Ekata Founders


An expert martial artist and a UCLA Professor, Sifu Ed Monaghan is uniquely suited to his role as Head Instructor of Ekata Martial Arts & Fitness. At UCLA, Professor Monaghan studies the effects of movement- based awareness training on children and adults to improve their ability to focus and learn more effectively. As a professor, he teaches mind/body connectivity through the study of movement in the Department of Theater, Film, and Television, as well as applied exercise science and Eastern philosophy. He is responsible for the physical conditioning of students on a department-wide basis.

Ed has personally studied with many world-renowned Martial Arts Masters including Bruce Lee’s students Sifu Jerry Poteet and Guru Dan Inosanto. He has also studied with many great Lamas, Gurus and teachers of Eastern Philosophy and Religion.

Sifu Ed is a full instructor of Jeet Kune Do, personally trained by Sifu Jerry Poteet, one of Bruce Lee’s original students. Sifu Poteet was designated by Inside Kung Fu magazine as “unquestionably the greatest Jeet Kune Do Instructor in the world.”

Ed has studied a variety of martial arts for nearly 40 years, holding a black belt or equivalent rank and instructor’s certification in Jeet Kune Do, Savate, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jutsu, Karate and Kung Fu. He has competed in numerous full- contact competitions, including full-contact karate, kickboxing, Savate, Muay Thai and “no rules” tournaments.

Ed has assisted instructing courses in defensive tactics for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Force Training Unit and has trained in Special Weapons and Tactics with D.E.A. Mobile Enforcement Team II.

He privately trained many celebrities, including Val Kilmer, John Malkovitch, Alicia Silverstone, and Julianne Moore, among others.

Certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as an Athletic Trainer, Ed was chosen one of America’s Top 100 Trainers in 2005 by Men’s Journal magazine, and one of the top 5 in Los Angeles.

In 2010 Ed was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame and voted “Martial Arts Leader of the Year”.


Sifu JoAnn Wabisca makes a habit of breaking with convention. The British Columbia native migrated south to Southern California in the mid 1980’s to work in the film industry as a make up, hair, massage and design specialist. After a long and successful career working with many A list stars on top productions, she decided to follow her heart and pursue her love of physical expression through the study of martial arts.

After training for several years she became one of the first women in the United States to receive the coveted rank of “Silver Glove” (Black Belt Equivalent) in Boxe Francaise Savate. Shortly afterward she was voted the first female president of the American Federation of Boxe Francaise Savate.

JoAnn continued training, earning instructor’s certification in Muay Thai (under Kru Surapuk Jamjuntr and Kru Saekson Janjira) and Jeet Kune Do (under Sifu Jerry Poteet and Sifu Fran Joseph). Even after suffering a debilitating knee injury which led to a complete ACL replacement, in 2003 she won the US Championship in Boxe Francaise Savate Assaut, which later led to competition in the World Cup of Boxe Francaise Savate in Plovdiv, Bulgaria where she claimed the title of World Vice-Champion (number 2 in the world) after fighting 5 times in less than 24 hours!

But that’s not all: After winning her world title at age 45 JoAnn decided to turn her attention to Figure Competition. This method of athletic competition entails showing the body’s aesthetic lines. The criteria is similar to body building but women are judged on symmetry of the body as related to athleticism and not the size of musculature. Again JoAnn pulled it off and won two regional championships and the California State Championship Open Division against women half her age.

JoAnn has an uncanny ability to teach and communicate information so that others can enjoy success in reaching their own personal goals.

Meet the Team


Sifu Fran Poteet-Joseph
Master Jeet Kune Do Instructor

Fran is a protégé of famed JKD instructor Jerry Poteet, and she has been teaching Jeet Kune Do for over 25 years. She is only one of two instructors with a Senior (Masters) Level in Jerry Poteet’s JKD Association. Like her husband, she is a film fight choreographer and trainer. She taught Jason Scott Lee the double nunchucks for the movie Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story and has worked with Kurt Russell and Kevin Sorbo, among others.

Fran holds black belts in several martial arts, and is an expert in Wing Chun, Excrima/Kali, Hwarang Do, etc., but she focuses on the art and philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. She teaches JKD to men and women in the Los Angeles area, and strives to make each class exciting and inspirational. Fran has the outstanding ability to make every person or class she teaches feel special, while having a blast!


Professor Nicolas Saignac
Boxe Francaise Savate Professor

Professor Saignac is a former French Cup full-contact champion and the higest ranking Savateur in the United States. he has coached fighters and given seminars throughout the world. He is an instrumental leader in the development and growth of Boxe Francaise Savate in the USA. He holds the rank of Professor and Second Degree Silver as granted by the French Federation of Boxe Francaise Savate.


Kru Surapuk Jamjuntr
Expert Muay Thai Instructor

Kru (Teacher) Surapuk Jamjuntr, nicknamed “Puk,” entered his first Muay Thai camp at age 11. He studied for one year before his first ring fight, which he won by knocking out his opponent during the first round. Puk fought for a career total of 75 fights (60 wins, 12 losses, and 3 draws).

After coming to the U.S., Puk opened The Muay Thai Academy of America in 1987, which is located in North Hollywood. Since the MTA’s opening, Puk and his co-instructors have produced many national and world Muay Thai champions and considered the leaders in the development and teachings of Thai martial arts.

Today with nearly 45 years of Muay Thai experience, Puk continues to teach new students, develop better fighters, and spread the tradition of Muay Thai to all people who desire to learn. He is well known and is respected by all past and present Muay Thai champions, trainers, and promoters throughout Thailand and the United States.


Professor Luiz Baek
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Professor

Professor Luiz Baek is a Brazilian native born in Sao Paulo where he began the study of “the gentle art.” Professor Baek has studied martial arts for over 25 years and is a certified Machado black belt instructor. He also holds the rank of 5th degree black belt in Hapkido and 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Luiz has been practicing and teaching BJJ and self- defense to security, military, and law enforcement personnel in the US for over 10 years. He is the founder and chief instructor of the Baek Academy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Burbank.


Grand Master Ting-Jue Zhou
Master Martial Artist/Healer

Master Zhou Ting-Jue is a Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu Grand Master and Master Medical Qi Gong Healer who has been featured on numerous television programs, such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, That’s Incredible, and the History Channel’s hit show Stan Lee’s Superhumans, in recognition of his amazing abilities – which have been verified by ample scientific, diagnostic and medical research documentation for decades.

Master Zhou is an extraordinary living treasure who has both taught and given healing treatments to everyone from his Holiness the Dalai Lama, the LA Lakers, to Olympians, spiritual master, artists, celebrities, and dignitaries world- wide. He is often called “The Healer’s Healer.”


Mestre Amen Santo
Master Capoeirista

Mestre Santo dedicated himself to Capoeira at the young age of seven. He was educated in ritual dance and rhythms by frequenting his Mae de Santo’s terriero (temple) near by in San Paulo, Brazil. Amen followed his cultural roots to become a world famous Master Capoeirista, musician, and dancer. He has acted in roles practicing his art in two Hollywood movies, Only the Strong and Kickboxer 4, creating much of the former’s fight choreography. He is founding director of the Capoeira Batuque group of Capoeiristas, and currently oversees the group’s schools internationally. He is the father of three children.


Milo Levell
Hip Hop Dance Instructor

Getting his start at the famous Voight Fitness and Dance Center in the heart of Hollywood, California, Milo’s Hip Hop Fitness class atttracted Hollywood’s elite, including Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Diana Ross, Jessica Alba, and many others. Milo is the first in the USA to have his own “Hip Hop Fitness Dance” TV show produced by actress Mimi Rogers. Subsequently, the team produced 3 very successful dance fitness videos and Hip Hop Fitenss earned the title of the next best workout!