Old Town North

Karate and Calligraphy Come Together in This Neighborhood Dojo

Richard leads a class in his Old Town North dojo. (Photo courtesy of Richard Romero)

By Margaret Townsend

Alexandria, VA – Seichou Karate at 807 North Royal Street has been a part of Old Town North since 2004. But owner Richard Romero began studying karate as a child while growing up in New York City.

Fast forward a decade, and he managed to continue his karate studies through his collegiate studies. Upon receiving a Bachelor of the Arts from Columbia University in 1984, then a Juris Doctor degree from Cardozo Law School in 1987, Romero was primed for his next step.

In 1988-1989, he completed the full-year Asian Language Concentration (FALCON) program at Cornell University, which propelled him into his karate career. “It was fabulous,” Romero says of the FALCON program. “That’s where I got my foundation in the Japanese language and prepared me to dramatically improve my Japanese when I moved to Japan in 1989.”

Romero lived in Japan for five years, where he taught English and furthered his karate practice.

When Romero returned to the U.S., he took what he had learned as a teacher and a student to shape the philosophy of his Old Town North dojo, Seichou Karate. Romero opened his dojo in 2004, wanting to offer a tranquil space dedicated to the teaching of karate and traditional Japanese studies like calligraphy. He has since built a loyal following of students.

That loyalty proved true in 2020 when Seichou Karate had to close its doors and open its computer screen. Romero applied his well-rounded teaching style to the pandemic era. For nine months, the dojo offered online classes in karate and calligraphy.

The classroom inside Seichou Karate is used to teach calligraphy. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Today, the dojo is newly renovated and the doors are wide open to welcome all students, old and new. With the now-second-nature COVID-19 protocols in place, Seichou Karate has kept its students safe, maintaining health and safety standards inside the dojo while still offering its popular online option.

Whether online or in-person, Seichou Karate allows students to enjoy the wellness benefits of maintaining regular physical practice through karate and regular mental practice through calligraphy. It is the best of both worlds in one.

ICYMI: Alexandria’s Metropolitan School of the Arts

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