Anderson’s Martial Arts Instructors & Staff

Sifu Dan Anderson has handpicked his own teaching staff with the greatest attention to detail for both the arts we represent and the diverse community we serve.

Our staff consists of a team of professional martial artists dedicated to providing quality student service. Many of our instructors hold titles and awards from national and international competitions. More importantly, they are passionate about teaching and dedicated to the success of each individual student. Many of our instructors have been with the AMAA family since they began training here almost two decades ago. Others have come to us after reaching their own accomplishments in the arts they teach.

We understand the critical role our instructors play in your personal development, as well as your child’s development. For that reason, we hire only the most professional and highly qualified instructors available.

Mental Toughness, Focus and Success Through Martial Arts - Andersons Martial Arts NYC

Sifu Anderson in 1996 doing a LIFE knife demo (yes, LIVE knife) with Sifu Paul Vunak.


There is no substitute for the confidence that comes from knowing you can handle whatever may happen. And there is NO substitute for the confidence from the training... 

Mental toughness is the one thing that helps the greatest martial artists persevere through their darkest hours, whether in life, the ring, the cage or anywhere! How do you think Sifu Anderson was able to trust himself to achieve all of his belts and ranks, aquire his knowledge and skill, and in turn create an incredible community that has helped build other incredibly strong and unique individuals for the past 20 years in New York City…

The doses of mental toughness we get in training every day, is what gives us that extra dose of energy in our toughest and most challenging moments, on and off the training floor. It is what helps us face any challenge and solve any problem that might come our way.

t is also how we are able to put our emotions aside and remain focused on what’s truly important. Most likely you joined a martial arts Academy because you want to improve yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to become the best martial artist and person (father, mother, daughter, wife, professional) you could be. If you’re wondering how to do so, look no further because ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS KEEP TRAINING!

1) Drill More, Do More, Succeed More In Every Part Of Your Life

When you get to training, it’s nice to hang out and connect with fellow like minded students. Making lasting friendships is a big part of martial arts. However, choosing to drill instead will certainly help you develop your mental toughness. You will learn first hand how a little extra work on yourself and your goals goes a VERY Long way, therefore helping you truly succeed in all areas of your life.

2) Learn and Train Yourself to Do More Then Necessary

When your instructor asks you to do 10 repetitions of a certain technique and you continue to do 15, 20 instead of just waiting for the class to finish. THAT is building a certain mental toughness. You push yourself a few extra more repetitions because you know the value of putting in the added work. This will only help you improve in the long run in all areas of your life, not just martial arts or fighting.

3) Spar, Train and Smile The Stress Away - and, Learn to Control It!
In training you learn to let go, like it or not you do, and you become better for it! To embrace every challenge you must also learn to relax and know when to step back.

4) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Staying in our comfort zones is detrimental to our improvement because we aren’t challenging ourselves. Before we know it, we’ve been taken over by our peers. In martial arts we push ourselves to use new techniques, learn new things and take on new and exciting challenges. Then almost instinctually we apply the same in life.

The road to success in martial arts is never straightforward or easy, but neither is life - and some can argue that that is the very best part of it! Life is full of challenges that force you to make a choice between quitting and pushing through. These crossroads separate the mentally tough from the mediocre. In order to become the best martial artist we could be, we need to overcome our weaknesses and look at our failures straight in the eye. We learn to keep on pushing ourselves to the limit. This is the only way to take our martial arts journey, and our selves to the next level.

ABOUT THE ART OF KALI , which Sifu Anderson is demonstrating first hand in the video 

Filipino Martial Arts (Kali / Eskrima) is an extremely effective and battle-tested weapons-based system. The bulk of your training in this art will be with weapons such as the stick, knife, and empty-handed (weapon vs. no weapon). Training heightens the student’s awareness of their surroundings and teaches them to make use of their environment for tools of combat.

This art will also increase your empty hand skills by supercharging such attributes as coordination, perception, and awareness. One of the main goals of training in this system is to give you the ability to pick up everyday objects and use them to your advantage. Everyday items such as car keys, an umbrella, the chair you’re sitting on, or even the jacket you’re wearing, become effective means of self-defense in the hands of an Anderson’s Martial Arts student.

Sihing Jim Flynn

Jim started practicing martial arts 25 years ago, focusing first on Okinawan Shuri-ryu. He received his black belt in Twin Dragon Kempo in 1988. Jim continued his journey in martial arts by teaching his first art through college. Identifying himself as a life long martial artists, Jim studied aspects of Aikido and Seven Stars Praying Mantis Kung Fu.

Jim found Jeet Kune Do at Andersons Martial Arts Academy after feeling like he needed a unifying art to connect and expand on all of his martial art experience. Jim continued to seek further education, starting his journey in Jeet Kune Do, and Filipino Martial Arts, as well as Brazilian JiuJitsu and the grappling arts under Sifu Anderson in 2012.

Training daily directly under Sifu Anderson Jim excelled and attained his blackbelt in the art of Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts at AMAA in 2016. Soon after Jim became a certified Instructor in Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial Arts under Guru Dan Inosanto. His dedication to Kali/ Eskrima also helped Jim attain a level 9 Escrimador rank in Balintawak Kali.

Today Jim is proud to help uphold and progress the AMAA JKD/Kali program under Sifu Anderson by teaching the Phase 1, 2/3 classes. You can find Jim teaching the 6am classes, and also helping students in class in the evenings and on weekends.

Sije Jénel Stevens


Jénel Stevens, MS, CSCS, MKC, Pn1, M-KBIA is an expert strength and conditioning coach with an extensive sport, martial arts and fitness background. She has received her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and has her Master of Science degree in Sport Administration. Her other certifications include Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Counselor (Pn1), Steve MaxwellSC Level 1&2 Certified Kettlebell Instructor (MKC), Pre/Post natal certified, Training for Warriors certified, and she is also a Master Level Kettlebell Kickboxing™ instructor, featured in all of the Kettlebell Kickboxing™ Scorcher and Body DVD series.

A sports enthusiast, Jénel played Division I basketball and finished her Canisius College career with noteworthy honors, including an induction into the Canisius College Sports Hall of Fame for her outstanding collegiate career. Throughout her years as a personal trainer, dozens of Jénel's clients have succeeded in meeting their fitness goals, accomplishing significant weight loss and staying fit, including her celebrity clientele. She has even helped clients meet their athletic goals.

She is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Anderson’s Martial Arts Academy (AMAA) A-Team Championship Fight Team, of which she is also a member. A former fitness model and current fitness expert, Jénel has made appearances on several Fit Minute segments for the CBS morning show "The Couch", can be seen in Self Magazine's "Girl vs. Sweat" video and has been featured in Self Magazine as well.

Her current passion is martial arts and she trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is a second-degree black belt under Sifu Dan Anderson in Jeet Kune Do & Filipino Martial Arts at AMAA, and is also the undefeated NY State WKA Lightweight Muay Thai Champion. Additionally, Jenel is a Level 9 Balintawak practitioner under Grandmaster Crispulo Atillo and under Professor Nicolas Saignac, has earned the rank of White Glove (Gant Blanc) in Savate (Boxe Française). It doesn’t stop there - the entertainment industry is another field Jenel works in as a SAG-AFTRA Stunt Performer.

Assistant Professor Perez Figueroa

Perez Figuera (PJ) started training Brazilian JiuJitsu at the age of fourteen. His love for Brazilian JiuJitsu flourished as he devoted himself to the art full time. Soon enough, after devoting time to the Gracie Jiujitsu Self Defense and Combat curriculums, he also began to compete. By the time he was a blue belt PJ was ranked number 1 in the IBJJF Blue Belt division.

PJ was ranked number three purple belt (NoGi) in the IBJJF.

PJ has been a multiple time IBJJF tournament winner, including gold and silver medals. He has also been the absolute division winner in a variety of other tournaments. Pj will be teaching along side Sifu Dan Anderson, as well as leading a new children's Brazilian JiuJitsu class, and also taking over helping the Brazilian JiuJitsu competition team. We also look forward to PJ getting his MMA debuts at Light Feather Weight division.

Currently PJ is Brazilian JiuJitsu brown belt, and his main devotion, besides staying and excelling in the competitive circuit he is dedicating himself to the development and education of the students at Anderson's Martial Arts Academy.

Sihing Alex Paik

Head Kids Instructor

Alex Paik is the head of the Little Dragons program at Anderson’s Martial Arts. As a child, Alex studied Tang Soo Do and received his black belt under Master Frederick Scott. It was during this time that Alex was introduced to "Tao of Jeet Kune Do," and Bruce Lee’s ideas on economy of motion, adaptability, and self evolution had a big impact on his own martial arts studies. When he moved to New York in 2010 he restarted his martial arts training at Anderson’s Martial Arts Academy, after searching for Jeet Kune Do schools. He is a black belt in Jeet Kune Do Concepts and Filipino Martial Arts and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Sifu Dan Anderson.

Alex has a young daughter who is also a Little Dragon at AMAA. He is proud and very excited to be responsible for the great and very positive influence martial arts has and continues to make on the younger generations. He takes his responsibility as the head Little Dragons Instructor very seriously and with great enthusiasm for building a strong foundation for our future.

Alex is an internationally known artist and also runs Tiger Strikes Asteroid, a non-profit network of artist run spaces with locations throughout the United States.

Cru Brett Hlavacek

Pro Muay Thai Fighter

Brett Hlavacek started Tae Kwon Do at the age of 4 in Southern New Jersey. By the age of 11 he had won two Jr Olympic Gold Medals. Brett continued on to embrace his martial art and competition dreams through the study of Muay Thai. He competed regularly in amateur competition.

When he was twenty-four he moved to New York to train martial arts full time. He turned professional in Muay Thai at the age of twenty eight and now holds the WBC International Belt and also the WBC National Belts. Brett has had the honor of competing around the world including top promotions like Lion Fight, Glory, and Friday Night Fights and has taken part in many competitions in Thailand and Russia. On top of his impressive fighting career Brett has been inducted into the New Jersey MMA hall of fame for his accomplishments in Muay Thai. Today, Brett is well known amongst professional fighters all around the world.

In recent years Brett has maintained a friendship with Sifu Anderson, and this year, 2017, Sifu felt that there would be no one better to person to help develop the AMAA morning Muay Thai classes. Working closely along side Sifu Anderson and AMAA's Thai-boxing Association curriculum Brett will bring the best quality, teaching and development to each and every Anderson's student.

Shawn Perry Ellis

Kru Shawn Ellis is a martial artist who started his journey is Tae Kwon Do almost two decades ago. After his Tae Kwon Do journey was complete Shawn wanted to continue his studies in Muay Thai and Jeet Kune Do, and so he found his home at Andersons Martial Arts Academy.

Shawn dedicated himself to every single class AMAA had to offer, but soon began to specialize in Muay Thai, an area of combat he felt most passionate about. Shawn's high kicks soon became balanced with power, as Sifu Anderson taught Shawn not to abandon what he has learned in his first art, but to skillfully add to it, enhancing his martial skills, and his striking ability.

Shawn soon began to compete, and found that he loved it. Shawns first entry to the ring was at the WKA Tournament where he took home a silver medal, and soon advanced through the ranks to find himself battling for and bringing home the New York State Muay Thai Championship belt. Shawn then defended the title and took home a second belt in that same division. Shawn Ellis is now the North Eastern Regional Champion making his way in the Muay Thai competition ranks.

Today, besides competition and fighting Shawn is a staff instructor at Andersons Martial Arts Academy. His passion is martial arts, and his love is Muay Thai, and he truly enjoys passing that onto AMAA students each and every single day.

For private lessons with Shawn, please email, / and to take class with Shawn simply check the AMAA schedule and come on in to training, or schedule your FREE 3 day trial if you are not yet a member.

Sihing Darren Asante

Darren has trained at Anderson's Martial Arts under Sifu Anderson since 2000, when he first walked into the Academy doors with hopes of learning Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Muay Thai and Brazilian JiuJitsu . Darren holds a black belt in Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts/ Kali under Sifu Dan Anderson.

Through his extensive time spent at AMAA Darren has had the great privilege to train with Guro Dan Inosanto for over 120 logged hours, traveling with Sifu Anderson to Guro's seminars and workshops and dedicating himself to his martial arts development. Early on in his time at AMAA Darren knew he wanted to immerse himself in the arts at the Academy and make it a goal to become a blackbelt, a well rounded martial artists and eventually an AMAA instructors.

Using his martial arts skill acquired at AMAA, Darren has also made a career in stunts and acting.
Besides his extensive time and accomplishments in martial arts, Darren is also a certified Insanity fitness instructor, and a certified Kettlebell Kickboxing instructor under Simo Dasha Anderson.

Courtney (Colo) Taskowitz

MS, NASM-PES, KBIA-I; AMAA Account & Membership Manager

Colo is the account and memberships manager at Anderson’s Martial Arts Academy, and has been training at AMAA since 2010. Colo is a certified NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Kettlebell Kickboxing™ KBIA-I instructor. Colo has a Masters degree in Sports Science-Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention from California University of Pennsylvania; Bachelors degree in Modern Languages including Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, from Pace University, NYC. Colo's primary training is always in Martial Arts at AMAA, but she also plays Camogie (An Irish Sport), and practices Archery. Since Colo’s first intro lesson at Anderson’s Martial Arts Academy, she has loved the facility, training in the arts, and learning from the instructors who are associated with it. She had trained in a variety of places and arts before finally finding Anderson’s, and none of them could compare to what this academy had to offer: realistic training/education in martial arts; and home to train in; and a whole family to train with.

Colo is also available for private training please email for fitness training inquiry with Colo.

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth you think, so shall you become.” -Bruce Lee

Sihing Pablo Vasquez

Pablo started his martial arts training 18 years ago at the age of 30. He had always been a huge fan of Bruce Lee and the art of Jeet Kune Do, so he instantly felt at home training at Andersons Martial Arts Academy. As he began his training at the Academy Pablo quickly fell in love with the Filipino Martial Arts, an art that is part of the unique blend of arts offered at the Academy.

In 2005, Pablo decided to test the weapons training he received from Sifu Anderson at the Academy in full contact stick fights. With the personal guidance and coaching he received at the AMAA Pablo quickly made the adjustments necessary for him to excel in competition, and less than a year later went on to become the 2006 WEKAF Jr Heavyweight National Champion in Single Stick and the 2006 WEKAF World Jr Heavyweight Silver Medalist in Single Stick.

Pablo is 4th level Black Belt in Jeet Kune Do/ Filipino Martial Arts under Sifu Anderson.

He is certified in the Progressive Fighting System as a Full Instructor, and also Edged Weapons. In addition, Pablo holds a Green Glove ranking with the California Savate Association and is a certified personal trainer with ACE.

Pablo helps run the weapons portion of the sparring classes on Wednesdays and Fridays, helping mentor AMAA students in the art and also helps those wanting to compete in Kali competition. Pablo is also in all of the JKD Phase 2/3 classes, and helps in the other arts, classes as needed.

Chris Lukusa

Pro Muay Thai Fighter

Professional Fighter and Muay Thai Swiss Champion Chris Lukusa is a wonderful part of the AMAA teaching staff. An active competitor with a professional record of 13 and 1 Chris is a highly recognizable name in the Kickboxing and Muay Thai world. Chris was born in the Congo and eventually made his way to Switzerland to create a future and has the opportunity to fight professionally. Chris leads the AMAA Sparring Classes on Wednesday and Friday nights. Chris is also Sifu Anderson's assistant in the evening Muay Thai classes, and is available for private training at AMAA.