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Heath Waterman

Chief Instructor

3rd Degree Black Belt

Heath 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 became the framework for the school’s AWARE curriculum. 


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 program.


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.  Likewise, he took over and expanded Colgate University’s self-defense PE program alongside Sensei Conway.


Despite WMA students routinely scoring high in tournaments and tests, Heath continues to increase his knowledge and discover ways to improve the school and its programs. 

Cory Bio

William "Speedbag Cory" Anno


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 helped Sensei Waterman develop the dojo’s kickboxing and core fitness programs, found new students, and donated equipment whenever needed. 

He continues to be a strong supporter of the dojo to present day. 

Pinney Bio

Robert Pinney

6th Degree Black Belt

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 ran successfully until 2019.

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 mentor 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

Jeanine New Bio Preferred

Jeanine Conway

Primary Sword Instructor

1st Degree Black Belt

Jeanine first joined the dojo as a parent, watching her daughters climb through the ranks.  Her personal journey in martial arts began with kickboxing in 2013.  In 2014, she was invited to train alongside Sensei Waterman under Mr. Woodcock and immediately connected with the sword arts.


She was awarded her Shodan rank in both Kendo and Iaido by Mr. Woodcock in 2017.


In 2018, Jeanine began working with Heath to create a fully realized sword club for the dojo.  She invested significant time and effort into research and experimentation, ensuring the club matched the karate program’s high standards.  With a degree in Psychology focusing on abnormal and criminal behavior, she provided key insight in the development the dojo’s annual SSA seminars, and ultimately, was the driving force behind AWARE.


In 2021, she joined Heath in teaching the Colgate self-defense course.  She also began reaching out to, and traveling to train with, world-class experts in sword and self-defense.


She was promoted to primary sword instructor and took on new responsibilities as co-owner in 2022. 


A dedicated runner and lifter, she continues to train relentlessly and ensure the dojo maintains its high standards.


"The Gatekeeper" Waterman

1st Degree Black belt

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 jobs in security and executive protection.  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 and discontinue rank advancement.

However, he uses his first-hand experiences to act as an SD consultant to the dojo instructors and continues to assist on tests and mentor the next generation of WMA students. 


Zen Do Kai International


Founded by Michael Campos in 1974, this association is home to member and affiliate schools across America, Europe, Canada, South America, and Australia.  Sensei Campos was one of the first to standardize a testing curriculum based off performance and application (not a specific style), host annual tournaments at a local level, and created Super Summer Seminars - one of the best and longest running martial arts camps in the nation.  

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Levi Legler

Primary Grappling Instructor

Levi began wrestling in 2001 at 12 years old.  Throughout his school years and into adulthood, he was an active competitor - never failing to medal in the annual CNY Tournament.


In 2018, he joined Utica Combat Athletics and enhanced his grappling ability with no-gi jui jitsu and mixed martial arts.  It was there he met Sensei Waterman, who regularly visited UCA for his own training.  With that dojo’s unfortunate closure due to Covid-19 limitations, Levi enrolled with his son at WMA in 2021.


He became the dojo’s grappling instructor in 2022, working alongside Sensei Waterman and Conway to be one of the few grappling programs with a self-defense focus and standardized curriculum.     


With a Bachelor’s of Science, he uses his background in biomedical research to approach martial arts with a scientific and data-driven approach.  He is a NASM certified personal trainer, which he uses to help students develop well-balanced strength and peak fitness.


He continues to train at other gyms outside the dojo to keep his skills sharp and bring new knowledge and abilities back to the school.

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Joseph Chevrette

Business Strategy Adviser, MBA

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 Adviser.

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 the Chief Technology Officer at Inizio Technology Solutions,


Autumn "The Honey Badger" Davis

1st Degree Black Belt

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.

She was named Valedictorian of her graduating glass in 2020, and while attending pre-med, she continues to train virtually with Sensei Waterman every week.

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