Ryan Wheaton, an 8th degree black belt in KENPO, has devoted 25+ years to the martial arts and specializes in teaching practical and effective self-defense to adult men and women.
Ryan is a Michigan native and originally moved to Utah to go to college. He attended the University of Utah, earning a bachelors of science in Marketing, and decided to move here permanently. He’s a devoted husband and father.
In high school, he started his training in TAE KWON DO — a “sport” oriented martial art that is in the Olympics. While attending college, he made the switch to KENPO after taking it for college credit then seeing how incredibly practical and effective it was for modern day self-defense.
Now, he’s an internationally certified black belt under Mr. Paul Mills — a 10th degree black belt in AMERICAN KENPO (also known as AKKI KENPO). Mr. Mills was a private student of Mr. Ed Parker — the founder of AMERICAN KENPO — and has been at the art since 1966.
Previously, he studied with many talented and knowledgeable Kenpoists including: Frank Elsasser, Karl Kennedy, and Doug Anderson.
Mr. Wheaton’s History
Watch a video on how Mr. Wheaton got started in the martial arts.
In 1990, just two months before Mr. Ed Parker passed away, Ryan was fortunate enough to meet and talk with Mr. Ed Parker —10th degree black belt and Founder of AMERICAN KENPO. At that moment, he knew KENPO was going to be something he would do for the rest of his life. Mr. Parker was in town conducting a black belt test and was an experience he says he will never forget.
“When I met Mr. Parker, he was sitting behind a desk and stood up when I entered the room. He extended his hand with a smile and introduced himself; like I didn’t know who he was. After we shook hands, he sat back down and said ‘Wheaton? … Wheaton? … that’s a movie star name.’ His hands seemed like bear paws and he seemed to look right through me. That said, he still put me at ease and seemed very personable. I feel fortunate to have met him.” — Ryan Wheaton
Ryan feels fortunate to regularly conduct American Kenpo seminars at the American Kenpo Karate International’s (AKKI) Kenpo Camps on both the east and west coasts. He also sit on the AKKI’s Board of Directors, and has been the Northern Utah Regional Representative for the AKKI since 1997.
He has taught well over 4,000 martial arts classes and always looks forward to teaching every week and working with his KENPO students.
The greatest satisfaction Ryan has is seeing his student’s progress and learn this highly practical, effective and fascinating martial art of KENPO.
Black Belts Awarded by Ryan Wheaton:
- Price Bethel (1st Black)
- Shawn Gough (3rd black)
- George Thomsen (3rd black)
- Jess Leonard (2nd Black)
- Rex Stratton (1st Black)
- Kelly Renfrow (1st Black)
- Christine Malone (1st Black)
- Steve Schultz (1st Black)
- Josh Ramsey (2nd Black)
- Jessica Taylor (1st Black)
- Joel Weight (1st Black)
- Cheryl Laxton (1st Black)
- Blake Miller (1st Black)
- Aaron Ford (2nd Black)