Local Man’s Martial Arts Resume Is Growing

Area native Mark Weaver is pictured with his Kung-Fu Master of the Year award from the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame that he received Saturday at a seminar/banquet in Jamaica, New York.
Submitted photo

Area native Mark Weaver is pictured with his Kung-Fu Master of the Year award from the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame that he received Saturday at a seminar/banquet in Jamaica, New York. Submitted photo

In 1976, area native Mark Weaver began to gravitate toward martial arts.

He developed a passion for it and continued to improve and hone his skills in several different systems.

More than 40 years later, Weaver has put together a remarkable martial arts resume.

Consider just a few of his accolades:

¯ In 2015, he was honored by the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as a Multi-Disciplined Martial Arts Master of the Year.

¯ In 2016, he was recognized by the International Fellowship of Martial Arts as the Grandmaster of the Year in Asian Martial Arts.

¯ In January, Weaver received an Excellence in Teaching Martial Arts award from the Action Magazine Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

¯ And Saturday night, the 46-year-old was recognized again by the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as the Kung-Fu Master of the Year at a seminar/banquet in Jamaica, New York.

“Basically I was pretty active (when I was younger),” Weaver said when asked about his initial interest in martial arts. “And then I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. My doctor at the time said I couldn’t take part in any contact sports, so I was always interested in the martial arts and stuff like that. (At the time) my mom and dad asked if I could start learning through that and (the doctor) said, yeah, as long as there’s no contact. … That’s kind of when I (became interested in) the martial arts.”

In 2011, Weaver developed his own system of martial arts called “WuShi JingShen Gung-Fu,” which translates to “Warrior Spirit Gung-Fu.” According to warriorspiritgungfu.com, it’s a system that focuses on real world self-defense, with close quarters combat being its primary objective. The system focuses on angles of attack and open-hand techniques, along with theories of movement, destruction and anatomy to give the practitioner an advantage over their opponent.

Also, Weaver holds the following ranks: seventh-degree red belt in WuShi JingShen Gung-Fu, sixth-degree black sash in Shaolin Yangshen Kung-Fu, fifth-degree orange sash in Indonesian Kuntao, fifth-degree black belt in Horangikido Hapkido and first-degree black belt in American JaeMuKwan Hapkido.

“I really look at it like I’ve spent almost 40 years in the marital arts,” Weaver said. “I sit there and go to these hall of fames and all that stuff and I (interact) with people who have been in it longer than I have. It is truly humbling because my teachers that I have, even though I have 40 years of experience, can humble me pretty quickly. … A lot of times I feel like a white belt because they can humble me so quickly.”

In addition to his martial arts prowess, he serves as an employee at Gustavus Adolphus Family Services in Jamestown, where he works with youth on a regular basis.

“I’ve always been interested in working with kids and stuff like that,” Weaver said. “It’s a good feeling when these kids come back and say, ‘Hey, thank you for doing this for me’…or a kid from two, three or four years ago contacts you and says, ‘Hey, thank you for changing my life.'”

A testament to the type of person he is, it seems as if Weaver likes to keep his martial arts expertise on the down low.

“He’s extremely humble,” said Karl Wiggins, the vice president of youth and family services at Gustavus Adolphus. “He’s not one to go around (talking) about the hall of fames that he’s in. … It’s just not him. … I think it’s wonderful for our program (to have someone like him as an employee). He’s extremely humble, but he’s very confident in himself. … He has a very even temperament, a low-profile kind of guy that the kids can talk to. When it comes to crisis times and kids are having problems, he’s a very calming influence.”

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