Teachers Hero

Sifu Adam Reed

Adam Reed

West Gate’s founder and program director has over 25 years of experience in the martial arts, and is connected by way of his teacher, Sifu Johnny Lee, to the lineages of Yip Yu Ting, Wu Jianquan, and Fu Zhensong. These masters were among the most highly regarded martial arts masters in early 20 th Century China, and were chief instructors, respectively, at the South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong, the Jing Wu Athletic Association in Shanghai, and the prestigious Central Guoshu Institute in Nanjing.

Adam’s martial arts training began in 1989 in the Washington, D.C. area with the Thompkins Karate Association. In 1994, he began the study of kung fu under the instruction of Grandmaster Johnny Kwong Ming Lee (now in Dallas, TX), a personal disciple of Grandmaster Yip Yu Ting, Grandmaster Ma Yueh Liang (son-in- law of Wu Jianquan) and General Sun Paul Kung (a disciple of Fu Zhensong). While Adam’s journey through the martial arts would put him in touch with many great teachers, it was Grandmaster Lee who would be Adam’s sifu and mentor for the next twenty years. He still is today, and Adam visits the Grandmaster regularly to continue his own studies.

Thanks to generous introductions from his sifu, Adam has also studied with Grandmaster C.H. Marr, Dr. Ray Luk, Grandmaster Raymond Wong, Master Alex Kwok, Master Patrick Lee, and Master Tang Tak Wing. His peers in the martial arts consider him among the best exemplars of the mizong luohan style of his generation. Despite this high honor, Adam is down-to- earth, easy to learn from, and considers his highest calling to be teaching the art to others. He is as happy showing a five-year- old how to do a horse stance as he is working with national champions.

Adam is recognized as a 6th Duan by the World Organization of Wushu and Kung Fu Masters, based in both Vancouver, B.C. and Hong Kong, China. In his competitive days, he won gold medals for forms and fighting in advanced-skill divisions at, among others, the 2000, 2002, and 2003 Taiji Legacy Tournaments, the 2004 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship, and the 2004 UC Berkeley Wushu Tournament. He was awarded two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the 2002 World Jing Wu Championships, a standardized world-wide longfist competition with top athletes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

Outside the martial arts world, Adam is a sustainable energy policy expert and consultant, and works on legal, regulatory, and technological challenges to the deployment of cleaner energy systems at scale. He is a licensed attorney in Colorado, and holds a J.D. from the University of Colorado and a B.A., summa cum laude, with honors in the liberal arts, from Southern Methodist University, where he double-majored in History and Economics. He currently serves as the Education Director for the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), a joint institute between CU-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and is an Instructor in the Environmental Studies Program.

Sifu Kisu Stars

Sifu Kisu

Sifu Kisu is a master of Northern Shaolin (Bak Sil Lum) Kung Fu with over 40 years of experience his daily practice has lead him to understand how to transmit the physical/ energetic components in such a way that is open and accessible to the Western mind. Through his teacher, Grand Master Ken Hui, Kisu belongs to the lineage of Grandmaster Ku Yu-Cheung (Gu Ruzong), one of the most respected kung fu teachers of the early 20th Century and the Chief Instructor for Northern Shaolin at the founding of the Central Guoshu Institute in Nanjing.

Throughout his life, Kisu has worked as an Executive Protection Specialist, stunt man, and martial arts coordinator in the entertainment field for many years. He is most famously known for being the chief martial arts director and consultant for the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra. From his lifelong experience in martial arts, he created the bending styles seen in the series and linked them to styles of Chinese martial arts.

Noel Baterna

Noel is an Instructor and West Gate’s performance group captain, and has studied with Sifu Adam since 2007. He is currently studying for his black belt exam, and teaches kung fu, tai chi, and bagua classes alongside Adam. Noel won 3 gold medals at the 2015 Tempt One Chinese Martial Arts Championship in Chinatown, Los Angeles, including first place in continuous fighting in a combined-weight class, advanced skill level division.

Personable, humble, and patient, Noel’s teaching style exemplifies what makes West Gate different. Noel especially enjoys choreographing theatrical combat for stage shows and short films, and blends his growing knowledge of martial arts with physical comedy and storytelling to produce one-of- a-kind shows using everyday practitioners. Noel holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Dani Duncan

Dani Duncan
Dani has been with West Gate since 2012, and assists with kids kung fu and kung fu 1 classes as an Assistant Instructor. Our world traveler, Dani is an accomplished photographer, artist, and whitewater kayaker. She is patient but demanding with her kid students, and inspires her adult classmates with her work ethic and fantastic attitude. She has a B.S. in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently pursuing both an MBA and a graduate degree in Public Health.

David Ayers

David Ayers
Don’t be fooled by David’s unassuming affect. David is our resident all-styles sage, and throughout his long career he’s collected an encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian martial arts. If you get paired up with David for sparring drills, you’re in for a treat from a master tactician. David is also an accomplished full-contact fighter, teaches our Saturday morning sparring workshop, and occasionally runs a seminar series to introduce interested students to competitive fighting.

Jon Torre

Jon Torre
Jon has over 30 years experience in Chinese martial arts and is a student of Master Malee Khow. In his youth, he competed in China and was an internationally-ranked wushu competitor. Jon is always happy to assist younger students with advice, and is an avid hiker, having led us up a number of weekend ascents of Colorado’s mountains.

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