Staff

Our Staff is a tight-knit group of highly motivated individuals who are dedicated to teaching and leading others down the same path they have chosen.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of individuals from a wide array of backgrounds with a strong sense of unity, family values, respect and courtesy, goal-setting skills, and the character it takes to develop a positive winning attitude within each student.

Our Staff is “Home Grown.” In other words, each and every staff member first started in the Academy as a student. After reaching strict minimum standard requirements, a student may apply for membership to our Staff program.

All of our Staff Members are Certified by the Kokoro Kai and are required to complete a minimum of two years in our Assistant Instructor & Leadership Team Program before being elevated to Instructor status.  Staff members also receive special training and responsibilities that prove to aide each individual Staff Member in his or her own personal growth and development.  They aren’t just teaching….they are also continuing their education in the martial arts.

Kevin Cunningham
6th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Black Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Kevin has been training in the Academy for almost 30 years and has over 23 years experience as an Instructor.  His wife, Josa also trains and teaches in the Academy and they have two daughters.  He currently works as a software engineer in Philadelphia.

Kevin Ferguson
7th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Kevin is Mr. Exaros’ longest-training student with over 37 years in the martial arts. He is a senior instructor of the Academy and has been teaching for almost three decades! He is married with a young daughter and currently works as a computer programmer and software developer.

Neil Zieselman
7th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Neil Zieselman has been studying martial arts for over 43 years and he began as a young child in the original school run by Mr. D Jenkins.  He is one of our Senior Instructors. Neil lives in NJ, works for a major finance company, is married with four children, and travels in to PA to teach black belt classes, seminars and various special events.  

Steve Parys
6th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Steve is a Senior Instructor in the Dojo with almost 30 years experience as a martial artist and 23 years as a Staff Instructor  He is married with two children who are currently training in our Dojo and is an Accountant for a local company in Lansdale.

Dallas Strachan
5th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Dallas is one of the first students to enroll in the Academy when we opened in 1991. With 33 years as a Martial Artist and over 20 years as an Instructor, he teaches students of all ages in the Academy and is currently focusing on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He works in the heating and plumbing field.

Brad Umfer
5th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Brad has been training in the Academy for over 31 years and has over 23 years experience as a Certified Instructor. He lives in NJ, but travels often to train and to cover classes when another instructor needs to be absent. He is also one of our tech support specialists for this website. He is married with two young daughters, both of which now train in the Academy.

Diane Pilch
4th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Diane came to us almost 20 years ago with a background in Tae Kwon Do. She has been teaching for over 12 years and currently instructs on Monday and Thursday nights at the Horsham Dojo. She is a pediatric physical therapist working with disabled preschoolers in Bucks County, and is married with two grown children.

Eric Enger
4th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Eric has been training for over 20 years in the Academy. He is a graduate of PSU and has done a lot of work with childhood education and development. Having over 14 years experience as an instructor, he brings a lot of energy to his classes with his passion for teaching. He is currently a teacher at a middle school in the district, is leading the Doylestown Rec Program. You can also often find him attending and assisting in various classes throughout the week.

Shannon Lynott
4th Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Shannon especially likes working with younger kids. She has over 24 years in the Martial Arts and 12 years as an Instructor.  She was a Goddard School instructor for several years, is a graduate of PSU and is a teacher at Central Bucks South High School.

Kevin Jensen
3rd Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Blue Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Kevin Jensen has been training in the Martial Arts for almost 15 years and teaching for over nine years.  He is a CPA and works for a firm out of Doylestown and Lansdale.

Metani Exaros
3rd Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Blue Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Metani is the daughter of the Head Instructor and has been training in the arts for over 18 years She has been on staff since she was a young teen and has a wealth of instructing knowledge having trained with her dad in classes all of her life. She owns her own photography and videography company, teaches horseback riding in Souderton, and is also a competitive horseback riding enthusiast.

Alan Exaros
3rd Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Alan is the son of the head instructor and has been training in the arts for over 16 years since he was just four years old. He has also studied BJJ and is currently attending Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus to become a commercial pilot. Alan returns from the University often to teach and staff special events like our annual training camp.

Paul Schmidt
6th Degree Black Belt in Isshinryu
Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Amanda Schmidt
2nd Degree Black Belt in Isshninryu Karate

Paul has well over 30 years experience as a Martial Artist and has been teaching for over 20 years. His daughter, Amanda has been training all her life and teaching for the past 8 years. Together, they co-teach as the head instructors at the Springfield Rec Center Martial Arts Program. Paul is an environmental attorney with a firm in Springfield. Amanda is currently attending college at Drexel University.

Josa Hanzlik
2nd Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate
Blue Belt Brazilian Jiu-JItsu

Josa has over nine years in the Martial Arts and has been teaching for the past four years. She and her husband, Kevin Cunningham (see above), co-instruct on Thursday evenings and they have two daughters, one of which currently trains in our Dojo. Josa works as a Toxicologist for a blood/plasma supplier and services company.

Russel Graef
2nd Degree Black Belt Isshinryu Karate

Russel has been training in the Academy for 9 years and has been teaching for the past 5. He has been teaching high school science since 2004. Russel has a B.S. in microbiology from Northwestern State University, and an M.S. in biotechnology from Stephen F. Austin. He is currently a Physics teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.

Richard Wren
Purple Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brown Belt Judo

Richard has decades of a competitive background in both Olympic Weight Lifting and Judo as a Brown Belt. He has been teaching Jiu-Jitsu for the past 2 years in our Academy. Rich is a graduate of Temple University (Tyler School Of Art) and is a world renowned tattoo artist. He owns and operates the Relic Tattoo Studio in Horsham. Rich and his partner, Gabbie have a young daughter.

New Instructors

Congratulations to our latest inductees into our staff as Instructors. Having worked hard in our “Leadership Team / Assistant Instructor” program for over two years, Joey Farzetta, Alexis Doll-young, Caitlyn Doll-Young, Jace Henson, Nate Martinez, and Keethi Mokkarala were recently elevated to instructor status in September 2022. They are outstanding mentors to our young junior students throughout the week in the Dojo, and the older teens and adults look up to them for their dedication, training ethic and exceptional technical skill. We look forward to having them continue to grow as leaders in our Dojo as they continue to advance.