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 , 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 40 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 ice blocks.
Sensei Dan Paradies – Assistant Chief Instructor
4th degree black belt
Sensei Paradies began practicing karate at the age of 7 under Shihan Skinner, and earned his shodan when he was 14. Sensei Paradies began teaching classes while still in high school, and after graduating from college, he returned to further his training. Sensei Paradies was an active competitor in kata & fighting tournaments throughout the 2000’s, and never lost a fighting tournament once he came of age for the 18+ divisions. In 2015 he retired from competition to focus on teaching and running the dojo full-time. He became Shihan Skinner’s first 3rd-degree black belt in 2017, and promoted to 4th-degree in 2022. Now with 25+ years of experience, Sensei Paradies looks to continue sharing the benefits of traditional, time-tested & proven karate training with the modern world.