Bunkai in dojo

Injuries and Karate Training

Injuries and Karate Training

Eventually, we get injured. Usually, from working in the garden, falling off a chair or ladder at home, falling on the trampoline, twisting an ankle while ice skating, lifting something, etc. Now and then we pull a muscle, or hit the makiwara too hard for too long. Generally, your injury is from outside the dojo.

Many people stay away from the dojo when inured. When actually they have an opportunity to grow in their training by just observing a class.

Sensei Iha says when you are injured come to class even if just to watch. Recent studies show that your brain follows along with a kata or partner drill it knows, and may even help you learn a new kata or drill. Your brain doesn’t differentiate between actually doing exercises you know, versus just watching it performed. When you are able to do some movement join in class and do what you can but don’t force your body to exercise your injured areas.

If you have a virus, flu, cold, coronavirus stay home and recover rather than spreading your germs!


Can You Mentally Perform Your Kata?

Whether injured or not, try mentally performing a kata, kumite or bunkai. Start with Kihon Kata 1 and work your way through the katas you know. Can you finish Naihanchi Shodan in your head without having to move your feet and arms? Did you notice an increase in your heartbeat or even beginning to sweat? This is another method to broaden your karate training. Once you do the kata mentally from start to finish you may discover there are transitions that you don’t understand well. You may also notice that you are just throwing your arms while performing a uke (reception/block) rather than using your hips.


Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo


Roberto began studying martial arts in 1969 at Michigan State University.  He studied Judo,  Kung Fu and various styles of Karate. He started studying with now Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu in 1979 upon returning to MSU from Paraguay for graduate studies. He continues to train with Sensei Iha until now and is one of Iha’s senior students.


During Roberto’s long-term overseas assignments stationed as a Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat), he trained US Embassy Security Personnel, US Marines, foreign security operatives, and people just like you.  When stationed in the Washington, DC area he also always built a cadre of dedicated Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate students.  Now retired from the Foreign Service he concentrates on teaching proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA.

Roberto’s Northern Virginia karate students convinced him to rent a more permanent location for his Karate instruction instead of wandering from building to building renting out space on an hourly basis in School gymnasiums and Churchs. In 2017 he and his students decided upon a unique space in an Alexandria office condominium complex. His students have built the office into an outstanding training space evoking the sense and feel of a traditional Okinawan Karate Dojo. In addition to karate training in Alexandria, many students drop by just to meditate, or for Yoga or Tai Chi classes. Feel Free to drop by even if just to see the dojo space!

Many people call the Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo the Martial Arts Grad School because Roberto teaches pressure points, joint locks and grappling applications that Sensei Iha taught him during 40+ years of instruction in addition to the obvious percussion techniques of punching, kicking and blocking.

Roberto is a member of the East Coast Beikoku Shidokan Karate Black Belt Promotion Board and the National Black Belt Promotion Board. Among his numerous awards are:

“Best Martial Arts Teacher in Washington, DC” in 2017.

“Best Martial Arts in Washington, DC” 2018

“Best Martial Arts in Alexandria” 2019

“Best of Lessons.com” in 2018 and 2019

In addition to English, Roberto speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and some Guarani, Portuguese and Japanese.


Virginia Dojo

6416 Grovedale Dr., #302-B, Alexandria, VA 22310