OutDoor Karate Class Protocol

Our Outdoor Classes Begin July 20 at 9 AM. 

Outdoor Class Protocol

Check-in policy:

  • The parking lot will be our check in point.
  • Please arrive 10-minutes prior to your scheduled class
  • follow 6’ distancing protocol
  • The check in will consist of recording a temperature check (using a digital infrared non-touch thermometer) and taking attendance.
  • We are asking all students to check their temperature before leaving their house. If you have a temperature above 99.6-degrees, please don’t come to class!
  • All students will wear a facemask!

Your Health Check Prior to Class

  • IF you have:
  • Sniffles,
  • sneezing,
  • sore throat,
  • cough,
  • temperature above 99.6-degrees,
  • If You Have any of these symptoms PLEASE DON’T COME TO CLASS!

You May Wish to Bring with you:

  • Face masks (mandatory)
  • Shoes (We will be in the parking lot)
  • Sunglasses 
  • Hat
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle 
  • Personal bag for your stuff

We have marked the parking lot at 10’ intervals during class to avoid possible contamination.

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. 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

Virginia Dojo Karate Training

WhenWill I Know Enough So I Can Quit Karate Taking Classes?

When Will I Learn Enough So I Can Quit Taking Karate Classes?

How Long Do I Have to Study Karate Before I Can Defend Myself?

If I Get a Karate Black Belt Can I Defense Myself?

Why Do You Study Karate for So Long?

………You Must Not Be Very Good If You Have to Keep Taking Classes….

 

The longer you train in Karate the more often you hear these types of questions and comments.

Many think that getting a Black Belt is like obtaining a High School or College Degree and you don’t need to continue studying any longer. Yet Karate’s skill-based knowledge depends upon continual practice in order to maintain and expand the knowledge and skills involved. Anyone who takes a month of training off and returns to the dojo discovers the frustration of attempting to remember kata, kumite and bunkai. Why would you expect that if you were in a self defense situation 3 years down the road you would suddenly remember how to quickly and efficiently respond to an attack?

 

Self Discovery:

As Patrick McCarthy often writes, “Karate is the Pathway between Self Defense and Self Discovery!”  You must keep training in karate to maintain your self defense skills. Yet, surprisingly, the more you train the more you discover about yourself and your karate techniques and applications. Self Discovery is what keeps people training year after year as you suddenly have insights on applications and movements. You eventually discover that your punch is a block is an attack is a throw is just a punch. This alone provides decades of exploration as the more you research the more you find. Your application toolbox quickly expands and you wonder how you will remember all these new applications.

Yet more importantly you begin exploring applications you also discover more about yourself, how you maintain control, how you react in adverse situations. You move from being an ego-based being to an energy-conserving being. Rather than getting upset or stressed about daily thing you just shrug and blow them off. It takes energy to be upset about this and that energy could be used for your karate training. After decades you discover that there will always be others who will criticize you for being you, for your karate, for your hairstyle, etc. and you just don’t care because you are controlling your energy now rather than being buffeted about by social criticism.

 

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

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

Roberto’s karate students insisted he rent a more permanent location for his Self Defense Karate instruction instead of wandering from building to building renting out space in School gymnasiums and Churchs. In 2017 he and his Karate students decided upon an office space in an office condominium complex. His students have built the space into an outstanding training area evoking the sense and feel of a traditional Okinawan Karate Dojo. Many students drop by just to meditate, or for Yoga or Tai Chi classes. Drop by even if just to see and appreciate the dojo space!

Roberto began studying martial arts in 1969.  He studied judo, Shorinkan Shorin Ryu karate, Shotokan Karate, Goju Ryu, and Kung Fu.  He started studying with now Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu in 1979 and continues until now as one of his 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 in self defense karate.  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 in Alexandria at the Virginia Dojo.

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

 

Virginia Dojo

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

Regular Adult Class times: 7 PM Sunday thru Thursday, 9 AM Saturday, noon Tuesday & Thursday. Women Only Class 6 PM Monday & Wednesday. Kids 5:30 PM Tuesday & Thursday

Naihanchi Kata Gedan Barai

Naihanchi Kata

Naihanchi Kata

A long time ago, and far away, I started on a karate adventure with no expectation that 50+ years later I would still be exploring this. (In fact, I have to thank Doris for convincing me to attend my first karate class in the basement at MSU’s Women’s Intramural Building. Yet that is another entertaining story for another time.) I was immediately enthused with Self Defense Karate training and attended every class. After initially learning some basic Kihon Kata I was disappointed to hear that I had to learn the three Naihanchi Katas to prove I was worthy of learning the more advanced, useful Pinan Katas. Who wanted to learn the Naihanchi katas that were all sideways movements? What good is Naihanchi kata?  Funakoshi even changed the name to Tekki for the Japanese Shotokan practitioners.  Others told me:

  • Naihanchi Kata was designed to fight in the narrow alleys of Okinawa,
  • Naihanchi Kata was designed to fight on a boat in the ocean, and
  • Naihanchi Kata was really just a dance done to music to prove your worthiness to learn Pinan Kata.

I really had no interest in learning to walk sideways in a boat or narrow alley to prove I was worthy to learn the more advanced Pinan Katas. I just wanted to learn to fight, er, I just wanted to learn this classic art form.  (Yeah, that’s it! For a while I did want to become a Buddhist Monk – another story)

On the program, Kung Fu David Carradine endured picking up an iron pot with burning charcoal embers in it with his forearms to prove his worthiness of being a Shaolin Monk. Why couldn’t I just do that instead?

We didn’t know then that the Pinan Katas were designed by Itosu to teach karate to children.

We didn’t know that Choki Motobu based his karate style on Naihanchi.

I didn’t think Naihanchi had any real-time self defense applications that I wanted to learn. No one I talked with could explain anything to me either other than by learning them I was proving my worthiness to continue learning. Begrudgingly, I learned all three Naihanchi Kata so I could move on to the more exciting and readily applicable Pinan Katas.

After running around and training in the Martial Arts wilderness for 10 years I met now Grand Master Sensei Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan, Shorin Ryu Karate. He received his 8th Dan shortly after I started training with him.  His strength, speed, body movement and control were phenomenal. Yet he was so gentle and compassionate. How does he do that, I wondered? Still, 40 years later I am still wondering that.

After class, while practicing kata Sensei Iha would often show me one technique application. Just once. Then he would walk away. Others would ask him to repeat it and he’d just laugh saying we’d understand when it was our time.

Soon while training with Embassy Security personnel, including the US Marines assigned to the Embassy, I would have sudden flashbacks at applications Sensei Iha had demonstrated on me and surprisingly realized that many of them came directly out of Naihanchi Kata. What? How could that be? So many of these now incredibly effective applications that easily took down men much larger and stronger than me all came out of Naihanchi.

Then I read that Choki Motobu (a renowned Okinawan Karate fighter) designed his whole karate fighting style around Naihanchi Kata and began to explore this connection further. It helped, too that Motobu trained Grand Master Katsuya Miyahira, Sensei Iha’s instructor. The more I dug, and remembered what Sensei taught me, the more I discovered that apparent sideways movement led attacks and defenses controlling leg and hand attacks, with brutal counters. Joint attacks, pressure points, even just percussion of hitting and kicking is involved in this close-in attack and defense. Lots of headlocks and neck twists, too. So much China-Na (Chinese joint attacks) and more is found in Naihanchi. The more you explore the more you find. How much of Choki Motobu’s teachings were passed on to me by Iha through Miyahira? I will never know.  (Click to find a montage of Choki Motobu performing Naihanchi Shodan and Katsuya Miyahira performing Naihanchi Shodan.)

Naihanchi has become my favorite kata. It really brings me joy to perform Naihanchi Shodan as I think of the various effective applications connected with the smooth near-effortless body movements.

We do Naihanchi Shodan in almost every class and normally end class with it, too. It’s brilliant simplicity refreshes after a hard training class and allows the mind to focus on applications. Plus Naihanchi Kata allows you to identify readily those who are thinking kata applications and others who are just dancing in their pajamas.

If I had but one Karate Kata to practice it would be Naihanchi as it contains the basis for all other self defense karate movements. There are probably a few movement exceptions, but other than a double somersault tornado kick, I can’t think of any.

Want more information on Naihanchi self defense karate applications? I am happy to show you just come to class.

 

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

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

Roberto’s karate students insisted he rent a more permanent location for his Karate instruction instead of wandering from building to building while renting out space in School gymnasiums and Churchs. In 2017 he and his students decided upon an office space in an office condominium complex. His students have built it into an outstanding training space evoking the sense and feel of traditional Okinawan Karate Dojo. Many students drop by just to meditate, or for Yoga or Tai Chi classes. Drop by even if just to see the dojo space!

   Roberto began studying martial arts in 1969.  He studied judo, Shorinkan Shorin Ryu karate, Shotokan Karate, Goju Ryu, and Kung Fu.  He started studying with now Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu in 1979 and continues until now as one of his 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 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

 

Virginia Dojo

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

Womens Self Defense Karate

Okinawan Self Defense Karate versus Sport Karate: What is the difference?

Okinawan Self Defense Karate versus Sport Karate

Many people confuse Okinawan Self Defense Karate with Japanese or Korean Sport Karate. Yet the differences are greater than NFL Professional Football and Children’s flag football where the similarities are only a football and a marked playing field.

 

Okinawan Self Defense Karate

(This is also used for Women’s Self Defense)

Most fights start with a grab, push, or pull unlike television and movie depictions of people preparing for violence by getting into a fighting stance. Violence just happens. There are normally warning signs to be aware of to help you prepare. Police statistics reveal that most violent encounters begin with a grab, push, or pull. Since the beginning of time man has used only 36 ways to attack another human with empty hands. Patrick McCarthy developed this list many years ago and challenged us to find what was missing. I could never find anything to add to this list.

Habitual Acts of Physical Violence
Habitual Acts of Physical Violence

Okinawan Self Defense Karate, or basically any worthwhile self defense, prepare you to respond effectively to these types of situations through shorter, more normal foot positions and grabbing hold of and maintaining control of the attacker with the back hand (hikite) to end the attack. Traditional blocks are used as strikes or throws. Training for this type of situation is uncomfortably close. You practice by invading your partner’s normal personal space safety area for attacking, trapping and throwing.

Womens Self Defense Karate
Womens Self Defense Karate

 

Sport Karate

Sport Karate has nice quick, flashy kicks and punches. It is a challenging and fun sport. Sport karate uses longer fighting positions that allow you to maintain your personal space, attack, and then retreat to your safe space. It also trains you to look for a judge awarding you a point for your technique because you performed your technique with controlled force and kiaied to signal that you were in control. Yet if used on the street you best hope with sport karate is that your opponent isn’t an experienced street fighter or you may suddenly discover that your beautiful backflip jumping hurricane kick that helped win your big trophy at home didn’t result in anything other than getting punched in the mouth or kicking your opponent ineffectively on the shoulder. Your mighty tournament winning reverse punch might just glance off your opponent.  Then what?

 

Am I trashing Sport Karate? No, not at all. It is great for tournaments and building egos. Once you attain 30 years of age or so the thrill of winning karate tournaments wears off as you discover there are some serious applications to be found in the karate tool box when you dig deeper. Plus the deeper you dig the more you find. Many more knowledgable martial artists claim each technique practiced in karate kata should have at least 9 applications. The more you research you will soon discover that for many techniques 9 is a very limiting number as there are many, many more.

Roberto

Kiyoshi, 8th Dan, Virginia Dojo

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

Roberto’s karate students insisted he rent a more permanent location for his Karate instruction instead of wandering from building to building while renting out space in School gymnasiums and Churchs. In 2017 he and his students decided upon an office space in an office condominium complex. His students have built it into an outstanding training space evoking the sense and feel of traditional Okinawan Karate Dojo. Many students drop by just to meditate, or for Yoga or Tai Chi classes. Drop by even if just to see the dojo space!

Roberto began studying martial arts in 1969.  He studied judo, Shorinkan Shorin Ryu karate, Shotokan Karate, Goju Ryu, and Kung Fu.  He started studying with now Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th Dan, Beikoku Shidokan Shorin Ryu in 1979 and continues until now as one of his 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 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

 

Virginia Dojo