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Villari's Self Defense Centers Syracuse

America's Martial Arts Professionals Since 1968
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The Masters Bios

 Great Grandmaster Villari,12th Degree Black Belt

 
            Fred Villari is acknowledged as one of the most important martial
            artists of the last 1000 years.
 
            Great Grandmaster Villari is globally renowned for combining
            Northern and Southern Chinese martial arts, Chinese Boxing, Japanese
            martial arts and Chinese, Mongolian, and Japanese felling/grappling
            arts with Western Boxing.
 
            Grandmaster Villari innovated changes from low to upright stances in
            order to have more fluency and freedom of movement.. The old stances
            were suited for people of a different stature and who fought in a
            low crouched position. Villari Fighting Stances were developed using
            the way of the upright position, which has been proven to be far
            superior. This is one of the most important changes that Grandmaster
            Villari has made in the Karate and Kempo systems. No wonder so many
            other martial art styles have copied and imitated his changes.
 
            In addition, Great Grandmaster Villari incorporated Chinese and
            Tibetan internal martial arts (Energy Arts) to create the most
            complete and devastating fighting art the world has ever seen.
            Great Grandmaster Villari has been the leader in creating a system
            that works in today’s world, including:
            - Developing the first martial arts shoe (now a standard in almost
            every martial arts facility in the world)
            - Designed and manufactures a designer-quality jean with a cut and
            material that is equally comfortable and stylish in the dojo as well
            as the street.
            - Perhaps Great Grandmaster Villari’s most significant innovation
            was creating the first true “mixed martial art” over 45 years ago
            with his innovative “Four Ways of Fighting” Mr. Villari realized
            early on that while traditional martial arts had much to offer, many
            are outmoded in modern times. Mr. Villari knew that mixing Western
            Boxing, martial arts, and grappling is much more effective than one
            style alone. His philosophy is that every fight is different and
            people have differing abilities so one must have the ability to
            seamlessly change during a fight to ensure you are the victor not
            the victim.
 
            In recognition of his exploits, in 2006 Mr. Villari was elected and
            inducted by Grandmaster Aaron Banks in a ceremony witnessed by over
            100 Masters from all over the world as “The Grandmaster of the
            Century”.
 
            Aaron Banks, who passed in May 2013 at the age of 85, was one of the
            country’s most respected tournament promoters. Aaron Banks was a
            Grand Master in the martial arts and he made it his personal mission
            to share the different forms of martial arts in the western world.
            Grandmaster Aaron Banks promoted martial arts to the public with his
            Oriental World of Self-Defense shows that played in Madison Square
            Garden for over 20 years via ABC-Wide World of Sports, NBC Sports
            World, CBS Sports, and HBO Sports. His “Oriental World of
            Self-Defense” had millions of viewers. He is also credited with
            launching the career of Chuck Norris.
 
            A Personal Message From Great Grandmaster Fred Villari
            Grandmaster Villari wishes to take this time to honor, remember and
            is very grateful to all the grandmasters and masters of China,
            Japan, India and Tibet. These magnificent men and masters who are
            now gone through the ashes of time (and should never be forgotten)
            have passed down their wisdom and knowledge which has made it
            possible for me to further the combining and develop the Art of the
            Four Ways of Fighting. (Shaolin Kempo Karate).

 

  Master Ken Canestraro, 7th Degree Black Belt

Master Ken Canestraro, 7th Dan, Senior Instructor - “Master Ken” is one of the most dynamic teachers in the Villari organization. Ken’s high-energy, upbeat attitude and emphasis on developing positive character is reflected in the success of his students. Master Ken is an expert in a variety of the traditional martial arts weaponry and is an avid sport karate enthusiast. Ken dotes on his two daughters Shelby and Shayla. -From Master Mark Grupposo, 10th Dan, President of Villari's
 
 Master Instructor Ken Canestraro has almost three decades of experience teaching martial arts for Villari's. He's led studios in Boston, Marlboro & Natick MA over the years and now is home to Syracuse.  He loves a family focused dojo with non stop special and fun events thru the year.  A special point of pride is in his students that become Black Belts and then go on to operate their own schools and continue the tradition.  He's had the honor of  raising some very talented champions and gifted teachers in New England over the years that he still calls friends.
 
Ken was promoted to Chief Instructor of his own school  in 1987, promoted personally by GM Villari to Master in 2001, currently holds a 7th Degree Black Belt, and has been training and teaching in the same system and with same organization for 30 years! No change in school names, styles, methods, organizations, etc.  This offers THE truest instruction in Authentic Shaolin Kempo Karate !
 
He's been asked by Great Grandmaster Villari to be one of the Masters who head up the expansion of the organization across North America and support new operators and instructors.  He's happy to be a personal associate and friend of Mr. Villari.
 
 He's currently in the Retired Reserve for the US Army Reserve where he served a career in military law enforcement and armorer. He also served in the US Navy in the crypto field for several years.  He currently volunteers with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary where he can serve America in Homeland Security and on the water ways in Upstate NY. 
 
For those serving as LE/Military, Ken teaches tactical knife, firearms, firearms retention and disarms. He's a Glock Professional Certified Armorer.
 
He and his daughters, that he raises as a single parent, live locally so this new location for a school and regional HQ is very important to him.

To-Shin Do Ninjutsu has also been a passion of Master Canestraro for many years and he's happy to be bringing the art to Syracuse!  An-Shu Stephen Hayes personally authorized Ken to introduce To-Shin Do  to new students in central NY.
 
 
 
  Master Adam Schwartz, 5th Degree Black Belt
                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 Sensei Adam Scwhartz came to the Syracuse location about 6 months after opening and has been a fantastic addition to our dojo!  His energy and smile are contagious among kids and adults alike. 
 
  He previously studied under Master Dave Boise, 9th Dan, in our Plattsburgh NY location and is an avid tournament competitor.  Adam started in Fred Villari's Studios of Self Defense at a ripe old age of 7 and earned his first degree Black Belt in December of 1994. Adam has amassed over 700 trophy wins during his competitive martial arts career!!!
 
  Adam's father also studies in Villari's, having earned a 3rd Degree Black Belt with us and studied over in Okinawa earlier in his martial arts development.  Adam has taught in three other Villari's locations prior to joining us here in central NY.
 
  Adam is now recognized as a Master Instructor after preparing diligently for and passing his rank exam in front of Great Grandmaster Fred Villari and board of Senior Masters to include his teacher, Mr. Canestraro, on November 20, 2015. Congrats, Sir!