Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios Black Belt Instructors

About Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios, LLC – ZUSDS – is a part of a family of martial arts companies formed with one goal in mind – to provide “Z-Ultimate” martial arts experience for students and their families by providing life changing and character building experiences through world-class personalized martial arts instruction. It is one of the largest martial arts company of its kind, with locations in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

What is unique about Z-USDS – besides it’s Dynamic Mastery Method™ of instruction – is a philosophy of leadership that teaches, “Be a product of what you represent”. Every single staff and support member of the Z-USDS family are martial artists and train actively. By doing so, we never are “out of touch” with what is happening in our locations because we are students, too.

Each and every Z-USDS instructor is hand-picked and trained by the Board of Masters through ZUUMAP – Z-Ultimate University of Martial Arts Professionals – where they undergo rigorous training in the Classical, Tactical and Practical aspects of our Ultimate Kenpo system. Upon becoming an instructor with Z-USDS, they continue to train each and every week under the tutelage of the Board of Masters, improving as martial artists, instructors and location operators.

Z-USDS ensures “Z-Ultimate” martial arts experience and a world class level of quality and service for all Z-USDS family members.

Mission Statement

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios Mission Statement

Our Mission is to Inspire the Men, Women, and Children of Our Communities to Realize Their Personal Best through the Timeless Traditions of the Martial Arts in an Environment That is Proudly Built upon the More Rewarding Aspects of Life – Respect, Health and Happiness.


One of the true gifts that comes with being a student of the martial arts with Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios is that as you develop as a martial artist, you also develop three core values.

You learn these values through your training and the longer you train, the more ingrained in you these values become. Soon, without realizing it, these core values become a part of you, guiding you in your daily life.

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios believes that true martial artists live their martial arts values, both on the mat and off. This is why Z-Ultimate strives to share and live these values in everything we do – and why they are the guiding values of our company.


Many people confuse respecting someone for fearing someone or automatically treating that person as better than you, as if they are deserving of more. This is completely wrong. Respecting someone – especially yourself – means valuing that person; recognizing their worth as an individual and appreciating not only what they can do on and off the mat, but what they are capable of doing. During your martial arts training, you show respect for your partners by treating them as you want to be treated; working together to push each other to grow and learn.  The more you train together, the more you appreciate their abilities and what they bring out in you.


In life, many people say that they want to achieve great things. What separates those who are masters of their lives from those who are dreamers is the masters make themselves do what it is they said they wanted to do, regardless of current circumstances. Mastering the martial arts – as with anything in life – requires constant repetition, or the “habit” of practice. Habits are only developed through focused behavior towards a goal.  Just by consistently coming to class, you develop the habit of consistency, your martial arts skills increase and eventually, the habit of discipline.


Humility is not about thinking less of yourself; rather, it is about being thankful for how unique and valuable you are as a person, and understanding that you have a responsibility to share your gifts with others. The greater the martial artist, the greater the responsibility to pass on the knowledge to others. A true master realizes that it is not about the individual; it is about what the individual stands for.

Instructors Creed

Z-Ultimate Instructor Creed

With Sincere Pride and Appreciation of the Communities We Serve, We the Instructors of “Z” Commit to Being the Best and Most Extreme Example of Its Kind Through the Timeless Traditions, Philosophies, and Values of the Martial Arts in order to be a True Product of What We Represent.

We Further Commit, with Great Honor and Privilege, to Provide Our Respected and Valued Students the Ultimate in Personalized Martial Arts Instruction so They too may Realize the Powerful Rewards of

Mind – Body – Spirit

Classical – Practical – Tactical

Proud – Personable – Professional

Code Of Conduct

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios Code of Conduct

  • Remove street shoes before entering the dojo
  • Bow when entering and leaving the dojo
  • No food, gum or drink is allowed in the dojo
  • No jewelry should be worn during class or while practicing
  • Turn off or silence all cell phones and electronic devices
  • Full uniforms required for all classes and testing procedures. Please make sure they are clean and odorless
  • Black uniforms may be word starting at the rank of Purple Belt
  • Black and white uniforms may NOT be worn mixed by students. Instructors only
  • All uniforms and t-shirts must display the Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios logo
  • Always kneel when putting on or removing your belt
  • Please kneel when a Black Belt is putting on or removing their Black Belt
  • If a class is kneeling and meditating, please kneel and remain quiet out of respect until they are finished
  • Available practice time in the dojo is to be spent working on your material. Please do not watch or disturb another student’s lesson
  • Do not teach other students your material unless asked to do so by a qualified instructor. This will only create confusion
  • Do not use any of the kick shields, focus mitts or heavy bags while a private class is being instructed
  • Do not walk through a class in progress. Please walk around or behind it
  • Absolutely no sparring without the supervision of a Black Belt Instructor
  • Full safety equipment is required for all students while sparring (headgear, gloves, forearm and shin pads, foot protection and mouthpiece)
  • Groin protectors are required for all male students
  • Always bow to another student before and after you train with them
  • Always refer to your Instructor as “Sensei”, “Sir” or “Ma’am”
  • Never Suggest or Inquire About Your Next Rank Test

Our Martial Arts History

Our style of Ultimate Kenpo is a dynamic blend of Karate, Kung Fu and Jiujitsu, with a strong base from Okinawan Kenpo. Kenpo (also spelled Kempo) is a unique system; it is one of the original “mixed” martial arts.

When we say “mixed” martial arts, we are not referring to the widely popular and exciting sport of mixed martial arts, or MMA as it is known.  MMA is a sport, based on techniques taken from other combat or “martial” sports, like boxing and wrestling, combined with different parts of other martial arts styles.  There are weight classes, rules, safety equipment and other things that make it different from the martial arts.

When we say “mixed” martial arts, we are speaking of the blending of martial arts principles and techniques from multiple martial arts styles as it relates to a practical, tactical and classical self defense system.  The three major influences of Ultimate Kenpo are karate, kung fu and jujitsu (also spelled jiu-jitsu, or jiujitsu.)

The Karate influence is present in the linear, power oriented techniques; wider, stronger stances and traditional Japanese katas (forms) and training techniques.

The Kung Fu influence is evident in the circular, blending techniques. Also present are the five animal styles and their unique physical movement characteristics and principles, which allow for adaptation of different body styles in training.

Jiujitsu is reflected in the trapping or hand immobilization, joint manipulations and variety of throws and takedowns intertwined throughout our defensive techniques, allowing for smaller opponents to unbalance, control and take down larger opponents.

The “Legendary” Roots of Kempo

The most popular legend regarding Kempo is that it can trace its lineage back to the Shaolin Temple of China. The Shaolin Temple was founded around 527 A.D. and legend has it that a warrior monk from India crossed the mountains of Tibet into China and arrived at the Shaolin Temple.

Here, this monk – named Bodhidharma – is said to have found the monks in such terrible physical condition that he began training them in his warrior ways to improve their physical conditioning and ability to protect themselves.

It is said that from generation to generation, that knowledge has been passed on by the Shaolin Monks. Some say that as monks left the Temple and traveled throughout Asia, into Japan and Okinawa, that the teachings were changed and modified by people as they were passed down, producing the multiple styles of martial arts throughout the world today.

It is simply impossible to verify for sure if there is truth to these stories. Because we can’t confirm or deny these legends, Z-Ultimate is not comfortable passing them on as fact.

Professor William K.S. “Thunderbolt” Chow

Legendary Martial Arts Master "Thunderbolt" ChowModern Kenpo can be traced back to the Island of Hawaii, circa 1942. There was an influential martial artist who brought Okinawan Kempo to Hawaii and began to teach it to a select few students. One of those students would change the course of modern Kenpo forever…

This student was William K.S. “Thunderbolt” Chow. Chow was half-Chinese and some Kempo legends state that he was taught his family’s Chinese martial arts style and that was how Kempo gained its Shaolin and Chinese influences. While none of this can be proven true, what is true is that Chow would eventually leave his Master and go on his own, forming his own Kempo style that he referred to as Kara-ho Kempo.

Chow would be responsible for training some of the most influential Black Belts in Kempo history and, as Chow had left his master to “branch out and grow” his style of Kempo on his own, so did students of Professor Chow. As these students “left the family”, they took what they learned, added or modified the style as they saw fit, and passed it on. As these martial artists evolved and expanded the family, Kempo made its way from Hawaii to California to New England.

Professor Nick Cerio

It was in one of these families of Kempo that a man named Nick Cerio began his training. Cerio had a previous background in boxing, judo and tae kwon do before starting his training in Kempo in 1961.

By the late 1960’s, Cerio had earned his Black Belt in New England. He decided he wanted to return to the roots of Kempo, so he traveled to Hawaii and began training directly with Professor William Chow,considered one of the founders of Kempo and widely credited with spreading the art.

Professor Cerio went on to become a legend and one of the most influential masters of Kempo in the martial arts. He trained in or earned high ranks in multiple styles of martial arts: Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu, American Kenpo, Hakkoryu Jujistu, Okinawan Karate, Sil Lum Kung Fu, Shotokan, Kyokushinkai and Judo.

There is a truth in the martial arts that states, “The style of a martial art is heavily influenced by the Master who creates it or passes it on.” While studying Kempo and other styles, Professor Cerio followed a philosophy that is best described as, “Take what is useful, make it your own and discard the rest.”

Like many of the martial artists who descended from the forefathers of Kempo, Professor Cerio took what he had learned from the many martial arts masters and combined it into his own system of Kenpo, calling it Nick Cerio’s Kenpo, or Cerio Kenpo.

Professor Cerio, through his innovation and life-long dedication to the martial arts, helped to spread Kenpo throughout New England, indirectly launching the martial arts careers of thousands and thousands of martial artists, through his own schools or family offshoots of his Kenpo style.

To understand and appreciate how Z-Ultimate has decided to honor our family lineage of Kenpo, it is important to understand the history of two men.

Shihan Joseph Nesta

In 1971, these two men – Joseph Nesta and Paul Taylor – began their training in one of the offshoots of Kenpo that had come to New England via California and Hawaii.

In 1988, Nesta, then a 5th degree Black Belt, decided that he wanted to “return to the roots” of Kenpo and sought out Professor Cerio directly. When they met, the Professor asked Nesta what it was he wanted; Nesta replied, “I want to know everything you know.” Cerio reportedly smiled and replied, “I like your attitude.”

This started a ten year journey with Professor Cerio that culminated with Professor Cerio promoting Shihan Nesta to one of the highest ranks ever awarded in Cerio’s Kenpo and hand-picking Shihan Nesta as the man to take over Professor Cerio’s association.

Sadly, Professor Cerio passed away in 1998. Shihan Nesta would go on to earn his 10th Degree Black Belt from 10th Degree Black Belt Larry Garron.

Shihan Paul TaylorGrandmaster Paul Taylor

By 1986, Paul Taylor was a high-ranking Black Belt and moved from New England to California, beginning a journey that would touch literally thousands of future Kenpo martial artists.

He was a key figure in building one of the largest martial arts organizations in the United States, with locations spanning from coast to coast.

He was also instrumental in enrolling, teaching and producing thousands of martial artists and hundreds of Black Belts – many of whom are still teaching and spreading Kenpo around the country to this day – by creating the largest Martial Arts Instructors College ever.

Taylor also created, organized and managed the largest one-day martial arts tournament on the West Coast, which has been in existence for almost twenty years and still goes on to this day.

Taylor was also responsible for the organization and successes of two record breaking events involving the Shaolin Temple of China’s Shaolin Monk Demonstration Team. In both instances, the Shaolin Temple reported the largest crowds they had ever performed for in North America.

In perhaps one of his proudest accomplishments, Taylor was acknowledged as a “True Kenpo Master” personally by Professor Nick Cerio in a ceremony in Southern California. Taylor went on to coordinate and administer Professor Nick Cerio’s International Martial Arts Association during its most successful period of membership.

Taylor was promoted to his 8th degree Black Belt in 2001 at the legendary Shaolin Temple of China.

In 2010, Shihan Taylor was promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt with Shihan Joseph Nesta as a witness.

In 2012, Shihan Taylor was promoted to rank of 10th Degree Black Belt and given the title “Grandmaster” by 10th Degree Black Belt and Grandmaster Shihan Joseph Nesta.

Z-Ultimate “Closes The Loop” in Our Kenpo Lineage

By 2010, Shihan Paul Taylor, now a 9th Degree Black Belt, is the Senior Master for Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios. To honor and strengthen his connection to Professor Cerio in the Kenpo family lineage, Shihan Taylor thought it was important to connect with the person who was the most knowledgeable and closest to Professor Cerio prior to his death.

To accomplish this, he reached out to 10th Degree Black Belt Shihan Joseph Nesta, (who, after Professor Cerio’s death, went on to train with other masters and earn his 10th degree Black Belt) who agreed to become a martial arts advisor for Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios, “closing the loop” in modern Kenpo history and honoring our lineage to Professor Cerio.

Ultimate Kenpo is About Developing the Ultimate You

Our system of Ultimate Kenpo is a dynamic blend of Karate, Kung Fu and Jiujitsu with historical origins dating back thousands of years. Z-Ultimate believes in taking the martial arts and using it as a vehicle to develop and bring out the best in you.

Your “Ultimate” mind, body and spirit is achieved through a collection of Classical, Practical and Tactical values, philosophies and blended applications, all carefully designed and defined for all age groups by Grandmaster Taylor and the Z-Ultimate Board of Masters.

Through our exclusive “Dynamic Master Method” of instruction and personalized “TNT” – Teach and Train – strategies and curriculum, you will be both enlightened and empowered while enjoying the most comprehensive, versatile and effective form of martial arts training available today.

To learn more about how you can see for yourself how Ultimate Kenpo can help you realize your “Ultimate You”, please visit our How to Get Started in the Martial Arts page or register below: