The Pit (mixed martial arts)
|Founded by||John Hackleman|
|Primary owners||John Hackleman|
|Primary trainers||John Hackleman
|Past titleholders||Chuck Liddell|
|Prominent fighters||Chuck Liddell (UFC)
Glover Teixeira (UFC)
Court McGee (UFC)
Ramsey Nijem (UFC)
Antonio Banuelos (DREAM)
Scott Lighty (Strikeforce)
|Training facilities||Arroyo Grande, California
|Website||The Pit Headquarters|
The Pit is a professional mixed martial arts association and training camp that operates in Arroyo Grande, California; with a branch in Henderson, Nevada, and affiliate schools throughout the United States. Founded in 1986 by John Hackleman, its fighters have competed in various promotions such as the UFC, WEC, DREAM and many others. The Pit became world famous when Pit black belt Chuck Liddell became the UFC light-heavyweight champion.
The Pit was founded in 1986 in Woodland Hills, California as a training gym that teaches the art of Kajukenbo, or Hawaiian Kempo as it is now known. Its founder, John Hackleman started the school as a means to teach a more straight forward, no-nonsense approach to martial arts. Initially, The Pit was intended to be a martial arts school for training serious fighters only, and employed a logo depicting a Grim Reaper-like fighter. Eventually Hackleman gave the school another name that would attract kids and families, and used the name "KuZen" when the school opened to the general public. The Pit currently operates out of Arroyo Grande, California and gained worldwide notoriety when Chuck Liddell became UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion.
The Pit boss
In 1985, Hackleman moved from Hawaii to California and renamed his martial arts style to Hawaiian Kempo. The Pit is the only Hawaiian Kempo school that uses the Ke-m-po spelling, instead of the more commonly used Ke-n-po. Hackleman describes his style as more hardcore than other Hawaiian Kenpo schools. He gave school the style name "KuZen," a word derived from mix "Ku," the Hawaiian god of war, and "Zen," for Zen Buddhism. This name was intended to attract children and families to his school. 
Hawaiian Kempo blends kickboxing, western boxing, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Kempo,and wrestling. The Pit places a heavy emphasis on "CrossPit" The Pit's specialty strength and conditioning fitness program developed in the vein of CrossFit. In order to add more time for a more fitness-oriented curriculum aimed at producing well-conditioned athletes, training katas were eliminated from the original KaJuKenBo formula. Practicality and usability are emphasized in the areas of striking and grappling. Bag training is emphasized both standing and on the ground.
Since the school began accepting non-fighters, they train students from the age of three years and up. The school uses 3 separate belt systems; one for three- to eight-year-olds, one for ages nine through 13, and one for adults.
Notable fighters who have trained at The Pit
- Chuck Liddell (UFC)
- Tito Ortiz (UFC)
- Jake Shields (UFC, Strikeforce)
- Ramsey Nijem (UFC)
- Tony DeSouza (UFC)
- Bobby Southworth (Strikeforce)
- Tim Kennedy (UFC, Strikeforce)
- Jason Von Flue (UFC, Strikeforce)
- Court McGee (UFC)
- Scott Adams (UFC)
- Glover Teixeira (UFC)
- Steven Siler (UFC)
- Antonio Banuelos (UFC, WEC, DREAM)
- Scott Lighty (Strikeforce)
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- "ThePitMalibu - Instructors". ThePitMalibu.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
- "ESPN Page 2- This guy scares you?". ESPN.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "The Pit Instructors". ThePitMMA.com. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "UFC notebook: Liddell, Ortiz truckin' on 'Route 66'.". The Boston Herald. 2007. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "Antonio Banuelos_WEC_Pit_Tapout reality show". Yahoo!Canada. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-22.[dead link]
- "About The Pit". thePit.TV. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "Crosspit.tv". Crosspit.tv. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
- "Crossfit website". Cross-fit. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "What is Hawaiian Kempo". The Pit. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "The Pit Hawaiian Kempo". homeofthepit.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- ""Pit Boss" John Hackleman Speaks About Liddell's Loss". Chuck Liddell: Official Site. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
- "Hackleman Keeps It Old School for Liddell". UFC.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-21.