Virginia Dojo Testing Requirements up through Black Belt

Following are the testing requirements up to First Degree Black Belt (Shodan)

Testing Requirements

To test for the following rank, you must know the following:

7th Kyu White Belt, Yellow Stripe

2019 Virginia Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate at karate kaikan

Kihon Kata 1 – 5
Naihanchin Shodan
Chart 1

6th Kyu Yellow Belt
Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan
Kumite 1 – 3
Chart 2

5th Kyu Yellow Belt, Green Stripe
Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan
Kumite 4 – 5
Chart 3

4th Kyu Green Belt
Itosu Passai, 
Naihanchin Nidan
Kumite 6 – 10
Oyo-Bunkai – Naihanchin Shodan

3rd Kyu Green Belt, Brown Stripe
Kusanku Sho
, Naihanchin Sandan
Kumite 11 – 16
Bunkai – Pinan Shodan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan

2nd Kyu Brown Belt
Matsumura Passai
Oyo-Bunkai – Pinan Shodan, Pinan Yondan

1st Kyu Brown Belt, Black Stripe
Kusanku Dai
Bunkai – Pinan Godan, Itosu Passai

1st Dan Black Belt, Shodan
Chinto

All Black Belt Tests are conducted by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, Hanshi, 10th Dan, President of the Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate Association.

See videos of Kata, Bunkai and Kumite Here

Additional Kata: GoJu ShiHo, Koryu Passai, Te Sho, Jion, Seisan

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

==========================

Roberto is an 8th Dan, Kyoshi, Karate Master, awarded by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu. Roberto began his martial arts journey in 1969 and started training with Sensei Iha in 1979.  He continues to train with Sensei Iha and is now one of Iha’s senior students.

   

Roberto focuses on teaching proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA. Many call the Alexandria Karate Dojo a Martial Arts Grad School because Roberto teaches proven effective often brutal, pressure points, joint locks and grappling applications that Sensei Iha taught him during 40+ years of instruction. While the applications may be brutal we ensure classes are both safe and fun.  See examples of traditional Kata, Kumite, & Bunkai here.

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

“Best Martial Arts Teachers in Alexandria” 2020:

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

“Best Martial Arts in Washington, DC” 2018;

“Best Martial Arts in Alexandria” 2019; and “Best of Lessons.com” in 2018 and 2019

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

 

Seikichi Iha 10th Dan

Learn to Teach Karate Like a Grand Master

Learn to Teach Like a Grand Master

In Buenos Aires there is a common saying that there are two types of people in the world; those that can be a waiter in a restaurant and those that can’t. Hopefully, you never get the opportunity to appreciate a task-challenged waiter in person. It can turn an expected mundane experience into a frustrating nightmare.

Teaching is the same sort of thing. Some people can teach and some people just can’t seem to do it efficiently. Hopefully, following Sensei Iha’s teaching method you can

Seikichi Iha 10th Dan
Seikichi Iha 10th Dan

improve your karate teaching skills. In karate practice, most of us discover that karate means continual improvement. 88-year old Sensei Iha has been practicing karate since he was about 12. Yet he still practices kata every day because he says there is still much to learn. (Yes, I took the liberty to start a sentence with a number. That is perfectly good German grammar. English is a Germanic language, so……) So whether someone gets the kata down to our concept of “perfection” today, or tomorrow is really unimportant. The thought is to continually improve.

Pauline Lee, 7th Dan, and a teacher by profession observed and wrote down Sensei Iha’s teaching method in the 2006 NTS 30th Anniversary Celebration Document.

Sensei Iha focuses on movement first:
1. Teach them the movements as you do it with them. Focus on movement so NO corrections!
2. Do it with them, side-by-side, and a fraction of a second behind them. NO corrections!
3. Count kata for them, but don’t do it. Lastly,
4. Ask them to do the kata in front of you, but don’t count, and don’t comment.

Once a person has the kata movement or form, then you start adding comments. Yet you add only one or two comments per session that a person can easily adjust or fix. They feel like they improved (they did) and you are rewarded by seeing that improvement.

While it is hard to do, refrain from presenting a doctoral dissertation on everything you know about how to do the kata correctly. After one or two easy adjustments or corrections, the person won’t remember anyhow.

Avoid correcting 10 or 12 things as they do their kata because you will just frustrate them and they may stop coming to class. Step-by-step they will make the necessary changes and adjustments.

Sensei Iha says Americans want to learn Karate all at once, but you only learn karate “little by little”.

Remember the Learning paradigm:

Unconscious Inability (People who never really have thought about the Martial Arts)

Conscious Inability (People who think about and begin practicing Martial Arts and maybe up to Black Belt)

Conscious Ability (Black Belts, Red and White Belts and maybe some Red Belts. You are constantly refining your skills. When Sensei Iha teaches you something new you suddenly go to Conscious Inability again)

Unconscious Ability (Sensei Iha and a few others. They just “Do”)

 

Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan

Black Belt Testing Remarks by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan

The following are Grand Master Seikichi Iha’s general remarks regarding Black Belt Testing.

1. Proper kata, makiwara, and partner practice are at the heart of Shorin ryu. This is why each examination has three parts.

2. During individual kata demonstrations one must balance between complete exhaustion and a lack of outpower.
Sensei says this balance is found in your own body only if you train to complete exhaustion much of the time. He recalled that in his younger days in Okinawa he and his

Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan
Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate

friends would figure out different ways to bring their bodies to the point of exhaustion. For example, they would use isometrics and see who could bring themselves to sweat first. Or they would assume various stances and push against immovable objects and see who could go longest while giving full outpower. Sometimes they would see who could break the makiwara or lift the heaviest weight.
Sensei gave these examples to illustrate the point that we only grow when we put ourselves in situations where we max out on a regular basis. What weight lifter never adds weight to the bar? Kata, he says, is only kata if it is done in that spirit. It is a sprint, not a marathon.

3. While it’s true that at times we have to go slower to refine the technique, we must not stop there but rather understand that it is a martial technique that requires a certain balance, speed, and outpower as its end.
This feeling in kata is called “ijiki”. Ijiki is this lively action that gives onlookers a sense of awe, that they can see that you are visualizing fighting when you move in kata.

4. Ijiki combines breath control and a balanced and rotating center (jiku) through correct posture (head always over center) and lower abdominal awareness (moderate pushing out from below the belly button).
This, combined with the connection of the elbows to the body, allows for outpower to come from the hips and spine and not the shoulder and tricep. This centrifugal force is called “enshin ryoku”. Punches are not pushed out; they are whipped out.

5. Part of kata demonstration is the kiai. If possible, it should be jarring and off setting. It is the audible manifestation of your spirit.

6. Partner work for a test is never about competition. After a few moves a person’s skill is very apparent. Rather, during the examination, partner work demonstrates your ability to control yourself and harmonize with your partner. This difficult ability is “kakehiki”. Sensei says it is easy to sing a solo but much harder to harmonize.

7. Sensei also would like to see students stick to the standard curriculum in partner work with no affectations, creative counters, etc. Many of the students have never worked together prior to the test and unexpected moves can result in injury. While those variations (henka waza) are proper for exploring on your own, the examination setting is only about the curriculum.

8. When students demonstrate strikes on the bag and board, distance and recoil control are important. This is only learned by doing it on a regular basis, but since students are using a bag and board that they are often unfamiliar with at hombu they should understand how heavy and stiff the objects are before they strike it.

9. Sensei says the ability to put your power into someone else is primarily developed by makiwara. It is your other sensei.

 

Roberto Curtis, Kyoshi, 8th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Virginia Dojo

Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan with Virginia Dojo Members 2015

A Simple Karate Lesson that Took me 4 Decades to Understand

One of the first things my instructor (now an Internationally Renown Karate Grandmaster and recognized by the Japanese Government as an Okinawan Intangible Cultural Treasure for his Karate Teaching, Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan) showed me for self defense was to put my back supporting foot into position before worrying about a punch or kick hurtling towards me to modify my beautiful face or body. (Ok, even my mother may not have thought me the most beautiful baby, and the body has now definitely taken on a Smurf-like body) A simple concept and basic thought. I recently realized that while I adapted that only to the movements and applications he specifically taught me and failed to adapt it to the rest of my self defense movements.

Everyone studying martial arts claims they are doing self defense. That is true when responding to kicking and punching.  Yet if you have ever been in a fight you quickly understand that what you practice in the dojo or a tournament is far from what happens in a real fight where your opponent is attempting to modify your good looks.

Maybe you will get a chance to get into a fighting position. It seldom happens, but, maybe you are lucky. After one of you throw a punch or two you suddenly will be grappling, tugging, pulling, throwing, while punching and kicking. Do you practice this? The self defense applications found in traditional Okinawan Karate Kata address all of these scenarios.

Sensei Iha always stresses that if you face an attack on the left or a grab/push/pull, you place your right foot into position first. This positions your body so you can grab and break/dislocate an attacking arm or leg. If you are just turning to block a punch then this isnt’ necessary. It simply isn’t necessary.

So after 4 decades I finally realized that I was only doing the opening kata moves for self defense responses and the rest of the katas were done for sport/tournament type punching or kicking responses, rather than throwing a body or breaking an arm or leg, or putting someone in a head lock.

i have gone through all 27 kata and modified my transitions so that my back foot is in place before I even begin to worry about my hips and hands as I a

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m thinking about grappling defense with each move rather than striking defenses.

This completely changed my self defense karate. It will change yours, too.

If you don’t understand this come try 1 Week of Classes for Free. I don’t care if you do some other style. This will set you on a completely different karate path.

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

==========================

Roberto is an 8th Dan, Kyoshi, Karate Master, awarded by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu. Roberto began his martial arts journey in 1969 and started training with Sensei Iha in 1979.  He continues to train with Sensei Iha and is now one of Iha’s senior students.

   

Roberto focuses on teaching proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA. Many call the Alexandria Karate Dojo a Martial Arts Grad School because Roberto teaches proven effective often brutal, pressure points, joint locks and grappling applications that Sensei Iha taught him during 40+ years of instruction. While the applications may be brutal we ensure classes are both safe and fun.  See examples of traditional Kata, Kumite, & Bunkai here.

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

“Best Martial Arts Teachers in Alexandria” 2020:

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

“Best Martial Arts in Washington, DC” 2018;

“Best Martial Arts in Alexandria” 2019; and “Best of Lessons.com” in 2018 and 2019

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