares about their progress and well-being, taking the time to understand their individual strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. This personalized approach fosters an environment of trust and respect, allowing students to flourish under his guidance.

Grand Master Wheaton’s knowledge of martial arts and philosophy is truly exceptional. His depth of understanding spans not only the physical techniques but also the underlying principles and values that martial arts embody. Whether it is the intricacies of technique, the history of various martial arts styles, or the philosophical foundations that underpin them, Grand Master Wheaton imparts his wisdom with clarity and passion. His ability to articulate complex concepts in a relatable manner is a testament to his expertise and dedication.

In my years of training, I have rarely encountered an individual who can match Grand Master Wheaton’s level of knowledge and expertise. His commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement is truly inspiring. He consistently pushes his students to explore their limits and reach their highest potential, both on and off the mat.

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend Grand Master Dave Wheaton as an unparalleled martial arts instructor. His exceptional sense of humor, personal connection with his students, and vast knowledge of martial arts and philosophy set him apart from the rest. If you are seeking a mentor who can guide you on a transformative journey, both physically and mentally, look no further than Grand Master Wheaton. He is a true role model and an invaluable asset to the martial arts community.

GM Yaro


2006 marked the beginning of my family and I training with Grandmaster Wheaton in the martial art Hapkido. It was our first time learning any martial art. His patient manner of instruction led to our becoming martial artists, having greater physical fitness and newfound confidence among other things.

I’ve observed men and women of all ages benefit from Grandmaster Wheaton’s style of teaching. 

For my family and me it’s been life changing. I highly recommend working with him.

Kevin Burke, Santa Barbara

Kevin Burke

Santa Barbara

Grand Master Wheaton is an excellent martial artist and instructor. His standards are high, and he’s tremendously patient in helping his students to meet them. His classes are rigorous, but also always fun. Beyond instruction in technique, his focus on the history and philosophy of the arts he teaches offers layers of understanding to every class. Training with him hasn’t just made me a good martial artist, it’s made me a better person.

Raymond Janik