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About Hezi Sheli

Hezi Sheli is the owner of the Israeli Martial Arts Academy in Westlake Village, CA and is one of the highest ranked and experienced Dennis Hisardut Ju Jitsu instructors in the U.S. A veteran of Israeli martial arts, he holds a 5th degree black belt in Hisardut and received his training under the living legend Grand Master Dennis Hanover, founder of Dennis Hisardut Ju Jitsu, and from his two sons Yaron and Guy at the Be’er Sheva official gym in Israel.

Hezi is also a skilled marksman and firearms control expert (Certified NRA instructor). In 2012, in response to the breakout of gun violence attacks in this country, Hezi began teaching private firearms seminars; Israeli military style (IDF). He believes that adult fighters, both beginners and advanced should also have the basic and advanced skills and knowledge necessary to be safe, proficient, and confident with a handgun and/or rifle.

Originally a combatant in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), Hezi went on to work internationally as a security professional, serving as a bodyguard for celebrities and high profile individuals and continues to train the top security teams of Hollywood's A list celebs. It is his real world life experiences which give him the knowledge and the authority to speak about everyday self-defense; what does work, what doesn't and more importantly why.

Born in Be’er Sheva, Israel to Avi and Mazal Sheli, his early childhood memories were filled with the reality of shelters and gas masks against the chemical threat attacks that were an every day occurrence during the time of the 1st Gulf war and the 1st Intifada (Palestinian uprising). These violent events and anger at the bullying happening in school motivated Hezi at the age of 12 to join Dennis Hisardut Ju Jitsu. It was here that he received the life lessons that prepared him to be alert and on top of his game in any given situation at any time in his life.

The training received from Dennis changed him very quickly from a shy insecure young boy to a strong, fit and confident teen. Hezi’s perseverance won him both local and national Dennis Hisardut Ju Jitsu championships on a regular basis. In 1995 at the age of 16, he had already successfully tested and received his brown belt and began instructing Hisardut to adults, teens, children and children with special needs. Two years later he went on to receive his 1st degree black belt before joining the prestigious IDF Special Forces unit Palsar Givati.

After 18 months of anti-terror, S.W.A.T. reconnaissance, intelligence techniques, and other military training received at the IDF, Hezi was called upon to test his skills with his team in Lebanon and Gaza. During these non-stop anti-terror missions, Hezi was given the opportunity to enter the officer candidate school but turned it down to stay with his team and support them against the on-going attacks, where he served as 1st Sergeant until his time with the military service was completed in November 2000.

Hezi went on to graduate with honors from Ben Gurion University, Be’er Sheva, Israel. In 2007 he came to the United States serving as the Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism for the Western Region in Los Angeles. It was here that he met his wife Sadhna. In 2010 they opened the first Dennis Hisardut Ju-Jitsu training center in the U.S. – The Israeli Martial Arts Academy in Westlake Village, CA.
In the summer of 2011 Hezi was awarded the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame given to the DSJJ delegation by Grand Master Dennis Hanover in Florida.

Hezi continually puts his skills and techniques to the test. In 2009 and 2011 he was invited to compete in the prestigious Dennis Hisardut Championships in Israel representing the U.S. Hezi fought against a group of International and Israel's best fighters, winning his division at both events and bringing home Gold for the USA.

Hezi routinely travels to Israel to keep abreast of his training and brings back the latest techniques in anti terror and self-defense from a country where there are no opportunities for mistakes or second chances. His Hisardut students receive the most modern training methods available so that they will always be prepared and alert given any situation any time, any place.

To Hezi, Hisardut is what its founder Dennis Hanover wanted it to be. It is a philosophy of living based on respect, discipline and self-knowledge. It’s primary principles are respect for God, the flag, parents, teachers, friends and oneself. From these tenets spring behavioral patterns that direct the way we live and conduct our daily lives, make decisions, grasp opportunities and most of all, enrich our soul. Students learn to discover their hidden strengths so that the choices life continually presents them with become opportunities for growth.

Hezi lives in Agoura Hills with his wife Sadhna and their four children, Noah, Mary, and twins Tom and Kai.

For details on his current classes please click here.

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