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About Us

"We believe that a dojo is a place of learning designed to provide all students with the opportunity to enhance their skills to the degree of their choosing."

The House of Karate was established by Sensei George Smith on April 1st, 1970 at 3978 Amboy Road in Staten Island. For over 45 years we have taught our students traditional Okinawan Goju Karate. In this Dojo there is no tournament fighting, no sport karate, no kickboxing, no aerobics and no beating up on each other, just pure learning, conditioning and hard training. We understand that students train in the martial arts for many different reasons and with many different goals. Furthermore, we realize that each student brings to the dojo his or her own unique needs and talents. It would be irresponsible, therefore, for an instructor to attempt to mold a student into a preconceived image of what they think the student should become. This practice does a disservice to the students and runs contrary to the true essence of the martial arts. Schools that subscribe to this one-dimensional approach set goals for their students which are not the student’s own. Consequently, many students feel unsatisfied with their experience and stop training. Specific examples include teachers wrongfully assuming that every student wants to become a black belt, or that they desire to become tournament champions. This unrealistic thinking serves only to weaken a dojo. Students studying at the House of Karate will not experience this type of narrow-minded and destructive teaching. 

We believe that a dojo is a place of learning designed to provide all students with the opportunity to enhance their skills to the degree of their choosing. The teacher’s role at the House of Karate is to recognize what tools the students need to achieve their goals, and to determine the best way to provide students with these tools. With over 40 years experience teaching students of all ages and backgrounds, Sensei Smith has refined his teaching methods to the point where he can quickly identify and address a student’s shortcomings. This ability not only helps the student avoid costly mistakes, but also increases the speed at which true learning can occur. 

In addition to producing high quality martial artists, we pride ourselves on developing students of high moral caliber. Anyone wishing to train at the House of Karate should be aware that the only barrier to entry is the student’s ability to remain disciplined, to control their ego, and to be respectful at all times. Our dojo is not a gym, and our teachers do not make a living from teaching Karate. We teach our students that Karate training is a privilege requiring them to approach their study seriously and for the right reasons. Long-term contracts will therefore never be used at the House of Karate, because they create an artificial desire to continue training long after a student’s true desire has faded. 

When you receive your black belt Diploma from this Dojo, not only will you change your life, you will have accomplished something that few have been able to do.

The Teachers at the House of Karate


George Smith

10th Dan Kudan

Over 50 years in Martial Arts. (H.O.K.)


9th Dan Kudan

30 years in Martial Arts. (H.O.K.)


Philip Fera


8th Dan Kyoshi 
34 years in Martial Arts. (H.O.K.)


Mike Gisonda


8th Dan Kyoshi 
22 years in Martial Arts. (H.O.K.)


Salvatore Improta Jr.


6th Dan Renshi 
17 years in Martial Arts. (H.O.K.)


Vincent "Moe" Rugolo

Contact Us

3978 Amboy Road

Staten Island, NY


Phone: 718-948-9484

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