The Pit 702
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Eric Umali

Founder/CEO/Managing Partner/Head Instructor

Originally from California's Central Coast, Eric has been running The Pit 702 (previously The Pit Vegas) full time since 2011. Eric is a 3rd degree Isshinryu Karate Black Belt, 3rd degree Hawaiian Kempo Black Belt, and 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt.

Over fifteen years ago, Eric was hired by John "The Pit Master" Hackleman to teach at The Pit Headquarters in Arroyo Grande, CA. Eric helped The Pit grow, working as Hackleman's Head Instructor. He earned a Pit Black Belt in 2004; enduring a rigorous testing in Hawaii under Hackleman and Pit Black Belts Rick Metzler and Chuck "The Ice Man" Liddell.

Eric was an avid competitor in statewide California sport karate tournaments, garnering many top finishes in over 10 years of active competition. In Las Vegas, he has competed in local MMA smokers/kickboxing bouts and has earned top finishes at Grappling X, NAGA, FightBlok, and NABJJF tournaments.

Always looking to improve, Eric has evolved The Pit's Hawaiian Kempo lessons into a well rounded curriculum that soundly integrates striking and grappling for a full mixed martial arts experience. In addition, he has upgraded The Pit's long standing, old school, CrossPIT program by the creation of the Blitz, Strong, and Pit Mitts classes.

With these overhauls in both Hawaiian Kempo and CrossPIT, Eric has allowed the general public to improve their strength and conditioning, learn integrated stand up and ground self defense, in dynamic programs which cater to all experience and fitness levels in a safe and friendly environment.

Prior to moving to Henderson, Eric worked in Los Angeles as a Film and Television Development Executive for over six years and has a Bachelor's in Film Production from Cal State University Northridge. He also is Co-Owner of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Downtown Las Vegas, with Casey Halstead. When not training, Eric enjoys live music, various entrepreneurial endeavors, and exploiting his Maltese Shih Tzu, TinaFey, for altruistic / comedic purposes.


Brian Pompa

Assistant Instructor


Brian Valencia

Assistant Instructor

I started coming to the pit for extra cardio, besides going to the gym everyday.  I’ve been training here for almost year and a half. My favorite classes are HK, Blitz and Mitts. Automotive tech dropout and currently a diesel mechanic. If I’m not busy working, I’m eating and enjoying all types of foods.  I practically workout a lot just so I can eat. Eat like a fat kid, but train like a champion!!! 


Jake Russell

Assistant Instructor

Got started at The Pit after not finding an environment that I wanted at other valley gyms.

Been training at within The Pit for almost 5 years now.

Medaled at several tournaments, most recently second at Silver State Open.

UNLV grad working in TV news

Love to travel the world


JC Rosero

Founder/COO/Managing Partner/Assistant Instructor

How did you get started in the Pit?

It was a dark and stormy day, after several life changing events, when my coworker slowly began introducing me to MMA, the UFC, and the JRE podcast.  Once I decided to start training, I found a Groupon for The Pit Vegas.  I showed up for class, was greeted by Eric and my instructor Evan, and the rest is history.

How long have you been training, CrossPIT and HK?

Counting the time I took off due to car accidents and surgeries?  Technically I started at The Pit about 4 years ago, though with the various injuries and accidents, I've only actively trained about 3 years.

Any accomplishments / competitions (even 5ks, tough  mudders, etc)?

5Ks, 10Ks, Terrain Racing, Silver State Jiu Jitsu

Schooling / academic / career background?

Bachelors and graduate degrees from UNLV in Management Information Systems.  Worked in IT all my life, since I was 15 or so.  

Any interesting tid bit to know about you?

I like being out in nature (camping, hiking, etc.) and traveling, and if I'm not doing tech shit or Pit shit, I'm doing nature shit.


Jessica Hanson

Assistant Instructor

How did you get started in the Pit?

I had been active with kickboxing for a couple of years when my youngest wanted to get involved. We found The Pit and she started in the Pee Wees class. After a couple of weeks were spent watching classes from the bench, I decided to try a class and I was hooked! CrossPIT blew cardio kickboxing away! It didn't take long into my joining CrossPIT that I set my sights on joining Hawaiian Kempo. 

How long have you been training, CrossPIT and HK?

Been training in CrossPIT for over a year, and Hawaiian Kempo for almost a year. Prior to training at The Pit 702, I had 2 years of kickboxing and bootcamp type experience.

Any accomplishments / competitions (even 5ks, tough  mudders, etc)?

Since taking control of my fitness, I have completed multiple 5ks, my first 10k, and am planning on doing my first Tough Mudder this year as well as my first grappling tournament. 

Schooling / academic / career background? Any interesting tid bit to know about you?

Former early childhood educational specialist, particularly with ASD/special needs children. Now an advocate of educational choice in NV & homeschooling/unschooling my kids, all of whom do HK at The Pit. We love nature, science, and learning about the world by traveling it.  Purely plant-based, proving vegans can be healthy & fit! 


Jose Razo

Assistant Instructor


Pierre Petrel

Assistant Instructor

In my junior year of high school I started doing Crossfit to help out with my swimming and the gym I was going to was connected with The Pit Vegas. So after watching a few classes go on from afar I decided to try a class, which turned out to be a one-on-one with Eric. After that he threw me into adult Hawaiian Kempo’s classes and the rest is history. 

I’ve been training for 7 years now

A silver and bronze medals in grappling tournaments, spartan race finisher, 5 gold medals in beer olympics 2016, and skilled lover. 

Bachelors of science in microbiology planning on attending medical school


Raymond Rivera

Assistant Instructor

How did you get started in the Pit?

I got started at The Pit through my interest watching MMA. I wanted to find a style that suited me, after moving to Henderson and found Hawaiian Kempo to be the best fit. 

How long have you been training, CrossPIT and HK?

I have been training since the fall of 2014.

Any accomplishments / competitions (even 5ks, tough  mudders, etc)?

Several medals in grappling tournaments. Earned my jiu jitsu blue belt at 10th Planet.

Schooling / academic / career background?

Currently pursuing a degree in graphic design and starting a new martial arts based apparel company. I want to have full creative control of my brand. 

Any interesting tid bit to know about you?

I like to travel and learn from my favorite striking coaches to better develop my skills and help me become a better instructor. 


Hunter Palmer

Assistant Instructor


Joshua Aguinaldo

Assistant Instructor


Julia Palmer

Assistant Instructor