This XMA founder has trained many homegrown celebrities and now is helping grant wishes to moms with breast cancer.
by Melanie Gaball
Xtreme Martial Arts founder Michael Chaturantabut, better known as Mike Chat, has trained many homegrown celebrities at XMA World Headquarters in Studio City. Now the man who guided the Twilight saga’s Taylor Laughtner through on-camera fight scenes is focused on a new project initiated by two of his youngest prodigies. Channah Zeitung, 5, and Rayna Vallandingham, 10, are inspiring the martial arts community to raise money for moms with breast cancer by selling Pink Belts across the country through Wishing For Mommy.
The organization, created by Taekwondo Master Michelle Lee out of Arizona, provides $500 grants to mothers with breast cancer. I visited Chat at XMA World Headquarters to discuss his role in the Pink Belt Revolution.
How did you get involved with Wishing For Mommy?
Channah and Rayna connected with Master Lee at a tournament in Arizona while I was out of the country. They decided they wanted to bring Wishing for Mommy to California, and very quickly Channah and her mom got 25 martial arts schools to join the campaign in California. The girls and I started to promote Wishing for Mommy throughout the country at tournaments and other events by offering free demonstrations and performances. The campaign has raised over $100,000 in just two-and-a-half months.
How are Channah and Rayna influential as the faces of the campaign?
Both girls have a connection to someone with breast cancer. Channah is the youngest world champion and Rayna has won 11 world championships, but right now their focus is entertainment. Rayna just finished working on her first movie and Channah has been featured on the Katie Couric show, and without even being a black belt has become popular all over the world. They use martial arts to inspire people and promote this important cause. Kids young and old look up to them.
How does the organization pick which mommy to grant a wish for
Any mom who has been diagnosed or is struggling with breast cancer is eligible for the $500 grant. Our goal is to grant a wish every couple of months. Right now, the problem is that we don’t have enough moms nominated to grant wishes to.
The organization granted their first wish in December and is looking to grant a second one. To nominate a mommy on behalf of a child or to support the cause, go to wishingformommy.org.