P.O. Box 348
7 January 2005
I hope that is letter finds you in the best of health and strong spirit.
With this letter I wish to convey my utmost thank you to you and all your students. At first I was skeptical, coming to a strange land and not knowing anybody. I was only going to spend one day in New Delhi, but with my striving to at least meet the people of Seido Karate India, that is the reason I extended my stay by 3 days. Although getting up early and also traveling distances, something that is not that common in Cape Town. What normally took me 3 minutes to get to the dojo, now took me more than an hour. That still did not stop me and with all the things being squeezed in between Karate times, it was manageable.
I had thoughts about my first day at karate, in India. I was thinking that these people would be stuck up and they wouldn't get very nicely. But indeed it proved to be a visit well worth. The first time I spoke to Senpai Nagender over the telephone I was already having good memories of this place and you openly welcomed me to your dojo.
Then it was getting to the dojo and realizing that there was a completely
new home. When I first pitched up, one of the Senpai's had already seen my
Karate Suit handing in the car and was standing at the gate. Although he
didn't know much English he welcomed me in and I experienced the warmness of Seido Karate.
Then Senpai came in and spoke to me, your warm invitation to let me train in the class and even assist in the junior class. My first class at the dojo was a real shock for me because I wasn't aware that I would be in actual fact teaching the class. So I did and they all followed me willingly.
During the fighting bouts it was really nice to take part in this class because it was a very vibrant environment.
Taking the class that was given by Senpai was really enjoyable. For me, having not yet trained for quite a while after having left Cape Town, it was something that I needed. After the class having spoken to the very vivacious Russian persona and speaking to her it was nice to know that there were people like her.
After class I met the 3 junior black belts: Moses, [Aaron] and the girl! They really were active people that really inspired me and they weren't the type of people I expected, they were the exact opposite, being warm and friendly. So thank you, junior black belts.
I'm hoping to see more of Seido Karate India and hoping that when anyone comes dawn to Cape Town I'd be there to welcome him or her. Hoping to see you soon. Looking forward to hearing from you and hoping to see you for the tournament in 2008.
My stay was well worth.
Karate. The very name conjures up images of punches thrown at blinding speed, assailants blocked with a wall-like strength and kicks delivered with deadly accuracy. That of course is one part of karate. In the words of Grandmaster Tadashi Nakamura, founder of the World Seido Karate Organization, the essence of Karate-do is the training of body, mind and spirit to achieve the fullness of human potential.
Martial arts have their origins in the Shaolin Monastery in Central China. Here Bodhidharma, the Indian patriarch, taught martial art to monks to help defend themselves against bandits. From then on it developed into various forms of self-defense.
Karate which literally means 'an open hand' is one of the most effective of such methods where almost every part of the body can be used as a means of defending and attacking to protect oneself. Since the origins of karate are intimately intertwined with Zen philosophy, the training is such that it imparts holistic training in the physical mental and spiritual spheres.
A trained karate-ka is an unusual being. Physically strong, emotionally stable and mentally focused. Increased stamina, muscular strength and cardio- vascular fitness are a natural result of the physical training. A calm mind ready to face the myriad challenges that life offers and self-confidence with the ability to defend oneself follow easily as the training advances.
The World Seido Karate Organization holds classes through the week except Sundays in their Dojo at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Greater Kailash II. Started in 1985, where highly trained Black Belts with more than 10 years of experience hold morning and evening classes for men, women and children from ages 4-60. Anybody regardless of their age, profession or status can begin training in karate and in a short while see for themselves the tremendous benefits that come their way.
It is very good training for the young mind. Children as young as four years of age can start to train and will develop enhanced concentration and general physical ability. Apart from the direct physical well-being men will find it easier to face stress in their professional lives.
Women will find the training particularly useful. Physical fitness and weight loss is a direct consequence. In a short while they will begin to feel confident about defending themselves against physical harassment and attacks from assailants much stronger than themselves. A self-assured, independent and self-confident attitude would greatly enhance the quality of their lives.
The word "Seido" in Japanese means "the Sincere Way". "Sincerity is the way to heaven," says Kaicho Nakamura, "To follow this sincerely is the way of mankind." To me however, Seido is more than just a philosophy. It is a road to betterment. I started learning Seido at a point in time when I was plagued by self doubt and felt the urge to explore my own potential and the mysteries of life. The way of the martial artist had always fascinated me, and after a brief and uneventful stint with Taekwondo many years earlier, I thought of giving another try at the martial arts.
As luck would have it, I came across the Seido dojo close to where I live, and am happy to say that I have never regretted my decision. Seido has provided the answer to my restlessness. I remember when Sensei had asked me during first grading test at white belt, as to why I want to learn karate, I had answered, "To be a better person". Over six years from that date, I do not know whether my friends think that I have benefited, but I do know that Seido has held up a mirror to me. It has shown me my strengths and weaknesses and has enabled me to understand myself better. Thanks to Seido, I have started developing the ability to understand the motives for my own actions, in and out of the dojo.
I am beginning to understand now, what Kaicho means when he says that "the biggest enemy you have to face is not outside of you but inside you." Seido is making me realise that my own fears and perceptions limit the capabilities that I deliver. It has brought me on the road to better mental equanimity.
Seido also means to me, a way to good health and an active and energetic lifestyle. The sense of satisfaction that I get after a good workout in the dojo has no parallel elsewhere.
Seido means also, a way of life that is self respecting but not egoistic, powerful yet gentle, confident but not arrogant.
Indeed it would be futile to attempt to list all that Seido has to offer. To put it succinctly, Seido means the world to me. It is the best time of my day, spent in the company of people I trust and learn from. I know that I have only started my journey and am yet to fully implement all that Seido has to teach, but the road is clear. And I am confident that I am on the right track.
Senior Brown Belt
I became a student of karate quite late, in my late thirties. Prior to this I had no exposure to martial arts whatsoever and so, when I came to enroll my daughter into a karate class in our neighborhood and decided to also give it a try, I had no idea what this "karate thing" is going to be about. From the very first day I simply fell in love with karate and the joy it gives me has not diminished an ounce with time but became even stronger.
I must say that I have been very fortunate to come across Seido style and this particular dojo, where I feel so harmonious, without actually "shopping around". I am grateful to our instructors for their care and support and for creating a homely atmosphere in the dojo. I also deeply appreciate the fact that Seido Karate is "karate for all" and not only for the young and strong. Very early in my training I was lucky to read Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura's book Karate - Technique and Spirit which gave a new dimension to my learning. It introduced me to the subtle Zen philosophy underlying karatedo to which I found a close affinity.
I feel that karate harmoniously takes care of a person's development on every conceivable level, provided that the person enjoys and is sincere about his practice.
I my case, I have acquired the level of physical fitness I had never had before in my life (but always dreamt to have). The physical aspect of training brought me a sense of well-being, vigor and confidence which virtually shattered the self-imposed boundaries of my understanding of what I can or cannot do.
At the same time, I came to realization that the physical aspect of training can only be perfected through the inner work of the student on Self development because behind the swift, graceful and powerful movements of karate lie the calm mind and the strong spirit.
Karate is teaching me many valuable lessons. At this point of my life I am learning to face my fears, to push my body beyond "I can't", to accept difficulties as a challenge and to be aware of each single moment and to do things from this state of awareness. One of the greatest understandings which I have reached through my karate practice is that "the student really becomes his own teacher" - you practice till the technique becomes a part of you; you realize knowledge when you experience it. Hence I find that every moment in and outside the dojo becomes the opportunity for me to practice.
I have no regrets for my late coming to karate, I also do not know where it will take me. I am just enjoying the process of unfoldment and feel grateful for this. So, every day during the short meditation before and after class I always say silently: "Thank you for the opportunity to practice".