About / Donato Helbling


The long story

Donato Helbling was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In his early childhood he was always intrigued by Martial Arts, watching cartoons and movies, but he was not the most athletic kid. Instead he was more focused in academic work and following his father and grandfather’s footsteps by preparing for engineering school. At the same time, his outgoing personality and deep thinking mind brought him to theatre classes, where he learned to express himself and found his passion for public speaking. At the age of 14 his family relocated to Venezuela, where he went to high school and joined his friends'  Rugby team. There he discovered his passion for physical activities, even though something did not feel right for him in team sports.

At the age of 17 he moved to Philadelphia to study Engineering. In the college he could not find a Rugby team he liked. However he discovered many options for Martial Arts training, so he decided to dive deep into the study of many disciplines he dreamed of as a kid, such as Wing Chun Kung Fu, Capoeira, Krav Maga and Brazilian JiuJitsu. He noticed that what he liked the most about his teachers was their attention to detail and how body mechanics affected certain techniques. His engineering mind loved the science behind these arts.

While in college he was not the typical Engineering student, taking elective classes in philosophy, sociology, anthropology and ethics, following his curiosity of understating how people’s minds work. Towards the end of his college days a friend, who was a yoga teacher, asked Donato to assist him in class, even though he had no previous yoga experience. After this first class, he was hooked on Yoga.

In 2005 he graduated with honors as a Electrical and Computer Engineer from Drexel University and decided to move to Miami to work and get away from the cold northern weather. That same year he injured his shoulder in a JiuJitsu tournament, so he decided to stop grappling to concentrate in Yoga. Once in Miami Beach, he took as many Yoga classes as he could, training under some of the most talented local Yoga teachers. He realized that his way of training martial arts had resulted in tightness in the body and injury, but both healed rapidly with regular Yoga practice. Quickly, he became proficient in Asana practice, so his teachers began using the young man as a demonstrator in their classes, even letting him teach portions of them. At that point he know that he was meant to teach Yoga.

The day before his Yoga teachers training was scheduled to begin, he took a workshop with Kancho Cameron Shayne, the creator of Budokon. Donato could not believe how someone could combine Yoga with Martial Arts movement and philosophy in one practice. At the end of the session Shayne approached him and invited him to join the Budokon teachers training program, which was in its early days. He agreed and began training Budokon daily. He studied under the instruction and supervision of Sensei Steven Herbst until he was ready to test for his Teaching Certification in 2006. He traveled to Los Angeles and spent a week with Kancho and got his Red Belt, becoming an official “Budokon Sensei”.

Upon his return to Miami, Sensei Steven congratulated him and announced his retirement from Budokon due to physical injuries. Sensei Donato was given the opportunity to take the lead on spreading the art as the new Director of Budokon Miami. Since then he has not stopped. He became well known in the Miami Yoga community as “the Budokon Guy”, teaching classes, workshops and doing demos locally. Also he continued to train Budokon Yoga and Martial Arts traveling with Kancho Cameron Shayne worldwide, assisting him in the development of the Budokon University curriculum and conducting Teacher Training programs. He also became the Director of Budokon Latin America, with the goal of spreading the practice in Spanish speaking countries. In 2012 he became the first Budokon Black Belt (Professor) from Kancho Cameron Shayne marking a milestone for Budokon as a system and for him personally as a Mixed Movement Artist.

Currently, Professor "D" teaches Budokon Yoga and Budokon MMA classes, workshops and teachers trainings worldwide. He is also a certified firearms instructor and teaches a course called "the Zen of Shooting" where he helps students understand the value of a focused mind and how to reduce distractions that keep them away from their goals and potential, while becoming comfortable with firearms for target practice and also, for the more advanced students, for self defense.

He is also the Director of Human Development Labs, a consulting firm that works with leaders in different industries, from Engineering, to Hyper-Luxury Hospitatlity brands to create innovative experiences. His model for Integrative Living is influencing the way many look at wellness and live their lives, from NBA players and UFC fighters to High net worth individuals, CEOs, VIPs and companies as a whole. 

Until March of 2017 he held the position of Movement Director for AMAN Resorts, where he was responsible for the implementation of the most innovative Movement program the hospitality industry has to offer, with retreats, journeys and special events for the most exclusive audiences. 

Professor Donato will captivate you with his particular teaching style: highly technical while fun and inspiring. You will feel his passion for transmitting what he has learned in "the way of the spiritual warrior" the moment you enter his class. And you will leave it inspired and with a whole new outlook on your practice and life.

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