Instructors > John O'Hara
John first learned about praying mantis kung fu from a mailing he received at his house in Broomall in 1985. The booklet from the Delaware County Community College on non-credit courses advertised a rare Chinese martial art especially suited for self-defense. He was intrigued by the concept of using an opponent’s energy against them. This was to begin a twenty-five year long journey in this art from the bamboo forest monastery and friendships that would last a lifetime.
John is the most senior and an inner-gate disciple of Sifu Joe McSorley. Sifu McSorley’s martial arts teachings are combined with his knowledge of Zen. After working with Sifu McSorley for a short time, John realized that strength alone does not win battles. An understanding of Taoism and Buddhism is essential in any martial arts practice. One of the most important lessons John learned is that there is a balance in everything.
Sifu McSorley always recommended studying with other teachers and experiencing other martial arts. As a result, John’s path lead him to study Muay Thai, JKD, kickboxing, Wing Chun, and Kali/Silat, taught by Dan Inosanto.
In the early 1990’s, John had his first meeting with Sifu Gin Foon Mark, who was invited by Sifu McSorley for his first seminar with his students. This meeting was one of several throughout the following years. The most important lesson John learned after meeting Sifu Mark was to never be satisfied with your expression of the art.
Over the years, John has shared knowledge with Sifu Mark’s senior students, and since 1987 John has been an assistant instructor under Sifu McSorley. In 2000, John was accepted as a disciple of Sifu McSorley by formal ceremony. John now lives in West Chester and teaches his own Jook Lum class as the Penn Oaks Tennis and Fitness Club, (56 Penn Oaks Drive West Chester PA, 19382)
John can be contacted at email@example.com or by phone at 610-399-3800