World Seido Karate Honbu
61 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010 USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of karate is this?
The name of the style is “Seido”, pronounced “say-dough”, meaning “sincere way”. It is a Japanese style, most closely related to the Kyokushin, Shotokan, and Goju-ryu styles.
Who founded Seido and how long has it been around?
Kaicho (Chairman) Tadashi Nakamura started Seido Karate in 1976. He is a kudan (ninth degree Black Belt) who was a leading student in the Kyokushin-kai style of karate, prior to founding Seido Juku.
Do you have to have previous training, experience, or be in great shape, to start training?
Put simply.. No!. Everyone is welcome to train. You don’t have to be physically strong – though if you stick with it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more fit you’ll be after a year of training. As always it is strongly recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any vigorous exercise program.
Seido also makes a special effort to accommodate students with special needs, including disabilities.
Do you do sparring?
Yes. However, students do not begin free sparring until they’ve reached the level of Green Belt, which usually takes at least a year; and safety rules, including the use of protective gear, are closely followed.
Do you do forms (kata)?
Yes. The Seido curriculum includes a total of over twenty kata, with students learning one or two new ones at each belt level.
Do you do tournaments?
Yes. Students are encouraged to participate in kata competition in many of the traditional karate tournaments, students of the appropriate rank levels may compete in kumite (sparring) as well. However, competing is not mandatory, nor is it the primary focus of training.
Do you do weapons?
Yes, however since weapons are viewed as extensions of the body, weapons training is reserved for advanced students only. Black Belt students train with bo and jo (short and long staff), and basic knife techniques. Yondan (fourth degree Black Belt) students also train with sai.
What are the belt colors and what do they mean?
The system of colored belts that Seido karate uses is a means to break down the curriculum and to provide a visible indication of approximately how far a student’s study has progressed. Each belt level has a syllabus – a set of techniques, forms, and drills – that the student must demonstrate competence in before being promoted to the next level.
The order of belts used in Seido karate which may differ from other styles of karate is as follows: White, Blue, Yellow, Green, Brown, Black. Each level below Black Belt, also has a corresponding “advanced” rank – Advanced White, Advanced Blue, and so on, which is indicated by a patch sewn on to the end of the belt. This forms a total of ten kyu ranks below Black Belt.
At Black Belt a student progresses from shodan (first degree), to nidan (second), and so on up through (in theory) judan (tenth). In traditional Japanese karate ranks above godan (fifth dan) are extremely rare. Only a handful of people, the greatest master teachers, are ever awarded the rank of kudan or judan (ninth or tenth degree Black Belt), and even then usually not until the age of 60 or 70.
How long does it take to get a Black Belt?
There is no guarantee or limit on reaching shodan (first degree Black Belt). It is entirely up to the students’ time, effort and commitment in training.
Belt rankings are only meaningful within a given system. Comparing the time it takes to reach Black Belt in different schools is not really helpful. In Seido, about five years is a typical time frame to achieve Black Belt. Some students may take ten years or more; others may take only a few years.
It is important to keep in mind that attaining Black Belt level is not a completion of training; it is in fact just the beginning, the beginning of a way of life, and a commitment to “giving back” to others what you have learned.