Michael Buttermark, Shihan


Michael Buttermark

IKGA-License Sensei - IKGA Title/License: Renshi Shihan - IKGA Godan  

Traditional Karate Center founder and Master Instructor, Michael Buttermark, was born in New York City in 1966 and began his karate instruction as a teenager in 1982 to become more self-disciplined and to avoid the negative allure of life in NYC 'streets'. 

Through intensive study, he earned a 2nd degree Black Belt in 5 years.  After hearing scores of dojo stories, he was driven to learn from Japanese karatedo masters.  He enlisted in the US Air Force with hopes of living in Japan; 2 years later, that dream became reality.  He arrived in Tokyo in September 1987 and departed April 1991 taking great memories, a wealth of knowledge, and a new family - the IKGA..  

From 1987 forward, Buttermark-Shihan's karatedo education and experience ascended to high levels.  This was possible thanks to hIm studying under some of the world's most knowledgeable/talented karatedo instructors beginning with the International Karatedo Gojukai Association.  

Thanks to the information and inspiration derived from IKGA leaders, Buttermark Shihan was able to win numerous top honors in national and international competitions.


Buttermark-Shihan's competition accolades are:

  • World Championships - Kata Silver & Kumite Bronze
  • International Championships - 2 Gold; 1 Silver; 1 Bronze
  • Continental Championships - North American Cup on Team USA - Bronze in Kumite
  • National Championships - 4 Gold; 1 Silver; 2 Bronze
  • Military Championships - 4 Gold; 1 Silver; 1 Bronze


  • IKGA Certified 5th Degree Black Belt Rank - Godan.  Member of International Karatedo Gojukai Association since 1987. Goju-ryu karatedo student since 1982.
  • Associates of Arts - College of Staten Island (CUNY)
  • Moore Catholic High School
  • US Air Force - Honorable Discharge; E4/Sergeant/NCO

Affiliations and Certifications:

  • IKGA Master License - Renshi Shihan
  • IKGA Instructor License
  • IKGA Certified School - Traditional Karate Center - Matawan Gojukan

Torsten "TJ" Johnson, Sensei


Torsten Johnson 

IKGA-Licensed Sensei - Sandan - Shidoin

TJ-sensei has been continuously training and involved in Gojuryu Karatedo since 1995 (25+ YEARS). His rank & credentials are all from IKGA   Hombu in Tokyo, Japan.

TJ-Sensei is a TKC senior instructor who works with students of all ages and levels in our IKGA program.

For the USA-National Karate Federation, He has been both a competitor and a licensed official judge/referee.  He has earned national level licenses: A-Kumite   Referee & B-Kata Judge. He has won national titles in both kata & kumite.

TJ-Sensei competed and/or officiated at several IKGA World Championships:

  • 1997 - Sao Paulo, Brazil: competitor 
  • 2001 - Perth, Australia: Kata & Kumite   Judge
  • 2005 - Rotterdam, Holland: Kata & Kumite Judge
  • 2013 – Mumbai,   India: Kata & Kumite Judge/Referee.

TJ-Sensei is a father and grandfather and brings that wisdom, compassion and   understanding into his style of teaching students.

Affiliations and   Certifications:

  • IKGA Sandan 
  • IKGA Instructor License
  • IKGA Title of Shodoin

Services Provided:

  • Instruction of IKGA karatedo
  • Specialized instruction about Olympic/WKF rules of competition

Konstantin Ozerinzky, Sensei


Konstantin Ozerinsky, MD 

IKGA-Licensed Sensei - IKGA Sandan - Shidoin


Konstantin-Sensei has been continuously involved in Gojuryu Karatedo since 1999 (21 years). His rank & credentials are from IKGA Hombu in Tokyo, Japan.

Konstantin-Sensei is a senior TKC instructor and a role model for our students based on his incredible work ethic and attention to details. He achieves great success with all age groups and in one-to-one instruction. 

He has worked wonderfully with our elite athletes prepping them for nationals and coached them successfully as well. 

He is a very humble man preferring to focus on his life-long pursuit of karatedo development and training rather than boldly focusing on his own competitive karate. Although, on one occasion that we convinced him to compete, he became the New York State champion!

In 2008 & 2012, he attended and participated in the IKGA North American Block's Technical Training Camps in Vancouver and Calgary Canada respectively.


  • Doctor of Medicine - Drexel School of Medicine - Philadelphia, PA
  • BS in Bio-Medical Engineering - TCNJ
  • Stuyvesant High School - Manhattan, NY

Affiliations and Certifications:

  • IKGA Sandan rank
  • IKGA Instructor License
  • IKGA Shidoin Title

Services Provided:

  • Instruction in IKGA karatedo
  • Instruction in Olympic Karate conditioning & stretching
  • Instruction for Olympic Karate - kata & kumite
  • Coaching for Olympic Karate kumite & kata 

ancillary staff supporters

Keith Olivares, Sensei


Keith Olivares Sensei is wonderful supporter of TKC Dojo.  He is a Nidan, 2nd Degree Black Belt, in Shotokan Karatedo and a formidable competitor in his youth in the Philippines.  

Keith Sensei has helped Team TKC prepare for competitions and coached them at regional events and nationals.

Keith Sensei has karate roots back to his youth in the Philippines.  The dojo he called 'home' was a duel system - Shotokan Karate and IKGA Goju Karate location under IKGA Shihan Richard Lim and his father - the late Manuel "Pocholo" Veguillas Shihan - a legend in Philippine Karatedo.  

Akassh Shah, Sempai


TKC Dojo has been very fortunate to have Akassh Shah Sempai actively engaged with us.  He is a Nidan, 2nd degree Black Belt, from IKGA India presently living in NJ while attending college at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for 4 years.  

Akassh Sempai was a member of the India National Karate team and won Bronze Medal at WKF Junior, Cadet, & U21 World Championship in Croatia in kumite (fighting).  

He has been extremely helpful working with our young athletes by sharing his extraordinary work ethic, tactical knowledge, and insights from his experiences in high-level championships.

John Castella, Sempai


Despite his young age, John Castella Sempai has developed a great leadership resume.  He has been an inspiration to many of the younger athletes on our team and helps train them regularly.  

John Sempai is an IKGA Shodan, 1st degree Black Belt and a formidable fighter in competition.  He has won Gold and several Bronze Medals at Nationals and US Team Trials in the USA-NKF.  In 2017, he was the #4 seeded fighter for USA Karate Team selection - in his first attempt at US Team Trials.

In September 2017, he was a USA Team Captain and won Silver Medal at the 7th IKGA Global Championship held in the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.