John Wood, sandan (3rd degree black belt), began practicing karate in 1999, when he was a student at Northern Illinois University. John was awarded the rank of Sandan (third degree black belt) in 2013. He is a regular at regional special trainings (rigorous training sessions lasting 3-4 days), which are held 3 times a year across the Midwest. John was also selected to represent the Midwest region of Shotokan Karate of America at 2007 Nisei Week karate tournament in Los Angeles, which is the oldest karate tournament in the country. He has been leading karate practices since 2003, while he was still a brown belt. John was selected as SKA’s Midwest Member of the Year for 2007 for his commitment to SKA and his students, for representing the Midwest region in the Nisei Week national tournament, and for organizing several exchange practices with other clubs and seniors in the area.
Steve Binette, nidan (2nd degree black belt), started practicing karate at the University of Chicago in 1981, working his way to ikkyu (the rank immediately below black belt). After finishing school, starting his professional career became the main focus of Steve’s life. To do so, Steve took a break from practice. 20 years later, when Steve’s son started taking martial arts lessons, Steve’s passion for practice was re-ignited. Steve looked up John Wood on the web, and started training with John in early 2005. Steve picked up right where he left off, and after only a year and a half, he earned the rank of Shodan (first degree black belt). In June of 2008, Steve was awarded the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt).
Jeff Salkas, nidan (2nd degree black belt), started training in karate in 1999 along with John Wood at Northern Illinois University, and quickly found himself attending as many practices as were held, and cross training on the side. After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Jeff relocated to the Northwest suburbs and trained with the Shotokan Karate of America club in Deerfield/Palatine; he also kickboxed for two years. Jeff has been leading practices since 2001, and earned the of Nidan (second degree black belt) in 2012.