By Taylor Jackson
Martial arts master Bruce Lee left behind a legacy when he passed away in 1973 at the age of 32. His signature martial art Jeet Kune Do, a blend of many different forms of martial art, has been quietly passed down from his original disciples to their own students over the last few decades. And now the Way of the Intercepting Fist is being taught in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Ekata Training Center is co-founded and led by Edward Monaghan and JoAnn Wabisca and offers a holistic approach that incorporates Western technology with Eastern philosophy in their teachings. Central to their teaching is the art of Jeet Kune Do, which unlike many martial arts is focused on practical and efficient self defense rather than appearances or use in sport. Both Monaghan and Wabisca bear the title “Sifu,” a Chinese word that means “master” or “teacher.”
Jeet Kune Do is not considered a style of martial art, but rather “a style without style.” Bruce Lee is said to have stated “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. That water can flow, or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
“Bruce looked at various truths,” said Wabisca. “His foundation was in Wing Chun, but he also found truth in fencing, he also found truth in Western boxing. Those predominately were the truths he considered important to include in his Jeet Kune Do.”
In addition to its roots in boxing, Judo, Wing Chun and European fencing, Ekata’s curriculum incorporates teachings of and from other martial art styles including Brazillian jujitsu for ground fighting and grappling; Savate, or French kickboxing; and Muay Thai. This cross training provides a well rounded skill set that allows the practitioner to engage an opponent effectively at nearly any range.
“If you want a martial art that’s heavily focused on punching, then you’d go with boxing,” said Membership Director Andrew Aragon. “If you want a martial art thats heavily focused on kicking, you’d go with Tae Kwon Do. If you want a martial art thats heavily focused on wrestling, then you’d go with Jujitsu. If you want a martial art that encompasses all of those things and you went with Jeet Kune Do, you would be 500% covered.”
Violence is not the only aspect to Ekata’s training regimen however. Ekata takes it’s name from the Sanskrit word for “oneness,” and offers training in both “yin” and “yang” arts. While Jeet Kun Do offers an efficient means of self-defense, other classes such as meditation, yoga, and T’ai Chi offer an emphasis on inner awareness, harmony and balance.
“The primary purpose of this facility is to help everyone understand this principal of mindfulness as it applies in a life context,” said Monaghan.
“We want to help people to be aware, to be present, present-focused so they can experience life more fully.”
Ekata also encourages family participation, offering classes and training programs for children and teens as well as adults. “When the family comes together, it empowers them to have just the basic fundamentals so they’re at the same place, so they can see and enjoy and have an engaging communication and an engaging time.” said Wabisca.
Ekata is hosting an Inaugural Summer Kickoff Celebration on May 17th and 18th, from 9 AM to 7 PM. Admission is free. For more information click here.