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Showing up with an open mind is all you need to do. Expect to be introduced to your fellow class mates and possibly sent off to the side for some basic instruction from a senior student. Otherwise, you’ll jump right in and follow along with some punching, kicking, and blocking drills as well as going through some of our basic kata. It’s a low pressure environment. There’s absolutely no expectation that you’ll demonstrate the abilities of a black belt on day one.
We all start class together with warm-ups and more basic kata/drills. Depending on who is in class, we sometimes break out by rank groupings for part of the session. This is to help get newer students up to speed more quickly, and to tailor the instruction better to the individual.
Classes start with warming up with punches, blocks, and kicks. Then we usually work through some kata. Throughout the session, we’ll break to work on self-defense applications of kata with partners. We will also often break out by rank or send newer students to work individually with more advanced students, so everyone gets the level of practice and training that they need.
We offer three classes each week for women only, as well as co-ed classes. We began offering women’s classes in order to create a more comfortable environment for women new to martial arts. Those classes also focus on techniques that may work better for smaller people/women against larger opponents and on defenses against attacks that are more likely to be used on women. Most women choose to practice in both classes (women’s and co-ed), but you do not have to.
We don’t offer classes for men only at this time, but we do offer small group training at the same time as the women’s class. These classes generally end up being men who wish to get in extra training.
Absolutely. That is a key focus of our style of instruction. We teach traditional Okinawan karate, which was developed specifically for self-defense, not for sports competition.
At this time, we do not offer instructional classes on using hand-held weapons (bos, tanbo, nunchaku, sais, katana and knives, guns, etc.), but several of our techniques can be applied to disarm an armed opponent.
We do not spar as a regular part of our classes and it is not part of our curriculum or required for advancement. Instead we focus on learning self-defense applications in a controlled environment.
We don’t participate in tournaments as a dojo, but we can certainly help you prepare if you want to enter one on your own. Keep in mind, though, that we don’t practice sport karate. The techniques we train are focused on self-defense. We don’t concentrate on how to impress judges or score points, but rather how to stop or escape an attacker.
While it’s not a major focus of our studies, we will teach you how to strike in ways that break boards.
Our students vary in age from mid-teens to over 60. Sensei Roberto is in his 70s and his instructor, Grand Master Seikichi Iha, is 90. You can truly practice karate your whole life.
Our average student age fluctuates, but historically, most of our students are in their mid-30s to mid-40s.
We are adult-only (and yes, teens are welcome) because our classes and instructional methods are geared toward adults -- with questions, conversations, and partner work. The classes are active, but we won’t ask you to do push-ups, sit-ups, or duck walk. The average 8-year-old would probably be bored!
For children’s classes, we partner with NOVA Okinawan Karate, which operates in the same location, and teaches only children (and the occasional parent). They also teach shorin-ryu shidokan karate and their kata are the same as ours, though their testing requirements for children are different than ours are for adults.
Definitely! Many of our students have no experience in the martial arts when they come to us -- and often it’s easier to learn with no experience because you are a blank slate (beginner’s mind) when it comes to martial arts.
Safety of all our students is our top priority. We do not spar, so you will never be “thrown into the ring.” We do practice applications of our karate techniques in controlled, safe ways. Newer students are always paired with experienced students for everyone’s safety.
We also have strict protocols to protect against the spread of Covid.
Just start! You can watch or join a class. Come with a beginner’s mind.
This is a personal decision (hopefully with advice of your doctor(s)) only you can make. But yes, let us know. For minor temporary injuries, you’re encouraged to mark the injured area with bright tape so your classmates know where to be extra careful during partner work. Otherwise, practice as diligently as you can without moving in ways that might aggravate your injury.
Generally speaking, there are no minimum physical prerequisites. Come as you are. There are ways to use our style in whatever shape you are in. Note that the majority of classes focus on self defense applications. You’re welcome to use the dojo space and equipment before/after classes to practice what you’ve learned at a faster pace that can lead to improved fitness.
When you start you're not required to have a karate uniform (also known as a “gi”), But when you begin to be promoted, you will want/need one. We wear them at most practices, though we do relax the dress code a little when we’re practicing outside in warm or cold weather. You can purchase one from us, or you can buy/bring your own, if you prefer. It needs to be white or off-white, but we don’t require a specific brand. Your gi should be embroidered with our kanji and insignia or have our patches sewn on. We have patches for sale.
We have an established curriculum with the knowledge and skills you should demonstrate to advance to each rank. Sensei Roberto and the other instructors continually review your progress for promotion. We don’t have formal tests until you are ready to test for black belt. Black belt testing goes through the Beikoku Shorin-ryu Shidokan Association, lead by Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th dan.
Getting your black belt is like finishing high school. It’s a major accomplishment, but you still have a lot to learn. Most people say when they finish their black belt that they are just starting to understand that they are just a beginner. Karate is a rewarding, life-long journey.
Everyone’s journey is different. Promotions are dependent on how you progress and how much time and practice you put into it. On average, it takes three to five years to earn your first degree (sho-dan) black belt.
We welcome students from other styles, and in fact, many of our students have practiced other styles or even continue to do so. We evaluate ranking on a case-by-case basis, if you come with a rank from another style. We encourage a beginner’s mindset from all new students.
For our current monthly membership fees, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 703-310-9596.
We frequently run special introductory offers (check our home page for details). We also offer discounts for active military, first responders, and students as well as family discounts if more than one member of your family joins.
Never! No contracts. Pay monthly and cancel at any time or take time off when you need it.
There are no required fees other than the monthly fee. If you wish to purchase a uniform from us, they range in price from $30-$40 for a basic uniform.
The Beikoku Shorin-ryu Shidokan Association (our parent organization) offers seminars with Grand Master Seikichi Iha, 10th degree, and other instructors throughout the year. There are additional fees for those (completely optional) seminars.
There is also a membership fee for the association. You are required to join the association before you test for black belt. In addition to the association membership fee, there is an association testing fee when you test for black belt -- but there are no other testing fees until you reach black belt.