Shotokan Karate

Taught by Paul Plevakas, Karate Sensei, Third degree Back Belt (SanDan)
and Dr. Jolie Bookspan, Karate Sensei, Master Instructor, Fourth degree Black Belt (YonDan)

Inducted, Black Belt Hall of Fame
International Martial Arts Association Man and Woman of the Year 2004, Instructors of the Year 2009.

Your gentle teacher Paul Plevakas
Member of the United States Ju-Jitsu and Shotokan Karate Associations.
Training in Shotokan, Shorinji-Ryu, Goju-Ryu Karate, Tang Soo Do, and Ju-Jitsu.


For Paul's Facebook Karate Group page, click here -

Share this page


Who Is This Class For?

For adults who want to get back to martial arts or start for the first time.

If you are out of shape, older, or have injuries, this class coaches you in healthy movement patterns to be able to get back to real training. The teachers are trained and certified in injury prevention and rehab techniques

Classes are traditional, train physical skills in disciplined ways to get you back in shape, body and mind. Small classes, personal attention.

Those already holding rank may attend wearing their rank belt. They are expected to meet requirements of the rank, or work back toward them.

Tournament opportunities available, not required.

Students who want to advance belt rank may work up through Black Belt, based on merit and work.


When and Where

Our training center (dojo) was at 2100 Chestnut Street, downtown Philadelphia. Currently we are looking to reopen, or for a new location. Contact us for great classes for your groups at your location -


Also Available - Thai Massage

By advance appointment, Wonderful for family members while you take class.
Done fully clothed, bare feet, lying comfortably on a soft mat.
Other appointment times possible, including house calls to your center city location.
More about Thai massage on Dr. Bookspan's web site here.



phone (215) 778-2634       



Do gi (clean karate uniform) and belt. New students may wear white t-shirt and athletic pants.
Bare feet

Hard Work


Paul Sensei breaking five flaming boards at a public demonstration




Never forget: karate begins with rei and ends with rei. Rei means courtesy or respect, and is represented in karate by bowing.

Classes at Temple University location


Fall seven times, stand up eight

shichi ten battou" also pronounced as "nana kolobi ya oki"
- Japanese proverb 

Japanese martial arts require 8 out of 7 effort;  students must solve the puzzle of the proverb through work


  Class at our dojo (training hall)
Sensei (teachers)  Dr. Jolie Bookspan and Paul Plevakas at  left,    Yudansha (Dan - black belt rank) third from left,   Mudansha (kyu rank) at right


Never forget: karate begins with rei and ends with rei.
Rei means courtesy or respect, and is represented in karate by students respecting the dojo.



Dojo Kun – Shotokan Training Hall Principles

These kun are the guide, philosophy, mind set to your training. Each rule is numbered "1" because each has equal merit. The Dojo kun are not to force morality, but remind of universal positives. Instead of mindlessly repeating as a chant, you remind yourself of using training for good, not excuses.

With each training session at the JKA dojo, students kneel in seiza and repeat these five precepts out loud. There are several different translations:

1) Seek Perfection of Character (work to be good) - Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto.
1) Defend the Path of Truth (be sincere) - Makoto no michi o mamoru koto.
1) Foster Spirit of Effort (put maximum effort into everything you do) - Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto.
1) Honor the Principles of Etiquette (respect others) - Reigi o omonzuru koto.
1) Guard Against Impetuous Courage (develop self-control) - Kekki no yuu o imashimuru koto


Click to hear native pronunciation of the Dojo Kun by student Lisa Nakata


calligraphy by NakayamaSan



Class Textbook

Healthy Martial Arts by Dr. Jolie Bookspan. Click BOOKS page to order on-line, or request in class at discount to our students.





We teach healthy stretches that directly train martial arts positioning, balance and range, plus direclty train everyday healthy body position, range, and balance at the same time. Our stretches are "functional" which means how you move in real life. They are done standing. Just as not all foods are necessary or healthy, neither are several common stretches. We change that.

For more about this exciting better way of stretching, and to learn one set of quick simple stretches that we use, click the Stretching Smarter article on Dr. Bookspan's web site (




There are Mudansha or kyu kata, and Yudansha or Dan (black belt) kata. We start with Mudansha.


Watch as 10th Dan KanazawaSan demonstrates first kata Heian Shodan. Click arrow to run:



Here is second kata, Heian Nidan, demonstrated first quickly, then again slowly step by step:


Third kata, Heian Sandan:



Fourth kata, Heian Yondan:



Fifth kata, Heian Godan:




In Shotokan Karate, after the first five Heian katas, come the Tekki katas.


Here is first Tekki, Tekki Shodan, by OSensei Gichin Funakoshi, recorded 1924:



Second Tekki, Tekki Nidan, 1924 recording of O-Funakoshi San (the very honorable Gichin Funakoshi):



Here is Tekki Nidan again, by KanazawaSan:



Third Tekki kata, Tekki Sandan:



Anaku Kata
Done completely differently in Shorin Ryu, Kenpo, Shotokan, Shito Ryu. Teaches not to argue which is "right."
Ananku means "peace (or safety) from the South." Here is a Shotokan Anaku by Seibukan Shorin Ryu Chief Instructor of India Renshi MalaysianRaegoo:




Laugh and Learn


Etiquette first in combat:


No Drugs:



Readings below are from Dr. Bookspan's column, The Fitness Fixer which ran on from 2006 to 2010. When they ended the column they removed all the movies, comments, and most accompanying illustrations and photos. Later, they removed the articles and put their own on the former links. A few, including the ones below, are left on the BlogSpot archive for Fitness Fixers on Martial Arts.

The first account of the computer simulation, with the story of Paul Sensei being high-speed filmed for a karate study, is below.


Can a computer predict a fight outcome? Computer Fight Simulation

Thaipusam festival. Pious Hindus walk miles pierced with hundreds of skewers. Read why: Thaipusam - Exercise of Body and Spirit

The Kru Ba. Photos and story of fighting drug violence at the Thai Burmese border: Article by Dr. Bookspan - Muay Thai Monks on Horseback is on the Kickboxing syllabus page on

See Paul Sensei in a Karate Punch Analysis study - . Scroll down toward the end of this page.




Karate Terms
Native Japanese pronunciation audio files follow terms


Migi right
Hidari left
Ageh rising
Jodan upper
Chudan middle
Gaedan lower
Naka - from inside to outside
Soto - from outside-to-inside

Stances - Tachi (Pronounced with "T" when the word comes first or stands alone: tashi)
Heisoku dachi. Blocked foot stance. Stand straight feet together, toes facing forward. (the "t" sound changes to "d" when the word follows another: Heisoku dachi)
Musubi dachi. Open foot stance. Stand straight heels together, toes facing outward.
Sansen dachi. Fighting stance. (sen means "fighting") Feet apart, toes facing inward.
Soto hajichi dachi. Arch eight stance (outer figure 8 stance, feet apart toes out)
Naka dachi. Inner eight stance (inner figure 8 stance, feet apart toes in)
Heikou dachi. Parallel foot stance. Stand straight feet apart, toes facing forward.

Zenkutsu dachi. Forward stance
Migi zenkutsu dachi, Right forward stance
Hidari zenkutsu dachi. Left forward stance
Koukutsu dachi. Back stance
Migi kokukutsu dachi. Right back stance
Hidari kokukutsu dachi. Left back stance

Kiba dachi. Horse stance. Feet wide and pointed forward.
Shiko dachi. Sumo stance. Feet double shoulder width, feet pointed out. Like horse stance with feet out.
Tsuru ashi dachi. Crane stance. One leg, other foot on outside knee.
Neko dachi. Cat stance
Neko ashi dachi. Cat foot stance

Click to hear native pronunciation of the tachi by student Lisa Nakata


Keri - Kick
Keri ageh. Rising kick (pronounced with "k" when the word comes first or stands alone: keri and keri-ageh)
Mae geri. Front kick (the "k" sound changes to "g" when the word follows another: Mae-geri )
Mae geri ageh. Front kick rising
Jodan mae geri. Upper front kick
Chudan mae geri. Middle front kick
Gaedan mae geri. Lower front kick
Yoko geri. Side kick
Yoko geri ageh. Side kick rising
Yoko tobi geri. Side jump kick
Mawashi geri. Roundhouse kick
Ushiro geri. Back kick
Hiza geri. Knee kick
Oi geri. Lunge kick
Kansetsu geri. Kick to joint or knee
Kakato geri. Heel kick
Booshi geri. Hat kick (kick off someone's hat)
Tabako geri. Cigarette kick (kick someone's cigarette from their mouth or hand)
Tama geri or kogan geri. Kick to testicles. Kokan geri (spelled with 'k') is general any-gender groin kick and more polite

Click to hear native pronunciation of the keri  by student Lisa Nakata


Uke - Block
Mawashi uke. Roundhouse block
Morote uke. Two hand block
Morote naka uke. Two hand inside block
Juji uke. X block ("Ju" is number ten. Written as X)
Gedan tegatana juji uke. Lower body hand-sword X block
Hiza naka uke. Knee inside-to-outside block
Hiza soto uke. Knee outside-to-inside blockUchi - Strike
Age uchi. Rising strike
Mawashi uchi. Roundhouse strike

Tsuki - Lunge Punch


Katana - Sword (pronounced with "k" when the word comes first or stands alone: Katana)
Te gatana. Hand sword, also called shuto. (the "k" sound changes to "g" when the word follows another: te gatana)
Se gatana. Reverse hand sword
Ashi gatana. Foot sword
Gedan tegatana. Lower body hand-sword
Gedan tegatana juji uke. Lower body hand-sword X block


Body - Kalada
Te. Hand
Ashi. Foot
Hiza. Knee
Hiji. Elbow
Kokan. Groin
Soto. Arch of the foot
Koteh. Forearm
Ago. Jaw
Kakato. Heel
Kombushi. Fist, when used alone. (Changes to "ken" when the word follows another: Uraken -Back fist. However, "ken" alone is sword.)

Te - Hand
Te gatana. Hand sword (shuto)
Nukite. Piercing hand
Ippon nukite. One finger piercing hand
Nihon nukite. Two finger piercing hand

-ken - Fist
Uraken. Back fist
Koken. Arc fist (bent wrist strike with back of wrist)
Heyken. Flat fist (leopard hand)

Mawashi - Roundhouse, go around, using circular or turning movement
Mawashi geri. Roundhouse kick
Mawashi seashi geri. Roundhouse instep of foot kick
Mawashi kake. Roundhouse hook
Mawashi uke. Roundhouse block
Mawashi uchi. Roundhouse strike

Moro - Moves Using Two
Morote. Two handed
Morote naka uke. Two hand inside block
Moro ashi. Two foot
Moro ashi dachi. Two foot stance

Naka - From Inside to Outside
Naka uke. Inside to outside block
Naka hachiji dachi. Inside figure 8 stance
Naka ashi. Ball of the foot

Soto - Inside-to-Outside
Soto uke. Knee outside-to-inside block


Belt Rank



Comparison of a Front Punch Using High Speed Filming - Difference Between Experienced and Novice

by Dr. Jolie Bookspan

In the mid 1980s, I did many studies investigating which differences in human movement determined injury potential and athletic performance. In another kind of study, I wanted to know what made the difference between the punch of a black belt martial artist, and the same punch by an athletic person without training.

In present day, a computer directly picks up the locations of the person's joints at each point in time, generating a three dimensional computer image of the person as they move in real time. Software automatically calculates, draws, and records the image.

Back when I did these studies, we didn't have any of that. I did it all manually. I filmed two subjects using 16mm high speed filming. An athletic man who had never done martial arts was subject #1. My husband Paul, who had earned his black belt a few years before that, volunteered as subject #2.

I put markers over the center points of their major joints, and bands around joints which initially faced the camera but would rotate during the punch, so that the joint center would still be determined. Both executed a front reverse punch with their dominant arm. (Paul had to use traditional hyperlordotic position, rather than healthier neutral spine position, just for this comparison. I have done other studies comparing my neutral spine adjustment and found it to be a stronger punch, try it on my page for Fixing Swayback

After waiting a week for film developing, I went into a darkened lab and used a film projector to throw the image of each of the thousands of frames, one by one, against a large computer digitizing tablet hung on a wall. I then digitized each joint point of each projected image, in each frame, of both subjects, frame by frame, with a digitizing Graf-pen. I sent data points from each frame by (300 baud acoustic coupling) modem to a text editor on a mainframe in another building at the University's new computer center. I wrote my own FORTRAN programs to generate data summaries and used packaged International Mathematical and Statistical Libraries (IMSL) cubic spline programs and subroutines for data smoothing. This was all to get each knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, wrist, elbow, neck and other filmed joint points into a computer to see exactly where and how fast they moved. Projecting each frame against the wall also allowed me to trace the subjects' outlines to make series of line drawings of their punch, and to make stick figures showing joint center placement. Here are some data and the actual drawings I made. I need to get them scanned in higher resolution next Until then enjoy:


The untrained subject is below, first


Below is Paul Sensei

Paul is left handed so I had to reverse the images to make exact comparisons.




Below are comparisons of the angular velocity of each subject's wrist, elbow, shoulder, and hip


Below are comparisons of the angular acceleration of each subject's wrist, elbow, shoulder, and hip


Below are some center of gravity calculations and comparisons.

As you can see, there was a lot of hand-calculation and charting back then.



Then I could use an advanced machine called a typewriter so that I didn't have to hand write the entire study paper.


Not long after, with improvements in automating this process, action video games were first flourishing. I was invited to a computer-generated imagery (CGI) development studio to be their "movement representation figure." They put the dots on my joint centers and filmed me using high-speed 3D computer graphics modeling as I did martial arts and tumbling moves. Not just one punch, painstakingly done, but jumping, spinning, flying all over the studio, and up and down walls.

The software automatically generated a mathematical, "wireframe" 2-D representation of my three-dimensional form. From it they animated a wild female warrior action figure for their fighting/mission genre arcade and video gameplay. They also used skeletal animation for when I would morph (on-screen) into various animal forms. I never got royalties but it was fun.

This is a big fun topic. I can post more about motion capture analysis of various sports if anyone is interested.



Class Texts

Healthy Martial Arts by Dr. Jolie Bookspan
Wealth of training for body and mind. Available at discount to students in class. Print, eBook, and Kindle.

The Ab Revolution™ No More Crunches No More Back Pain new FOURTH edition.
Revolutionary core training method - No crunches, no flexion which compresses vertebral discs. Combines sports medicine rehab with fun and functional exercise to workout at the same time you retrain your abs and back for healthy movement during all your activities, and learn neutral spine. Used by military, law enforcement, and the nation's top spine docs. Print, eBook, and Kindle.

Health & Fitness in Plain English - How to be Healthy Happy and Fit for the Rest of Your Life
New Revised THIRD edition. Thirty-one chapters on health, nutrition, exercise, green fitness, preventive medicine, pain prevention, injury repair, your whole life made better. Print and eBook.


More Classes With Paul Sensei


Self Defense. Paul Sensei also teaches self defense. Click to see the Self Defense syllabus.

Home Repair and Home Repair GREEN. Not only is Paul an experienced and gentle martial arts teacher, he is a licensed general contractor, and member of NARI - National Association of Remodeling Industry. Learn in your home with your personal home repair coach. Take his fun, hands-on Home Repair Class. Click here for class schedules and here for Home Repair class syllabus. Private home repair coaching also available. e-mail Paul. See all classes with Paul Plevakas and Dr. Jolie Bookspan.




Get Martial Arts Equipment, Books, Movies, Instant Downloads, Fun Stuff - Click through the above links and get anything you like. will send some pennies for each purchase to support this free kickboxing information page. Use it each time you shop, or use my BOOKS page. Thank you!



All Classes With Paul And Jolie

Back To Paul Plevakas Class Page