HOME             ABOUT ZEN             BLOG             INSTRUCTORS              LOCATION             SCHEDULE             GALLERY



David Dash - Little Samurai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Karate 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 company 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. As an adult his stand-up training has consisted of Freestyle Karate, where he earned his 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 with the Carlson Gracie Team under Professor Marcus Soares in Vancouver.  David has also trained around the world with many top level Carlson Gracie Team instructors such as Wilson Junior in London England, Omar Salvosa in Toronto, Carlson Gracie Jnr, as well as Silvio Braga’s team Grips in Hong Kong.  David continues his training with the Carlson Gracie Team and was awarded his BJJ blue belt by Master Soares in 2009 and his purple belt in 2013.

Some recent competition results:

IBJJF International Montreal Open 2013

Division: Men’s Senior 3 Middle Heavy Weight Purple Belt - 1st Place

Division: Men’s Senior 3 Open Weight Purple Belt - 1st Place

NAGA East Coast Championships, Massachusetts 2011

Division: GI Directors Middle Weight Blue Belt - 2nd Place

NAGA World Cup, Florida 2009

Division: NO-GI Masters Light Heavyweight Beginner - 1st Place

Division: NO-GI Directors Heavyweight Intermediate - 2nd Place

Division: NO-GI Masters Light Heavyweight Intermediate - 2nd Place

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.

iweb stats

Gustavo Castro - Membership Sales and Support

Gustavo was born and raised in Colombia. In 2011 He moved to Ottawa, just after finishing his 5 year degree program in Sport Business Management. In order to expand his knowledge and become more suitable for the Canadian market, Gustavo went back to school and took a Graduate Certificate in Sport Business Management in Algonquin College. After gaining experience in National Sport organizations such as Coaching Association of Canada, and the Canadian Soccer Association, Gustavo became part of the Zen family as the next step in his professional path.

Gustavo is really passionate about sports, especially soccer. He plays soccer in local recreational leagues, as well as training in Muay Thai at Zen Martial Arts.

Hailey Dash - Membership Sales and Support

Hailey is currently a student entering her last year at Merivale High School and has been working tenaciously in order to get into her first choice of universities for commerce. She has been a part of the Zen family since the beginning, working and instructing for many years. Hailey has been an avid rugby fan since grade seven and continues to play as a part of her school team. She has also participated in Zen's karate program, achieving her blue belt in free style karate, as well as periodically joining a kickboxing or BJJ class when she has the chance. She enjoys travelling, reading and writing. 

Ryan Murray - Muay Thai Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 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 and earned he degree.  Ryan has completed a certified personal trainer’s course, and has been training clients professionally for five 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 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  He currently teaches Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing 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 - 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 - 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.

David Laraby - Chito Ryu Karate Instructor

David was born in Ottawa Ontario in 1994, he is in his third and final year of the architectural engineering program at Algonquin college.

David has always been passionate about all sports, playing on many teams throughout school but his main passion is the sport of karate. David started taking Shitokan martial arts when he was 5 years old with his father and two sisters where he achieved his black belt at 16. Since then he has has trained in aikido and most recently trains and instructs in Chito-Ryu karate at Zen.  

David's biggest influence and inspiration growing up has been Bruce Lee and he hopes that one day he can be as big of an inspiration to his students as Bruce Lee was to him.

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 periodically 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.