Jessica Major (Student & Parent)- Summerset, SD

Shotokan Karate Center has become an amazing addition to my family in more ways than one.  My children (ages 9, 11, 14) and I started training in December 2015 and have learned so much in such a short amount of time.  From watching one practice, I knew it was the right place for us.  It not only tests you physically, but mentally as well.  Although every training session is intense and can seem intimidating from the outside, it only adds to the pride we carry when we leave—knowing that we are a part of something so unique and that has so much history.

Each of my kids has grown in different areas specific to their personalities. My oldest quickly went from not really wanting to go to maximizing the number of classes she can attend each week.  My middle, who excels at any sport she does but can get frustrated, has found this isn’t easy and with that, has learned to better control her emotions.   I have found that my youngest, also very athletic and add to that high energy, has become more focused and he is a better listener not only at the dojo but at home and school.  We have found something we can do as a family yet each takes away what we need to in order to make us a better person.

The sensei are very passionate and take what they do seriously; however, they are very caring and emphasize the importance of what you learn and how to apply it to everyday life.  I love the words of wisdom that are often expressed in addition to the training and I am grateful that my kids get to hear such great perspectives and experiences firsthand.  Our family has definitely become bigger due to the genuine kindness of the sensei and other members of the dojo and the relationships we have made.  I can’t say enough about all of the positives gained from training here.

McKayla Major (14 years old)

This dojo is a great place to learn and grow as a person.  At first I was really dreading it, but then it started to grow on me more and more.  Now, I like it a lot!  The training pushes you to do your best and focus on what you want to achieve.  When you train, you have to put in your best effort and you’ll get great outcomes.  Besides all of the training, there are awesome people and we all learn from one another.  I come here and get inspired.  The people at this dojo have become family to me.  This dojo has taught me so much and it is priceless to everyone here.

Kiana Major (11 years old)

I do many sports.  Karate, however, teaches me the most.  It teaches you discipline, respect, and the art of karate.  The reason I love karate is it’s taught me to have more self-confidence.  All of the sensei do their best to make you better.  Their interest is helping you.

I saw the first training before I signed up and I was scared out of my socks. Me being in sixth grade, I was kind of full of myself.   I’m the class clown and this was so proper, strict, respectful, and formal.  I told my mom “sign me up” and I’m glad she did.  My favorite part of karate is the end of class when I do two things—look back at how far I’ve come and say the Dojo Kun.  Those words mean a lot to me.  There’s a quote that says, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” –Vince Lombardi.   That is my goal in karate.

Javon Major (9 years old)

I love doing sports.  I wrestle, swim and play baseball and now I do karate.  I love karate because it’s different.

When we were looking for a dojo and places to sign up, the first place we walked into had me thinking “fake, totally fake”.  Plus they said, “No, we don’t do karate, we do taekwondo.”  Have you read your sign?  My mom and I got out of that dojo.  After that, my mom looked on her computer and saw Shotokan Karate Center.

When I saw the training before we signed up I was like “this is hard but it looks fun!”  I love how the sensei push you to the limit but don’t let you fall.  If you do fall, they pick you back up.

The sensei even came to watch me wrestle which I thought was really nice of them, that they came on their free time.  The sensei here are AWESOME!!!

Dawn Holguin (parent)- Pine Ridge, SD

I drive my son nearly four hours for one hour of Karate training every Tuesday and Thursday and have done so for the last 5 months.  He has learned so many valuable lessons not only in the technical sense but also in his character. What he has learned so far is invaluable and makes the travel worth every single minute of training and more! Sensei Mazhari is excellent, both he and all of the instructors are very knowledgeable and know just how to bring out the best in every student learning Karate. This dojo is great!

Blaine D. Wall- Rapid City, SD

My name is Blaine D. Wall and I am twenty eight years of age. I have been training traditional Shotokan Karate with SKCSD nearly two years now. I recently achieved the rank of brown belt. This accomplishment has stirred in me great pride and appreciation! I could not ask to be part of a greater discipline and dojo and I could not have done it without the love , dedication and faith all of the instructors at SKCSD have for their students. It is because of these very qualities present in all of the SKCSD instructors and a desire to delve further into training that nine months ago I made the decision to move from my home town of Belle Fourche to Rapid City. That decision is entirely without regret! Every hour of training has been intense and trying in many aspects. Physically, mentally and emotionally i have been tested all the while rewarded to the degree that I have been willing to submit myself to training. Two years ago I never imagined I would be at the point I am now. I have pushed through many limitations that i thought could not be overcome. I am in the best shape i have ever been in, on a whole. I feel very thankful and blessed to have Mazhari Sensei, Shohra Sensei, Parastou Sensei and Golnesa Sensei to push me, each and every session, beyond what I thought I was capable of. Thank you for believing in my greater potential and not accepting any limitation in me that I myself have.

Elizabeth Biondi- VA to Rapid City, SD

When I began training, I didn’t know what it would be like or where it would take me, but I was addicted after the first class.  It isn’t a dojo that just hands out ranks: students at Shotokan Karate Center are pushed to their limits to earn their rank at each exam.  Children and adults train together, but it doesn’t change the intensity of the training. Everyone, regardless of age or gender, is encouraged by Sensei to train at the highest level they are capable.

I don’t just love the training, but I also love each Sensei that teaches at the dojo.  Their authenticity in teaching a pure style and holding to true karate traditions is what sets this dojo apart from others.  The joy and high spirit brought to every training by each Sensei from their desire to see each student grow is contagious.

Wanting to keep such amazing people and continue in learning the Karate-do, I found myself following Mazahri Sensei to South Dakota to continue my training.  With each day, I feel as though I learn something new: not just about Shotokan, but also about myself.  My quality of life has improved since I began training.  I am very grateful to each Sensei for their support and part that they have played in my development.

10/10 Would do it all over again.

David Dakake (parent)

For a long time we were looking for a serious martial arts school for our son.  We enrolled him in many dojos over a period of a couple of years trying to find a school that satisfied us.  The schools we went to were generally untraditional, displaying very casual attitudes both in interactions between students and the interactions between the students and the senseis.  In addition, these schools were generally undisciplined in their teaching “methods” (not focusing on proper technique, stances, body positioning, etc).  Some schools even introduced rock music into the warm ups and basic exercise periods in class!  Having gone to a highly disciplined karate school in New Jersey as a young man, these kinds of attitudes were not what I was looking for in a dojo for my son.  I wanted him both to learn in a karate environment that took seriously the training of technique, as well as stressed the disciplining of one’s own character and how one interacts with teachers and fellow students.  This is the environment that we have found in Sensei Mazhari’s dojo.  It is not a “dojo factory” as many of these places are around the area with buses and after school programs, but what it is is dedication to the art of Karate. Sensei Mazhari takes great care with each of his students, and most of the classes are taught by him personally.  He is very watchful of each of the students in class, actively instructing them, adjusting their stances, hand positions, eye focus, demonstrating what each technique is in relation to an opponent. In addition to being serious, the dojo is also a place with a very welcoming attitude, which flows from the respect that Sensei demands from all his students in their interactions with one another.  So, if you want fastfood-style martial arts, there are plenty of places to go in Northern Virginia, but if you want to learn an art form, on both an outward and inward level, I know of no other dojo like this one.

Dean Phan (parent)

If you want to acquire a skill set and discipline, not wasting your time and money; Shotokan Karate Center is THE way to go. Both of my kids age 13 and 14 have been attending since 2009. The teachers are all great and friendly, yet when it comes to practice its very serious and you definitely get your moneys worth; or if not more! They care more about us learning the art and the discipline.  The best part is, there is no black belt club contract.

Kevin McGrail (parent)

All three of my kids, now 13, 13 & 14 and my wife have attended this dojo for many years.

I can’t say enough good things about the Shotokan Karate Center.  Just understanding that this isn’t a belt mill like your average shopping center is the most important place.  They care about you as people not just $’s. And age or sex doesn’t matter.  Kids and adults, females and males are all in the same class learning the same thing.  They will make you work hard, they will make you sweat and they will make you proud of your accomplishments knowing that you earned your belts.

And more so than just the karate, their is a very high but intangible value to other topics they cover such as hygiene & appearance, respect for others, proper use of force and much more.  It’s really exercise for the mind, body and soul.

Any parent who has watched their child get a “black belt” in 2 years should consider a real dojo like SKC.  I’m so happy we found them and Sensei Mazhari is a very inspiring teacher.

Kazue Morita (parent)

One of the important differences of this Dojo with other Dojos is that children practice with adults. I feel that this extremely beneficial particularly to the children. Being able to practice with people of different ages and skill levels makes for an environment that is more exciting and encouraging as well as richer in learning experiences for them.

It is hard training, and no chit-chats are allowed during the training. Students are expected to learn to focus.

For those who are watching the training for the first time, you may wonder if children can stay with the training.

I, too, was not sure in the beginning if my daughter (8yrs old) was going to able to keep up with the training and even worried that she might come to me wanting to quit the training. In spite of my worries, she never once came to me to say she wanted to quit Karate in the past one year of training.

Once, my daughter made a comment to me that if she did not have the teachers she has, she might not have been able to stay with the hard training and might have given up. I feel that this attests to the quality of the teachers of this Dojo and their high skill levels as instructors. Teachers at this Dojo of the top level both in terms of skills and in terms of the belief with which they teach Karate. I hope that anyone interested would come and see the training to see for yourself.

 If you are simply looking for an after-school activities where they can have fun imitating Karate, then this may not be your Dojo. But if you are looking to learn a true Karate Do (Karate Way), I think that this Dojo is the right place and recommend this Dojo wholeheartedly.

Kokoro Nishida (13 years old)

 When I first came to Dojo to watch the class, Sensei seemed so scary, I was not sure I wanted to join! But, once I started practicing, I found Sensei was very nice and I came to love Sensei and Karate very quickly! I practiced a different sport before, but now I like Karate better! Sensei explains Karate to us in a way we can understand. Sensei teaches us patiently until we understand, even using gestures for us because we do not understand English!

When the class is over, Sensei changes into our Sensei with a smile so kind like an angel!

I recently came to the United States from Japan and wanted to go back to Japan badly, but ever since I started Karate, I don’t feel that way at all any more! I really love all my Senseis (teachers) and always look forward to the practice every day! I want to improve quickly and be able to join the Special Training classes very soon!

Rin Nishida (8 years old)

When I practice Karate, I sometime feel like crying because it is difficult to remember the katas, but I am working hard to become better!

Our Sensei (teacher) is very nice, and he is very, very strong!

One day I want to be just like that, too!

I am going to work hard and practice Karate!

Akemi Nishida (parent)

First time I brought my children in to watch the class, it was so intense that I worried whether my children would be able to stay with the practice. But at the same time it was very clear to me that this was the Dojo I wanted my children to learn Karate at! All the instructors are not only outstanding in their skills and techniques, but they are all so kind and outstanding as a person! I consider our family so fortunate that we have come to know these wonderful people!

I have had the fortune of meeting several people who were considered ‘the best’ in their respective fields. (Number one in Japan in — / the Champion of — / A member of the Japan team of — ) Unfortunately, I have never felt I respected them also for their heart and character.

Our Sensei (teacher) is different. Sensei is first-class all in Shin (heart and spirit) / Gi (skills and techniques) / Tai (body and physical strength). Everything Sensei does is based on Sensei’s deep belief!

I feel so blessed and proud that we have found such Sensei! We love our Sensei!

Keiko Hashimoto

I have been training at SKC for over 16 years now, beginning at the age of 38.

After having gone to see different Dojos, I found this Dojo by chance. 15 minutes into watching the training, I knew this Dojo was different and that this was the Dojo I am going to join. And that decision has been life-changing for me.

Mazhari Sensei (Chief Instructor) has trained all his life with some of the world-known top masters of Shotokan Karate, which is one of the most original and traditional karate style in Japan. The quality of skills and techniques taught by Mazhari Sensei and the quality of instruction we receive are truly first rate that cannot be simulated in most other Dojos. Strong focus on the basics, the intensity of the practice, the discipline with which you are expected to train are all reflective of the strong sense of standard and the philosophy with which Sensei teaches Karate at this Dojo. Sensei instills in us the true meaning of the Dojo-kun, and learning Karate is as much about building your character as it is about improving your skills through intense training.

Coming to this Dojo and learning from the best teachers here has given me better health and the joy of improving my skills, but even more, it has given me a deep sense of well-being and self-awareness that come from being exposed to and be surrounded by people who have lived all their lives striving for high standards in all aspects of life and have built the self discipline necessary to live with that kind of goal in life.

Christopher Suejro

I did a whole lot of research to try to find the very best dojo that I could, and after all of my extensive research, this dojo was the one that I finally chose due to two key factors: the chief instructor’s lifelong experience and dedication to Shotokan karate, and the dedication to training hard to be the best that one can be that was described on this dojo’s Web site. After training here every day that the dojo is opened for about a year now and experiencing the quality of training and the camaraderie that I have with the other students, I can clearly see that I made the right choice and that I have found my home dojo. We do train hard here, and I suppose it’s not for everybody for that reason, but if you’re serious about this and you want to learn real quality karate as opposed to going to one of the many fake dojos out there that are taught by someone claiming to be a master when they really only have a few years of experience, this dojo is definitely your best, and for the most part only, option. Sure a fake dojo would be easier, and you could learn things that look decent to untrained eyes and feel very good about yourself, but if you want to work harder to have your skills be the best that they can be, then I would strongly suggest attending this dojo. Just remember to not get discouraged early on, because the first few weeks or month or so are the hardest because everything is so new and foreign to you, but once you start to get used to the movements and it starts to feel more natural, it does get easier. Of course there will be more challenging things in the future of your training if you stick with it, but the instructors at this dojo are all excellent and they all do a very good job of preparing you for each of those challenges as they come along.

Celia Wren

Having studied Shotokan Karate in several U.S. cities and abroad, I can say that, with its excellent instruction quality and inspiring training culture, Northern Virginia’s Shotokan Karate Center is one of the best dojo experiences I have had. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming; the energy and spirit run impressively high at all times. It is a gift to be able to study with such accomplished, attentive and hugely knowledgeable instructors, while training side-by-side with such enthusiastic, disciplined fellow Karate practitioners.

Ramzi Soubra

Training at Shotokan Karate Center under Mazhari Sensei for over 5 years has been and continues to be an absolute blessing. Nowhere else will you find the inspiring dedication, passion, and love committed to preserving the tradition of Shotokan Karate. Under Mazhari Sensei’s watchful eye, every student young and old experiences the ongoing development of mind, body, and soul through Shotokan Karate. Being in the presence of a true master in Mazhari Sensei and having access to Mazhari Sensei’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of karate and beyond, students at Shotokan Karate Center gain focus, acquire discipline, and strengthen their character. Personally, training at Shotokan Karate Center has completely changed the path of my life in a positive direction resulting in a very happy, healthy, and thankful lifestyle. It is all a testament to Shotokan Karate Center and Mazhari Sensei, who truly embodies the spirit of traditional Shotokan Karate.

Brian Robinson

 I began training with Mahzari Sensei and SKC in 2005. I was first introduced to Shotokan Karate thirty years ago as a teenager. Since then, I have trained off and on with a few different instructors and facilities across the country, but absolutely none can come close to the in-depth and rigorous training I have experienced at SKC. It took a long time to find a school and instructor that I genuinely admired and could stay with long-term without feeling stagnant, and with Mahzari Sensei I found exactly that.

Spiro Roiniotis

 I started training with SKC NOVA in 2001, and immediately knew this dojo was different from anything I had experienced before. Sensei ignites the room with his energy, and teaches with an intensity and rigor each and every practice, from beginner classes to highly advanced sessions. While the training is incredibly hard, and the attention to detail extreme, the experience is always invigorating and fun. It’s a true mental tune-up and physical recharge of the batteries that is incomparable.

 The dedication to the art and tradition of Shotokan karate is also extraordinary in how open and honest Sensei is with his students. He answers many questions during practice and shares an incredible amount of knowledge from his experiences training all over the world with some of the best known karate masters. This provides a true learning environment, and fosters a real sense of community and friendship amongst the students and instructors.

 The dojo truly embodies the spirit of Shotokan karate. I learn something new, whether it’s a technique or form, or about my own mental and physical limits, every practice. For advanced development through hard training, this is Shotokan karate at its best.

Ali Tabatabai

I have been fortunate and grateful for almost 14 years practicing Shotokan Karate with Sensei Mazhari as my instructor, and also my mentor. His vast experience and knowledge of karate comes from training with masters such as Master Mori  and late Master Enoida. He is a well trained and certified instructor, teaching us respect, discipline and humbleness. His dojo is uniquely designed for people with strong desire to learn, and continuously enhance their character. Under his leadership, we should get better than what we were yesterday. Sensei always promotes traditional and good karate, and shows the details and application of each technique.  He is extremely caring and detail-oriented on individual level.  Every day I learn something new from Sensei, and much appreciate being his student.

Greg Davis

Growing up in the coal mining camps of West Virginia, my early school years included many fist fights.  It was those times of “survival of the fittest” and “who was the toughest kid on the block”.  So my short and hot temper pulled me through those tough years.  Now, I was surprised to learn that the focus of Shotokan karate was not about being a tough guy.  My greatest struggle these days is having the mental toughness, not physical toughness, to cope with everyday, relentless mental stresses.  Some benefits of years of karate training at SKC, now at age 66, have been a healthier life after having a heart attack back in 1999.  Training with Mazhari Sensei, has allowed, some might say required, me to escape the stresses of the workplace and avoid the monotony and boredom of health clubs while learning a skill that may protect me from possible physical harm.  And the most important and most rewarding benefit is making friendships with other students who can be trusted and are always there for support when hard times arise, something that is highly emphasized and cultivated by Mazhari Sensei.

Dave Boyle

I’ve been practicing karate for over 20 years, in 3 different dojos. In all that time I have not met anyone with the experience and passion for the art that Mazhari Sensei has. It is a true blessing to be able to practice under his tutelage. His classes are always energetic, and have variety that keeps you engaged. His knowledge of the art and attention to detail provide for an exemplary learning experience.

Thuong Nguyen

Besides the obvious physical health benefits which are many, the Karate classes at SKC have helped me to understand more about myself, discovering my strengths and weaknesses. I’m fortunate to have a chance to walk on the path of “seeking perfection of character” under the guidance of Mazhari Sensei and the support of many wonderful instructors and students.

Rachel Creedon

Joining Shotokan Karate Center is one of the best things I could have ever done. I am in my 8th year with SKC and love every minute of it. I am in my early 50’s and credit SKC for keeping me in great shape both physically and mentally. I would not trade it for anything else.

The instructors are most dedicated, talented and encouraging. They work so hard and truly care about each student in order to make you the best you can be.

SKC has become a second home for me. I have met amazing people and made great friends within the SKC family. I achieved my 2nd degree Black Belt in June 2013. I have had lots of fun learning and helping teach lower belts and encouraging those around me. It is just a very positive environment.

SKC is my life. I cannot recommend them enough! Everybody should join. I am glad I did!

Elias Papasavvas

Learning Shotokan Karate under Mazhari Sensei is an honor and a treasure. The physical aspects of practice under Mazhari Sensei are truly intense, deeply focused, and relentless in their toughness. Yet more importantly, what I have enjoyed the most is Mazhari Sensei’s words and thoughts he shares as we practice in true tribute to Master Funakoshi and his Sensei, Enoeda Sensei.  Practicing with Mazhari Sensei is about purity, humility, strength and love of honorable character.  And while the physical benefits of practice under Mazhari Sensei are indeed rare and special, the lessons of character, of understanding one’s self and of the human nature in others, have benefited myself, my career and my family, immeasurably so.


Email: skc.southdakota@gmail.com

Phone: 605-877-1527