About Us

Traditional Shotokan Karate

The late JKA Chief Instructor, Masatoshi Nakayama

Offering both in-person and virtual training options for kids, teens and adults.

Silicon Valley Shotokan Karate has been offering instruction in authentic, traditional Shotokan karate as practiced in Japan as Budo, rather than simply sport, since 1998. But its primary instructors actually have been teaching elsewhere since the 1980s. Shotokan is the most widely practiced style of karate and one of the most widely practiced martial arts worldwide.

Physically, the emphasis in Shotokan karate is on efficient movement to develop tremendous speed and power, regardless of size or strength. Ultimately, blocking an attack and countering can become the same effortless motion, executed with complete commitment to devastating effect.

But sharpening our minds and improving our character are equally important. Karate-do, the way of karate, offers a framework for how to live. Karate is defensive. Serious students of karate-do learn that working to strive to perfect themselves, holding respect for everyone around them, and remaining peaceful help them to remain on the right path through life.

Embracing Innovation

The late JKA chief instructor Sensei Nakayama Masatoshi first began applying modern scientific thought to karate training nearly 70 years ago, and today we endeavor to continue that tradition. You could call our training at SVSK “thinking person’s karate.” It’s traditional karate, but we go beyond mindless repetition of the “test basics” with progressive teaching and training methods to help students reach their goals faster and gain a better understanding along the way. Drills are often designed to challenge our minds and get us to think more deeply and to apply our knowledge. We love intense physical training following a traditional curriculum, but on top of that we think it is essential to understand how techniques work in application. And our instructors invite students to ask questions in class and try to give useful answers appropriate to students’ levels; something not necessarily as common as one might think…

Pursuing Excellence

chudan-blockWe train for excellence.

One goal of karate training is to put in maximum effort and experience the reward of improvement. We have spent decades understanding what works to help people excel at karate, and we enjoy sharing that in the dojo. If you put in the effort, we can guide you to world-class excellence.

We maintain extremely high standards. Those coming to our dojo from elsewhere are often surprised to see that our purple belts (intermediate level) are typically more knowledgeable and skilled than many black belts elsewhere.

Japan Trained Instructors

SVSK’s two primary instructors, Jon Keeling Sensei and Fred Borda Sensei, started teaching Shotokan karate 38 and 33 years ago, respectively. Both have lived and trained in Japan for extended periods (total of 8 years for Keeling Sensei and 3 1/2 for Borda Sensei). Some of the other black belts who lead classes also have experience training in Japan.

This direct line to the Japanese karate tradition should provide assurance that what we teach is authentic.

Keeling Sensei relinquished his position as the senior-ranking active instructor for the Japan Karate Association on the US west coast in 2011 and joined the World Traditional Karate Organization, a Shotokan-based organization with extremely high standards. He left the WTKO (on good terms) at the end of 2020 and starting in 2021, we are affiliated with Shotokan International, which also has extremely high standards and is an open community of Shotokan enthusiasts from various organizations or otherwise independent.

Spacious Dojo

We are pleased to have an excellent training space. The training area of our headquarters location in Palo Alto is 1500 sq. ft. high-quality (Swain brand) matted floor. The rest of the 1700 sq ft space includes an office, viewing area and changing room. You can take a virtual of the dojo below (video taken prior to additional of substantial technology added in 2020 to accommodate online teaching/training).