OAKLAND KAJUKENBO KWOON
MIND | BODY | SPIRIT
Sifu Mariko Highsmith, Head Instructor
Sifu Mariko began studying Kajukenbo with Sifu Kate Hobbs in 1990. Over the next ten years, she studied Kajukenbo and Wu Chien Pai under the instruction of both Sifu Kate and Sifu Anthony Daniels, earning her black belt in 1998. Sifu Mariko has continue her Kajukenbo training with Sifu Kate, earning her third degree black belt in 2015. In 2017, Sifu Mariko was promoted to fourth degree in Kajukenbo and became the Head Instructor of the Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon Youth Program, before transitioning to head of the school the following year. Sifu Mariko has a strong background in youth development and brings a wealth of training and experience to the Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon student body.
Sifu Sam Mende-Wong, Instructor
Sifu Sam began training in Kajukenbo Kung Fu with Sifu Kate Hobbs and Sifu Anthony Daniels at Destiny Arts Center in Oakland, CA. Sifu Sam receieved his black belt from Destiny Arts Center. He started training with Sifu Kate in 2008. Sifu Sam has been promoted to third degree black belt by Sifu Kate Hobbs. Sifu Sam teaches the Saturday Family Class.
Sifu Emmy Defigueiredo, Instructor
Sifu Emmy began studying Kajukenbo with Sifu Kate Hobbs in 1990. Over the next ten years she studied Kajukenbo and Wu Chien Pai under the instruction of both Sifu Kate and Sifu Anthony Daniels, earning her student black belt in 2000. In 2017, Sifu Emmy was promoted to fourth degree black belt by Sifu Kate Hobbs. She continues to provide precision, intensity, and commitment to Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon.
Sigung Kate Hobbs, Founder
Sigung Kate Hobbs is Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon's founder. She began studying Kajukenbo in 1981 at Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self-Defense Center with the late Professor Coleen Gragen. Sigung Kate earned her Kajukenbo black belt in 1988 under Professor Coleen, and was promoted to 3rd degree in Kajukenbo in 1995. Professor Coleen Gragen died of ovarian cancer in 2002. In 2008, Professor Coleen's teacher, Professor Barbara Bones, 8th degree in Kajukenbo, promoted Sigung Kate to 5th degree, and in 2015 she was promoted by Professor Bones to 7th degree.
Sigung Kate began teaching Kajukenbo in the youth classes at Hand to Hand in 1985. The classes expanded to include a violence prevention program, Project Destiny, led by Sigung Kate and Sifu Anthony Daniels, at Longfellow Elementary School in Berkeley. In 1988, Professor Coleen turned Hand to Hand's youth program over to Sigung Kate, and in 1989, Sigung Kate founded Destiny Arts Center to integrate marital arts training, violence prevention skills, and movement arts in a non-profit organization specifically for young people.
Sigung Kate Hobbs founded Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon as another step in a career of offering young people the tools they need to make good things happen for themselves, their families and their world.
Sifu Lynn Keslar, Chief Instructor
Sifu Lynn Keslar is the chief instructor of the school. She holds the ranks of 5th degree black belt in Kajukenbo and 4th degree in Doce Pares Eskrima. Sifu Lynn began her training at Hand to Hand Kajukenbo Self Defense Center in 1997 under Professor Coleen Gragen, and began training with Sifu Kate when Oakland Kajukenbo opened in 2006.
Sifu Lynn studies Eskrima under Master Reginald Burford, who was the long-time head of the Oakland Eskrima Club. Sifu Lynn also studies Northern Shaolin Gung Fu and weapons with Sifu Michelle Dwyer at Sifu Michelle's Silver Cloud club in Berkeley.
Sifu Lynn developed the Judo and Jujitsu basics curriculum, and the Eskrima curriculum, for Oakland Kajukenbo Kwoon.