Shihan Mike Skinner – Organization Director & Chief Instructor

8th degree black belt

Shihan Skinner is a direct student of Soshu Shigeru Oyama (Chairman of World Oyama Karate Organization), and became one of his top instructors early on in his career. Shihan Skinner took over Soshu’s WOKO dojo in New Paltz in the 1980’s and split his time teaching classes there, and travelling to NYC to teach classes at Soshu’s headquarters on Avenue of the Americas. He was a distinguished fighter in tournaments around the country, and was so talented as a lightweight fighter that Soshu would have him compete in the heavyweight division against opponents who outweighed him by 50+ lbs. He has used his experience to train hundreds of students into champion fighters over the years.

When Soshu Oyama passed, Shihan Skinner formed the Bushiken Karate organization with his fellow instructors to carry on his teacher’s work. He has been teaching karate for over 35 years in the Highland/New Paltz area, and his uncompromising devotion to the martial arts makes him one of the most sought-after instructors in the area. Shihan Skinner is also known for performing incredible feats; kicking through baseball bats, smashing concrete blocks with his bare hands, and even chopping through 300 lbs. of 7 stacked ice blocks.

Sensei Dan Paradies – Assistant Chief Instructor

3rd degree black belt

Sensei Paradies began practicing karate when is was 7 years old under Shihan Skinner, and earned is 1st degree black belt when he was 14. Sensei Paradies began teaching classes while still in high school, and after earning his Bachelor’s degree from college, came back to further his training and teaching ability under Shihan Skinner. Sensei Paradies was an active competitor in kata & fighting tournaments throughout the 2000’s and went undefeated from 2011-2014 in adult black-belt lightweight divisions in tournaments across the tri-state area. He became Shihan Skinner’s first 3rd degree black belt in 2017, earning the official title of “Sensei,” and has since devoted himself to teaching full time. With 20+ years of training, Sensei Paradies looks to continue sharing the benefits of traditional, time-tested & proven karate training with the modern world.