Defence Lab Lynbrook New York- Lead Instructor – John Leabo


John Leabo began his teaching journey as one of the pioneering Instructors of the now disbanded Keysi Fighting Method (KFM) here in the USA.  John started studying KFM when it first came to the United States back in 2007 and he completely immersed himself in the Art. In 2008 he started a small KFM study group which thru word of mouth became bigger and bigger, forcing John to get larger and larger spaces. In 2010 he opened up the Lynbrook New York Training Center along with his student and training partner Mike Simon and they have been passionately training “Adults Only” with great success ever since.

On October 26, 2011 after over 4 years of eating, breathing and living KFM, John was tested in Spain by the founders of KFM (both Justo Dieguez and Andy Norman) and he along with Alan Baker were the “FIRST and ONLY” Amercians to ever be awarded the KFM Black Grade (Black Belt) by both men.

In  2012, due to personal differences between the KFM Founders, KFM was disbanded and two new organizations were formed: “The Defence Lab” under Andy Norman and “Keysi” under Justo Dieguez were established. John chose to continue his Martials Arts journey with Andy Norman and the Defence Lab where he currently holds the position of  North American Director which oversees all Instructors and Training here in the USA, Canada & Mexico ( Currently 21 Training Centers in North America alone).

In addition to his ongoing Defence Lab training directly with Andy Norman, John has always sought out the finest Martial Arts Instructors in their particular area of expertise to crosstrain with and expand his knowledge. He has over 18 years of experience (since 1996), in a broad range of Martial Arts outside of Defence Lab which include but are “NOT” limited to: Balintawak Arnis (An Art specializing in Machete/Stick Fighting under Grand Master Bobby Taboada/Master Zacarias Taco of the Phillipines), Knife Throwing (under Instructor Ralph Thorn), Pekiti Tirsia Kali (under Tuhon Mike Popolizio/Tuhon Bill McGrath),  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (under Professor Rodrigo Gracie/Prof. Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro), Muay Thai (under Kru Phil Nurse) and Boxing (under former USBA Light Middleweight Champion Curtis Summit). John is also a Certified Personal Trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a former New York City Police Officer from the infamous 67th Precinct in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

John’s training methods are extremely realistic and intense but also balanced out with the appropriate ”Legal Use of Force”. His clientele range from Law Enforcement and Security Professionals to Civilians, Moms and Dads. There are no ego’s, attitudes or delusions of grandeur at the Training Center and everyone is treated equally with respect. All are welcome.


Defence Lab Lynbrook New York – Instructor – Mike Simon


Mike Simon has been teaching alongside Instructor John Leabo since the beginning in 2008. In 2010 he opened the Lynbrook Training Center with John and they have been passionately training “Adults Only” ever since.  On May 4th, 2013 after over 6 years of dedicated hard training, Mike was awarded his 1st Degree Black Belt directly from Andy Norman and became the 3rd Defence Lab Black Belt on the North American Continent.

Mike also follows John’s Philosophy of “Crosstraining and Continued Self Development”. In addition to his vigorous Training at the Defence Lab, he also crosstrains in the Martial Arts of Balintawak Arnis (under GM Bobby Taboada/Master Zacarious Taco), Knife Throwing (under Instructor Ralph Thorn) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (under Alexandre “Soca” Freitas). He is an extremely disciplined and devoted Martial Artist who brings his well rounded abilities and real world experience into his superb teaching skills.


Balintawak Instructor – Master Zacarias Taco


Master Zack was born in 1958 in Lebak, Sultan Kudaratin Mindanao, in the Southern Phillipines. In 1976 at the age of 18, Master Zacarius moved out of Mindanao and into the home of Balintawak Machete/Stick Fighting Grand Master Teovel Velez in Cebu where he became a live in student under Grand Master Velez and his 3 sons: GM Pachito (Chito) Velez, Master Eddie Velez and Master Monie Velez. (Note: Grand Master Teovel Velez was also the Instructor to World Famous Grand Masters Bobby Taboada, Nene Gaabuyucan and Nick Elizar). In 1995 Master Zacarius immigrated with his family to the USA. He is currently the USA Chief Instructor under the Velez families WOTBAG (World Original Teovel Balintawak Arnis Group).

In 2010, after research into the Balintawak Arnis Style, Defence Lab Instructor John Leabo tracked down and became a private closed door student of Master Zacarius. In 2013 Master Zacarius agreed to open the doors of Balintawak to the public and began teaching here at the Defence Lab Lynbrook Training Center.   Instructor John Leabo received his First Level Teaching Liscence in Balintawak Arnis from Master Zack on September 20th 2013 and he teaches Balintawak with Master Zack on Wednesday nights at 7:00pm and Saturdays at 12:30pm.  

As private students of both Master Zack and Grand Master Bobby Taboada, Instructors John Leabo & Mike Simon are proud to offer Balintawak Arnis at Defence Lab Lynbrook, as it is an excellent compliment to Defence Lab’s DNA Street Self Defence Program.


DLab Instructor Mike Simon, Balintawak Grand Master Bobby Taboada, Master Zacarius Taco, DLab Instructor John Leabo