JOW GA KUNG FU
Sifu Mark Elefane began studying Jow Ga Kung Fu in 1994 under Grandmaster Hoy K. Lee in Virginia Beach, VA. For several years, he trained diligently in both Sifu Lee’s youth classes as well as the school’s adult classes. Mark eventually earned the honor of becoming a senior student and became an assistant instructor at age fifteen. A year later, He was the youngest to be welcomed onto a strong and accomplished team of instructors at the Virginia Beach Jow Ga school. At age eighteen, he had earned the respect of his peers and proven himself in sparring competition, forms, and traditional martial arts principles, enough to begin consistently teaching both the kids' and adults' classes. Mark then began training more personally under Sifu Lee and with his fellow instructors. This advanced training led to Mark's discovery of how little he actually knew and the lifetime of learning that lay ahead.
Mark’s first martial arts tournament was a Virginia state-wide event open to all styles. He was awarded three first-place titles in forms, weapons, and sparring, thereby beginning a long and arduous competition career spanning all over the United States. From the late 90s on, Mark continued to compete and claim local, national, and international awards in forms and weapons events as well as fighting events, including full-contact kickboxing and san da. In a notable fight for a san da title in 2008, Mark was in a weight class above his own and dislocated his shoulder in the first round. With the help of his coaches, Mark's shoulder popped back in, and he went on to win the fight in a unanimous decision. Mark has also met other great competitors in the ring, including fighters traveling from Brazil and China. As a Sifu, Mark has taught and trained teams of students to compete at events in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
Mark's favorite Jow Ga activities were going on the road for tournaments and other special events. Sifu Lee’s students were a tightly knit family. Long trips, weekends in hotels, and challenging tasks together only strengthened their bonds. On a special trip to Vancouver, Canada in 2004, Mark was recognized as a Master by the World Organization of Wushu & Kung Fu Masters. However, it wasn't until a bittersweet celebration in 2008 when Mark was officially recognized as a Sifu by Grandmaster Lee, and made the decision to relocate from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles.
Until 2018, Mark lived, trained, and taught Jow Ga Kung Fu in North Hollywood, California. Working as a professional stuntman, performer, and fight choreographer, his talents and combat knowledge continued to prove useful.
Currently, Mark and his brother-in-law co-own two martial arts schools in the Winter Park/Orlando, Florida area where Mark continues to teach both kids and adults. In addition to physical training, it is the practice of the principles and morals, taught to him through Jow Ga Kung Fu, that enlightens each day.