What is Seido?Seido Karate is a traditional Japanese style of karate, formed in 1976 by Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, and headquartered in New York City. The word Seido means the Sincere Way. The three fundamental principles are: respect, love, and obedience. The training is strenuous, spirited, and safe emphasizing a progressive development of strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity no matter the starting level of participants. In this way Seido karate develops strong, healthy karate-ka (karate practioners) with the highest level of physical skills and appropriate fitness levels to match. Seido karate-ka follow a strict etiquette and ritual courtesy regardless of rank creating an environment of respect for each other, the dojo itself, family, and everyone they may encounter.
In Seido karate students come from all walks of life, young and old, parents and children, novice and experienced, athletes and those who will become. All that is needed is the spirit to begin, practice and continue for there is no definitive end in Seido karate practice.
Seido Founder Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura says", Technique over strength and spirit over technique." Seido karate encourages students to grow through their commitment and spirit of training. Each student can expect to gain physical conditioning but perhaps more importantly, confidence, discipline, concentration, 'non-quitting spirit' and strong self defense skills through sincere practice.
A second and inseparable part of Seido karate training is meditation inspired by the Zen meditation practice of the samurai and their bushido "warrior spirit." The combination of sincere physical practice, and meditation gives Seido Karate an element lacking in many modern martial arts. However, this "do," or way, harkens back to the origins of martial practice.
The World Seido Karate Organization Honbu (headquarters) is in New York City, and has branches all over the United States and Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, England, South America, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, and others. (www.seido.com) Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura continues to instruct at Honbu. Together with his named successor and son, Nidaime Akira Nakamura, he oversees the World Seido Karate Organization, testing of all senior black belts from around the world, and ensuring the syllabus instruction within branch dojos.
About Seido InstructionAt first glance karate training appears to be an individual pursuit. However, Seido karate encourages its students not to retreat to some hidden place and practice their technique, but to train and share skills and energy with others thereby creating a stronger dojo community. The Seido karate curriculum is divided into manageable requirements for each rank, steadily building a healthy body, present mind, and 'non-quitting spirit,' three pillars of training.
Seido karate encourages renma –the constant polishing of all learned material, especially old material. Instructors ask students to present for promotion in rank when the instructor decides the student is prepared for new challenges and has an adequate understanding of rank material. There is no open testing where students present for testing when they think they are ready. Testing is done by invitation from the instructors only.
Repetition of kihon-basic technique is paramount to karate training. This is how technique is refined, developed, and 'non-quitting' is developed. Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura noted in a lecture at Honbu in 2006: Nigiri San Nen, Tachi San Nen, Tsuki San Nen," Everything basic and connected, that is the essence of karate. Nigiri-learn to stand takes 3 years, Tachi-move in stance 3 years, Tsuki-technique 3 years. 9 years to master basics."
Generally it takes 5 or more years of steady practice for a student to be asked to test for Shodan, 1st degree black belt. After achieving black belt, students are challenged in the spirit of Seido karate to 'give back' to the community through teaching, assisting and mentoring. Furthermore 1st degree black belt is not the end but the beginning. Shodan means beginner senior level. Black belts, like all students, try to foster shoshin-beginners mind as they train. Seido karate has a rich, challenging syllabus beyond 1st degree black belt rank.
Students with previous martial arts experience should, in the tradition of respect and consideration, speak with Senpai Joshua when joining. Furthermore, experienced martial artists are asked to train with shoshin-beginner's mind. While everyone starts at White Belt those with previous experience will progress through the junior kyu-ranks more quickly.