P.O. Box 186

Johnstown, NY 12095-0186 

Phone/Fax (518) 762-1589


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 Born in New York City in 1944, Michael Campos began his martial arts training in late 1959 with the study of Judo at the Judo Twins Dojo on 3rd Ave. and 23rd St. in Manhattan.  This was one of the very first commercial dojos in NYC.


He served in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman from 1961-64 and trained briefly in Tae Kwon Do in TX.   After his discharge, he trained again  in Tae Kwon Do under the direction of Grandmaster Duk Sung Son, author of Korean Karate - The Art of Tae Kwon Do.  He achieved the rank of Purple belt 5th Kup by traveling to and testing at the Greenwich Village dojang  in 1968.  Grandmaster Son passed away March 29, 2011 at age 88.

While earning his Bachelor's degree at Albany State University in NY, he began studying under Sensei Les Mayo at the Okinawan Karate studio in Schenectady, NY.  After graduating college in 1968, he began teaching High School near Johnstown, NY.  While continuing to train with Sensei Mayo, he established the first martial arts program at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, NY in 1969. He was awarded his Shodan rank by Sensei Mayo in 1970.  Soon thereafter Sensei Mayo retired from instructing and moved to California.  Sadly Sensei Mayo passed away in California in November of 2000 of cancer.  



In June 1971 he took a leave from his teaching position to attend graduate school at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  While earning his Master's degree he trained in Shotokan Karate with Sensei Greer Golden,   Like all JKA trained instructors, Sensei Golden focused on strong technical skills and proficiency.  Campos credits Sensei Golden with giving him a much deeper understanding of body mechanics and proper technique.

Letter of recommendation dated June 1972 given to Sensei Campos from Sensei Golden. 

After receiving his Masters degree in education, he travelled to Florida and trained in Okinawan Uechi-Ryu Karate with Sensei Ted Kresge.  He earned a black belt in Uechi-Ryu under Sensei Kresge.

In 1974 he opened the Zen-Do Kai Martial Arts Training Center in Johnstown, NY. Since that time the ZDK has developed into an open international organization with members from many styles in the U.S., Canada, South America, and Europe.

Campos sponsored the very first open competitions in the Capital District region of NY (1973-93), the first Police Defensive Tactics (1975), and rape prevention programs in his area, and hosted a local cable TV program on the Martial Arts in 1977. 

He was also the first instructor in his region to sponsor seminars by internationally recognized instructors including: Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Hidy Ochiai, Fumio Demura, Gary Alexander, Jean Frenette, George Dillman, Tadashi Yamashita, Tak Kubota, Ed Parker, Wally Jay, Christine Bannon-Rodriguez, Graciella Casillas, Kathy Long, Larry Tatum, Casey Marks, and Tony Blauer.  Many of these instructors have been special guest instructors at his Super Summer Seminars Martial Arts Camp held every summer in upstate NY. Super Summers was established in 1983 and was the first open camp in the upstate NY region. 

Campos was a consistent regional winner in Weapon's, Kata, and Sparring and has over 100 trophies and awards to his credit. He was the Capital District (NY) Senior's Kata and Sparring Champion from 1984-87.  During his competitive career he competed all over NY State and in Ohio, Texas, & Florida.

He is listed and featured in Bob Wall's Who's Who in the Martial Arts (1975), Who's Who in Karate (1982), Master's, Founders & Leaders of American Martial Arts (1985), Who's Who in American Martial Arts (1987), and a Who's Who book entitled Orden De Los Caballeros De Las Artes Marciales which was produced in Barcelona, Spain in honor of the 1992 Olympics.

In 1990 Grandmaster Wally Jay nominated Campos for inclusion in the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame as "Promoter of the Year."


 Sensei Campos and Professor Wally Jay at Sensei Campos' induction into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Campos authored the article on martial arts appearing in the 1993 edition of Grolier's Academic American Encyclopedia. In addition the ZDK has been featured in numerous martial arts publications for various martial arts and charitable activities over the years. He has been quoted in Reader's Digest (1978) and in Forbes FYI Magazine (1993) concerning the martial arts.

Under his leadership, the ZDK has donated over $200,000 (as of 2005) to Chuck Norris' Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation - now KICKSTART.  The ZDK was one of the first martial arts groups in the country to actively raise money for charitable causes and over the years has donated thousands of dollars to many groups including the Red Cross, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Statue of Liberty Foundation, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, etc.

Currently Sensei Campos directos the activities of the ZDK organization and continues to attend tournaments, promote events and present seminars. He administers Executive Defense Systems, a defensive tactics training organization that holds bi-annual seminars for LEO's, Martial Artis, & Civilians.  He retired after a 31 year career in public education in June of 1999. 

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 L-R:  Bill Hickl, Chuck Norris, & Sensei Campos at the '99 UFAF Convention in Las Vegas.  Sensei Campos was the featured convention instructor in 2000.

He often is invited to do seminars on street defense and has developed a very popular program called "Three Second Self-Defense" which he has presented in numerous states as well as in Canada, Peru, and Greece.  He has traveled to Greece and taught the program with Bill Wallace (1994) and with Jean Frenette (1995).  In July of 2000 he presented the seminar to over 200 brown & black belts at the UFAF Convention in Las Vegas, NV.  UFAF is headed by Chuck Norris.  He was also an invited special guest at the 2001 and 2002 UFAF Conventions.  In November of 2004 he traveled to New Zealand where he presented a series of classes and seminars over a two week period.  While in NZ he appeared on national television along with his host Sensei Johnny Kennedy.

Sensei Campos was promoted to 9th Dan (Kyudan) by the Advanced Rank Review Board of the ZDK in March of 1999 at the 25th Annual ZDK Awards Banquet Weekend.  This promotion was presented in recognition of 40 years of active leadership, training and teaching the martial arts.  He was honored by having his rank endorsed and certificate signed by Professor Wally Jay, Grandmaster Gary Alexander, and Master Tadashi Yamashita - all world renowned instructors and members of Black Belt Magazine's Hall of Fame.  He also received congratulatory letters from martial arts luminaries Fumio Demura, Chuck Norris, Tak Kubota, & Tsuneyoshi Matsuno in Japan.  In spite of his rank, Campos continues his lifelong study of the arts by attending seminars as a student.


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 Sensei Campos being presented with his kyudan promotion by Joel Kirch, ZDK ARRB member, at the banquet held to honor his 40 year martial arts career.



ZDK Black Belts at the banquet.  Sensei Campos proudly holds his new diploma.  ARRB Members Bob Gifford from TX and Joel Kirch from GA were instrumental in organizing his promotion..


Sensei Campos was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement from Fulton-Montgomery Community College in September 2009.  The award was based on his community involvement, volunteer work, raising money for various local and national charities, and training and instructing the martial arts for fifty years.  In 2012 he was featured in an article for the website "Life of a Fighter."

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:  In Oct. 2014 Sensei Campos was honored to receive a surprise presentation in Ottawa, Canada by Hanshi Therien of a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Sensei Campos got to share the center of the ring with several (see picture below) world famous and highly respected martial artists.  Sensei Campos would like to thank Hanshi Therien & the WKF for this recognition.

AWARDING THE PLAQUE (L-R)JEAN-YVES THERIAULT - AKA: "THE ICEMAN" 23 Times World Kickboxing Champion; WALLY SLOCKI - Legendary Karate Champion; CARLOS NEWTON - UFC and K-1 Champion; SENSEI CAMPOS; HANSHI JOHN THERIEN -  WKF Director, Jiu-Jitsu;  HANSHI ALAIN SAILLY -  Goshindo France;  HANSHI CEZAR BORKOWSKI - Karate Toronto

Campos has always recognized that he does not possess a complete knowledge of the arts he studies and is grateful to every instructor who has ever provided him with training, knowledge, friendship and support.

Anyone interested in contacting Campos can email him at: DIRECTOR@ZDKUSA.COM


After beginning his journey in 1959 and training in three arts (Judo, Tae Kwon Do, & Karate) Sensei Campos earned his first Black Belt rank in 1970.  His experience, instructional expertise, and the accomplishments of his students in the 1970's resulted in recognition and fairly rapid rank advancement awarded by some of the major organizations of the time.  Below is a record of promotions:

1st Dan (SHODAN):  1970 awarded by Sensei Les Mayo, Chief Instructor Okinawa Karate Club, Tested in Schenectady, NY - Deceased

1st Dan (SHODAN):  1974 Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Assn., Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.  Kanei Uechi, President (Deceased).  Certificate #673 (Tested in St. Petersburg, FL)

2nd Dan (NIDAN):  1974 American Karate Assn. (AKA), Tested in Chicago, IL.  AKA awarding official Kenneth Knudsen - Deceased

2nd Dan (NIDAN):  1974 Professional Karate Instructors of America (PKIA), Corsicana, TX, rank recognition awarded by Kenneth Power, President

2nd Dan (NIDAN):  1975 International Uechi-Ryu Karate Assn., Tested in St. Petersburg, FL. awarding official Ted Kresge (Organization Defunct/Kresge Retired)

3rd Dan (Sandan):  1976 American Karate Assoc., Tested in Chicago, IL. AKA awarding official Ernie Lieb (Deceased)  (WEB LINK)

3rd Dan (SANDAN):  1976 United States Karate Assn. (USKA), Phoenix, AZ. rank recognition awarding official Robert Trias - Deceased

4th Dan (YODAN):  1977 American Karate Assn., Tested in Chicago, IL., AKA awarding official Ernie Leib (Deceased) (WEB LINK)

4th Dan (YODAN):  1977 American International Karate Assn. (AIKA), Youngstown, OH., awarding official A.E. Vea

5th Dan (GODAN):  1979 American International Karate Assn., Tested in Youngstown, OH., awarding official A.E. Vea

6th Dan (ROKUDAN):  1982 American International Karate Assn., Youngstown, OH., awarding official A.E. Vea

7th Dan (SHICHIDAN):  1985 International Kenpo Karate Assn. (IKKA), California, in "American Karate" awarded by Grandmaster Ed Parker (Deceased)  Certificate #1463 & 1991 IKKA NEWSLETTER (Scroll down to recognized IKKA 7th Dans)

8th Dan (HACHIDAN):  1991 Worldwide Kenpo Karate Assn. (WKKA), Maryland, in American Karate on the recommendation of A.E. Vea, awarded by Joe Palanzo

9th Dan (KYUDAN):  1999 ZDK International Advanced Rank Review Board (AARB) Recommendation based on 40 years of training and instructing. Certificate signed by         Professor Wally Jay (Founder of Small Circle JuJitsu), Tadashi Yamashita (Master of Okinawan Karate), Grandmaster Gary Alexander (one of the first members of Black Belt Magazines Hall of Fame) and ARRB members Robert Gifford and Joel Kirch.



ZDKMAAI Last Modified : 01/18/15 11:31 AM Copyright 2002