News & Articles

January 2020

September 2019

The SKC family is full of gratitude for this year’s phenomenal camp and examination, conducted by our beloved Mazhari Sensei. We are ever grateful for the opportunity to gather with one another and train together under our Sensei’s masterful instruction and gaze.
Our time together is truly a gift. 

For more camp photos, please click here.


January 2019

2018 SKCI Fall Training Camp in Rapid City, SD

In September 2018, the SKC family was reunited under the masterful gaze of Mazhari Sensei for the 2018 Fall Training Camp. The camp consisted of high rigor and intensity trainings, with Mazhari Sensei, as well as wonderfully successful Kyu and Dan examinations. The SKC students are grateful for the opportunity to, once again, gather and train all together with our beloved Sensei. 

2017 SKCI Fall Training Camp in Rapid City, SD

The SKC family is extremely grateful for the opportunity to have gathered once more to train under our beloved Mazhari Sensei, in September of 2017. In addition to conducting highly intense and enriching trainings, Mazhari Sensei conducted Kyu, Dan, and Instructor Training examinations. Shotokan Karate Center International would like to extend congratulations to Mr. Brian Robinson for passing his C Class Instructor Training Course. 

For more camp photos, please click here and here.

2017 SKC Spring Training Camp in Virginia

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Mazhari Sensei conducted the SKC Spring Camp in Falls Church, VA on March 31st and April 1st. As always, SKC students were thrilled to come together to train under their beloved Sensei. Wonderfully successful Kyu, Dan, and Instructor Training examinations were also conducted by Mazhari Sensei.

Shotokan Karate Center International would like to extend congratulations to Ms. Parastou Ghazvini and Ms. Golnesa AsheghAli for passing their A Class Instructor Training Exam, with distinction, and to Mr. Ali Tabatabai for passing his C Class Instructor Training Course.

For more photos, please click here.

January 2017

Mazhari Sensei wishes to thank all of the SKC NOVA and SKC SD students for the beautiful card and gift. The SKC family looks forward to reuniting and training under our beloved Mazhari Sensei at the upcoming 2017 Training Camp.

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September 2016
“BADLANDS SIDE KICK” by: Instructor P. Mazhari

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June 2016
“SOUTH DAKOTA SHORT HAIR”

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January 2016

Mazhari Sensei wishes to thank all of the SKC NOVA and SKC SD students for the beautiful card and gift. Sensei looks forward to being reunited with the whole SKC family at the upcoming 2016 Training Camp.

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December 17th, 2015

SKC SD Night Out With Mazhari Sensei

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July 2, 3, 4 2015

SKCI 2015 Black Hills Summer Training Camp

Shotokan Karate Center International students gathered, from all over, at the honbu dojo for the inaugural Black Hills Summer Training Camp. We were blessed to gather together, once more, to train under our beloved Mazhari Sensei and to spend our time with Sensei taking in the beautiful sights of South Dakota. We, the students of SKCI, are filled with gratitude to Mazhari Sensei for bestowing upon us wonderful memories to last a lifetime…

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Click for 2015 Summer Camp Training Photos & SD Group Outings

May 23, 2015

SKCSD Featured on the Front Page of the Rapid City Journal

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read the article HERE

April 15, 2015

SKCSD’s Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting

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March 14th, 2015

The First Kyu Examination at the New Honbu Dojo

Rapid City and Spearfish students gather at the central dojo for training and the first official kyu examination.

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 March 6th, 2015

The First Special Training for the Kyu Examination at the New Honbu Dojo

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 February 2015

Shotokan Karate Center SD on the Kota Territory News

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Our own Golnesa AsheghAli was on the Kota Territory Noontime News informing the Rapid City community about the benefits of karate training at SKC. You can watch the interview here.

 January 2015

SKC International Students Celebrate the New Year and the Opening of the SKC SD Honbu Dojo

Mazhari Sensei thanks all of the SKC NOVA and SKC SD students for the beautiful card and gift.Sensei is looking forward to a reunion of the SKC family at the 2015 SKC International Summer Camp.

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September 2014

SKC International 2014 Fall Training Camp

The SKC International Fall Training camp was hosted by SKC NOVA in Virginia September 12-13. Throughout the camp, students experienced exhilarating trainings by Mazhari Sensei and were fortunate to receive Sensei’s wisdom and encouragement. Mazhari Sensei has always spoken of the friendship and bond which emerges from training; this bond, our deep ties to one another, was completely palpable at the camp and we, SKC students, are eagerly looking forward to our next reunion and organization-wide gathering. Click HERE for camp photos.

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August 2014

“Following My Heart to SD: Ramzi’s South Dakota Story”

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I was introduced to Shotokan Karate by my wife, Golnesa AsheghAli, in August 2008. I had no idea of the way my life was to be forever changed. Having heard many stories from Golnesa about Mazhari Sensei and trainings at Shotokan Karate Center, I finally witnessed firsthand the level of intensity, dedication, and love with which Mazhari Sensei teaches and the numerous benefits of practicing karate under such a master. Maintaining regular training ever since, my love for karate and Mazhari Sensei only grew more and more.

In 2013, Mazhari Sensei announced to the students at Shotokan Karate Center that Sensei would soon be leaving Virginia to establish the Shotokan Karate Center International headquarters in South Dakota, a place where the land and air spoke to Sensei. I was faced with the decision of leaving the only life I have ever known and my career in international development in Virginia for a new beginning in South Dakota. I could not imagine life without training and more importantly without Mazhari Sensei. Lucky to have already been exposed to the beauty of South Dakota, thanks to Mazhari Sensei, I could attest to the true magnificence and spiritual atmosphere of the land.

In December 2013, I made the decision to leave Virginia to follow my heart and follow Mazhari Sensei to Rapid City, South Dakota. Privileged enough to continue to train under and learn so much beyond karate with Mazhari Sensei, I have no questions about my decision and could not be more thankful for the opportunities I have been blessed to receive.


January 1, 2014

“One Chapter Closes and Another Opens”

Mazhari Sensei longed to move to South Dakota many years ago. Because of Sensei’s love and deep commitment to his students, Sensei remained in Virginia long after the desire to move to South Dakota was ignited. It was only when Sensei’s students had matured and become ready to inherit SKC NoVA that Sensei announced the move to South Dakota and the relocation of the SKC headquarters to Rapid City. Having taught in Virginia for over 30 years, Mazhari Sensei passed the torch to the senior students that remained behind. After 16 years at the Fairfax location, the doors of the legendary Fairfax SKC dojo have closed and the doors to a new Northern Virginia location have opened; like a book, one chapter has closed and another begun. One cannot neatly package the experiences, what transpired there, what those walls witnessed for the past decade and a half- truthfully, it is an attempt to describe the ineffable…and yet there is so much about the Fairfax dojo that demands documentation.

The dojo that proved to all who entered that simplicity is still the best way…

Though in the heart of Fairfax, once entered, this place would take you back to the time when it all began…the Fairfax dojo embodied the heart of a distant tradition…

A place that humbled those who walked through the doors and even one-time visitors, from all over the world, would carry their unforgettable experience with them throughout their lives…

A place where students were set on the path of self discovery, unveiling a world of capability and strength, previously unimagined…

Where parents would behold these newly unleashed abilities in their children with joyful wonder…

The dojo where one could enter with weak and low spirit and leave fully charged and exuberant, where the challenges of training served as a motivator for those who stayed and an escape door for those who did not…

The Fairfax dojo where you would be engaged to the point where you forget all else, a retreat from the outside world, a world in and of itself…

Where the body was taken to the brink of exhaustion, but the students looked forward to the next training with excitement and anticipation…

A place where belief, not business, served as the core principle…

The Fairfax dojo that showed all those who trained there that no matter what corner of the world you come from, you could train together and be the best of friends, like a garden, full of flowers, each with their own beauty and fragrance…

These are not stories or myths, but realities known to all who have experienced it. For sixteen years, we trained there, lived there, and loved there. The sweat dripping from our faces, matched by the condensation dripping from the walls and windows…this was a place of meditation, purification, and exhilaration, a place where deep love and unbreakable bonds were cultivated amongst the students. As our new chapters begin to be written, we move forward with the courage and desire for perfection that Mazhari Sensei has instilled in us, with strong hearts and belief, ready to face all the challenges that lie ahead.

Why South Dakota? In the words of Mazhari Sensei…

The question of why is one that has been asked repeatedly by everyone I have encountered in South Dakota and elsewhere. Perhaps my words and sentiments will serve as a reminder, even to the residents of South Dakota, of the beauty and bounty of this land. Clearly, just like my move from Iran to Europe, and from Europe to the United States, my move from Virginia to South Dakota was destined to be. My destiny was entwined with the destinies of my students who followed me from Iran to the United States and likewise, my students who followed me from Virginia to South Dakota.

The first time I heard about South Dakota was over 35 years ago from my student, Tim O’Brian in Athens, Greece. After finding out that I was an avid hunter, he was telling me about his home state and the great hunting there. My first experience with South Dakota was for hunting in 1998 and every year thereafter. My gravitation towards this land increased as the years passed to a point that parting became unbearable. The spirituality that I felt in the South Dakota air and atmosphere was palpable. I was like a thirsty man who had finally arrived at water. This was a land in which even the most basic things are magnified, senses are heightened- water tastes better, a breath of fresh is more gratifying, there is music in the blowing wind, harmony in the tumbling weeds, and the eyes are caressed by the scenery they take in. The four elements, integral to karate training, are indisputably tangible here. How can a place so empty, so vast, feel so full? This is nothing but a direct reflection of the Native Americans who lived and continue to live here, a people whom I’ve always had a special affinity and affection for.

I have travelled the world; my work as the head inspector and the chief conservation officer in Iran provided me the opportunity to experience some of the most remote and breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet. My path in the world of martial arts has also taken me all over the world. It is not as though I have never been anywhere else and therefore found myself very much drawn to South Dakota. No. Of all the places that I have seen in the United States and elsewhere in the world, THIS is the place that spoke to my heart. I did not move here on a whim or fancy; I searched for 64 years until I found home in South Dakota, my last stop…


December 23rd, 2013
Final Special Training in the Fairfax Dojo
more photos HERE

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SKC Kyu & Dan Examination
June 15th, 2013
Training & Exam Photos HERE

The Kyu & Dan Examination on June 15th was a great success! There was a wonderful turnout and SKC students, new and old, shared in the experience and supported one another. Many thanks to Mazhari Sensei for an extraordinary and excellent exam and congratulations to the students for their hard work and the sweet fruit of their efforts.


August 13th, 2013
“The One and Only”


In the over 30 years that Mazhari Sensei has taught in Northern Virginia, Sensei has countless times heard prospective students and newcomers say, “I want to train everyday of the week, at least 3 hours per day!” Without fail, these “enthusiastic” folk either never show up or cannot make it through their first hour and quit. For this reason, when Christopher came to SKC and said that he wanted to train every day, we all smiled and nodded encouragingly, but in the back of our minds thought, “Yeah, right.” To make matters more interesting, Christopher explained that he had done a lot of research before finding us and once he did, because commuted by bicycle, he moved to Fairfax for the sole purpose of training with Mazhari Sensei at SKC. So not only was he going to train everyday, he was going to bike to and from training to do it! Much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, Christopher has done this for over 9 months now, never missing a training. This makes him the only person in all of Sensei’s years in Virginia who has actually followed through on his declaration. This is why Christopher is featured here on the website in recognition of his excellent commitment thus far. Mazhari Sensei expressed that if Christopher does not burn out and can continue the same way, he has a bright future ahead of him. Congratulations, Christopher!

Email: skc.southdakota@gmail.com

Phone: 605-877-1527