Master Joe


Master Joe Schaefer brings more "to the table" than just about any other martial arts teacher you will ever encounter. He has over 33 years training in Kung Fu and Tai Chi. He has been teaching the art since 1987, but he is also Dr. Schaefer and earned a Doctorate from the the University of Texas at Austin in 1997 in the field of Neurophysiology. In addition, he is successful entrepreneur and is a certified trainer in the neurofeedback-based training of Open Focus. He brings this diverse background in every class he teaches.


Picture To Left: Master Joe is in Zilker Park practicing the form "flying tiger comes out of the cave".

You Can Bury Yourself In Comfort But Only Constant Challenge Leads To Growth And Transformation. My Lifelong Mission Is To Teach, Empower, Inspire And Connect With Those Around Me.

~Master Joe Schaefer

Building A Special Community Austin Since 1991


A Small Portion of The Black belts under Master Joe Schaefer's Instruction

     My name is Joe Schaefer and I started training in Kung Fu and Tai Chi in the fall of 1984. I started training after dropping out of college my freshman year. I felt defeated and embarrassed to have dropped out of school. I moved from one minimum wage job to another, but as luck would have it, somebody told me about a new class that I might find interesting. I enrolled as a white belt in a Shaolin-Do Kung Fu class with no idea that this single decision would change the course of my life forever.
     I kicked and punched my way to black belt in 1987 and along the way I re-invented myself with new found confidence. I married my high school sweetheart and we both went back to college in the fall of 1987. Ten years later I earned my Doctorate in Neurophysiology and my wife Sheryl earned her Masters in Physiology. My belief in myself grew with each goal I achieved in Shaolin-Do and was mirrored in academics and life. In 1995, I took the biggest risk of my life when Sheryl and I opened a full-time Kung Fu and Tai Chi school in Austin. Since then I have personally produced over a thousand black belt students, I am a 8th degree black belt, Sheryl is a 6th degree black belt, and both our children are black belts.
     In the 35 years since starting my Shaolin-Do journey, the confidence and strength I got from that path has been the real game changer in my life. Now it is my greatest joy to introduce others to the same transformative path and watch as they stretch and grow. I watch our students go on to reach for their dreams, try new things, find new friends and relationships and basically find the inner strength to LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT FEAR!

Some of Master Schaefer's Many Accomplishments

  • Has trained in Shaolin Kung Fu since 1984. His first instructor was Tony Gutman.
  • Has taught Kung Fu/ Tai Chi since 1987.
  • He was awarded 5th degree Black Belt in 1999, by Shaolin Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé.
  • Was promoted to 6th degree black belt by Grandmaster Sin in February 2005.
  • Was promoted to 8th degree black belt in fall 2011.
  • Was promoted to 8th degree black belt (Elder Master) in fall 2019.
  • Within the Austin Schools, the number of Shaolin-Do students in Texas went from ZERO in 1991 to currently over 1300. As head instructor, Master Joe has personally produced over 500 black belt students (10 of them have opened their own schools).
  • He taught neurophysiology for 6 years at UT.
  • He received his Ph.D. (doctorate) in Neurophysiology from the University of Texas in 1997.
  • He was awarded young researcher of the year in 1996 (in the field of steroid hormones and neuroscience) and became a published Neuroscience author, in the most prestigious Neuroscience publication in the world.
  • He is one of only 13 regional Vice-Presidents of international Shaolin-Do Association (SDA).
  • He trained directly under Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé from 1987-1994.
  • While he still trains under Grandmaster Sin 2 weeks a year, he has been a private student of Elder Master William Leonard since 1994.
  • He won first place and Grand Championship trophies in several national level full contact, point sparring and forms competitions.In 2003 he took 2nd place in the Master Sparring Division against 5th-8th degree black belts.
  • Has performed twice at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province and once in Chen Tai Chi village, where he fought a challenge match with a 3 times Chinese National Push Hands Champion, and nephew of the head coach.
  • He teaches over 200 traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi forms to his students (including at least 20 different weapons)
  • He was on the teaching faculty of the Academy of Oriental Medicine as the Chi Kung and Tai Chi instructor.