Seichou Karate | Our History
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Our History

Established in 1971

Seichou Karate® History

Seichou Karate® Dojo founder Richard Romero began studying Kyokushinkai-kan Karate in January 1971 under renowned master Shigeru Oyama in Hartsdale, New York. He received his black belt from Kyokushin founder Masutatsu Oyama on November 24, 1974. Romero was a point system champion in the 1970s and a knock-down tournament champion in the 1980s. He taught karate in New York City at the World Oyama Karate headquarters from 1980 to 1986. During that time, Romero represented the U.S. in Tokyo at the Kyokushinkai-kan World Championships (1984), and he demonstrated karate with Soshu Shigeru Oyama in the U.S. and Europe.

In June 1988 Romero entered Cornell University’s Full-year Asian Language Concentration Program in Japanese (“FALCON”). He graduated from FALCON in June 1989 and moved to Japan to work in public education in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (“JET”).

From 1990 to 1992 Romero taught karate in Nagoya, Japan at the request of Soshu Oyama. In 1993 Romero was a guest lecturer on martial arts at the Tokyo Institute of Foreign Language Studies.

In 1997 Romero founded Seichou Karate® in Alexandria, Virginia to help students learn powerful self-defense, achieve a high level of physical conditioning, mental focus and a balanced attitude that would help them achieve success in their everyday lives. The Dojo firmly took root and thrived.

In 2008 Romero opened a 2,100 square foot state-of-the-art facility at 807 North Royal Street in Alexandria. According to our students, Seichou Dojo is beautiful, serene and conducive to serious martial arts study. The Training Hall is located on the first floor and has a 1,000 square foot unobstructed training mat with a sprung floor, 50-foot mirror, heavy bags, impact pads and crash mats. Also on the first floor are the dressing rooms that are equipped with showers and lockers. On the second floor we have a classroom for cultural arts classes including Japanese language, calligraphy, abacus and flower arranging.

In recognition of his tireless efforts to promote traditional Japanese martial arts and culture, on December 1, 2012 the Seichou Karate® Advisory Committee promoted Romero from “sensei” to the rank of “shihan.”

Shihan (師範) is a Japanese term, often used in Japanese martial arts as an honorific title for expert or senior instructors. The term is frequently used interchangeably with English terms such as ``master instructor``.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the readers of the Washington City Paper voted Seichou Karate Dojo “Best Martial Arts Classes” in DC.

2016 was bittersweet at Seichou Karate® Dojo because Romero’s instructor, Soshu Oyama passed away in February. However, after paying respects to Soshu, we finished the year strongly by opening a second location in the Hollin Hall neighborhood of Fairfax County, Virginia.

Seichou Karate® Dojo started very strongly with the publication of “121 Thoughts on My Life in Karatedo,” by Soshu Oyama as told to Shihan Romero. The book describes how Oyama’s experiences growing up in the rubble of post WWII Tokyo motivated him to become one of the most inspiring martial arts masters of the last 100 years, and sets out his philosophy on karatedo and his hopes for the future of traditional martial arts. “121 Thoughts on My Life in Karatedo” is available at

Romero and his team of talented instructors are committed to offering the finest Japanese martial and cultural arts instruction for holistic personal growth. Visit us today to learn how you can achieve ambitious goals through our powerful programs.