A sneak peak into the lives of the staff here at West Coast World Martial Arts El Dorado Hills, CA.

Owner/Master Instructor

KJN Gary Merlo began his martial arts training in the Bay Area at the age of 15. For the past Fifteen years, he’s enjoyed training thousands of students in his role of owner and head instructor of WCWMA El Dorado Hills.


Being an 8th-degree black belt, KJN Gary takes seriously the responsibility of instructing his students in the traditions and disciplines passed on to him by WCWMA founder and master instructor KJN Ernie Reyes. He believes the practice of martial arts and the discipline of training help to develop the necessary skills to succeed in whatever goals a student might have. His goal is to create a supportive environment where his students, both children, and adults, will not only learn about martial arts but also about themselves.


KJN Gary’s passions lie in helping his students reach their martial arts potential while balancing all areas of life. While celebrating each step of growth and achievement in martial arts, his dedication to his students goes far beyond the mat. Whether dealing with bullies and school conflict, the loss of loved ones, health issues, or tough times, KJN Gary is an invaluable resource in helping his students maneuver the trials of life. By mandating a Zero Tolerance for bullying in his school, KJN Gary allows the unique personalities, gifts, and talents of his students to thrive in a collaborative, creative environment where they’re encouraged to become their best.


KJN Gary is not only committed to his students, but he’s also deeply involved in serving his community. By supporting local schools and non-profits with fundraisers, demonstrations, self-defense workshops, anti-bullying seminars, and volunteering, he works hard to encourage the efforts of leading organizations in education and important social issues affecting society today.

SBN Joshua
BSBN Connor
CGN Tyler
CGN Jacob

Braden Ross

BKJN Mary Rupp
 Head Instructor/Program Director

BKJN Mary Rupp is a fourth-degree black belt with ten-years of martial arts experience. She loves seeing “the light go on” in her students’ eyes, and watching them accomplish something they had never dreamed possible. Watching a shy student blossom into a confident, assertive martial artist is inspiring to Mary, and she enjoys witnessing the profound transformation that happens when students dedicate themselves to training.


From her newfound confidence, achieving her physical fitness goals to enjoying the close friendships she’s established with her teammates, WCWMA has changed her life in every way. Along with being an instructor and student pursuing her Forth- degree black-belt, Mary also serves as part-time office manager at WCWMA.


In her off time, Mary enjoys biking, kayaking, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.