alexandria karate dojo

How to Practice Karate in Alexandria During the Pandemic

Even under needed Pandemic restrictions, we can still practice Karate in Alexandria without fear of virus contagion. While we can’t get uncomfortably close to punch, kick, and block each other given the 10′ social distancing guidelines we can still practice karate and improve our skills. This also means we won’t unknowingly block a fist or foot with our face either!

We hold karate classes outdoors in a parking lot. Everyone wears a mask and maintains a 10′ distance from other karate class members. With the change of hour, it gets dark much sooner yet luckily we have outstanding lighting in our parking lot. It is cold, too. Until you start moving during karate class then everyone begins shedding jackets to work out only in their karate gis (uniforms). When it rains we do remote classes.

We also screen all classes via Zoom for members to join remotely! We also have a few additional remote classes available. Remote classes also permit our members in Ireland and Colombia to join in classes.

Karate Dojo- Learn to Use your Kata against attacks.

Whether outdoors or on-line through remote classes, we can practice, correct and improve kata (programmed movements), kumite (partner drills) and bunkai (performing kata while others attack you).

These two options work surprisingly well.  Try a Free Week of Classes to prove to yourself! You don’t have to sit on the sofa eating potato chips contemplating your expanding belly.

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

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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 Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo the 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

alexandria karate dojo photo

FREE Advice | Alexandria Karate Dojo

On January 1, 2010, I decided it was time to finally set up a homepage, and I did! I was transitioning from teaching at another Shidokan school in Maryland and I did not have my own school to teach at so I just thought it would be good to have a homepage with my name, Roberto, and the name of the style of Karate I practice, Shidokan. Ha! Robertoshidokan.com was born! I was finally on the internet! Now to get a school again.

Save Your Wrists! Avoid punching with your hands aligned like this.

Only later would I learn of the unnecessary SEO (Search Engine Optimization: think Google) inefficiencies that name would bring.

Then I registered as Okinawan Karate of Alexandria. Yep, that was the homepage: okinawankarateofalexandria.com. Unnecessarily long. No one could remember it. SE)

We also had names and homepages like Karate Saves Lives (while teaching in Burke), Virginia Okinawan Karate, Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo, Virginia Dojo.  My dojo names would change regularly, like the weather. For local SEO purposes, these names really didn’t help much and didn’t drive traffic.

I recently settled on Alexandria Karate Dojo as the school name because it specifies what we do. Plus it makes great sense for natural SEO searches. I purchased this URL a few years ago but didn’t do much with it: alexandriakaratedojo.com. I also purchased alexandriamartialarts.com, alexandriaselfdefense.com, and a few others.

So most people in the area search for Alexandria Karate, Karate Class, or Karate Dojo.  So just the URL addresses most of those terms.

However, as you see from this blog we continue to use Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo and Virginia Dojo. Are you confused? Me, too! Just come to class and we’ll call it: Watashi-tachi no Mono 私たちのもの, Our Thing. Unser Dinge, Cosa Nuestra, or Cosa Nostra. Wait! No, we will call it something else!

So if you are starting a business or a karate dojo, think about what search terms people will use to find you. Then purchase your URL based on that.

You are Welcome for this Free Advice!

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

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

Roberto is an 8th Dan, Kyoshi, 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 proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA. Many call the Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo the 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

 

Beikoku Shidokan lineage

The Lineage of Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate (Kobayshi)

We are extremely proud of our Shidokan Karate pedigree or lineage. The more I talk with and meet other martial artists the more I realize how fortunate we are to practice Self Defense Karate with Sensei Seikichi Iha. Many martial artists speak in awe of their instructor, or instructor’s instructor, who traveled to Japan and studied with a real Okinawan instructor for a week or two. I can only nod my head in amazed recognition of what we have in our lineage and what they are missing. When I visit other non-Shidokan Dojos I am humbly reminded that if it were not for Sensei Iha I would be doing the same type of stuff they do and believe that I was doing effective and realistic karate.

I won’t discuss people who I meet who tell me their instructor’s instructor was a student of Iha (people I don’t know and have never heard of) or how they attended one of his seminars at one time. Sometimes you see people claiming to be Iha students as they have the Beikoku Shidokan patch but on their left chest where we have the Shidokan Kanji, instead of the left shoulder.

Beikoku Shidokan lineage
Beikoku Shidokan lineage

We trace our lineage back to Sokon Matsamura, the recognized source of all traditional karate worldwide regardless of being American, Japanese or Korean Karate. If someone uses the term Karate odds are they can trace their lineage back to Matsamura, if they can trace their lineage. I always ask about Karate styles and lineage and most people give me a blank, stunned look and ask “Whaddya mean? It is karrady.”

One of Matsamura’s senior students Anko Itosu taught four of the people in our lineage. Itosu taught the world renown Choki Motobu, Miyahira’s famous uncle Anbun Takuda and the teacher known as the last Karate Samurai, Chosin Chibana. Itsou also taught Sensei Iha’s first instructor Shinpan (Shiroma) Gusukuma.

Chibana designated Miyahira as his successor. He had studied with Miyahira longer than any other student.

When Gusukuma died Sensei Iha then began training in Katsuya Miyahira’s dojo.

When I visit most non-Shidokan karate schools I thank God I was fortunate to meet Sensei Iha over 40 years ago and he accepted me as his student after putting me through what I realize now were a few intense trials of my character. Sensei teaches us kata, partner drills, kumite and bunkai. This is unheard of in most schools as they teach kata, maybe one-step partner drills, and sparring. Most karate and martial arts school have little to no self defense focus as their focus is on winning a tournament trophy or sparring match. We don’t spar more often in Shidokan because after getting beat up performing kumite and bunkai there isn’t a whole lot left to learn from sparring.

Our goal isn’t to win a trophy! Our goal is to arrive home safely after an unexpected violent encounter. We train to Not Lose! We don’t necessarily have to win.

One interesting note: Patrick McCarthy is recognized as the Western World’s foremost Karate Historian and Researcher. He founded Koryu Uchinadi (KU), an open self defense school and organization, after being unable to get answers to “why do we do this?” from Okinawan Karate Masters. He studied and lived in Okinawa, Japan, and China, too. I often marvel at how many of his KU applications are similar to Iha’s Beikoku Shidokan applications. In my conversations with Mr. McCarthy I discovered that Sensei Iha’s first instructor, Shinpan (Shiroma) Gusakuma, was also the instructor of Patrick McCarthy’s teacher, Hiroshi Kinjo. Talk about apples not falling far from the trees.

Thanks for reading!

Robert Roberto Curtis

Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate, 8th Dan, Kyoshi

Virginia Okinawan Karate Dojo, 6416 Grovedale Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310

The Meaning of Our Karate Patches

* The Kanji on our left Chest:

Shidokan
Shidokan

This spells out Shidokan means “Warrior Way”, “Right Way”, “Heart Way” or “Gentleman’s Way”. One Japanese woman recently told me it meant Samurai Way. My preferred includes the complete exoteric meanings: Warrior Path.
See https://virginiadojo.com/2020-alexandria-self-defense-karate-warrior-path/

The first character reads “Shi” interpreted as Heart, Central, Correct, Gentleman, Warrior or Samurai.
The second character you will see in many martial arts patches and names as “Do” means way or path.
The third character is also prevalent on many Martial Arts patches and names. “Kan” means place, refering to Dojo (a different character). The Japanese refer to “kan” as a restaurant or eating place.

* The colorful Beikoku Shidokan Symbol we wear on the left shoulder:

The red and black colors represent the intertwined aspirations of the highest belt ranks attainable in Shidokan Karate.  The black belt and the red belt for 9th and 10th Dans.

The circle represents nature’s circular movements in front of a balance or old-style weighing device used even today in small

Beikoku Shidokan Symbol
Beikoku Shidokan Symbol

Okinawan stores to weigh produce. Balances in stores are nearly all electrical now. So you may be unfamiliar with an old-style balance. The common American symbol of Justice is a blindfolded woman holding an old style balance in her hand.

The Beikoku Shidokan Symbol is very similar to Master Akiyoshi Shiroma’s Nishihara Shidokan Dojo.
Iha and Shiroma are cousins. Shiromas symbol has the Kanji “Nishihara Dojo” at the bottom where we have Beikoku Shidokan.

The Kanji at the bottom have some similar characters as those on our chest patch.
The first character is “Bei” meaning rice.
The second is “koku” representing country.
Did you know that “Beikoku” or Rice Country is what most Asian countries call the United States?
The following three kanji characters spell Shidokan.

So our patch represents American Shidokan. When Sensei Iha was promoted to 10th Degree in 2001 he named his style Beikoku Shidokan in honor of his instructor Katsuya Miyahira. Prior to that we just wore the Shidokan patch on our chest.

Want more history? See: https://www.robertoshidokan.com/our-lineage