When you study traditional martial arts, you expect to learn about fighting and self-defense. And in most programs and schools, that's exactly what you get. One of the things I like about studying Uechi-ryu Karate is that you can get more out of it than just the self-defense.
Uechi-ryu allows for experiencing the culture of Okinawa. The history of the islands is fascinating and in the DC-area there are good opportunities to observe and take part in Okinawan and Japanese cultural events. Many teachers incorporate parts of the culture in their classes, especially those that have studied for extended periods of time in Okinawa. Many TMA schools make periodic trips to study and train in Okinawa and there are events in the US to check out.
There are many local events sponsored by the Japanese Embassy and by Okinawan organizations. One of the bigger ones here is the Shin Shun Kai Spring Celebration in Annandale, VA. My Uechi-ryu school participates yearly by performing karate and applying it in traditional and non-traditional ways in a 10-minute routine. It's a good way to enjoy and experience the culture and to entertain the crowd. Below is a recent performance video. Keep training and learning.