Meet the Instructors

Steve Haydock

Owner & Jiu Jitsu Head Instructor

Steve is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He started his martial arts training at age 19 with the study of Shorin-Ryu Karate.  During this period he saw UFC 1 and was intrigued at the fighting style used by Royce Gracie to defeat all his opponents.  

Steve began his BJJ training in 1999 with Dean Taylor, who was a blue belt under the legendary Rickson Gracie. This started Steve’s training journey that would take him to the Rickson Gracie Academy in Pacific Pallisades, CA where he would be exposed to the teachings of Rickson and his senior instructors.  

Steve continued his training with the association until he was promoted to purple belt by Roberto ‘Risada’ Atalla, Head of the Rio Grappling Club, eventually receiving his Black Belt in 2007. Since then Steve has taught and instructed  groups and individuals all over the world including SWAT / LEO teams, military, corporate groups and individual athletes.

Sam Palmer

Owner, Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor, Kids Instructor & Fitness Instructor

Sam is Kokoro’s assistant Jiu Jitsu instructor and lead instructor for the kids program. He has extensive coaching experience in all areas of fitness and multiple athletic disciplines. He is a keen climber and outdoor enthusiast. He holds the rank of Purple Belt in Jiu Jitsu. He is also a CrossFit L2 Trainer.

Natosha Willhite-Haydock

Owner, Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor, Head Nutrition / Fitness Instructor & Kids Instructor

Natosha is Kokoro’s chief fitness coach and head of the nutrition program. Natosha has been a competitive athlete and involved in fitness her whole life. She is a Certified Level 3 CrossFit Trainer and works as part of CrossFit HQ’s Elite Team of Seminar Trainers. She travels the world to help deliver the CrossFit L1 and L2 seminars. She is also a L1 certified Precision Nutrition Coach. She can help tailor your nutrition to better support your goals on and off the mat. She holds the rank of Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu.

Luke Shepard

Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor (Striking / MMA)

Luke brings over a decade of MMA experience to the team. He began his training and fight career at the world famous Team Quest in Portland, OR. Luke has competed in MMA and Kickboxing as an amateur and a professional. He is the former XCF Welterweight Champion and holds a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu under Steve Haydock. Whether you are training for self defense or to compete in the cage Luke can help you combine the striking and grappling arts and achieve your goals.

Eric Hudkins

Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Eric is a Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under Steve Haydock and was Steve’s first student in the US. He enjoy climbing, mountain biking and wake boarding during the Summer.

Chad Smith

Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Chad is a Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under Steve Haydock and has been training Jiu Jitsu with Steve for the last 6 years. He started his Jiu Jitsu journey tracing at a Royce Gracie school called Contender MMA in Dubai. He joined the US Marines in 2002 and served in Iraq in 2004 as a Heavy Machine Gunner on a CAAT Team. He is a former Military Weapons Instructor. Chad recently received his Masters Degree from Missouri State University in Health Administration. He also competes in USPSA Pistol Shooting on Team 1791.

Jarid Bowers

Adult Jiu Jitsu Instructor

Jarid is a Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt under Steve Haydock. Jarid ‘Goldfish’ Bowers began his Jiu Jitsu journey in 2014 with Sean Bollinger (10th Planet Jiu Jitsu). He has competed in several events including the AGF, NAGA and FUJI. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys competitive bushcraft survival events.


We’d love to have you join us!