Dana Sheets

Maryland, USA

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Dana Sheets is a documentary filmmaker currently living in Silver Spring Maryland.  She has trained in Martial Arts for the past eleven years.  When she’s not working on a screenplay or playing with her cats, Dana is always on the lookout for opportunities to smile and to learn more about the many ways to find joy in life.

Dana has an intense passion for Uechi-ryu. She enjoys talking and working out with Uechi practitioners and practitioners of other styles in order to refine her technique. This love of dialogue led to her becoming the moderator of the Women’s Forum on George Mattson’s Website. Through this medium she hopes to encourage women in the practice of Uechi and all Martial Arts. Dana enjoys teaching classes that build upon the basics of Uechi. After Dana takes a seminar, she is always excited to work on and share what she has learned. She brings an intensity to her training that pushes those around her to excel.

Contact Me 

Personal Information  

Current occupation or profession

Documentary Filmmaker (Producer)

Marital Status


Hobbies, special interest or skills

Cooking, Martial Arts, Reading, Scriptwriting, Filmmaking, Puppets



Karate Information

Current Rank


Total years of study

7 1/2 years

Current Dojo

Washington Karate Academy

Current style

Shohei/Uechi Ryu

Dojo location

Washington, D.C.

Current Instructor

Robert A. Kaiser

Association affiliation

Okikukai/Shohei Ryu

Karate Training and Years attended

1991-1994 - Ball State University Judo Club 

2000-2003 - George Mattson’s Summer Camp of the Tiger, Crane, & Dragon 

1998-2003 - Mid-Atlantic Regional Workouts 

2002 - FAST Defense (Fear Adrenal Stress Training)– basics & ground training 

2002 - DC Self-Defense Society – Women’s Self Defense Seminar 

1999-2003 - James Thompson Technique Seminars 

1998, 2000 - Peggy Hess – Visiting Instructor Seminar 

2002 - Frank Gorman – Visiting Instructor Seminar 

2000, 2001 - Ken Nakamatsu – Visiting Instructor Seminar 

2002, 2003 - Raffi Derderian – Visiting Instructor Seminar (Filipino Martial Arts) 

Other martial arts or weapons
Lifelong owner of firearms and shooting enthusiast. 


Karate Promotions


Certificate Number

Date of Issue

Location of Promotion



April 10, 1999

Washington, D.C.

Nidan 2508 July 30, 2000 Washington, D.C.
Sandan TBA December 13, 2003 Washington, D.C.


Teaching Certifications

Certificate Number

Date of Issue

Location of Promotion



July 30, 2000

Washington, D.C.


Educational Background

College /University/ Vocational School : Ball State University (Undergrad) - BA Telecommunications, BA in French, Minor in Theatre

Post Graduate Work : American University, Washington, D.C., Master's of Arts - Film and Video Production.



At what age did you begin to study karate?  

I started studying martial arts when I was 17 and a freshman at college.  I joined the Judo Club at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.  I trained 3 times a week with the son of the Korean National Olympic Judo Team Coach for the next four years.

Why did you choose to study karate?

My experiences training judo, while fun, were completely sport and competition oriented. I began to search for a martial art that also offered life protection skills. I visited several schools near where I lived.

Was there a reason why you chose to study Uechi Ryu?

I had visited several martial arts schools near my home but all of them had overtones of paramilitary aspirations. Robert Kaiser’s school, the Washington Karate Academy, had a completely different atmosphere. There was a professionalism and collegiality to the school that I found very attractive. I was pleased to see that there were other high-ranking women at the school and that men and women were treated exactly the same. I also thought that Uechi-ryu offered extremely practical skills and fostered an excellent self-defense mindset. I watched two classes and signed up the next week. 

What does this tour to Okinawa mean to you?

The Women’s Friendship Tour represents an incredible opportunity to show the extent of the contribution that the women of Uechi-Ryu make to the greater community of Uechi-Ryu. The best thing about Uechi-Ryu is the wonderful people who train it. This tour will be an opportunity to meet women from around the world and to meet and train with men and women in Okinawa who share the love of this art.

How has your martial arts study affected or changed you life?

Martial Arts have given me two great gifts. The first is a complete understanding of the difference between a threat to my ego and a threat to my physical well-being. In most situations in everyday life, difficulties are not life and death. Having trained for a possible life and death situation I am able to hold center and be much more calm during stressful times at work, among friends and family, and in life. The second gift is the discovery of my best friend and life partner, Heather.

Women’s Friendship Tour association, inc. Marguerite Hess, 3576 N.E.Skyline Drive,  Jensen Beach, Florida 34957  Telephone: (772) 334- 7731 

e-mail: peggyhess@womenskaratetour.org OR dphess@bellsouth.net   

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