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Practicing blocks and counter moves against a wide variety of attacks. Students are taught to defend against attacks starting with simple one and two hand grabs and progressing as the student gains skill to defense against punches, kicks, chokes, and locks. In addition to practicing self-defense in the training area, we sometimes practice defending ourselves in stairwells, confined spaces, seated at tables, in vehicles and even airplanes. Advanced ranks also practice defense against edged weapons, clubs and guns and against attacks from multiple opponents.

Taneesha & Katherine 6th Kyu students

Sensei Guccione disarming a

knife attacker

A typical class begins with blocking, punching and kicking without an opponent, starting slowly for warm up and becoming more intense and aerobically challenging. Instruction on how to improve the techniques and increase speed, power and agility occurs throughout this phase. The rest of the class time is typically devoted to one or two of the following:

Mrs. Guccione & Mrs. Langdon

Shotokan came to Japan with Master Gichin Funakoshi from Okinawa in the early 1900s and later to America.

Mrs. Guccione, Mr. & Sensei Guccione with Soke Ed Melaugh, Small Circle Jiu Jitsu

Master Campos & Northern NY Zen-DoKai

Canton ZDK


Senior Sempei Lisa Guccione is a 5th degree black belt with over 20 years martial arts experience. She has won numerous awards for kata and sparring.


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A class lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and follows this format:

Mr. Gladding Sparring Mr. Langdon & Mr. Huxel

Instructor: David Guccione, 5th Dan
Senior Sempai:
Lisa Guccione 5th Dan 
Jovan Germano 4th Dan •  Sempai: Bruce Kenna 3rd Dan

Highly controlled and regulated punching and kicking against an opponent. Students wear safety gear. No striking or kicking below the belt, to the back, to the throat or eyes. Light contact above the belt to the body is allowed. No face contact is permitted. Moderate to intense aerobic demand.

A ritual series of combinations of empty handed blocks, kicks and blows which mimic an imaginary fight against multiple opponents. Intermediate and advance ranks also practice kata with ancient oriental weapons such as the sai, bo, and sword. Aerobic demand is light to intense.

Ms. Guccione, & Mr Guccione 
with Fumio Demura

Dave Guccione is Sensei of the Canton ZDK.  He began formal martial arts training in Vietnam in 1969 and started with the ZDK in 1983 as a student of Sensei Joel Kirch. He competed and placed in the finals of NCAA National Karate Championships.  He has been a practitioner and trainer in law enforcement for over 40 years. He was a police officer and field training officer with the St. Louis County Police Dept. He is a retired Chief Warrant Officer in the US Army and a veteran of the Vietnam War. 

Zen Do Kai karate was founded in 1974 by Master Michael J. Campos of Johnstown New York. Master Campos is a 9th degree black belt who has studied martial arts since 1959. ZDK is primarily a Japanese Shotokan style karate, characterized by long, wide stances and linear techniques. Self-defense techniques incorporate elements of karate, judo, jujitsu, and kempo, with a focus on "street effective" methods. Many of the senior black belts in ZDK are law enforcement and military veterans.

ZDK Links:  
Zen-Do Kai Martial Arts Association  

The Canton Zen Do Kai (ZDK) Martial Arts Club is devoted to learning weaponless self-defense. Skilled instructors teach the mental and physical aspects of empty-hand combat skills, mostly oriental in origin. Student’s progress from beginner (white and yellow belt) thru intermediate (green) to advanced (brown and black belt) skill levels by practicing a well balanced series of physical exercises and movements which involve every part of the body. One skill is built upon another. As the student progresses physically, equally important attitudinal adjustments follow: A student gains confidence, calmness in the face of threat, persistence and stress reduction.

Mr. Gladding performing a Kata

We believe that anyone can learn to defend him/herself and learning is self-paced. We do not have a militaristic teaching style. The instructors allow each student to progress at the individual’s natural pace. Students are encouraged to progress but never intimidated into any activity.

He is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at SUNY Canton, cofounder of the St. Lawrence County Police Academy, designer of  the Criminal Justice Program and the Security Guard School and coriginator of the Criminal Investigations Program.  He has authored academic work in the Criminal Justice field and magazine articles on scuba diving.  He currently enjoys writing about martial arts, refer to the articles section of this website.  The Zen-do Kai has its origins in Okinawan and Japanese styles of martial arts.  While we practice many of the traditional aspects of Shotokan karate in basic movements and kata, our art reaches its pinnacle in self-defense where we incorporate the joint locks of Jiujitsu, the sweeps and throws of aikido and judo and the toughness and power of Japanese and Okinawan karate.  Our art is open to anyone who has the desire to learn.  You need not be "in shape" to start but you will be when you finish.