What is Mindfulness?

The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.

Mindfulness is at the core of everything Ekata does. We believe positive change and lasting fitness begins with a healthy mindset. By approaching fitness with the right core attitude, it becomes more than simply a workout to lose weight or get in better shape – it becomes a journey of becoming a more complete individual in mind, body, and spirit.

Benefits of Mindfulness

  • Changes brain structure to improve the ability to focus
  • Promotes creative thinking
  • Leads to increases in brain gray matter density responsible for functions including learning and memory
  • Effective in treating stress-related health problems
  • Increases resiliency to stress and boosts immune response
  • Strengthens emotional coping skills
  • Decreases emotionally reactive behavior
  • Reinforces exercise consistency



Head Instructor, Co-Founder

Sifu 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-Jitsu, Karate and Kung Fu. He has competed in numerous full-contact competitions, including full-contact karate, kickboxing, Savate, Muay Thai and “no rules” tournaments.

As a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, he 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.

He has 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. He was personally trained in Jeet Kune Do by Sifu Poteet, named by Inside Kung Fu magazine as “unquestionably the greatest Jeet Kune Do Instructor in the world.”

Ed has also 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 DEA Mobile Enforcement Team II.

He has privately trained many celebrities including Val Kilmer, John Malkovich, Alicia Silverstone, and Julianne Moore.

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 has made a habit of breaking with convention. A British Columbia native, she moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s to work in Hollywood as a makeup, hair, massage, and design specialist. After a successful career working with many A-list stars on top productions, she changed direction to pursue her love of physical expression through the study of martial arts.

She was one of the first women in the United States to receive the coveted rank of “Silver Glove” (Black Belt Equivalent) in Boxe Francaise Savate, after just a few years of training. 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 that led to a complete ACL replacement, in 2003 she won the U.S. 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 (No. 2 in the world) after fighting five times in less than 24 hours!

After winning her world title at age 45, JoAnn turned her attention to figure competition, athletic competition that entails showcasing the body’s aesthetic lines. The criteria are similar to bodybuilding, but women are judged on symmetry of the body as related to athleticism and not the size of musculature. JoAnn won two regional championships plus 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.