Beginning in September 1998, dues for the
1999 year will be collected by dojo instructors and forwarded along with
an individual information sheet. Each individual will then receive a membership
card. The card serves as proof of membership in Seidokan and entitles the
card holder to following benefits:
||Seidokan Aikido is now in its 18th year.
This article exams the lineage of Seidokan Aikido. Like all modern schools
of Aikido, Seidokan traces its roots to the creative genius of Morihei
Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido and known as O-sensei (great teacher). O-sensei
was a man of great intensity, who fervently pursued two disciplines: the
martial way of life (Budo) and the spiritual life of a devoutly religious
individual. Through arduous training, he became proficient in many of the
martial arts of his day, especially focusing on Daito Ryu Jujitsu. However,
he became aware that his pursuit of Budo was in conflict with his spiritual
and religious pursuit of universal peace, love, and harmony. He attempted
to resolve this conflict by intensifying his studies and meditations. As
a result of his intensive study, he experienced a spiritual enlightenment
in which he felt himself become one with nature, with the universe itself.
From his experience, he declared that true budo was based on Banyo Aigo
no Seishin, the spirit of loving protection for all things, and that the
goal of the Budoka was Masa Katsu Agatsu, true victory through victory
Having experienced this enlightened vision, O-sensei resolved to develop a discipline that in essence joined the principles of harmony, love, and peace with the application of Budo. The violent, deadly, and crippling techniques he had learned were thus transformed into more humane movements in which the nage could exercise the sword to let live (Katsujin Ken) and show true compassion for the attacker. In the 1920ís and 1930ís, he referred to the new art as Aikibudo. In 1942, while Japan was engaged in a violent world conflict, O-sensei elected to have the official name of the art changed to Aikido, the way of harmony with nature. The dropping of the "bu" at that time may be interpreted as a further distancing of the new art from the violence associated with traditional martial arts.
Although O-sensei began his quest toward
the perfection of Aikido in the 1920ís, he admitted that the art was constantly
developing and changing. In a 1950ís newsletter, he was quoted as telling
his students that he had created over 3,000 arts, but these were but empty
shells. He encouraged his students to continue to develop themselves in
the spirit of constant progress. His simple guidelines for Aikido training
were to train the mind, body, and ki that unifies them to harmonize with
the activities of the universe. These three aspects of training were to
be combined rather than focused on separately.
After O-senseiís death in 1969, differences in philosophy led to a splintering of Aikido into many different schools. Tohei Sensei formed the Ki Society and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (Aikido with mind and body coordinated) in an effort to pursue the teaching of principles. His school of Aikido continues in Japan and across the world under his tutelage. It is out of this training tradition that Seidokan Aikido grew. The founder of Seidokan Aikido, Rod Kobayashi Sensei, was for a time the Chief Instructor of the Western United States for Ki Society and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. Kobayashi Senseiís unique cross-cultural experiences and devotion to unifying the principles, arts, and training methods of Aikido within the spirit of constant progress served as the foundation for the establishment of Seidokan Aikido. Although an American, born in Hawaii, Rod Kobayashi spent his youth in wartime Japan under the guidance of his grandfather, a Buddhist priest. He returned to America as a teenager, completing his education and then serving in the armed forces. His interest in Aikido was first fostered by his father, who was instrumental in bringing Tohei Sensei to America in 1953. In 1957, Kobayashi Sensei began training in Aikido, studying under several skilled instructors. He was especially impressed with Tohei Sensei and trained whenever possible under him.
The year 1968 was a pivotal one for Kobayashi Sensei. First, he made the important decision to turn professional and devote his life and career to Aikido. He spent much of that year training in Japan, and as a Yondan was one of two American born individuals certified to teach at the Japanese Headquarters Dojo. During that year he witnessed firsthand the art of O-sensei. When O-sensei bowed low to him and thanked him for spreading Aikido in America, he realized the path of humbleness that the master truly embraced. Interestingly, the foundation for many of the changes in the Aikido arts that he would later develop occurred because of an injury he experienced during training that year. He found that with his injured shoulder, he could not raise his arm very high during practice. Rather than hinder his practice of arts such as kokyunage, he found that the techniques tended to work better when he used a smaller circle. This experience served the germ for developing the present day kokyunage and enkei nage found in Seidokan Aikido. These arts exemplify how Aikido can be used to calm the situation down through use of minimal force. Their virtues include reduced likelihood of injury to the attacker, greater efficiency so that little physical strength is required, and greater speed of execution so that they may be applied in realistic attack situations.
In 1970, Kobayashi Sensei established the
Aikido Institute of America, partly as a response to the position aired
by some Aikido instructors that no one could become an instructor without
training in Japan. He felt that if Aikido was to grow in America, then
instructors would have to be trained in America. Indeed, through the Aikido
Institute of America, he began to implement his philosophy that even the
beginner should be trained to share with others, to be an instructor in
a sense. The kyu and dan exams in Seidokan Aikido reflect this philosophy.
Rather than simply have the Aikidoka run through several prescribed arts,
there are phases in the tests in which one must demonstrate an understanding
of the philosophy underlying the art and how the principles are manifest
in the arts and in daily life. This practice is in accordance with balanced
training of mind, body, and ki described by O-Sensei.
By 1981, he decided that the best path for his pursuit of the deep principles of Aikido was the establishment of Seidokan Aikido. He chose the character Sei (also pronounced Makoto) as the foundation of his new school because of its very deep meaning. O-sensei had described his Makoto-oba doka as containing the secret to all budo. The character Sei or Makoto is made up from the combination of two kanji, one meaning to speak and the other meaning to come true. Thus, sei means to put the principles into action, to be sincere, earnest, and realistic. At the heart of Seidokan Aikido is the idea that students and instructors alike train to understand the principles of Aikido and manifest them in their daily life. In Seidokan Aikido, everyone is encouraged to share with others and seek new ways to make the principles of Aikido a part of their lives. The balanced training of mind, body and ki is manifest in well rounded training practices. These include studying 1) what the foundational principles of Aikido are, 2) how the principles are manifest in the arts of Aikido, and 3) how the principles are manifest in our everyday lives. As part of our balanced training, we emphasize the Aiki Taiso, as refined by Kobayashi Sensei, and their relationship to principles and arts. We develop our center through meditation and breathing exercises and help others through the aiki ryoho (or Aiki therapy). Our training is tempered by the idea that the art must be at the same time realistic and true to the principle of harmony.
Seidokan Aikido owes a great debt of gratitude
to its founder, Rod Kobayashi Sensei, as well as his teacher, Koichi Tohei
Sensei, and the founder of Aikido, O-sensei. Those of us who make up the
Seidokan family must continue along the path these teachers have shown
us. In his booklet, Poems of Morihei Ueshiba, Kobayashi Sensei points out
a poem of O-senseiís telling the student to firmly follow one path. It
translates, "What good is it to study all kinds of sword arts? Make a firm
decision to follow only one path." Kobayashi Sensei points out the path
that we as Seidokan students are following extends back to O-sensei through
Tohei Sensei (illustrated above). It is up to each of us to continue to
seek the fundamental truth of the universe and continue the path toward
world peace that O-sensei started.
My name is George Ishii, I am 12 years old and Iíve been with Seidokan Aikido for 7 years. I went to my first Aikido Summer Camp at Cal State Long Beach, from June 12-14. I went to my first class on Friday, June 12. I had trouble finding where we would practice until I saw other people I knew from Aikido, so I just followed them.
I was surprised to see so many people at the Camp. It was good to be able to work with people from all over the country. The people were nice to me. I would like to thank Jerry Serrato and Feven Afewerki for showing me the cafeteria and Joe Crotty for lending me the weapons. I missed some classes because I was sick on Saturday, but the classes I went to were good because I learned new things. I enjoyed being able to work with the weapons. My favorite class was Richard Harnackís class on Sunday, June 14, because I learned new things with the Bokken.
I liked the camp, and I would go again if I had the chance.
Preparations for this yearís camp began with those whose lot in life is to organize assigning tasks to those of us who donít organize. Lists were made, timelines plotted, and calendars were marked. This was a bit overwhelming to us who donít keep lists, timelines, or calendars; but there were those in charge to whom such paraphernalia were lifesavers. The rest of us just smiled and said "OK Michiyo" or "OK Manny". Smiling was key, it made them think we had our task under control.
Thursday started the weekend with class at the new AIA headquarters. All who attended, or were given a preview of the new dojo were glad that a new "home" had been found and eagerly looked forward to the establishment of the roots of tradition the old dojo held.
The official camp began Friday with the barbecue at the dorm where friendships were rekindled and new ones started. It was great to see everyone from all over again -- both coasts, different countries, and across the LA basin.
Classes were held in the two rooms most suited for bouncing around the way we do, but we also played in the Japanese gardens and the floor of the dormitory without too much trouble. As usual, the playing around between classes (or after dinner), the casual questions, and the banter during meals was full of activity for those who had more to learn after class. The only problem with the classes was that there were choices to be made. "Did you get to go to ..." or "Too bad you couldnít also have been in..." were phrases we are still sharing here in Long Beach. Thanks to all the instructors who shared their insights and talents.
None of the preparations would have been worth anything had the Seidokan family not gathered. It was as it always is, a blessing to be with friends to share the art we love practicing. Sensei Robertson and I went out for breakfast before returning him to LAX. In the marina where we ate a boat was moored that was appropriately named "Rodís Joy". The Aikido Club of CSU Long Beach deeply appreciates the return of our distant family. We look forward to being with you again.
Please note that Aikido Institute of America,
the headquarters dojo of Seidokan Aikido, has moved from its previous location
on Hyperion Avenue. Please send all correspondence to the new location
Seidokan World Headquarters
c/o Aikido Institute of America
2615 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
or to the Kobayashi home at:
Seidokan World Headquarters
c/o Mrs. Minoru Kobayashi
8206 Hondo Street
Downey, CA 90242
The phone number at the new dojo location is (323) 254-3372. If there is no answer, please call (562) 861-0043.
Note: Photos taken October 1994, Columbia South Carolina. Uke is Paul Bradley.
|The term zanshin
refers to the continuation of the flow of ki and harmony well after the
encounter is over. Zanshin literally means left over mind. When leading
the attacker to fall, we must not use up all of our resources. If so, then
we are not tapping into the limitless universal ki. We establish harmony
with the attacker before the actual attack through shodo-o-seisu (control
of the first movement). During the encounter, we exercise ki no myoyo o
tadashiku (proper usage of ki). After the encounter, we maintain the continuous
flow of ki through zanshin. In essence, there is no beginning or end, only
the continuous flow of nature.
One way to develop zanshin is to hold a position after a throw. Many times I see students immediately start fidgeting, walking away, crossing their arms or engaging in other types of behavior that indicate they have cut the flow of ki. If one is too concerned with analyzing and judging the movement, the movement will be out of sync. By focusing on maintaining the harmonious flow of ki before, during and after the attack, the aikido technique will happen of its own accord. Thus, focus on establishing a connection before the attack and continuing that connection after the throw, zanshin.
In the figures illustrated on this page, Kobayashi Sensei demonstrates ryotedori zenpo nage (both wrists grasp, forward throw). In the first photo, the attacker attempts to control nageís wrists. Sensei exercises shodo-o-seisu by becoming one with the attacker and hence diffuses the conflict. The ki is flowing naturally and so nage is able to blend and use circular motion to bring uke to a point where he is off balance in photo 2. The final photo exemplifies zanshin. Sensei has cut down and led uke off balance. As uke executes a forward roll, Sensei bounces up, extending his ki out in all directions. Although the uke falls forward, this results from nage cutting down. Like a wave crashing down, there is a natural recoil, back and up. Kobayashi Senseiís final posture reflects this follow through. Techniques such as zenpo nage give us an excellent chance to focus on zanshin.
June 1999: Summer Camp 1999 in Hawaii. Plans are being made for the next Aikido Summer Camp to be held for a five-day period near the end of June in Hawaii. More information will come out soon. Accommodations for individuals, couples and families will be available. Thus, the camp can be part of a family vacation. Dr. Mark Crapo is organizing this camp (616-965-5500). Due to the expanded summer camp, there will be no fall camp this year.
In this video series, the late Seidokan Kancho, Rod Kobayashi, shares his experience of over 35 years in the Way of Harmony With Nature. Each waza, or art, is not only clearly demonstrated before an actual class, but he offers an explanation as to why each movement was made.
Copyright and all rights reserved by:
Aikido Institute of America
Seidokan Aikido World Headquarters
Seidokan Aikido World Headquarters
c/o Aikido Institute of America
2615 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 254-3372 (if no answer, call (562) 861-0043)
To order, send check or money order
to Aikido Institute of America and include the following information:
(City) (State) (Country) (Zip Code)
Qty ____sets Basic Arts(Part 1 & 2) $75.00/set
Qty ____sets Dan Arts(Part 1 & 2) $75.00/set
Include $6.00/set Shipping and Handling
California residents add 8.25% sales tax
Dan Kawakami, AIA/OCBC, 6-14-98
Mark Crapo, AIA/Aikido Institute of Michigan, Seiwa Dojo, 6-14-98
Paul Bradley, Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina, 3-22-98
Michelle Newson, Aikido Institute of Mid-America, 3-7-98
Tim Arch, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Agatsu Dojo, 4-3-98
Dave Headings, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Agatsu Dojo, 4-3-98
Charlie Caldwell, Aikido Institute of Michigan, Seiwa Dojo, 4-3-98
Michael Cottam, Ahsa Aikido, May 1998
David Kennedy, Still Point Aikido Center, 3-13-98
Michael Miller, Ahsa Aikido, May 1998
Scott Kramer, Ting-Ki Aikido, June 1998
The Seidokan Communicator is published quarterly.
Please remember, your submissions make this newsletter possible. Send articles
about your dojo, your instructor, a recent seminar, philosophical insights,
technical descriptions, and other Aikido related materials to me so we
can keep up communication in Seidokan Aikido. Send materials to Doug Wedell,
501 Doncaster Dr., Irmo, SC 29063. Email submissions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for next Communicator is September 15, 1999.
Donít forget to check out the Seidokan Web Site at