Silicon Valley Shotokan Karate’s instructors are among the best anywhere. They teach traditional technique in an innovative style, aiming to accelerate the learning process.

Many of our instructors have over 25 years each of karate experience. And because our two primary instructors lived and trained in Japan for extended periods, each has spent hundreds of hours learning from many of the best instructors in the world. They continue to pursue opportunities to learn more and further progress their karate. We bring in guest instructors to supplement our own extensive experience.

Chief Instructor

 Jon Keeling

At the Hoitsugan Dojo

At the Hoitsugan Dojo

Sensei Keeling has been doing karate since 1982. As a young man he went to Japan to pursue his passion and spent a total of 8 years in Tokyo honing his skills.  In the 1980’s he lived at the Hoitsugan Dojo, the private dojo of the late Japan Karate Association (JKA) chief instructor Masatoshi Nakayama, for 3 years prior to and following Nakayama Shihan’s passing. During that time he trained daily at the Hoitsugan and at the JKA Sou-Honbu (Headquarters) Dojo, learning from many of the world’s most highly regarded karate instructors. He spent an additional five 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, deep understanding of and vast experience in Shotokan. He was also awarded a rokudan (6th degree) certificate from Shinkyu Shotokan in 2011, also in recognition of his skill, experience and dedication.

Sensei Keeling is the author of over 100 articles on various aspects 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 thrice-yearly Shinkyu Shotokan tournaments in South San Francisco and runs or participates in various karate special events in the area.  In addition to karate he has fairly extensive experience training in aikido and boxing, and has had exposure to (=limited training in) judo, jujutsu, Muay Thai, kickboxing, Krav Maga, several weapons arts and other karate styles. Sensei Keeling has been one of the senior instructors selected to teach at the WTKO International Summer Camps in 2012, 2014 & 2016. He also heads the Organizing Committee for the Shotokan Legacy Seminars, an unparalleled series of international training camps. He also teaches specialized self-defense workshops.

Sensei Keeling has won or placed in many tournaments, including qualifying to represent Tokyo in the JKA All-Japan tournament a total of four times by finishing among the top eight competitors in the All-Tokyo tournament.  Although he is certainly able to train students to excel in tournament competition, he considers tournaments to be far less important than training for self-defense and self-betterment.  That said, Sensei Keeling is often seen leading judging/referee efforts at various tournaments in the area.

TeachingInLondon-ccIn addition to teaching most of the classes at SVSK, Sensei Keeling also teaches after-school classes at local elementary schools and is a Lecturer at San Jose State University — their official karate instructor, teaching beginning and intermediate karate classes for credit.  He teaches children at local day-camps during the summer and also conducts private lessons and self-defense seminars at corporations, schools and private events. A NASM-certified personal trainer, he is qualified to design programs that integrate traditional karate and non-karate workouts  (think medicine balls, kettle bells, etc).

Mr. Keeling holds a Masters degree in Kinesiology and is constantly working to further enhance his already deep knowledge of physical movement and related subjects.

He worked in the investment/financial services business for approximately 20 years in various capacities before leaving the corporate world at the end of 2012 to devote all of 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.

Senior Instructor

Fred Borda


Sensei Borda softens up a tough opponent with maegeri before closing in with the punch

Sensei Borda started doing karate over 30 years ago. 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 presented with his WTKO sandan (3rd degree) certificate in 2011 in recognition of his superior skills, deep understanding and vast experience in Shotokan karate.  Sensei Keeling considers Sensei Borda to be among the most highly qualified instructors in the region and urges others to watch him for 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, visiting there often, 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 in other classes when he is away teaching seminars elsewhere.

Other Instructors

Other experienced black belt instructors teach classes from time to time. We are very fortunate to have Instructors and Assistant Instructors with such extensive knowledge and teaching skill.

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 many 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. Along with wife, Jean, he teaches many 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 can’t 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. Ekapol has also taught a weekly kids’ class at a local community center and currently helps teach at another dojo in Fremont.

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 and teaches some of the adult classes.

John P. – John started doing karate in the 1980’s and has taught at several 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 – Formerly assisting with instruction of children at one of our Palo Alto locations, Rachel enthusiastically shares knowledge and a positive attitude when she teaches, whether it be to kids or adults. She started training in the late 1980’s.

Farshid – Started karate training in the late 1980’s, Farshid helps beginners understand fine points of techniques when called upon to do so and his kind nature is infectious.

Yong – Yong has been diligently working on Karate and other martial arts 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. He teaches most of the classes in our Redwood City location.

Matthew & Ananya are our two teenage black belts who been helping teach kids classes for over a year. They have each been doing Karate several times/week for 10+ years. Brown belt teens Novely, Sean & Liona are also now helping with some of the kids classes.

Akiko, Vadim, Kostas and other senior brown belt students help teach some of the kids’ classes as well.  Please note that our brown belts typically have more experience and ability than most black belts elsewhere.

That’s nearly 250 years of cumulative experience!

Guest Instructors

We host guest instructors regularly and have worked to bring together excellent instructors from around the world and create learning opportunities for karate-ka in the Bay Area. Some of these events have received global recognition.