Our Karate Instructors

Nick W. Smith

Nick Smith started Hill Country Karate in 1983 with one location in New Braunfels, Texas. His program currently has 37 locations, an active instructor base of over 50 Black Belt instructors and an annual weekly enrollment as high as 1500 students. Mr. Smith has trained and promoted well over 200 individuals to the rank of Black Belt. He has hosted and directed more than 140 tournaments with competitors numbering up to 1600 over the past 35 years. Nick is recognized as one of the nation’s top tournament directors and is requested by the International Sport Karate Association to judge and officiate the World Finals Divisions of their tournament that is televised on ESPN every year.  
Nick’s other accomplishments include:
•   7th Degree Black Belt -American Society of Karate (1985)
•   7th Dan Black Belt -Superfoot Systems (1985)
•   6th Dan Black Belt - World Tiger  & Crane - Goju Ryu Karate  (2008)
•   1st Degree Black Belt -Cha-yon Ryu Tae Kwon Do (1982)
•   1st Degree Black Belt -Pekiti-Tersia Kali (1990)
•   Silat Suffian Bela Diri Team Leader (2015)
•   Siliat Suffian Bela Diri Regional Director (2017)
•   Siliat Suffian Bela Diri National Director (2018)
•   Siliat Suffian Bela Diri Global Tactical Director (2018)
•   Adaptive Combative Class Instructor at the US Armed Forces Center for the Intrepid (2011)
•   Combative Class Instructor for the 75th Ranger Battalion (begins 2020)
•   Combat Pistol & Duty Rifle Instructor (2019)
•   North American Professional Martial Arts member (1997)
•   North American Professional Martial Arts Cardio Karate Instructor (1997)
•   Dog Brothers Martial Arts Instructor (2001)
•   Kabaroan Eskrima of Filipino Barons Associate Instructor (2001)
•   CDT (Law Enforcement)Master Instructor (2006)
•   LRT(Military) Master Instructor (2006)
•  TFL(Civilian) Master Instructor (2006)
•   Real Safe/Know &Go/Bullyguard Instructor (2006)
•   ITC Licensed/Certified Executive Protection Specialist (2007)

Roger Haggard

Mr. Haggard joined Hill Country Karate in 1984. He had taken judo classes and played baseball & football throughout his childhood. After graduation from New Braunfels High School, he was looking for a way to challenge himself mentally and physically. He was approached by Ms. Angel Smith while lifting weights at the Landa Park Rec Center. She told him that if he kept lifting weights like he was, and didn't start stretching, he soon wouldn't be able to move at all! She challenged him to come and try the karate class she and Mr. Nick Smith were teaching. He gave it a try and fell in love with martial arts all over again. Mr. Haggard feels very blessed that in 1987, he became the first person to receive a Hill Country Karate black belt from Mr. Smith. After many years of teaching martial arts, Mr. Haggard now coaches the HCK Stars Competition Team exclusively. These students travel all over Texas and the United States competing in sport karate tournaments. He has been the head coach of this team since 2015. In 2017, under his direction, and with the help of a wonderful coaching staff, The HCK Stars won the ISKA World Championships at the US Open in Orlando, Florida!Mr. Haggard is also married to his wife Holly and has 4 children. During the day, he works as a nurse, providing medical care for veterans with catastrophic injuries. Request information now!
Training Center Located at 28864 Country Dr., New Braunfels, Texas 78132

Mark DeBerardino

Bio coming soon.

John Covington

Bio coming soon.

Richard Ruff

Mr. Ruff teaches our Specht Elementary class and is an assistant coach of the HCK Stars Competition team.

Nick W. Smith

Director- 6th Degree Black Belt- 1985

Roger Haggard

5th Degree Black Belt- 1987
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Mark DeBerardino

5th Degree Black Belt- 1993
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John Covington

5th Degree Black Belt- 1999
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Heather Hedquist

5th Degree Black Belt-1999
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Bo Estrada

4th Degree Black Belt- 2006
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Tony Vannella

4th Degree Black Belt- 2006
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Louis Polichino

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2008
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Robin Armstrong

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2009
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Richard Ruff

Instructor- 3rd Degree Black Belt- 2010
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Diana Polichino

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2011
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William Waring

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2011
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Michaela Zach

2nd Degree Black Belt-2011
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Richard Armstrong

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2012
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Fernando Luna

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2012
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Richard Rodriquez

3rd Degree Black Belt- 2012
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Mairi Vannella

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2014
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Rick Agquiz

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Stephanie Ayala

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Jose A Ayala

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Robert Dunlap

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Jason Hibbard

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David Janson

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Polly Johnson

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Denise Knebel

2nd Degree Black Belt- 2015
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Tracy Birchfield

1st Degree Black Belt- 2016
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Jessie Garcia

1st Degree Black Belt- 2017
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Kira Knebel

1st Degree Black Belt- 2017
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Don't Delay - Register for Classes Today!

Take advantage of the best Karate instruction in town with Hill Country Karate. Our  Martial Arts Classes are perfect for all experience levels. While based in New Braunfels we serve the Greater Hill country area from San Antonio to Austin.

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