Seido Karate is a strict, traditional style of karate, into which its founder Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura has distilled the essence of what he has learned about the martial arts in over 45 years of study, practice and teaching.
Tadashi Nakamura established his own style of karate in New York City, on October 15, 1976. He took the name for his new style from the Chuyo ("The Middle Path"), his favorite work from his university days, and called it Seido - Sincere Way. The creed he took as the foundation for Seido Karate was simple:
Sincerity is the way of heaven.
To follow this sincerely
Is the way of mankind.
Seido Juku Karate is - in concept and in practice - based on a deep understanding of the spiritual aspect of karate, which is why Kaicho calls Seido Karate Ningen Karate or the Human Face of Karate.
In this new karate system, Kaicho Nakamura changed many of the traditional elements of karate, turning it into a martial art for everyone, not just the physically elite.
He began by incorporating meditation as a bigger part of the training. The Zen meditation that forms a crucial element of the study of the art, is however taught as a tool to attain harmony between the body, mind, and spirit and not as a religion. He also implemented important changes in the rules of kumite (sparring) which are designed to make students more comfortable with fighting. For example, safety gear became mandatory and students, who once fought from their first day as a white belt, were made to wait until green belt before being allowed into kumite. Similarly Kihon and Yakusoku Kumite were developed by him to offer specific exercises in the intricacies of free-fighting, such as distance (maai) and timing, thus enabling students to practice dealing with the fear and uncertainty in fighting.
Another unique aspect of Seido is the large number of women students. Their presence contributes to Seido's diversity, and benefits us all. Kaicho speaks with pride and admiration for the women (Senseis especially) who have helped blaze a trail for others to follow. He points out that women are taking their training to deeper levels today and that they provide encouragement and energy to all students by their excellent example.
Seido is unique in its family atmosphere. Kaicho has always maintained that dojo should be a haven for those who came to train, a second home where they can surround themselves with support and where they can explore the meaning of their karate.
Kaicho's goal is for Seido to be understood as the finest example of a true martial art, one that develops the entire person, not just the physical being.
Similarly, children's programs are numerous and flourishing throughout the Seido system. Three is a proverb that states that "It takes a village to educate a child." At Seido, children have that village. They are the seeds that will take root in Seido Karate's future. Indeed, if we have "beginner's mind," we are all children with much to learn. All this is made possible because Seido emphasizes not just physical prowess, but also "technique rather than strength, spirit rather than technique".
The Seido system relies on individual human connection as it continues to grow worldwide. It is this unique connection that creates a family atmosphere at Seido, wherever it may be. The motto "Love, respect, and obedience" encourages every Seido student to truly understand others, and in doing so, to truly understand him of herself.
What Kaicho has always hoped for in the activities of Seido Juku is a simple philosophy: "Live with a feeing of mutual respect, mutual love, yielding to each other, encouraging each other, and with feelings of obedience to each other." It is this philosophy that we all must strive to consistently carry with us into our everyday life and interaction with other people. The plum blossom that is the symbol of Seido Karate and is derived from the Nakamura family crest reminds us to carry "Love, Respect and Obedience" in our heart.