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David Dash - Little Samurai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Karate and Bootcamp Instructor

David Dash was born in 1966 in the city of Iserlohn, Germany.  His father was a Canadian soldier at the time and his mother a German citizen.  The following year the Dash family moved to Canada and settled in Ottawa.  

In 1994 David moved to Vancouver where he lived with his wife and children until 2006.  A year after his arrival in Vancouver he bought a cellular store and began his new career.  Over the next 10 years David grew the business from one location and two employees to 3 locations, a corporate sales department and twenty employees. David sold the company to a private buyer in January 2007 and moved back to Ottawa with his family.

David was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve for 25 years.  He served in the Navy for 5 years and the Army for the other 20.  In the Navy he held the position  of a Naval Combat Information Operator, serving time on HMCS Fraser a Canadian destroyer and later becoming a Navy Diver.  In the army he served as an Infantry Officer retiring at the rank of Captain.

As part of his commitment to life long learning and entrepreneurship he was a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) for ten years.  He served on the Ottawa board for three years completing his final year as Chapter President.  He currently serves as a mentor to EO Ottawa members.

David graduated from Carleton University with a BA in History/Political Science and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT in Boston, Mass., USA.

As a youth, David was involved in Judo, Boxing and Tae Kwon Do, attaining a blue belt in the latter. As an adult his stand-up training has consisted of Freestyle Karate, where he earned his Low Black Belt, and in kickboxing.  David has trained in Chiang Mai, Thailand under Kru Chatchanant Sowaprux as well as in Canada in the Muay Thai style of Kickboxing.

David began his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training under Professor Marcus Soares in Vancouver and then later after moving to Ottawa with the Renzo Gracie Team.  He has also trained with the Infight team in Regina under Jeff Wiley, Omar Salvosa at Salvosa BJJ Team Ascension in Toronto, Koji Murakami at the BJJ Montreal Revolution Team and recently with Silvio Braga in Hong Kong.  David continues his training with the Carlson Gracie Team and was awarded his BJJ blue belt by Professor Soares on November 26, 2009 in Vancouver.  In January 2010 Zen Martial Arts became the official Carlson Gracie affiliate school in Ottawa.

David's newest venture in opening Zen Martial Arts has allowed him to blend his personal passion for Martial Arts and his entrepreneurial skills to launch a company that is focused on helping people achieve a healthy balance in their lives in mind, body and spirit.

His other focus is to work to reduce poverty and human suffering at home and in developing nations by building stronger communities.  David is proud to have been a member of a Homes of Hope team that built a home in Ensenada, Mexico, for a family in 2005 and is the founder of ZEN.H2O a foundation dedicated to providing water and sanitation to the poorest of the poor.

Anisha Patel - Manager, Membership Sales and Support, Karate and Kickboxing Instructor

Anisha Patel was born in city of Nairobi, Kenya where she lived up until the age of 18.  In 2005, she moved to Canada to further her studies at Carleton University.  Her interest in the arts, business and science led her to complete her BSc in biology and biotechnology with a minor in psychology in April 2010.  While growing up in Kenya, she was introduced to yoga which she continues to practice on a weekly basis.  Since her journey began in yoga, she has been interested in understanding and experiencing the connection between energy, mind, body and spirit. 

In Canada, she was introduced to meditation techniques and through its practice she witnessed a transformation in her attitude and approach towards life’s challenges.  Anisha continues to practice her meditation on a daily basis either by herself or in groups.

Anisha was introduced to Karate, Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Zen Martial Arts.  In addition to her administrative responsibilities she attends classes in both disciplines.  The practice of martial art is for her a chance to deepen her understanding of energy, will power and determination.  She believes Martial Arts and Yoga are a natural blend since both require hard work, patience, and perseverance.  The practice of these arts have helped build these traits within herself.  Anisha has completed the 200 hour teacher training program at Orleans Yoga Shala and is a certified Yoga instructor through the Yoga Alliance Program.

Anisha has also attended many seminars and completed courses in the finance and insurance industry.  Her long term goal is to continue her studies and specialize in sustainable environments in the hopes that she can one day share the knowledge with those that will benefit.

Ryan Murray - Muay Thai Kickboxing and Bootcamp Instructor

Born in Moncton N.B., Ryan was introduced to martial arts at a young age, studying and attaining high ranks in Judo, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do before the age of 12.  In addition to martial arts training Ryan also remained active in various other sports competing at the provincial level in both hockey and football, as well as being a former nationally ranked Wrestler.  Ryan is also a black belt in a Korean martial art know as Haidong Gumdo (Korean fencing).  A few years ago, as a result of his dedication to his training he was given the opportunity to travel to Korea to learn and teach this art as well as represent Canada at the 2004 World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.

Upon his return home to Canada, Ryan recognized that he had developed a passion for languages from his travels abroad.  To further advance this passion he moved to Ottawa to attend the linguistics program at the University of Ottawa.  Despite his love of languages after 3 semesters Ryan decided that linguistics just wasn’t the right fit for him, and transferred over to the Human Kinetics department where he rediscovered his love for fitness.  Ryan has completed a certified personal trainer’s course, and has been training clients professionally for three years.

Now, after living in Ottawa for almost 5 years, Ryan splits most of his time between training and his own leisure activities which include various martial arts such as Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Olympic style boxing, and training for his second Marathon. In the future, he plans to complete an ironman race, to test and push his fitness level to a whole new plateau.

Ryan is a blue belt in freestyle karate.  He currently teaches Kickboxing and Bootcamp classes at Zen.  Ryan brings his wealth of knowledge and passion for fitness to every person he trains.  He uses a fun, high energy style with attention to proper form and applied technique to ensure that everyone gets a great workout, and the results they are looking for.

Kyle Seabrooke, Karate Instructor

Kyle Seabrooke - Chito Ryu Karate Instructor

Kyle was born Dec 1988 in the small town of Haliburton, ON about three hours southeast of Ottawa.  Kyle lived in Haliburton until the age of 18.

A two week trip to Ecuador in 2004 at the age of 15 allowed him the opportunity to  immerse himself in a new culture and provide relief work for men and women in South America.  The trip opened his eyes to the challenges the third world was facing and led to his decision to pursue a travel and tourism education.

In 2007, Kyle moved to Peterborough, where he attended Sir Sanford Fleming College taking the two-year travel and tourism program until his graduation in June of 2009 at the age of 20.  After graduating from college he moved to Ottawa. 

After working in the restaurant and tourism business for some time, Kyle decided to take a full-time position with Sunlife Financial as a Financial Advisor primarily as a result of his father. Watching his father, also a financial advisor with Sunlife, provide an important service helping his clients with their financial future, enticed Kyle to pursue it as a career as well.

Kyle started his training in Karate in Haliburton at the age of 12, after his father and older brother started a year before.  For the next 6 years Kyle trained under Sensei Michael Chapman of Kai Shin Karate North, a 5th degree black belt in Chito Ryu karate.  Kyle trained an average of four days a week under Chapman, and at the age of 16 tested for and received his 1st degree black belt at Kai Shin’s head dojo in Missisauga, run by 7th degree black belt Monty Guest.

Kyle then went on to train in Peterborough at the age of 18 for 2 years in the Chito Ryu club there, Jiyu Shin Karate School, (a branch of kai shin), also practicing some Jiyu Jitsu with some of the other black belts at the club.  Upon moving to Ottawa, Kyle began training at Ottawa Chito Kai Karate under 5th degree black belt Steve Parker and also for the first 6 months at a WTF Taekwondo school in Orleans.  Currently Kyle is training for his 2nd degree black belt, in which he will be graded by his sensei Mike Chapman.

Stephen Baranyi, Karate Instructor

Steve Parker, Chito-Ryu Karate Instructor

Steve Parker was born in March 1964 in Ottawa, Ontario and has lived in Ottawa most of his life. Steve began training Chito-Ryu karate at the age of nine and has been training karate consistently for almost 40 years. During the years between 1980 and 2000, Steve consistently competed in Chito-Ryu karate tournaments and won many of them in both the kumite and kata categories.  Steve has always enjoyed both the practical and sport-oriented aspects of competition karate, and has gained a lot of experience through his competitions. Steve is currently a Go-dan or 5th-degree black belt level and a Shihan the third-highest instructor title.  Steve is currently preparing for his Rokyu-dan or 6th-degree black belt level and the Renshi or second-highest instructor title.  Steve graduated form the University of Toronto as a Chartered Accountant in the mid-1980s and later founded his own accounting firm in 1996, which is now named Parker Prins Lebano Chartered Accountants.  Steve is the Head Karate Instructor at Zen.

Shari Fisher, Summer Camp Director

Stephen Baranyi - Chito Ryu Karate Instructor

In 1987, after seven years of study under Sensei Burt Konzak at the Toronto Academy of Karate, Stephen received his black belt. Konzak had earned his black belt under Hidy Ochiai, the internationally-acclaimed master who brought Washin Ryu Karate to the United States in the 1960s. Stephen taught youth and adult classes regularly at the Academy and in its satellite programs at the University of Toronto.

When he moved to Costa Rica to do his doctoral research in 1990-1992, Stephen taught at a Kyokushin Kai Karate school with Sensei Mario Murillo. He also began training in Shotokan Karate under Sensei Carlos Perez in Panama. After returning to Toronto, he deepened his Shotokan training under Sensei Tim Suzuki and under his teacher, Grand Master Masami Tsuruoka. In 1993 Stephen completed the Level 1 Theory course of the National Coaching Certification Program.  In 1993, while completing his post-doctoral work at the London School of Economics, Stephen trained in Wu Shu under Master Sandy Hemingway.

Stephen is married with two children and is employed as a Professor of International Development at the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining the University in 2008, he worked as a human rights advocate in the European Union, a policy adviser to government agencies in Canada, a grant manager at the International Development Research Centre and a principal researcher at the North-South Institute. He has lived in Central America, the Caribbean and Europe, and has conducted field missions to numerous countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Jeffrey Francispillai - Chito Ryu Karate Instructor

Jeff was born in Jan 1994 and raised in the Ottawa area.  His background is Sri Lankan Tamil.  He has been fairly active since he was a kid with sports such as mostly soccer and martial arts. At a young age, Jeff began to practise Karate locally under Sensei Harvey Brown.  After about 10 years of study he achieved his black belt in June of 2013.  Jeff is currently doing his undergrad in biochemistry at the University of Ottawa.  Jeff hopes to pass along to the kids some of the great techniques, fitness and other teachings that karate has to offer.  Life is all about self-improvement.

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Eric Robinson - Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Born and raised in Venezuela, Eric moved to Canada in 1999 to study computer programming. After (barely) surviving his first winter, he made Ottawa his home and has been here ever since.

In his professional life, Eric is a Duty Agent, Security Operations with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. When not at work, he divides his time between his children and his martial arts training.

Eric’s martial arts background consist of Shito-ryu Itosu-kai Karate and Shorinji Kempo. He currently trains and instructs in both kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Zen.

Eric joined the Zen family at the behest of his daughter (now 9 years old) because “martial arts is fun!”. Several years and lots of hard work later, it still is.

Ioannis Apostolakos - Muay Thai Kickboxing Instructor


Ioannis joined the Zen in 2010, starting with the Kickboxing program. Shortly after, Ioannis also joined the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu curriculum as part of a holistic approach to self-defence and physical development.  Ioannis was born in Ottawa and is a computer network engineer and fine art photographer by trade. As a child, Ioannis lived in the beautiful Sparta area of Greece and in 2004 he had the opportunity to live in the San Francisco bay area to complete a 1 year project.  Ioannis has always believed that Martial Arts provides the skills and self-confidence needed in our modern day life and a fun way to stay fit.

Hilda Siegel - Boot Camp Instructor

Hilda Siegel has been a personal trainer since 2008.  She is also a yoga teacher, a competitive power lifter and has her Cross Fit level one qualification.  Hilda has been teaching boot camps since 2009 and believes in getting her students out of their comfort zone in each class she teaches.  She looks forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Shari Fisher - Summer Camp Director

Shari graduated from Algonquin College with a Social Service Worker Diploma.  While in college she began volunteering for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa where she continues her volunteer work today.  Shari has been working for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for 18 years.  She is presently a Student Support Professional working in the school boards Behaviour Intervention Program (BIP) with elementary level school kids.  The BIP program is a special program designed for kids with learning and behavioural problems.  Some of her responsibilities include developing and implementing programs, teaching anger management classes, and overseeing lifestyle groups.  In addition to her work in the school board Shari has also worked as a Program Director at St. Marguerite Summer Camp for six years.  Shari has completed numerous programs related to child safety and welfare including courses on bullying, ADD/ADHD, Autism, sign language, First Aid and CPR.