International Shotokan Karate Federation Santa Monica

Train with purpose. Empower yourself. Train with us. With photo of this card: Free Intro lesson plus 50% off 2nd month

Welcome to ISKF Santa Monica

We are a fully-accredited traditional martial arts dojo, teaching Shotokan karate to men, women and children for over 35 years under Sensei James Field, an 8th-degree black belt.

Karate is a weaponless system of self-defense, which is also an excellent all-around fitness regimen, exercising 90% of the body’s muscles in a combination of aerobic and anaerobic workouts. It also develops mental concentration and strong spirit. The ultimate goal: development of character.

Why choose us? Compare these features to other schools:

Worldwide Affiliation

Travel? Move often? The ISKF (International Shotokan Karate Federation), one of the most-respected Shotokan karate organizations in the world, is found in over 40 countries and throughout the United States. Training and testing are standardized. Ranks earned in the ISKF are recognized throughout the worldwide organization. Books and videos are available to help supplement practice. (We are the U.S. Southwest regional headquarters of the ISKF.)

Quality Instruction

Mr. James Field is one of the top-ranked instructors in the world. An eighth degree black belt—within the ISKF, he is one of only four men with this rank in North, South, and Central America. He is an officer within the ISKF, the Co-Vice Chairman of the ISKF Technical Committee and Director of the ISKF US Southwest region. A certified instructor, Mr. Field is one of the first American graduates of the rigorous instructor training program. He has trained champions and has himself been a national and international champion many times.

Unlike other schools, most classes are taught by the chief instructor. No class is ever taught by anyone under the rank of Shodan.

Amount of Classes

We hold morning and evening classes for adults, and afternoon classes for children, 6 to 7 days a week. Training is unlimited—that is, you may participate in as many general classes as you wish. Facility includes showers. Student and family discounts are available.

Special Trainings

Special seminars, intensive training camps and special interest classes are available to members periodically throughout the year, as well as a national newsletter.

There are no contracts to sign.

Schedule of Events 2020

Silhouette of figure performing Kanku Dai kata at sunset

1 Wednesday
New Year’s Day
ISKF Santa Monica closed

6 – 11 Monday – Saturday
Kangeiko (Winter Training) 2020
6 – 7 a.m. Monday – Friday,
6 – 8 a.m. Saturday, ISKF Santa Monica.
Hawaiian breakfast following Saturday class at 9 a.m. Register
No 11 a.m. or children’s class on Saturday.

19 Sunday
Instructor Training Class
10 – 11:30 a.m., ISKF Santa Monica
Tuition: $25

20 Monday
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
No ISKF Santa Monica children’s classes


9 Sunday
Advanced Kata Class
Brown and black belts only
10 – 11:30 a.m., ISKF Santa Monica
Tuition: $15

16 Sunday
Instructor Training Class
10 – 11:30 a.m., ISKF Santa Monica
Tuition: $25

17 Monday
Presidents’ Day
No ISKF Santa Monica children’s classes

22 Saturday
ISKF Southwest Youth Tournament
3 p.m., Sun Valley Dojo
No ISKF Santa Monica children’s classes


1 Sunday
Kyu/Dan Exam
1 p.m., ISKF Santa Monica

15 Sunday
Instructor Training Class
10 – 11:30 a.m., ISKF Santa Monica
Tuition: $25

22 Sunday
Advanced Kata Class
Brown and black belts only
10 – 11:30 a.m., ISKF Santa Monica
Tuition: $15


James Field and Mohammad Rafifar

Karate is the art of unarmed self-defense. Karate-do is a Japanese phrase meaning kara—empty, te—hand, do—way, or the way of the empty hand.

Karate is a centuries old martial art, formally introduced in Japan by Master Gichin Funakoshi. Since the 1950s, karate has been practiced throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Karate is an excellent exercise, utilizing 90% of the body muscles. The mental aspects are as important as the physical. The main objective of karate training is development of character, although karate is also a practical and effective self-defense system.


Men and women of all ages can learn the art of karate. Children can begin as young as 5 years old. Training at ISKF Santa Monica dojo is highlighted by personal, individualized instruction in small class settings. Equal emphasis is placed on the mastery of basics (kihon), form (kata), sparring (kumite) and self-defense techniques. Instruction is safe, professional and easy to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shotokan karate?

Our school follows the traditional Shotokan style. Shotokan karate is one of the most widely practiced forms on the world today, and one of the most traditional. Introduced to Japan from Okinawa by Master Gichin Funakoshi, Shotokan puts heavy focus on kihon (basic techniques), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring) to develop a range of powerful and dynamic techniques. The designation “Shotokan” derives from “Shoto,” which was the pen name of Master Funakoshi used when writing poetry.

What is the ISKF?

The International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) is one of the largest and most prestigious karate organizations found in over 40 countries. A non-profit organization established in 1977, the ISKF encourages the sound development of its members so that they may benefit physically, morally, and spiritually from the art of karate. Our goal is the promulgation of true Japanese karate-do as espoused by the founder, Gichin Funakoshi. We are dedicated to upholding the principles of Master Funkoshi’s Niju Kun and Dojo Kun: seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor, respect others, refrain from violent behavior.

ISKF Website

Shoto Niju Kun

(20 Golden Lessons of Shotokan)

  1. Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy.
  2. In karate, never attack first.
  3. One who practices karate must follow the way of justice.
  4. Know yourself first, and then you can know others.
  5. Spiritual development is paramount; technical skills are merely means to an end.
  6. Always be ready to release your mind.
  7. Trouble comes from negligence.
  8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.
  9. Karate is a lifelong training; there is no limit.
  10. Put your everyday living into karate and you will find the ideal state of existence.
  11. Karate is like hot water. If you do not give it constant heat, it becomes cold again.
  12. Do not think that you have to win. Think, rather, that you do not have to lose.
  13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
  14. The battle is according to how you move guarded and unguarded. Move according to your opponent.
  15. Think of the hands and feet as sharp swords.
  16. When you leave home, think that millions of opponents are waiting for you.
  17. Beginners must master low stance and posture; natural stance and posture for advanced.
  18. Practicing a kata is one thing, and engaging in a real fight is another.
  19. Do not forget: 1) strength and weakness of power, 2) stretching and contraction of the body, and 3) slowness and speed of techniques. Apply these correctly.
  20. Devise at all times.

道場訓 Dojo Kun

(Five Precepts of Karate-do)

Hitotsu! Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto.
Shtots! Jeenkaku kansay nee / sto muru koto.
To strive for the perfection of character. (Translation)
Seek perfection of character. (English version)

Hitotsu! Makoto no michi o mamoru koto.
Shtots! Mahkoto no meechee o / mahmoru koto.

To protect/defend the paths of truth.
Be faithful.

Hitotsu! Doryoku no seichin o yashinau koto.
Shtots! Do ryooku no saysheen o / yashinow koto.

To foster the spirt of excellence.
Endeavor to excel.

Hitotsu! Reigi o omonzuru koto.
Shtots! Ray gi o / omonzuru koto.

To honor the principles of etiquette.
Respect others.

Hitotsu! Kekki no yu o imashimuru koto.
Shtots! Keh’ key no you o / imashimuru koto.

To guard against impetuous behavior.
Refrain from violent behavior.

What is the ISKF’s philosophy of karate?

Karate is not a sport or a game of points; it is a way of life based on Bushido. In true karate, the body, mind and spirit—the whole person—must be developed simultaneously. Through intense practice, the physical and mental aspects of karate can be brought together. The result is natural, effortless action, and the confidence, humility, openness and peace only possible through the core teaching of Zen, the basis of Bushido, and the cornerstone of the Shotokan karate philosophy.

Can anyone practice karate?

Yes! The only real requirement is a disciplined commitment to work hard and train patiently. As long as that commitment is there, karate is for everyone—regardless of age, sex, or ethnic background.

Do I need to be in excellent physical shape to start karate?

Not really. Since karate will gradually improve your fitness, your starting point is less important than the effort you put into it along the way. Our traditional focus on the basics and on the correct form make it easy for beginners to train together with experienced individuals yet still progress at their own level of fitness and expertise. If you are less fit, your progress at the start will simply be more moderate; as your fitness improves, so will the pace at which you advance.

What is expected of me if I join?

Four things. You are expected to be committed to your karate training, and to attend classes on a regular basis. You are expected to give your karate training your maximum effort, and to work hard during practice. You are expected to demonstrate the respect, humility and courtesy upon which karate’s long-standing tradition is founded. And of course, you are expected to pay your membership dues and other fees.

What will training involve?

A typical karate practice session usually begins with a comprehensive warm-up, followed by the various training exercises. The exercises are divided up into three main categories: kihon (basic techniques), in which you learn the basic blocks, punches, kicks, stances, etc. of karate; kata (forms), in which you practice and physically remember the various kihon learned; and kumite (sparring), where your kihon and kata techniques are matched against a real opponent. As your skill level increases, so will the difficulty of the exercises. Of course, there will be times when you are taught theory, dojo etiquette and the more philosophical aspects of karate.

What are the benefits of karate training?

Karate has tremendous benefits for body, mind and spirit. Physically, karate is good for the heart, strengthens bones, builds muscle, creates resilience, develops hand-eye coordination, and makes the body less susceptible to sickness and injury. Mentally, karate helps develop patience, discipline and perseverance, understanding and open-mindedness, as well as concentration and focus. Spiritually, karate builds confidence, develops self-control and increases calmness and peace.

How long does it take to learn karate?

It’s really up to you. The more you practice, the more you will improve for your entire life. There is no limit to mastering karate, no “final destination” at which you can arrive. There are benchmarks along the way, however. In the ISKF, you progress through a series of belt levels (9th to 1st Kyu). After that, you receive a black belt, and progress through another 9 degrees of black belt (1st to 10th Dan). A student with no prior training joins the ISKF as 9th Kyu, and is eligible to take ranking examinations every 3–4 months of training. Since there are 9 examinations you must pass to attain a 1st level black belt, the 1st Dan requires a minimum of three years of diligent training. It takes several years to attain each subsequent Dan. At these higher levels, you will see that karate is not just something to be learned, but something to be lived. And that takes a lifetime.

Do I have to wear a karate uniform?

Eventually, yes. To begin, you may wear something you can stretch in, such as a T-shirt and stretch pants. Uniforms (dogi) are available at the dojo.

How do I become a member of the ISKF?

Joining the ISKF requires filling out an application form and paying the appropriate fees. The ISKF offers two kinds of membership: Group Membership, for those wishing to affiliate their dojo or karate group, and Individual Membership, for people interested in joining the ISKF as an individual.

When can I start?

Start at any time that is convenient for you. Training is ongoing.

ISKF Santa Monica Dojo

James Field and Mohammad Rafifar

Founded in 1973, this traditional school is fully accredited and registered with the International Shotokan Karate Federation, for which it is the Southwest Regional headquarters. It attracts visitors worldwide.

ISKF Santa Monica has produced numerous champions at local, national and international tournaments. Our competition team continues the dojo’s winning tradition.

Membership entitles one to:

  • Daily class training
  • Unlimited attendance of regular classes
  • Orientation seminar
  • Optional participation in
    • Regional karate camps
    • ISKF Master Camp
    • Regional and national tournaments
    • Regularly scheduled training seminars
  • ISKF exams and gradings
  • Subscription to local and national newsletters
  • Instructor training program (ni-dan level)

There are no contracts to sign.

Special Classes

Advanced and special training is offered throughout the year.

Semimonthly Sundays, from 10:30 a.m. – noon, there is a special kata class for brown and black belts. There is a nominal fee for enrollment. Advanced level kata are introduced and the basic 15 kata are reviewed for the advanced student.

In addition, there are special team trainings periodically scheduled, early morning classes, as well as winter and spring training, and classes by special guest instructors. Times are subject to change.

Children’s Classes

For children from 5–12 years of age, the dojo provides special training in basics, form and one-step sparring.


Facilities include punching and kicking equipment, stretching barre, showers and mirrors.

Class Schedules & Fees

Class schedules and fees are available on the Schedules & Fees section.

The Chief Instructor

Sensei James Field

James Field is an eighth-degree black belt registered with the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). Sensei Field was one of the first four Americans certified as an instructor. He is also a highly-ranked examiner and judge within the ISKF. He has been teaching karate locally, nationally and internationally since 1968.

Sensei Field is also an internationally famous competitor. He was captain of the US International Karate Team, many time National Collegiate Champion, two-time National Grand Champion, two-time Pan American Champion, US Representative to the Olympic Games in Mexico and medalist in the 1976 World Tournament. He was also assistant coach of the US team for the 1983, 1992, 1993 and 1994 All Japan Tournaments in Tokyo.

Mr. Field is a strict disciplinarian, and insists on Japanese etiquette, but his warmth for his students is ever present.

ISKF Santa Monica Juniors

Children in gis sit in a line on the dojo floor

Children and Karate

Karate training is a unique fitness program which teaches children to focus their mental and physical energies in productive and non-violent ways. The most obvious benefits of karate training for children are physical development, coordination training, and good health. There are also additional psychological and emotional benefits, which are not immediately apparent. Often-mentioned results of karate training are greater focus, higher self-esteem, increased self-discipline, calmness, and a more positive attitude toward life — besides, of course, knowledge of self-defense. However, the main focus of karate training is perfection of character.

Karate has many aspects — mental, spiritual and physical. It is both an art and a sport. Whether your child wants to pursue karate in the competitive arena of tournaments, for self-defense, for the art, or for the exercise and mental gratification it brings, ISKF Santa Monica promises to deliver personalized attention and maximum focus towards fulfilling your child’s goals.


Karate-do is a martial art with the ultimate aim of the development of character through training. It is an empty-handed art of self-defense, in which the body itself is used as a weapon through techniques of punching, kicking, striking and blocking.Of primary importance in the study of karate are form, balance, “centered-ness,” power, speed, kime (explosive concentration of power), rhythm and timing. The quality to accomplish this is self-control. To become a victor, one must first overcome one’s self.

The Dojo

The International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) Santa Monica was established in 1974 under chief instructor James Field, certified instructor and eighth-degree black belt. This dojo (school) is also the Southwest Regional Headquarters for the ISKF. Ranks achieved at the ISKF Santa Monica dojo are recognized worldwide.

The Organization

ISKF Santa Monica Juniors and ISKF Santa Monica are part of the International Shotokan Karate Federation headquartered in Philadelphia. The ISKF is one of the largest and most-respected karate organizations in the world. Ranks and teachings are standardized to enable the student to practice at any ISKF dojo in the world.

Enrollment/Emergency Cards

It is very important that we have current information on your child, in the event of an emergency. Please notify us of any changes during the year.

Dress Code

For the first week, new students may wear loose clothing that they can stretch in, such as a T-shirt and sweat pants, After that, they are expected to dress in a traditional white gi (karate uniform). No shoes are allowed.

Holidays and Special Events

Classes continue throughout the year. Occasional single holidays are also observed throughout the year, without tuition adjustment. Participation in youth tournaments is offered, as well as special parties, camps and training sessions. Exams are given every 3 months.


Parents and visitors are welcome to visit at all times. Please remain off the floor and be as quiet as possible.

Class Schedules & Fees

Class schedules and fees are available on the Schedules & Fees section.

Schedules & Fees

Group of students performing kicking techniques

Adult Class Schedule

All levels:
Monday – Friday, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Monday and Wednesday, 6 – 7 p.m.
Friday, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Monday and Wednesday, 7 – 8:15 p.m.
Introduction to Karate Beginners Course:
Tuesday and Thursday, 7:15 – 8:15 p.m.

Many other classes for both beginning and advanced students are offered regularly, but with times subject to change.

Children’s Class Schedule

4 – 4:50 p.m.
5 – 5:50 p.m.

4 – 4:50 p.m.
5 – 5:50 p.m.

4 – 4:50 p.m.
5 – 5:50 p.m.

All Levels:
5:30 – 6:20 p.m.

1 – 1:50 p.m.

Adult Class Fees

  Monthly 3 Months
Adults $165 $465
Students $155 $435
Family Rates
1st $165 $465
Additional $135 $375

Per class: $35, ISKF members; $40, non-ISKF members

Private lesson with chief instructor:
Contact for pricing

Private lesson with assistant instructor:
Contact for pricing

Annual ISKF membership: $50

Kyu Exams (includes belt and certificate): $45
Dan Exams (includes belt): Contact for pricing

Advanced kata classes (supplementary): $15/class

Children’s (under 12) Class Fees

  Once a week Twice a week Unlimited
Per Month
1st Child $125 $140 $155
Additional $105 $115 $130
Per 3 Months
1st Child $345 $390 $435
Additional $285 $315 $360

We recommend that students practice as frequently as possible.

Annual ISKF membership: $50

Payment policy: No refunds are given. Tuition is due on the first of the month. There is a $10 late fee for dues paid after the 7th of the month. Make checks payable to ISKF Santa Monica.

ISKF Southwest Region Clubs and Instructors

Students in class performing step-in punches

ISKF Santa Monica
ISKF Southwest Regional Headquarters

James Field
(310) 395-8545
1218 5th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

ISKF Santa Monica Juniors
(310) 395-8545
1218 5th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

Central Valley Shotokan—Corcoran
Art Perez
(559) 992-5171
Corcoran Family YMCA
900 Dairy Ave., PO Box 176, Corcoran, CA 93212

Central Valley Shotokan—Fresno
Mark Vargas
(559) 349-6655

Hollywood Karate-do Dojo
Yuki Otaka
Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute
3929 Middlebury St., Los Angeles., CA 90004

ISKF Los Angeles
Linda Mikell
9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90047

ISKF San Diego
Michael Cornel
(619) 855-5605
6060 San Miguel Rd., Bonita, CA 91902

Ken Shin Kan Dojo, aka: Shotokan Conejo Valley—
Shotokan of Newbury Park
Mike Szydlowski
(805) 509-4709
Borchard Community Center
190 Reino Rd., Newbury Park, CA 91320
Thousand Oaks Dojo
Gil Goldberg
Thousand Oaks Community Center
2525 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Shotokan Karate of Long Beach
Tony C. Silva
Bixby Park
130 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

Sun Valley Karate-do Dojo
Yuki Otaka / Peter Ngoon
(818) 346-8483
Valley Japanese Community Center
8850 Lankershim Blvd., Sun Valley, CA 91352

Venice Karate Club
Kei Fukuda
(310) 822-8885
Venice Japanese Community Center
12448 N. Braddock, Los Angeles, CA 90066


International Shotokan Karate Federation Santa Monica
ISKF Southwest Regional Headquarters

1218 5th Street
(between Wilshire & Arizona)
Santa Monica, CA, 90401

Metered street parking is available or you can park in the city parking structures on 4th Street (90 minutes free, no validation required).

(310) 395-8545