About Us

About Us

About Our School

Welcome to the Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo website. We appreciate the opportunity to share with you the gentle art of Okinawan Self Defense Karate. We practice in safe, cooperative classes to increase your learning and reduce injuries. You will tame your fears by boosting your self defense skills, feel better as you reduce stress and get fit, enjoy your new relaxed image in the mirror, and have fun. Our members arrive to class smiling and smile and laugh when they leave, too, as they look forward to their next class. Our Karate Dojo (School) is located in a quiet office condominium complex in the Franconia Area of Alexandria. Our members have transformed our training space into a typical Okinawan-type dojo. Everyone who visits the first time smiles in awe at the calm, peaceful feeling our dojo evokes upon entering. Many members come during non-class hours to meditate in our dojo.

While roughly half of our members trained in other styles of karate or martial arts before joining us, beginners are always welcome. Many of our members claim this is a Martial Arts Grad School because our instructors 45+ years experience teaching, researching and experimenting with the US Marines, US Embassy Security Personnel, and people like you provide natural proven effective self defense applications for the martial arts techniques you may have learned previously. We go beyond just kicking and punching but explore joint locks, pressure points, throws and immobilizations techniques, too. Many say our training is like opening up a dictionary to reveal natural technique application options that have always been in plain sight.

The Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo reports directly to Grand Master Seikichi Iha, Hanshi, 10th Degree, an internationally renown Okinawan Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate Master and one of the senior-most Karate Masters in Okinawa. Our Karate lineage traces back to the founder of nearly all Karate Worldwide as Iha Sensei was senior student to the famous Katsuya Miyahira who was a senior student of Chosin Chibana, known in Okinawa, Japan, as the Samurai Karateka. Chibana was a student of Anko Itosu who was student of Sokon Matsamura, the body guard to the last three Okinawan Kings and father of nearly all Karate Worldwide, regardless of name or country. All Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate schools follow Iha’s curriculum. As a member of our school you will get the opportunity train with Sensei Iha when he visits us in Alexandria and at his seminars throughout North America and Asia.

VA Okinawa Karate Dojo class


Robert Curtis

Our senior instructor, Robert Roberto Curtis, 8th Degree, Shidokan Kyoshi (Master Instructor), became a direct student of now Grand Master Seikichi Iha in 1979 and is now one of his senior students. Roberto began his martial arts journey in 1969 practicing Judo, Kung Fu, Shotokan, Goju Ryu, and Shorinkan karate. He taught classes and gave seminars throughout Europe and South America and accompanied Grand Master Seikichi Iha on trips to South America and Okinawa. Roberto is a member of the East Coast Regional Beikoku Shidokan Black Belt Testing Committee as well as the National Black Belt Testing Committee. He teaches self-defense seminars and is sought out for individual or small group self defense training to provide proven effective self defense applications found in other martial arts styles. While he teaches nearly all classes, if one of the other instructors is teaching class rest assured that they all have 20+ years experience training in karate and at least 10+ years experience training in Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate ensuring you will train in the gentle art of Okinawan Karate.

Why Choose Virginia Okinawa Karate Dojo?


Natural Body Movement Self-Defense for Women and Men

Natural Body Movements, rather than strength, is the basis for near effortless self defense. From the first class you discover how to use your natural body movements for proven effective self defense regardless of your size! This is equally effective for small women and large, muscular men, too. As we age we accumulate injuries (knees, hips, ankles, back, neck, shoulders, etc.) that often prevent us from participating in competitive sports. Yet with our natural body movement training you discover how to work around your own body’s limitations so you can train right along with the rest of the class and few will even know you have chronic injuries or limitations.

Fun, Friendly Small Class sizes with Outstanding Caring Instructors

Who knew you could still have fun as an adult! Members smile as they enter class and are still smiling and joking when they leave. Our small class size permits our friendly Beikoku Shidokan Certified Instructors to identify and assist your specific self defense training needs for improved learning and performance.

Make Friends with Karate!

happy parent with child


  • I am a new student at VA Okinawa Karate and I already feel right at home. Though I studied Okinawan karate when I was younger, it had been over 20 years since I had been in a dojo. In most ways, it was like starting over. Everyone has been very patient and encouraging. I have never felt like I had to prove myself or earn a place in the school. My instructors and classmates want me to succeed and learn. We work together to grow no matter what color belt we wear. I highly recommend VA Okinawa Karate Dojo if you want to start Karate for the first time or come back to resume your journey.

  • When I moved to Virginia, I spent years searching for a dojo that taught more than kicking and punching. Sensei Roberto teaches practical applications of traditional Okinawan karate techniques -- joint locks, throws, pressure points (and yes, percussion/kicking and punching) -- that anyone can use regardless of size or gender. Because they rely on natural body movements and not physical strength.

    The dojo is a warm, friendly community. Everyone comes to learn and to help each other learn. This isn't a dojo about competing and being the best. It's about learning and getting better together.

  • "This is a real dojo for those searching for a true home to learn martial arts. When I say real I mean a serious environment, not gimmicky, where the lessons are aimed towards self defense and the Sensei is an actual teacher, not one past their prime who wears their belt for looks. I mean no disrespect towards other teachers but there are those who rely on belt color more so than fitness to gain respect. Here, Sensei Roberto is a classic master: he teaches the classes himself, there is no contract, there is no testing fee, and they use no pads, head gear or gloves in their practice -- it's the real deal. But don't get me wrong. Although this school is mature and most students here are upper belts, they are a convivial crowd with warmth and true appreciation for each other. They welcomed me immediately and were great hosts to all that joined after. They have plenty to pull rank for but no one does. That is because Sensai doesn't. He is open and approachable and earnestly just wants to teach karate. Okinawan style rocks, btw. You'll get an immediate sense of all this upon your first class and then you'll know like me."

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