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“Things always seem impossible until it’s done”
Sifu David Moragne was first introduced to martial arts at age 5 by a relative who stressed the importance of being prepared and resourceful at all times. In his early teens he began studying Tae Kwon Do where he earned his first black belt. During that time, he was approached by someone who took interest in his learning ability and technique and proposed to teach David his personal art in order to keep it alive. David accepted this gift and became his friend’s only student. After many years of training, he was introduced to the arts of Pa Qua, Wing Chun, Kempo and Tai Chi under Grand Master Dong Zeng Chen and his son Master Alex Dong. Yang style Tai Chi became an important part of his training. In the mid 80’s, David began his studies of Southern Praying Mantis. He then went on to meet and become a direct disciple of 5th Generation World Master Gin Foon Mark. He has been invited to demonstrate and share this art throughout the U.S. and Canada. After being told by Master Mark to now share this art, Sifu David continues to study and teach under him. This year marked Sifu David’s 50th year of training in Martial Arts.
“Simplicity is the key to brilliance”
Sifu Matthew Wetherbee was always in fights being the new kid in school and having older siblings. At the age of 11 Mat joined Karate for a few years. There Mat learned free fighting and sparring, from a 5th degree black belt named Mark Smith but Mat’s class was taught by Mark’s 3rd degree assistant Ron. At the age of 25 Mat began lessons of Twae Kwon do with his friend whom was the instructor. A few years later he entered amateur boxing. This is when Mat realized how subpar his arms were and had restrictions with what he could do. In street fights he did things like kicking, tripping, grabbing, head locks and chokes which help Mat excel outside the ring. April of 2004 Mat was invited to Kung Fu with Mathew Seavy. In 2007, Mat started Kung Fu with Sifu John who is the founding father of 7 Animal Shaolin Kempo Kung Fu where he earned his black belt in 2011 and started teaching. Sifu Mat did powerlifting and strong man training in 2003. In 2006 Mat was certified as a personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2010 Mat won the local Maui Strong Man Contest and in 2014 he attended the Maui Chi Fest.
Mat was introduced to the arts of Southern Praying Mantis through Sifu John Merles whom is one of David’s training partners. Mat wanted to train where the source of the Mantis Style came from and today he is Sifu David’s disciple as they have combined to teach lessons to the public here on Maui in a few different locations called Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu Retreat.