We have been having a lot of Fun with great success with Outdoor Karate Classes at 10′ Distance with everyone wearing a mask. People have learned the self-defense movements and we even go over applications, or how to use them. This has worked out much better than I expected! Plus people enjoy being outside in the weather. We have skirted a few rainstorms. Yet we have been rained out a couple of times, too! When that happens we just rever to our Zoom classes.
One advantage of doing karate in a parking lot is that you must plant your back foot before moving into position. This is fundamental for self defense karate. In sport karate, you often move your back foot into position as you begin to kick or punch. It simply doesn’t work in self defense, especially if your step gets shorted or you step on a brick or bottle.
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.
We focus 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
1. We will look at the Governor’s guidelines for gym openings and follow them strictly.
Right now that entails non-contact social distancing Outdoor Classes that begin Mid-June.
2. We will continue with Zoom classes from the dojo for overseas folks and those that are tied up at work, or those that don’t want to get out of the house yet.
3. After cleaning the air duct system in February I installed a UVC light in the dojo air duct system to control mold and bacteria. Scientific documents also claim that this also kills MRS and SARS viruses. Covid-19 is a SARS virus, but there haven’t been any tests conducted on it yet. I also ordered two additional UV-C lights for use in the dojo after class.
4. We will look at other virus killings/neutralizing measures we can implement in the dojo.
– I will add a second UVC light in the air duct system just in case.
– I will use MERV-11 air filters in the dojo to filter out pollen and dust reducing the work of the UVC lights.
5. We will practice outdoors and in the dojo with masks on, maybe with gloves once contact resumes?
6. Non-contact kumite and bunkai can still be done to get up a good workout and keep your timing.
7. Hand sanitizer or handwashing will be mandatory.
(Note: I need to put Teflon tape on the utility sink couplings so we can use that, too.)
8. There is abundant disinfectant/virucide to clean the floor before and after each class. The virucide is most effective when left to dry on the mats. I will get a sprayer so we can spray before and after class.
9. What are the Class times when the dojo reopens?
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. He is also a certified in Martial Arts Fitness Instruction and in Self Defense Instruction.
As a retired Foreign Service Officer Roberto now concentrates on teaching proven-effective adult-focused self defense karate at the Virginia Dojo in Alexandria VA. Many people 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 in addition to the obvious percussion techniques of punching, kicking and blocking. 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 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
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.
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
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
Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate of the Kobayashi lineage
Wait! What? What does all this mean? How can I explain what I do without just saying I practice “karaddy”?
You practice Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate of the Kobayashi lineage.
Most simply: Shidokan refers to Miyahira’s school.
Shorin Ryu refers to Itosu’s style of Karate.
Kobayashi means this is Chibana’s lineage.
Beikoku Shidokan members are only 5 steps away from the karate taught by the founder of almost all Karate practiced world-wide: Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura. Bushi means warrior. So your self-defense karate is very close to what Bushi Matsumura was teaching as the Head Body Guard to the last 3 Okinawan Kings. You decide whether you think the technique applications would be effective for a King’s Body Guard.
Many people arrive at the dojo telling me they are a black belt in “karaddy” and want to practice. Some say they are an instructor and want to teach. After training with our green and brown belts most slip away to never return. As I ask about their background it becomes readily apparent that they don’t know the history of their school or style. This is understandable before you get to Black Belt, but maybe you should have an idea of what you are doing.
One of my neighbors told me she was testing for black belt and I asked the name of the style. She didn’t know. (I already know what school she practiced at in Old Town) She could tell me it was Japanese though because they had Japanese language classes! I asked her the names of the kata she had to perform for her black belt test. Well, she didn’t know that either! I know, I wondered the same thing!
Many people arrive at the Dojo and tell me they are a student of a student of a student of Sensei Iha. While I have only been a student of Sensei Iha for 40+ years, I seldom recognize the person named. There is a Supreme Grand Master 12th Degree in Maryland who claimed for years to be a student of Sensei Iha. I met him twice when I trained every day in the Hombu Dojo in the late 70’s/early 80’s. When I moved to this area Sensei told me to go take over his school and teach! While claiming to be an Iha Student, every time Sensei came to Virginia or Maryland to give a seminar he was “occupied” and couldn’t attend. Now he won’t attend Sensei’s seminars because he outranks him!
A Brief History Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate
When my instructor, Seikichi Iha, was awarded his 10th Dan in 2001 he named his dojo (school) Beikoku Shidokan. Beikoku meaning American. Shidokan was the name of his instructor, Katsuya Miyahira, who gave his world-famous dojo in Okinawa. There are more Shidokan Dojos in Okinawa than any other style of karate. Iha honored his instructor by keeping the Shidokan name and adding Beikoku to it. The Gold Kanji at the bottom of the rope design spells out Beikoku Shidokan. We wear the patch on the left shoulder. Prior to 2001 we were happy to train at Original Okinawan Karate in Lansing and wore the Shidokan patch.
Seikichi Iha, Hanshi, 10th Degree was Katsuya Miyahira’s senior student. Iha Sensei’s name is still listed in rank order right after Katsuya Miyahira’s name, signifying senior student status, on Miyahira’s Shidokan Dojo Rank Board. Seikichi Iha learned karate first from his uncle and then from the infamous Shinpan (Shiroma) Gusakuma in 1950. When Gusukuma died in 1954 he then began studying at the Shidokan Karate Dojo with Katsuya Miyahira. Iha moved to California about 1973 and then moved to Lansing, Michigan in early 1975 where he established the Original Okinawan Karate Dojo. In the first few years in Michigan, the dojo moved around a bit and finally settled at the current E. Michigan Avenue location in Lansing around 1977. Iha’s karate combines the best of Miyahira and Gusukuma karate using natural body movements and soft blocks for proven effective self defense. Full-contact champion, Koichi Nakasone, 9th Dan, Sui Di, and his students, are the most well known Iha students in Okinawa.
Katsuya Miyahira (1918-2010) studied longer with Chosin Chibana than any other student. In 1948 Miyahira named his karate dojo: Shidokan meaning: “Warrior Way”, “Right Way”, “Heart Way” or “Gentleman’s Way”. Chibana relinquished his karate association duties to Miyahira before his death. Shidokan practitioners wear the Shidokan kanji on the left chest.
Choshin Chibana (1886-1969) Known as the ultimate Okinawan Karate expert. Many refer to him as the Karate Samurai. He called his karate: “Kobayashi”, yet others pronounce the Kanji letters as “Shorin Ryu”. Shorin Ryu is confusing as there are three unrelated styles of Okinawa karate called Shorin Ryu, easily differentiated by the Kanji characters but in English hard to distinguish.
Anko Itosu (1831-1915) was One of Matsamura’s most famous students. He was known as the Grandfather of Okinawan Karate and is in the lineage of nearly all Okinawan styles. Both Chibana and Gusakuma were his senior students.
Sokon Matsumura (1809-99): We trace our karate lineage back directly to the recognized source of Okinawan karate, Sokon Matsumura the personal bodyguard to the last three Okinawan Kings who named his self defense techniques Shuri-te. Shuri being the Okinawan capital. Te or de, meaning hand. Another name used is Sui-de, or “our hand”. He was also widely known as Bushi Matsumura or Warrior Matsumura.
Thanks for Reading!
Robert Roberto Curtis
Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu Karate (Kobayashi)
Virginia Dojo, 6416 Grovedale Dr., Alexandria, VA 22310