Sensei began training at Pinney’s American Karate in 1993 and earned his black belt in 1999 at age 13. He was the first to achieve this rank in the school and one of the youngest to be certified by the Zen-Do Kai International Organization.
In 2000, the ZDK and Mr. Pinney awarded Sensei and his family the opportunity to meet Chuck Norris on the set of Walker Texas Ranger.
He became Mr. Pinney's full time assistant in 2004, helping develop curriculum improvements and implement new testing standards.
A month after graduating college, he opened WMA in January 2008 at 128 Phelps St in Oneida.
In 2012, he expanded the dojo’s teaching roster, signing on Carlton Elijah and Michael Morse to teach Capoeira and Kettlebells respectively. He also worked with local schools and developed an annual self-defense program that continues to be taught throughout Central New York. This introductory seminar has been adapted to also benefit women's groups and individuals in high-risk occupations.
He was awarded his black belt in Japanese sword in 2014 by Mr. Woodcock, and later that same year, launched WMA’s online curriculum.
The dojo moved to Sherrill in 2017 and Sensei began teaching karate at the city’s annual morning programs.
With PAK’s closing in 2018, he opened a second location in Hamilton, NY and was honored to be entrusted with Mr. Pinney’s students.
Despite WMA students routinely scoring high in tournaments and tests, Sensei continues to increase his knowledge and discover ways to improve the school and its curriculum.
Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt, Instructor
Autumn started in 2009 at age 6. She struggled through the beginner ranks and fell behind her peers in the intermediate range, becoming the first WMA student to fail an official test in 2013. Frustrated, but unwilling to quit, she worked to overcome her natural limitations through sheer work ethic and achieved her junior black belt in 2016. It was during this time she started dominating local tournaments and earned the nickname Honey Badger. Then in 2018, she became the dojo’s first full black belt, wowing an inter-state panel of judges, and leaving her significantly larger attackers (Sensei and Sempai Waterman) reliant on ibuprofen.
Autumn has since grown into Sensei’s main assistant, managing both teaching and business matters during his few absences. In 2019, she developed a college preparation SD course to benefit young women leaving for college.
While prepping for medical school, she has maintained top grades academically, and continues to actively train, hoping to acquire her 2nd degree black belt in 2020.
1st Degree Black Belt, Staff
Autumn Davis "The Honey Badger"
Ethan began martial arts watching his elder siblings in class, mimicking karate moves before he could even walk.
He officially started at PAK in 1998 and rapidly rose through the ranks to become a junior black belt in 2003 at age 10.
He was the first to go through PAK’s entire junior black ranking system, and after a few short hiatuses, achieved his full black belt in 2013 with a panel consisting of judges from across the United States. After fully joining WMA, he assisted Sensei Waterman in growing the school and day to day operations.
He moved to Seattle in 2015, taking a job as a security officer. The profession and location led to him encountering numerous violent situations. While it validated his self-defense training, Ethan felt it necessary to step away from martial arts for several years.
However, he has gradually resumed training, and in 2018, joined the MMA gym TAP in Bellingham, WA. He uses his first-hand experiences to act as a SD consultant to Sensei and has visited several times to assist on tests and mentor the next generation of WMA students.
1st Degree Black Belt, Staff
Joe came on board during the school’s first expansion in 2012. Originally brought in to help with marketing graphics and campaigns, his role has since expanded into that of the school’s Business Strategy Advisor.
He oversaw the renovation of the Phelps St. dojo, which increased the student base by 50%.
In 2014, his direction played a key role in keeping doors open during the original dojo’s collapse and ensuing challenges.
He was instrumental in launching the Hamilton location, and continues to cultivate new opportunities for the school.
Joe holds a Master’s degree of Business Administration in Technology Management and works as a Senior Consultant for the Inizio Technology Consulting group,
Business Strategy Adviser, Staff
Joseph M. Chevrette II MBA
Robert Pinney began his martial arts career in 1984, studying Tae Kwon Do at Norwich Martial Arts.
He founded Pinney's American Karate in 1992 in downtown Hamilton, NY under the guidance of ZDK Cobleskill's Ed Davenport and ZDK Director Michael Campos, transitioning the school system from TKD to Karate.
In 1994, Colgate University hired him as Director of Martial Arts. He oversaw the operation of the student run clubs and promoted events. PAK moved to the Colgate campus where Sensei Pinney taught it in conjunction with the Colgate American Karate Club.
The ZDK Super Summer Seminars Camp moved to Colgate in 1996 and PAK assisted with the event for 13 years. The first Pinney’s Karate Tournament was held in 1997 and is still going strong.
PAK opened a satellite school in North Norwich in 2002 which moved to Sherburne, NY in 2005.
Pinney’s American Karate officially closed doors on May 1st, 2018, but Sensei Pinney continues to teach Colgate’s self-defense PE program, host the annual tournament, and frequently mentors WMA instructors and students.
During his career he and his club received numerous awards including: Zen-Do Kai Top Schools Awards, DSI Seminar Coordinator, and Zen-Do Kai Promoter of the Year.
6th Degree Black Belt, Friend/Mentor
Michael received his kettle bell certification while working at the original Gold’s Gym in California. He became the dojo’s fitness expert and primary Boot Camp instructor shortly after Carlton in 2012. Responsible for designing some of the most grueling workouts in the dojo’s history, Morse also spent significant time working with Sensei to chase down leads and expand dojo programs to other gyms and schools.
He retired from teaching in 2013 to pursue a career as an electrician.
Sensei Woodcock began studying Washin-ryu karate and Kobudo in 1979 under Hidehiko “Hidy” Ochiai and operated several schools under the organization in the ensuing years. After retiring from running a dojo, he joined Oneida Karate (then Augustine’s Martial Arts) in 2009 as an instructor.
He started teaching Sensei Waterman sword in 2011 and also WMA Asst. Instructor Jeanine McDonough in 2013. While still an Oneida Karate instructor, he has generously continued to share his weapon knowledge with WMA, providing the foundation for the dojo’s weapons programs.
Cory began training kickboxing and judo with Chuck Putnam in 1980. In 1985 he joined, Doug Tourney. Master Tourney studied multiple styles, but primarily taught Cory karate, boxing, and physical wellness. Cory continued to train with him until 1998.
He introduced himself to WMA in 2011, offering to teach speed bag lessons. He has since helped Sensei develop the dojo’s kickboxing and core fitness curriculums, found new students, and donated equipment.
He continues to be a strong supporter of the dojo to present day.
William “Speedbag Cory” Anno
Wade was a fellow student of PAK and briefly joined as the dojo’s MMA instructor in 2010. Donated the original dojo equipment when he left to join the Army Rangers.
Carlton Elijah began self-training martial arts at age 15 by replicating what he saw in movies. Despite there being no capoeira schools in the area at the time, he gravitated toward the acrobatic and kick-heavy style, learning through books and experimentation.
This continued until 1995, where during a demo for a friend’s party at Syracuse’s East Asian Community Center, he met local kung fu instructor Dan Hammond. Impressed with Carlton’s performance, Hammond invited him to teach capoeira at his school. This also marked Carlton’s first formal instruction in Eagle Claw and Praying Mantis kung fu.
That same year, Mestranda Relani discovered him practicing alone on the Syracuse University campus. A veteran capoeira practitioner herself, she began teaching him the same style she learned during her time training in Brazil.
Carlton reached out to WMA and taught a seminar in 2010. He also became the first person approached about joining the dojo’s expansion in 2012.
While an active instructor, he headed the dojo’s capoeira program, designed demos, and assisted with training all WMA students. Unfortunately, an employment opportunity outside the area forced him to resign in 2014.
He continues to train to this day and remains a close friend to both Sensei and the dojo.
Founded by Michael Campos in 1974, this association is home to member and affiliate schools across America, Europe, Canada, South America, and Australia.
For the full description of the organization and it’s director’s accomplishments check out the link below: