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The Busto’s Martial Arts Teaching Team

Shihan John Busto and his team of certified, professional instructors incorporate the ethics, moral integrity and martial art techniques they've gained from their lifetimes of experience into each and every aspect of the Busto’s Martial Arts Experience.

Shihan John Busto

Shihan John Busto - 6th Degree Black Belt

Shihan John Busto is the Owner and Master instructor of Busto’s Martial Arts. He has been studying martial arts for over 3 decades (30 years) under the guidance of some of the highest-respected practitioners in the Martial Arts community and World. He is a 6th degree Black Belt in Kenpo, earning the title of Shihan or master instructor, and a 3rd degree Black Belt in shootfighting under world renowned Shoot Fighting Legend Bart Vale.

Shihan opened his first studio in March of 1994, coincidentally this was the same studio he walked into as a child, and where he eventually began teaching as a 1st degree Brown Belt. He earned his first Black Belt that same year. Shihan’s journey towards achieving mastery of the knowledge and skills in the techniques and principals of Martial Arts is a testament to his many years of study in the art of Kenpo Karate.

Recognized as a premier instructor among his peers, Shihan has trained individuals and teams to national and international championships, and has appeared as a featured instructor in Black Belt Magazine, videos and books. He has been a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame since 2007, and received a nomination for the Masters Hall of Fame. In May 2010, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the community, both within and out of the Martial Arts world. For him Martial arts is a way of life, and a passion which Shihan Busto is inspired to share in the spirit of all he teaches. He is dedicated to creating a facility that respects core technical principals of Martial Arts, while building a foundation of confidence, discipline and focus among his students. Shihan has a dynamic teaching and leadership ability that balances his experience of the technique with the critical values that define Martial Arts, aptly conveying both to his students.

In December of 2000, Shihan's school moved to its current location and houses a state-of-the-art fitness studio. Encouraging health and wellness through nutritional counseling. Kick-boxing and body sculpting, children, teens and adults all participate in classes geared to age and skill. Both studios share the same vision: to bring families and community together to achieve whatever personal health and life goals you desire.

Our Teaching Team...

Norman SandlerNorman Sandler

Mr. Norman Sandler began training 1973 through the instructor program in Tucsan AZ. It was the start of over 40 years of ongoing instruction from Grand Master Gilbert Velez, the owner of the first IKKA Ed Parker Kenpo Karate studio in Arizona. In 1978, Mr. Sandler had the unique privilege of being the first student to receive a Black Belt from GM Velez.

Mr. Sandler received his 1st degree black belt in 1978 under the supervision of Senior Grand Master Ed Parker, and later received 2nd, 3rdand 4th Degree Black Belts under GM Velez and SGM Ed Parker.

Mr. Sandler was a member of the United States National Karate Team from 1977 to 1987 and won Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals during his tenure in fighting and forms. He was also one of the founding members of the National Budweiser Karate Team.

Mr. Sandler has written articles for major martial arts magazines and published his first book, “Martial Arts for Kids” in 1997. He has also received Black Belts in Shotokan (ISKF / JKA) and GoJu Ryu Karate and continues to train in the Filipino Martial Arts (CTS).


Renshi Brian TangRenshi Brian Tang

Renshi Brian Tang grew up in Westbury and then Huntington along with his six siblings. Renshi Brian began learning martial arts while in high school following along with one of his brothers. When he was a brown belt, Shihan asked him to help out in one of the classes on Saturday morning. It was a lot of fun but very challenging. It was something he took a great deal of pride in. Teaching was his first real job and responsibility. Renshi Brian continued to teach while attending college at Stony Brook.

The summer after Freshmen year, he earned his black belt, a day he will always remember. Renshi Brian graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and currently works at Stony Brook University Hospital in the IT department. Martial arts has helped him deal with the challenges and stress of day to day life. The training is difficult but very rewarding. Renshi Brian enjoys teaching and working with many different students. Teaching has definitely helped further his own training. For this, he wants to thank all the other instructors and students for encouraging him along the way. A special thanks to a great martial artist, Shihan John Busto, for giving him an opportunity to teach and be a part of the Busto’s family. He hopes to be active in martial arts well into my 80s, 90s, 100s.


Sensei Matt FaliiaSensei Matt Failla

Sensei Matt Failla was born November 1986, and has lived in Plainview all his life. He began his journey in the Martial Arts at Busto’s Karate at 8 years old. Matt was an alter server at Our Lady of Mercy Church and has been involved in the Boy Scouts for 7 years while volunteering as an adult leader. His main interests include: training in the martial arts, reading, volunteering, and cinema. Matt graduated from Molloy College with a master’s in majoring in Criminal Justice, and a minor in Sociology.

He has competed in Martial Arts tournaments for 3 years now, achieving numerous 1st place awards and earning his black belt in 2006. Sensei Matt likes what Karate has taught him; growing up he was quiet, shy, and had low self esteem. At Busto’s he’s learned confidence, self discipline, and control and now thrives on the physical and the mental work out. It has helped him overcome ADD and has helped him to deal with his Cystic Fibrosis on a day to day basis. Sensei Failla teaches children from 3 years old to adults. He says “I know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. I get so much back from my students. I love to impart my knowledge of the Martial Arts to them. I especially enjoy teaching the 3 and 4 year olds. They are so much fun and so enthusiastic. My biggest challenge in the Martial Arts is trying to learn the wealth of information out there.”


Sensei Matt FedericoSensei Matt Federico

Renshi Matthew Charles Federico started Karate with Shihan John Busto in the year 1994. He was inspired to join after sitting at the door watching his older brother train. After eight years of dedicated training, he began teaching at the Busto’s Martial Arts Headquarters in Plainview, New York. By his tenth year of training, he had earned his first degree black belt and official instructors license. At the same time, Renshi Matt also attended Stony Brook University, and graduated with a bachelors degree in psychology. He loves learning, teaching, helping others and, of course, training - not only in martial arts, but also in life.

Under the direction of Shihan John Busto (founder of Busto’s Martial Arts), Renshi Matt opened his own school - and Busto’s second location - Busto’s Martial Arts of Holbrook. Due to his amazing teaching style, the school has grown rapidly. Renshi Matt is able to connect with his students on a personal level, instilling a feeling of "family", while providing excellent, one-on-one mentorship to each and every student.


Sensei Rich LevySensei Rich Levy

Sensei Rich Levy was born in Queens in October 1960. He grew up in Westbury where he played football, baseball, wrestled and swam at Westbury High School. He attended SUNY Buffalo where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Sensei Rich started his journey in Martial Arts while in college; lived in Brooklyn where he studied Tae Kwan Do achieving a 3rd Degree Brown Belt. He’s married and has 3 children; 2 girls and a boy. He enjoys coaching basketball, little league baseball and attending Daddy & Me dances. Besides using his degree in economics in his own business, he gives back to the community by tutoring children in math as a community service.

Sensei Levy started at Busto’s Karate in 1994 then in 2004 he received his Black Belt. He loves the many benefits he derives at Busto’s, learning self defense and getting in condition. Rich conducts the Sparring Classes and says that “If I put together all the concepts of Karate, and they are practiced in a controlled, safe setting, nothing is better.” Why Busto’s? Rich answers, “Because it’s not a Karate factory. It is very tailored to the individual where they can develop at their own pace.” He also says that “individual or private lessons are the way to accelerate the learning process.” Sensei Levy is honored to be affiliated and know Renshi John Busto and how he molded Busto’s so that it doesn’t shy away from children with learning, physical or emotional problems. In fact, the school has developed a reputation for helping children thru the Martial Arts.


Sensei Anthony VitaleSensei Anthony Vitale

Sensei Anthony Vitale started karate at the young age of 3 years old. His mother put him in karate because of his lack of discipline. Sensei Anthony started his journey in Wantagh at Silent Flute martial arts. Achieving his junior black belt at the age of 10 he realized he wanted to talk his knowledge of the martial arts to the next level. In 2002 Anthony came to Busto’s karate and met Shihan John. While studying at Busto’s Anthony has had the opportunity to train with multiple martial art superstars such as Bart Vale, Shihan Allie Alberigo, Norman Sandler, as well as many others.

After a long journey and many years of practice and dedication with Shihan John, Sensei Anthony Vitale became the youngest person to receive his black belt at Busto’s. On June 14, 2009 over 250 people gathered to watch Anthony test for his black belt. Anthony faced 3 long hours of brutal fighting, board breaking, and numerous techniques. Although Anthony has achieved his goal of a black belt his journey is not yet over. Throughout his martial arts journey Anthony has still managed to keep his grades up in school, maintaining honor roll, and now attending John Jay criminal justices, studying to work in the FBI. Anthony’s continuous dedication and love for the children he teaches has made him the instructor he is now.


Sensei Spencer GrossmanSensei Spencer Grossman

Sensei Spencer Grossman was born May 1991, attended Plainview- old Bethpage JFK High School. Sensei Spencer attended Nassau community college and earned an associate’s degree in accounting. He currently attenda Oneonta state college where he hopes to earn a professional accounting degree. He achieved the rank of first degree black belt July 11, 2009. He says it was his proudest moment, everything he has worked for and trained for, put to the test. Sensei Spencer began learning karate at the age of 7. “Karate has truly helped shape me into the person I am today”, says Spencer. For Sensei Spencer teaching karate started as an after school job at the age of 15, and over the years evolved into something more meaningful. Sensei Spencer teaches karate on his free time from school. He enjoys teaching children and watching their abilities progress.


Sensei Russell KranerSensei Russell Kraner

Sensei Russell Kraner began taking Karate in 1998 when he was 9 years old as part of his mother’s scheme to get him out of soccer. He received his brown belt in early 2002 at which point he switched to the adult system. Russell began taking adult classes in 2003, a change which greatly influenced his outlook on life and the martial arts. While taking this class throughout his high school years, Russell was exposed to sparring and grappling, becoming proficient in both activities. At age 17, after 8 years of training and 5 years with a brown belt, Russell received his full black belt on January 24, 2007.

One night in 2006, Russell came to a sparring class and found that he was the only one who had shown up. As he practiced on his own, Shihan came over and asked him to help out with the younger students. This lead to the beginning of Russell’s teaching career. Russell received his red uniform in December 2006, a month before he received his black belt. He has trained a number of students ranging in ages from 5 to adult and promoted a student to junior black belt in December 2010. Being greatly interested in the advancement of students, Russell has attended many brown belt tests and spent a considerable amount of time designing and aiding in the preparation for the December 2010 junior black belt test.

Differing from the other younger instructors, Russell’s interests lie in the more traditional aspects of the art, particularly those of Chinese origin. This began after Russell received his brown belt when he learned Tiger and Crane, which has been his favorite form since that time. After Russell received his black belt, he began to seriously study these forms and is one of the few people at Busto’s who knows all of Sifu Ibrao’s 5 forms to black (Gom Gong Kuen, Si Ping Kuen, Bungi, Gun Gi, and Tiger and Crane). Through these forms, Russell has achieved a greater awareness of motion as well as a higher degree of muscle control and an increased level of physical fitness. In an effort to pass these benefits onto the next generation, Russell promotes the teaching of the 5 forms when others tend to overlook them. During the summer of 2010, Russell had the opportunity to train with Sifu Ibrao while on a trip to California. After a total of 5 hours of training under the grandmaster, Russell’s understanding and ability reached a new level. He tries to pass on this understanding whenever possible. In addition to the 5 forms to black, Russell also knows a Tai Chi form as well as a number of “lost” forms practiced by Sifu Ibrao.

Outside of the martial arts, Russell greatly excels academically. Being at the top of his class in Math throughout grade school, Russell has always shown an exceptional talent for Math and Science and was a key member of his high school’s Mathletes team. He played the trumpet from 4th till 10th grade and enjoys chess and reading (his favorite series is Frank Herbert’s Dune series). Russell went to Charles Champagne Elementary School, JFK Middle School, and Bethpage High School, where he graduated as Valedictorian of the class of 2007. In December of 2010, Russell graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stony Brook University (with a final GPA of 3.97). He completed a double major in Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Computer Science with a specialization in Information Assurance. When Russell finished his Bachelor’s degree, he was vice president of Stony Brook’s ACM chapter as well as president of Stony Brook’s Computer Science honor society and the student representative to the Computer Science Undergraduate Committee, effectively running a large part of the Computer Science undergraduate experience. As of January 2011, Russell is pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science, again focusing on Information Assurance. During the summer of 2010, Russell completed an internship at Northrop Grumman Corporation; he writes programs part time for Accelerated Information Systems, a company owned by Zaheer Master, one of Russell’s sparring buddies. Russell hopes to go into either system security or software development. Much of Russell’s academic success can be attributed to the discipline, respect, maturity, and leadership skills he developed while at Busto’s Martial Arts.


Sensei Ellen NalaboffSensei Ellen Nalaboff

Founder and fitness director of the Pilates studio at Busto’s Karate and Fitness is a certified instructor by Power Pilates ® of New York. The studio is an affiliate training center of Power Pilates ® She is also the founder of The Spinning Studio at Busto’s Karate and Fitness certified by Mad Dog. She is a black belt in the Kenpo system. She works with children and adults. Ellen brings her knowledge in both the eastern and western philosophies of fitness into her training sessions.


Sensei Frank MustoSensei Frank Musto

Sensei Frank began studying the Martial Arts from 1982 through 1988. During that time he studied American Combat, Jiu-Jitsu, and American Kenpo. After seeing the advantages that American Kenpo had over the other styles, he focused in on Kenpo because of its self defense applications. From 1988 through 2002, his career choices kept him from pursuing his studies. Sensei was in the Advertising field for seven years and then owned a Vitamin store where he kept up with the latest nutritional programs and exercise regimens. He then decided that teaching was his calling and has been doing it ever since. He has been teaching Art in Commack High school for the past ten years and has been an instructor with Busto’s Karate for over a year, helping Little Tigers and Dragons reach their full potential. Sensei’s favorite kata is Short 3 and his favorite technique is Kimono Grab. Sensei is married to Jacqui and they have two children, Tony and Gabriella, which are working their way up the Kenpo ranks.


Sensei Anthony MustoSensei Anthony Musto

Sensei Tony Musto is began studying and practicing martial arts at the age of 3 years old with Sensei Frank. With Sensei Frank, Tony was able to quickly learn the basics when he finally enrolled in classes at another Karate studio studying Japanese karate. After 8 years learning Japanese karate and earning his adult black belt at the age of 11, Sensei Tony joined his father here at Busto’s Karate. Tony advanced quickly through the system, already knowing the basics of Karate and 3 years ago received his junior black belt here at Busto’s Karate. Tony received his instructor’s gi 4 years ago and recently received his adult black belt in American Kenpo. Sensei Tony played baseball, basketball, and football as a child and is now the varsity captain of the Commack High School Fencing team. Sensei Tony has been working now for 5 years and intends on working at the studio throughout the rest of high school and college. After college, Sensei Tony would like to continue teaching and become an English teacher, being he already has the necessary skills to teach and work with kids on a day to day basis. Sensei Tony loves working with all types of kids, and considers himself the funniest instructor.


Sensei Gabrielle MansouriSensei Gabrielle Mansouri

Sensei Gabby began Martial Arts when she was 7 years old. Before karate, she loved to dance, play tennis and volleyball, as well as learning gymnastics. The minute she started Martial Arts, she became hooked and knew of the infinite possibilities. On April 13, 2008, Sensei Gabby earned her junior black belt when she was 12 years old. This was just the start of her many goals. Inspired by all of her instructors, another goal of hers was to become one of them. She began helping out when she was a green belt during her little brother Scott, karate classes. With the help of all her instructors, especially Sensei Matt Federico, her dream finally came true on February 13, 2010 when she was given her title as Sensei Gabby.

Working has taught her an extreme amount of life skills. Sensei Gabby has learned the power of determination, responsibility as well as respect and focus. Not only has she learned from her experiences at karate, she has also learned so much from her students. Sensei Gabby has always loved kids, but never knew how much they could influence her life. Her students have taught her patience and also how to remain a kid at heart. With these skills, she is always setting new goals in every aspect of life. Sensei Gabby is a sophomore at Syosset High School. Aside from karate, she participates in mural club and National Art Honor Society. She wishes to study commercial real estate at New York University. Busto’s Martial Arts means everything to Sensei Gabby. She has formed unforgettable relationships with many of her instructors, students, and parents of her students. She has never met a more loving and caring group of people in her whole life and she is also extremely proud to consider Shihan John as a father figure. Without Busto’s Martial Arts, Sensei Gabby would not be the person she is today.


Sensei Allison SiegalSempai Allison Siegal

(Bio coming soon)

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