Meet Your Instructors

With a solid Team of experienced Hapkido Instructors, there is never a shortage of things to learn or inspiration to be gained as we take you on your journey towards Black Belt.

Master Matt Geister - Hapkido

Master Matt Geister

Simon Callaghan

My Martial arts journey started way back in 1988 when i first started training in Judo. That lasted 6 months. Then i tried Jujitsu & Kung fu again for approx 6 months each. Next up came Tae kwon do, I really enjoyed the dynamic kicks whilst training tae kwon do. I also did a little karate. I really loved all of the martial arts styles I had tried however something was missing, I was searching for a more complete, well rounded martial art style hence why I seemed to be shopping around trying all the different styles. I remember saying to a friend, why isn’t there a style that combines the joint locks of jujitsu, the dynamic kicks of tae kwon do, the throws, falling and grappling of judo and the solid patterns of karate. My friend said what about Hapkido, never heard of it I said but I agreed to go along to a class, after all i had pretty much tried everything else what was one more class.
That one class of Hapkido is all it took, I was hooked. It had every thing I was looking for in a martial art. My search was over, that was back in 1993 and I have never stopped training Hapkido since that day. For many many years I trained 4 nights a week!!!. Over the years I have complimented my Hapkido training with some boxing. What I love about Hapkido or any martial art for that matter is that no matter how advanced you get, you always strive to constantly better yourself and better your techniques. In 2011, I travelled to Korea on the Hapkido Korea tour and used this tour to help prepare me for my up coming 4th Degree grading.

1st Degree Black Belt 2001
2nd Degree Black Belt 2003
3rd Degree Black Belt 2006
4th Degree Black Belt 2012

And so my awesome Hapkido journey continues.....

Andrew Dunn

When did you start training
I dabbled as a teenager in Kung Fu for a shorty period and started training martial arts seriously in the mid 1990’s. I was looking to improve my fitness and rather than go jogging or joining a gym I started training in Goju Ryu Karate. I enjoyed the fact I was getting fitter and stronger and at the same time learning skills and improving myself both the physically and mentally. I achieved the rank of first Dan Black belt and in 2001 when the karate school closed down I was looking for a new place to train. I visited a lot of dojangs and dojo’s on the Northern Beaches and one Saturday walked into the Northern Beaches Hapkido Dojang and have been there ever since.

Why Hapkido
It’s diverse and expansive. The depth of Hapkido means you are never bored and always have something to learn or improve on. It provides practical self defense skills, traditional boxing/hand techniques and kicks, some judo elements, aikido, weapons as well an artistic element through the various patterns.

My Journey so Far
There are the physical benefits which initially attracted me to martial arts and keep me coming back. Through my journey in martial arts I have also discovered many other positive aspects that have helped me in my career and personal life. Such things as goal setting, discipline and focus, always approaching things with an open mind and a preparedness to learn. Humility and being open and honest with myself and others has all come from time spent on the mats. As a result Hapkido has become part of my life
I am now at a great stage of my Hapkido career where I am still learning and improving my own Hapkido but also imparting what I have learned over the years to others.I have been extremely fortunate in my Hapkido journey to have trained with and mentored by some exceptional instructors including Master Geister, Master Marie, Master Tamanini. They have been a great influence on my Hapkido, influenced the way I teach and provided great role models for life in general.
I am also fortunate to train at a great club with a tremendous depth of talented and skilled martial artists including Simon Callaghan (4th Degree), Chad Geister (1st Degree), Mel Thomas (1st Degree) and Will Hurst (1st Degree) and all the senior belts who train regularly.

Jerome Fontaine

What Inspired you to start Hapkido and Martial Arts?
Even as a child I had always been fascinated by martial arts.I watched all Bruce Lee movies when I was young but never got to do anything about it (apart from being a martial artist in my head, with sound, kicks and all). As an adult I never really had the opportunity to begin, but then there was an incident which spurred me on to begin a Martial Art. It was an unfortunate incident whereby my mother visiting from France fell victim to an unprovoked and nasty act of racial hatred. This occurred in the Warringah Mall carpark and really affected my feeling of safety in society so I decided to do something about improving my ability to stand up for myself. I searched for and tried a few other martial arts: I fell in love with Hapkido because in my view, (A) it is very complete (kicking, falling, locks, weapons etc.) which means we cover many aspects of the art, (B) it never attacks but is all about defence, (C) it's very efficient and (D) it is very pragmatic.

How Long have you been studying Martial Arts?
I have been training Hapkido for just over 6 years now

What do you like about our Club Northern Beaches Hapkido
I like the training environment in our club, in particular the mix of intensity and technicalities. This is important, we often push hard physically (and I had to often go beyond the limits I thought I had –mentally and physically), but we also spend lots of time on the technical aspect of Hapkido. The entire crew who train down there, from Master Geister, all of the Black Belts right down to the junior belts make it an enjoyable, relaxed and friendly place to train. While at black tip level I am still at the early stage of my Hapkido journey, and I still have so much to learn. I am particularly attracted to weapon management, and in particular the pole (or in Korean Jang-Bong). I am fascinated by it: spinning and striking while moving with fluidity. What a challenge.

What do you like about teaching Hapkido?
My teaching philosophy can be summarised in 4 words:
Selflessness: whatever I learn from my masters, I will do my best to pass it on to my student. I don’t keep anything in my secret box, and share as much as I can.
Physicality: I believe a good martial artist must be physically fit. So in my classes, we will push hard (but fair). I always tell my students:-
If my grandma can do it better and faster, they can do it even better and even faster
-If my turtle (Clementine) can do it, they can do it –as a matter of fact Clementine has been the source of many discussions between my students and I.
Efficiency & Effectiveness: these 2 words are perhaps the most important ones for me. I am not (andI don’t want to be) the flashiest martial artist. Nor the fastest. Nor the best. Nor the most beautiful one. I leave that to others. What I try to excel in is my efficiency & effectiveness: in my moves, my strikes, my locks, my kicks etc. to achieve maximised results and performance with minimum energy spent, through the best technique possible. Not an easy thing to achieve, and it will take me even more years to come close to it, but that’s the journey I have embarked on, and the journey I will try to bring my students on.
Fun: I like to laugh and joke. I try to train hard, but always with a smile (whenever possible).

Assistant Instructors

Chad Geister

Chad Geister

When did you start Hapkido?
My first experience of Hapkido was with my dad out in the backyard on the trampoline learning to cat-roll. I officially started training when I was about five years old which makes it about 2003.

Hapkido covers so many aspects of martial arts, which one is your favourite or is best suited to you?
My Favourite aspects are falling or self-defence and I feel they are suited to me as I can throw myself around or get thrown around without hurting myself.

As an instructor, what motivates you to come down and teach?
I am motivated by having the opportunity to pass on the techniques and knowledge that I have learnt to other students, and assist them in reaching their full potential. Being an instructor has also allowed me to broaden my own knowledge of Hapkido and help me to find new and fun ways to pass on what I know to others.

Interests outside of hapkido?
I love doing most things that involve being outside or in the water. My other main passion is basketball, but I also enjoy waterskiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and surfing. I’m willing to try anything new that will challenge and push me outside my comfort zone.

What do you like about our club at Northern Beaches Hapkido?
I like that our club is easily accessible from where I live, and that all the students and instructors there are really friendly, approachable, and are always willing to help each other. There is a really welcoming and friendly atmosphere at our club, and pushes each other to get involved and challenge themselves to be the best they can.

Mel Thomas Hapkido

Mel Thomas

When did you start Hapkido?
I was introduced to Hapkido in my early 20s. My boyfriend Craig,was a blue belt and I went along to watch his grading in Paddington with Grandmaster Kim. I had never seen a martial arts class before and I was inspired by the strong women ...and impressed by the boy who went on to become my husband in 1999. As a young girl I had experienced bullying and domestic violence and I wanted to learn Hapkido to protect myself and feel more confident. My Hapkido journey began in 1997 at the North Sydney PCYC and from day 1, I loved it! I travelled to different clubs and trained up to 5 night a week. In 2005, I was awarded the AHA Woman of the Year Award representing my club of, Glebe. My Instructor of many years, Dom Salsiccia always encouraged me to keep training and never give up. After a 9 year break to raise my 2 daughters I am grateful to be back full time and very proud to continue my martial arts journey with Northern Beaches Hapkido.

Hapkido covers so many aspects of martial arts, which one is your favourite or is best suited to you?
I like all the aspects of the syllabus but I have the most fun with the self defence techniques. I especially love multiple self defence, we stand in the centre of a wide circle and demonstrate all the different techniques learned in class against people of different sizes and experience.I enjoy the challenge of laser focus and stepping up to make the most out of the techniques with the least amount of effort. I’m always learning somethingand discovering my own personal strength.As an instructor, what motivates you to come down and teach?It’s a privilege to play a part in a students martial arts journey. Every instructor brings something different to the class and I enjoy coaching my students to channel their spirit and tap into their inner strength. Hapkido to me, is so much more than a syllabus, it’s about personal responsibility, inclusiveness and leadership.I feel very fortunate to pay forward my passion and experience for self defence training in such a supportive and caring environment.

Interests outside of hapkido?
I'am a mother of 2 young daughters, speaker, writer, media commentator and Founder and CEO of the KYUP! Project, a grassroots campaign to break the cycle of domestic violence. When I’m not in the dojang you will find me presenting in schools and businesses nationally on a mission to empower the next generation to raise their standards and champion their safety and well-being.

What do you like about our club at Northern Beaches Hapkido?
Everyone is welcome! Master Geister and the instructors create a safeand fun judgment free zone for all people of all ages and fitness levels.Classes are varied and dynamic and we mix it up from week to week, catering to students of all abilities. Our students are friendly and everyone genuinely looks out for each other. We have loads of fun in and out of the dojang with social events.We are part of a professional national association with a wide network. Our Instructors are always striving to give students the best possible experience.

Kim Ansems

Kim Ansems

What Inspired you to start Hapkido and Martial Arts?
It seems so long since I left school, but I never really did dancing or any type of Martial Arts when I was young. At school it was just the usual school sports and swimming which kept me busy. My main motivation for starting Hapkido was I to get fit and to gain the 3 “C”s (Confidence, Control and Co-ordination) in myself and towards others. I wanted to learn how to protect myself and to be more assertive. I was always getting up, going to work then coming back home again. I needed to get out there and have more in my routine life.

How Long have you been studying Martial Arts?
I have been training in Hapkido for about 11 years now.

Do you recall any special moments during your training?
There have been so many goals achieved, and lots of stepping stones in my path to improvement so its hard to pick out specific ones. I was awarded the Trophy and Title of Northern Beaches Hapkido Adult of the year in 2018. This meant so much to me and was definitely not expected.

What do you like about our Club Northern Beaches Hapkido
After starting my Training at Northern beaches Hapkido, I felt included and felt like I was part of a team. Everyone was very friendly, helpful and always ready to support. As a person that did not pick up choreography that easily, going to the tournament , camp and generally training with my fellow hapkidoists have helped me learn to improve these skills and characteristics.

What do you like about teaching Hapkido?
As a women it is empowering to feel safer when walking alone. I feel that I am gaining life skills in confidence and control and coordination. Hapkido helps you learn that it’s not all about strength. Anything I can do to help kids, women and other students learn these skills is why I keep coming back for more.

What sort of things do you like outside of Hapkido
I grew up on a farm, I love animals ,swimming and going to the movies. I work a lot, having two main jobs as a preschool teacher then also a swimming teacher for people with additional needs as well as mainstream swimming students. I find doing hapkido and the gym a semi good balance. Over the past few years I have become a more regular gym goer, trying F45 and now crunch. I am trying things I have never would have done before and getting out of my comfort zone. I am enjoying doing Zumba (considering that I have never danced before), kick boxing, box fit, yoga and generally any way I can try and improve my fitness.

Will Hurst Hapkido

Will Hurst

What inspired you to start Hapkido and when did you start?
I started training back in 2001 and Hapkido at the time was the only artform that had a variety of movements from kicking, punching, throws, self-defence, falling and flexibility, whereas others were limited in either only groundwork or just kicking to only throws.

Hapkido covers so many aspects of martial arts, which one is your favourite or is best suited to you?
Self-defence and kicking. My plan is to train so much that in any situation where I might find myself or a loved one in danger, that I can react fluidly, quickly and without thinking.

As an instructor, what motivates you to come down and teach?
I get motivated by learning more, and I feel I learn more by teaching and breaking down each movement into its most simplest form.

Interests outside of hapkido?
I enjoy surfing, cooking, travelling, playing guitar, photography as well as spending time with my wife Maria and son Diego.

What do you like about our club at Northern Beaches Hapkido?
Going to training is enjoyable because of the people, we train hard, we work hard and have fun

Adam Vescio - - Northern Beaches Hapkido instructor

Adam Vescio

What Inspired you to start Hapkido and Martial Arts?
I fell in love with Martial arts at age 5 from watching old Martial arts VHS tapes mainly Bruce lee movies trying to copy each move and even doing
the famous Bruce lee noises around the house.

How Long have you been studying Martial Arts?
I started training Taekwondo on 2001, and trained for around 6 years reaching the level of Junior Black Belt. My dad introduced me to Hapkido in 2008 so I have been training at Hapkido for almost 12 years now

Do you recall any special moments during your training?
There have been so many goals achieved, and lots of stepping stones in my path to improvement so its hard to pick out specific ones. I was awarded the Trophy and Title of Northern Beaches Hapkido Adult of the year in 2018. This meant so much to me and was definitely not expected.

What do you like about our Club Northern Beaches Hapkido
Northern beaches Hapkido as a club is a second family to me. The
people you meet, the instructors you have and learn from keep me coming back more and more as each class is just as exciting as the last.

What do you like about teaching Hapkido?
I am really enjoying the challenge of motivating others to keep training and to strive to be better than they were yesterday. I would say to most students, “never give up”. Things may and often do get difficult, and you may feel like you may not be getting anywhere at times, but keep training hard and you’ll see the results unfold before your eyes day by day.

What sort of things do you like outside of Hapkido
I really enjoy recording and creating music. I love to travel and if I get the chance to get out there you may find me relaxing with a sometimes challenging round of golf.

Steve Mansfield - Northern Beaches Hapkido instructor

Steve Mansfield

When did you start Hapkido?
I participated in my first Hapkido class in late 2012.

What Inspired you to start Hapkido and Martial Arts?
I trained in Boxing and Muay Thai for eight years and I was seeking a martial art that covered all four ranges of combat (kicking, punching, trapping and grappling). I came across an online article introducing Hapkido as being famed for powerful kicks, varied hand strikes, effective trapping and versatile joint locks and throws. This is what caught my attention and motivated me to try it out.

Hapkido covers so many aspects of martial arts, which one is your favourite or is best suited to you?
I enjoy learning different locks and pressure points the most.
As an instructor, what motivates you to come down and teach?
I started Hapkido when my daughter was 18 months old and she regularly watched me train at home and at the Dojang. She was keen to start classes as soon as she turned 7, so I started helping out with her class. As an instructor I really enjoy watching students of all ages grow to love the art and refining my own skills.

Interests outside of hapkido?
I’m a keen winter skier, enjoy golf and generally keeping fit and active.

What do you like about our club at Northern Beaches Hapkido?
The club has a great family atmosphere, strong leadership and provides quality tuition.

Chris James - - Northern Beaches Hapkido instructor

Chris James

When did you start Hapkido?
In 2009 with my wife, Clare, I started Hapkido. Clare researched and found 3 martial arts centres on the Northern Beaches that she was interested in which I showed to a work colleague who had practised martial arts for many years. He suggested Hapkido due to the fact that he had trained under Matthew Kim previously and was extremely impressed with Matthew. It all started from there.

Hapkido covers so many aspects of martial arts, which one is your favourite or is best suited to you?
I enjoy the self-defence elements of Hapkido most. Learning how to move efficiently and effectively is an aspect that I constantly strive for. Plus, the constant reminder that you must use it or lose it, (fitness, flexibility, discipline), keeps me coming back.

As an instructor, what motivates you to come down and teach?
I enjoy the opportunity to be able to pass knowledge and skills that I have been fortunate enough to have learnt myself. Passing on knowledge and skill gives you the chance to improve your own abilities and skill. I find instructing very rewarding.

Interests outside of hapkido?
I have always enjoyed the outdoors, and the sports it has to offer. I have worked and competed in Whitewater kayaking disciplines from a young age. Having enjoyed working and living abroad for many years working as a Whitewater instructor. I love to snowboard and Mountain bike, and thrive on introducing my daughters to the sports I love.

What do you like about our club at Northern Beaches Hapkido?
From the first day Clare and I entered the world of Northern Beaches Hapkido we felt at home. Friendly, passionate people have come into our lives since that day. We have made lifelong friends. We now have our eldest daughter terrorising the instructorsas she has started on her own hapkido journey

What They’re Saying

I've always struggled to find an activity that my kids would enjoy and want to stick with, but Matt and his team have been incredible at making a disciplined sport, fun and entertaining. The instructors are patient and nurturing and I’m thrilled that my kids are learning a vital life skill in defending themselves. My daughter now jokes that I better not mess with her because, she knows “Hap ki do”!

Laura Scott

I enrolled my 7 year old daughter plus her 2 school mates and the kids love it. I appreciate the great mix of physical skills, balance and coordination plus learning respect and consideration. We are very lucky to have Master Geister teach our kids.

Nadja Warner