virginia dojo view

Cold, Flu & Coronavirus Prevention in the Dojo

Cold, Flu & Coronavirus Prevention in the Dojo

While at the Doctor’s office last week, the reception area was packed with people with cold and flu symptoms. I have never seen it so bad.  According to news reports, the Coronavirus will spread. 
 
We all need to take measures to reduce contagion possibilities in the dojo. 
 
To prevent the spread of colds, flu and maybe the Coronavirus I just had the Dojo air ducts and heating/ac system cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized. You should notice cleaner, fresher air with fewer air suspended dust particles.

virginia dojo view
Virginia Karate Dojo

 
Personal Prevention Activities:
– Use the hand sanitizer at the front door upon arrival for class and departure.
– Instead of shaking hands at the end of class we will just bow to each other. 
– Use Lysol swabs to disinfect door handles.  That is the one thing that almost everyone touches.
 
Dojo Activities:
– At the beginning of class let’s vacuum the floor. Both vacuums work.
– At the end of the day let’s quickly mop the floor with Lysol. No need to scrub, just wet mop and rub over two tiles, rinse and dry. This goes very quickly, especially when people take turns.
 
If you can think of anything else we should do let me know.

Roberto

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 when he returned to MSU from Paraguay for graduate studies and continues until now as 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

Virginia Dojo Pinan Defense

Okinawan Karate Alexandria: Pinan Katas

Okinawan Karate Alexandria: Pinan Karate Katas

Anko Itosu reportedly developed the five Pinan Katas (called Heinan in Shotokan and other Japanese styles) prevalent in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate to teach appropriate Karate techniques to school children. Many claim these katas derived from a now lost Channan kata. Yet others think many of the moves were taken from the Kusanku katas.

What does Pinan mean? Pinan has no direct translation in Uchinaguuchi (the Okinawan Language) or Japanese. I have heard and read that Pinan means things like “Divine Wind”, “Fighting Spirit”, “Fighting to the East”, and stuff like that. Many historical Okinawan Martial Artists trained with Chinese in Okinawa and China. Reportedly, Pinan in the Chinese dialect spoken in Fujian Province, the province closest to Okinawa, means “Stay Safe”.

Virginia Dojo Pinan Defense
Pinan Shodan kata Self Defense Karate

There are so many many assumptions around the meaning of the Pinan name, and Itosu didn’t specify what it meant, that the definition “Stay Safe” sounds the most reasonable to me at this time and I will stick with that until someone comes up with something better.

Stay Safe!

Roberto

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 when he returned to MSU from Paraguay for graduate studies and continues until now as 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. Drop by even if just to appreciate the dojo!

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

 

 

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