Silicon Valley Shotokan Karate is recognized as having some of the most highly qualified instructors around. And by "around," that is not to mean just "Silicon Valley"... People travel great distances to train at our dojo because we have a reputation for teaching authentic Shotokan Karate at a level rarely seen outside of Japan. And we teach in ways that are innovative in style yet traditional in technique, accelerating the learning process.
While some martial arts establishments boast that their instructors have "combined experience of 20 years," many of ours have 20+ years of experience EACH. Combining just the primary two instructors gives over 60 years of experience, including over a dozen years in Japan. And while other instructors list which famous instructors they have trained with - usually meaning just a few hours with each at a seminar filled with 100+ participants - our primary two instructors have spent HUNDREDS of hours with EACH of MANY of the most highly regarded instructors in the world.* Regardless of our pedigree, our instructors are considered among the very best. We hold Instructor Classes for experienced black belts only, in which we discuss teaching tactics and technical details that ensure we continue our development as both practitioners and instructors.
Sensei Keeling has been doing Karate since 1982 and spent a total of 8 years in Japan honing his skills. He lived at the Hoitsugan Dojo, the private dojo of the late JKA chief instructor Masatoshi Nakayama, for 3 years prior to and following Nakayama Sensei's passing in the 1980's. He trained daily at the Hoitsugan and at the JKA Sou-Honbu (Headquarters) Dojo during that time, learning from many of the world's most highly regarded karate instructors. He spent an additional 5 years in Japan in the 1990's. Sensei Keeling received his yondan (4th degree black belt) from the JKA in Japan in 1997 and JKA 'D' level instructor/examiner/judge certification in 1998 (tests conducted entirely in Japanese). Keeling Sensei was presented with his WTKO godan (5th degree) certificate in 2011 in recognition of his superior skills and deep understanding and vast experience in Shotokan. He also received his rokudan (6th degree) certificate from Shinkyu Shotokan in 2011, also in recognition of his skills, experience and dedication.
Sensei Keeling is the author of well over 100 articles on the subject of karate. He is the moderator of several online karate forums, has been the coordinator for martial arts' demonstrations at the annual Spirit of JapanTown Festival in San Jose, is Chief Referee for the annual Shinkyu Shotokan tournaments in South San Francisco and runs and/or participates in various special events in many locations. He also has experience in other martial arts, including Aikido, as well as boxing, and has had exposure to Judo, Jujutsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and several weapons arts and other Karate styles. Sensei Keeling was one of the select senior instructors teaching at the International Summer Camp of the WTKO in 2012 in New York and is scheduled to teach at their 2014 event. He also heads the Organizing Committee for the Shotokan Legacy Seminars, a ground-breaking and unparalleled series of training camps.
Sensei Keeling has won or placed in many tournaments, including qualifying to represent Tokyo in the JKA All-Japan tournament a total of 4 times (requires top 8 finish in All-Tokyo tournament). Although he has the ability to train people interested in tournament competition to do their best in such events, he considers tournament involvement to be far less important than training for purposes of self-defense and self-betterment.
Sensei Keeling teaches the vast majority of the classes at SVSK's 3 primary locations, as well as after-school classes at local elementary schools and he is the official Karate instructor for San Jose State University (officially a "Lecturer," teaching beginning and intermediate Karate classes for credit). He also teaches kids at local day-camps during the summer and adults at special camps including the annual summer camp of the WTKO. He also conducts private lessons as well as self-defense seminars at corporations, schools and private events. He is also available as a personal trainer (certified by NASM) that can allow for integration of traditional Karate and non-Karate workouts (medicine balls, kettle bells, etc).
Mr Keeling had been accepted into the graduate program in the department of Kinesiology at San Jose State University for Fall 2012. But as their classes meet in the afternoon and evenings, when he teaches most of his Karate classes, he instead chose to pursue his studies at Fresno Pacific University, where he is currently enrolled in their Kinesiology graduate program, where he plans to enhance his already deep knowledge of physical movements and related subjects. He worked in the investment business for approximately 20 years in various capacities before leaving the business at the end of 2012 to devote all his time to Karate. Mr Keeling has a wonderful wife and 3 children.
Read an interview with Sensei Keeling from 2007 or another one from 2014, in The Shotokan Way.
Sensei Borda has been doing karate for over 27 years. He trained at the Hoitsugan Dojo and the JKA Honbu Dojo in Tokyo for three years, as well as at JKA dojos in Santa Cruz, Redwood City and Palo Alto, California for extended periods. After a very long term at nidan, Borda Sensei was unexpectedly presented with his WTKO sandan (3rd degree) certificate in 2011 in recognition of his superior skills and deep understanding and vast experience in Shotokan. Sensei Keeling notes that he considers Sensei Borda to be among the most highly qualified instructors in the region and urges others to watch him when they want to see the best available example of proper form.
Sensei Borda contributes articles to karate publications and helps lead instructor training classes. In his professional life he maintains close ties to Japan and speaks Japanese fluently.
Borda Sensei normally teaches the Tuesday evening classes, as well as sessions of the Instructors' Classes, and often fills in for Keeling Sensei when he is away teaching seminars elsewhere.
Other experienced black belt instructors teach when the senior instructors cannot make it to the dojo. Our assistant instructors have the deserved reputation as having more knowledge and teaching skill than most head instructors at other dojo/clubs.
Jean - With SVSK since 1999, having already spent several years doing Shotokan, Jean brings experience and understanding appreciated by all. She has attained a high level of technical skill and teaching ability. She teaches some of the kids' classes on Saturdays. In her own words: "The aspects of martial arts training I enjoy most are the simultaneous mental and physical challenge, critically thinking about training and applications, and the emphasis on self-control and self-improvement."
Ken - Involved in Karate since 1990, and experienced in other traditional martial arts as well, Ken has been with SVSK since 2001. He has a passionate teaching style that blends tradition with practical application. He teaches some of the kids' classes on Saturdays. In his own words: "I maintain my training despite an extremely busy work and family life, primarily because I love the art itself, enjoy the exercise and greatly value the complete focus that forces one to take a break from the stresses of daily life."
Andrew - At SVSK since 2001, Andrew has been doing Shotokan since the early 1990's. In addition, he has trained in Jujutsu and Aikido. Andrew has a reputation for smiling a lot, even while performing grueling exercises where most others cannot keep up. He is a great example for not only technical performance but positive attitude as well.
Ekapol - Getting his start in the martial arts in 1987, Ekapol has been with SVSK since 2003. He shares enthusiasm and leads by example, working hard to improve himself while helping and encouraging others. Through his experience with other martial arts, including Judo, TaeKwonDo and weapons, Ekapol often provides additional insights based on realistic application of our training.
Andreas - Beginning his Shotokan training in 1984 in his native Greece, Andreas continued his training in Boston during college, attaining shodan (1st degree black belt) in 1989. He has additional experience in Judo and TaeKwonDo but Shotokan is his passion. Andreas has been with SVSK since 2009.
John P. - John started doing Karate in the 1980's and has taught at multiple locations since the mid-1990's. He is patient while leading others through basic techniques. He helps run one of our after-school programs.
Rachel - Assisting with instruction of children at our Palo Alto locations, Rachel enthusiastically shares knowledge and a positive attitude. She started training in the late 1980's.
Farshid - Started Karate training in the late 1980's, Farshid helps beginners understand finepoints of techniques when called upon to do so.
Yong - Yong has been diligently working on his basic form for many years and when called upon to help others he does so with an authentic desire to help. Yong has excellent basic form that others should try to emulate.
Martin - As with others, leading by example, Martin trains with enthusiasm and helps beginners when called upon.
Other black belts not listed above may also help from time to time.
Please note: While other martial arts schools boast a "combined experienced of 30 years" for their instructors, our instructor list (not including all the other black belts who may help out) has a combined experience that exceeds 200 years! And others may boast of ranks of 8th degree or even higher who would not qualify for 2nd degree in the WTKO, the organization we are affiliated with. Our ranks are legitimate and our instructors highly trained in technique as well as teaching methodology.
We host guest instructors approximately every other month and are involved in some of the biggest and best seminar sets in the world. See https: www.jkasv.com/special-events and http://www.hoitsugan.com/hoitsuganseminars.html for more.
*Among others, our Chief Instructor, Jon Keeling, has spent time training with the following instructors:
Senseis Nakayama, Nishiyama, Kanazawa, Asai, Okazaki, Mikami, Mori, Abe (x2), Ueki, Enoeda, Yaguchi, Osaka, Tanaka, Yahara, Isaka, Omura, Imura, Kawawada, Kurasako, Yamamoto, Sakata, Tabata, Imamura, Kagawa, Ogura, Shina, Izumiya, Naka, Aramoto, Taniyama, Takahashi, Field, Ubl, Amos, Berger, Seto, Friederich, Yabe, Yokota (x2), Montoya, Hooper, Butler, Hoopes, Peck, Santella... (not nearly a complete list) And many of these were for many hundreds of hours each.