It turned out to be an auspicious and proud occasion for John Wai, his family, colleagues, and supporters of his John Wai Martial Arts Academy. Through a city proclamation, Plantation Mayor Lynn Stoner recently declared “John Wai Martial Arts Day.”
The company, which opened its doors in March 1997, is celebrating its 25th anniversary at Plantation. What started as a traditional Chinese Kung Fu academy has expanded over the years to Sanshou kickboxing, Wing Chun kung fu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts, cardio kickboxing and intensives. FightCamp.
John Wai Martial Arts has indulged in the community by fundraising over the years for non-profit charities such as the hurricane disaster, Haitian and Ukrainian relief, toy drives from holidays, breast cancer research, free self-defense workshops for women and anti-bullying seminars for children.
The Hong Kong native was a big promoter of Chinese culture with the Chinese New Year celebrations and he created a professional demonstration team that showcased the dragon and lion line dance. Sharing her background and her culture was important to Wai.
“It was so cool and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “To see all the city officials there was such an honor. I’m really touched by the whole experience. During COVID I got to know city officials very well and they were extremely helpful during this difficult time.
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Wai has been a force in the town and has a reputation that has earned him respect and friendships throughout the community.
“When I arrived at City Hall for the meeting and entered the building, I saw that the place was filled with all my people and I was in shock,” he said. he declares. “I wanted to create an environment 25 years ago and my criteria was to have a positive community without ego, to teach pure martial arts and to produce a team of fighters. Now, 25 years later, I am still there with a few hundred members and still going strong. I’m truly honored by the whole experience.
There have been many highlights over the years and proud moments. JWMA Academy has had a positive impact on the lives of its students. The children of 25 years ago are now adults and they have taken those lessons and positive experiences and used them to be productive citizens today.
“These are life lessons that my students learned,” Wai said. “That’s what I’m most proud of. Just having such a positive impact on the community is my reward. We have received tremendous support from the community for our school, our team and our members.
Wai has remained true to its original goals and values when it opened 25 years ago. The school evolved to teach other disciplines. At 57, Sifu Wai continues to train hard and has just added a black belt in jiu jitsu from Carlson Gracie Miami to go along with his belts in Wing Chun kung fu, Sanshou and Choy Li Fut.
The academy has produced champions in many disciplines – Muay Thai, jiu jitsu and MMA. Wai has also been selected as one of the American coaches who will take part in upcoming international events.
“I feel good and we train every day and keep improving,” Wai said. “I’ve been very lucky with a great team and great people. I am in awe and I can do what I love every day.