Student Stories

“My son Cameron started hesitatingly, having tried martial arts a few years ago at a different studio and it was not a good experience for him. It took some prodding, but he finally decided to give it another try. I’m pleased to say the once hesitant Cameron loves Sensei Ben and his lessons and is loving it more and more every day! It has become his favorite recreational activity. With each belt promotion, Cameron has developed more and more self-confidence. He is more self-disciplined and has self-respect. He is not afraid of the bullying he may face in adolescence, because he now possesses the confidence to handle a situation maturely. The discipline and self-confidence he has gained have also carried over to his schoolwork. He is accepting more responsibilities around the house, which is a nice bonus!

“We commute [over 20 miles] to attend classes. There are studios closer to home which I am sure are great studios, but I am sure we would not find a studio that would offer us the quality of learning and the atmosphere, and we would never find a better martial arts instructor.”

- Colleen C

Parent of a Black Belt

“As an elementary teacher, I know how important it is to establish good rapport with students and make them feel that they are respected and cared for. That is what this school is all about! Their emphasis on character development and achieving personal goals puts their place above all others in my eyes! I’m always searching for superior role models for my son and Sensei Ben is certainly one.”

- Lori Z

Parent of a Black Belt

“The programs have the unique ability to bring out each child’s individual best. Class formats benefit those who are shy and need confidence building as well as those that have difficulties with acting out behaviors and require guidance in the areas of self-discipline and control. The program offers all participants the opportunity to have fun while experiencing personal success.

“I am continually impressed by the way Sensei Ben identifies each child’s particular needs/abilities and responds in ways which help individuals achieve their best. And, all this is done through positive reinforcement/re-direction without the need for reprimand or embarrassment.”

- Mary C

Psy.D. / Parent of a Black Belt

“Ben has a sincere and generous heart that makes him an incredible role model for any human being. If you are looking for a role model for yourself or your child, you will not find another person with more commitment, sincerity, integrity, and discipline. I have traveled all over the world and trained with all sorts of instructors and each of them has taught me something I value, but not one of them was better than Ben. Out of respect for my other teachers, my wife and my family, I won’t say that I owe it all to Ben but I will say that if he makes a tiny fraction of the difference in your life that he has made in mine (and many of his other students), I guarantee you will not regret a day of your decision to join his school.”

- Jonathan M

Martial Arts School Owner/Teacher/Student

“Most studios advertise that each student is encouraged to do his or her best, and at the same time, each is allowed to progress at his or her own pace. Many will tell you that the martial arts develop self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-control. This school offers all that and more. What the other studios don’t have is the dedicated staff that you find here. We’re proud of our daughter. I’d like to take credit for getting her involved in the martial arts, but the truth of the matter is, she’s taking lessons because she wants to be.”

- Art C

Parent of a Black Belt

“When I asked Paulie what he liked most about karate, he replied that he felt proud of himself when he was finished with class each week. Your program has given Paulie an opportunity to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“My husband attended class for the first time last week. He was impressed with your unit on stranger danger; you presented the material in a way that was not frightening to the children and yet you were still able to convey the message of personal safety to each of them. He was impressed with the fact that you directly spoke to each individual child and gave each of them personal attention and instruction.

“The dialogue that you have with the children during each of the lessons is one of the many reasons that we believe martial arts training is vital to our child’s development. You often speak to the children about staying focused during their lesson. We have reinforced this message when doing reading exercises with Paulie. You are truly helping to shape our child’s mind as well as helping him develop physical strength. Thank you for your hard work and for being a role model for our children.”

- Robin C

Parent of a Black Belt

“I just had to let you know that I have never seen my son as happy and proud as he was yesterday when he came home from class with his Yellow Belt!  He was positively glowing with excitement as he showed me his certificate along with his new belt!  I cannot thank you enough for being such a wonderful teacher and role model for him and making him fall in love with karate.”

- Alicia M


“I wanted to take a minute to say a big ‘Thank You!’ for all you’ve done for Tannin. He has really enjoyed learning from you these past couple years. And I have appreciated your willingness to be so accommodating to my crazy schedule! I also need to acknowledge the influence you have had on him as a positive male role model in his life. As a young (almost) man, Tannin doesn’t have a lot of good male role models around right now. I appreciate the time you have taken to talk to him one on one when he has struggled with growing pains. It means a lot to both of us.”

- Cari J


“I signed up for martial arts and self-defense. I am extremely pleased. Great for fitness too. Master Ben is fast paced and an inspiration. 3 group classes a week that are fun and highly engaging. Plus individual lessons to keep improving your skill and fitness. Everyone should do this!”

- Joe M


“In the end of life what will people remember about you, it’s about the people you have touched and have touched you and have made a difference. My grandpa taught me that, and I didn’t fully understand until my brush with death.

“You and Meghan made a significant impact in my life when I came to the dojo for self-defense.  You both get the golden rules of life and enjoy people, how could I not appreciate you both!  You’re both awesome and proof that there are nice, kind, people in this world!  It was a very rough year and I still managed to get my MOJO back in the Dojo! If the need arises I will defend myself. If it ends up being my time to go, I won’t go without a damn good fight at staying alive.  You and Meghan knew this, it just took me some time to figure it out again and I will always be grateful you were there for me (and Kyle too).  Kyle doesn’t know his strength yet, but he will be a fierce little dude if he needs to be.”

- Kari I

Student and Parent of a Student

“You helped bring more physical and mental balance to my life when I needed it the most. Thank you for the instruction, you run a wonderful school!”

- Sean O


“When I decided to take up martial arts, I was looking for a fun way for Jason and I to be active together. Not only did I love it, but it began to change me. To understand just how, you need to know a little about my past.

I come from a very abusive childhood. I have gone through every kind of abuse you can imagine. I know what it is like to be kept home from school for fear the bruises would be seen. I have experienced and witnessed situations no child should ever be exposed to. My parents married at fourteen and sixteen and divorced when I was two. They both remarried right away. I was caught up in the middle, abuse coming from both sides.

As a teenager, I attempted suicide several times to the point of hospitalization.  I was isolated in school, banished from normal classes. My stepmom died of cancer when I was fifteen. My Dad went crazy without her. I had to fend for myself and eventually dropped out of school. The abuse continued, bloody noses the norm. Thankfully, I met Jason. He rescued me from all that hell. We married when I was seventeen and moved out of state.

It has been a long ten years just trying to find out who I am.  For the last few years I immersed myself in church. I know where I stand with my beliefs, but this particular church was very extreme. There was tremendous pressure to live by their standards. I got rid of all my music, wore only skirts and dresses, stopped going to movies, etc. They had me to the point where I thought my main purpose in life was to stay at home raising lots of kids. I felt so numb after a while. I felt like such a hypocrite. My depression grew worse every day. I knew something had to change.

That is when I considered martial arts. When I started taking classes, I just felt so free. It is a feeling that I could never explain. As I continued, I really felt as though I was “myself”. Before, I was extremely shy. I never would have been able to talk in front of a group and definitely would not have been able to let people touch me! I was a different person. Karate has completely transformed me. It has given me so much confidence and self esteem. My past still does come out … but week by week, it is still improving me in many ways.  The transformation has been so dramatic that my co-workers thought someone had replaced my position! I just can’t say enough about this school. I love being here and I feel very comfortable with you as my teacher.

My love for karate has me wanting to learn all I can. Right now I don’t feel I’m anywhere close to being good at karate. That’s an understatement! But I do know that I can do anything if I put my mind to it! I’m so excited to continue this journey!!!”

- Jessie K


“I can really see just how prepared my children are to face not only other opponents but the world itself. It is a scary place to have children grow up in but I feel very confident that the boys would use their skills if they had too.  The dedication and care that you have is evident in how our children carry themselves around every day.

“PS. One of the projects for Liam this past month was to keep his room clean. I should thank you for that too!! He picks up every night before bed. There are firsts for everything.”

- Gina B

Parent of 3 Black Belts

“Ben is absolutely incredible! He has more patience than anyone I have ever seen and our son looks forward to every class with him! It’s been a great experience for our son and we can’t recommend Ben and Z-Ultimate enough!!”

- Emily K


“I want to remind you of how thankful I am. You taught me how to punch stuff. But the punches you taught me were not punches, they were movements that carried wind in dusty places, brought fire to frozen cities, instilled peace to the guilty, and raised glory over the highest mountains (they were awesome punches). You were a Sensei in karate, but to me, you were also a Sensei in life who taught me how to mature as a man. 

“I remember a time when I argued with almost everything you said and I would do action before critical thought. If I had a time machine to fix things I have done, I would not fix anything because then I would never learn. I want to restart at white belt and work again to who I am now. I want to recount the events that transformed me from a boy to a man. Now, I am a changed person, and I believe it is because of you. Thank you, Sensei, for preparing me for this moment.”

- Barry B

Student, the day after his Black Belt Test

“As I am sure you noticed, James tends to verbalize his thoughts. We consider this a strength that he is not afraid to communicate. However, as we prepare him for kindergarten in the fall we want to help him develop skills to focus his energy on the present moment, be more aware of his surroundings by listening to others (vs. just thinking about what he plans to say next), and to have better control of his body. I really like how you focus on these aspects!”

- Joe C


“Benjamin is a very educated, understanding and motivating instructor. As a personal trainer, I value these qualities. I felt comfortable from the instant I walked through the door. I have never taken a martial arts class before and was honestly scared at first. I also had a recent injury to my back, Benjamin tailored the session to ensure I was safe, again a value I hold in high regard. Most of all, IT WAS FUN!!!”

- Tyler M


“Where do I begin?! Z Ultimate Defense has far exceeded my expectations and I’ve been to other martial arts centers…..not the same experience at all!!!! The instructors are attentive and engaging. They truly enjoy what they do and enjoy teaching both children and adults. I am amazed by the positive energy at every class my sons and I have taken jointly, independently, and in the classroom. I love the option of private classes and set class times. My sons are both excited to go to their lessons and I have seen an increase in focus and confidence in them.”

- Dawnn E

Student and Parent of 2 Students

“Ben is an amazing instructor. He is positive, never negative, and so encouraging. He has taught my son discipline, perseverance and fitness too. Very well worth the time and money!”

- Jenifer M


“Ben works wonders with my special needs (ASD) son. I have never seen anyone so good at connecting with these kids. He has a gift. I tell everyone about Z-Ultimate. Best!”

- April P