Tadashi Nakamura is the founder and chairman of the World Seido Karate Organization. A world-renowned karateka, Nakamura is a ninth dan (degree) black belt with over fifty years of experience in practicing and teaching in the martial arts. An expert in the use of oriental weapons, Nakamura has given numerous martial arts lectures and demonstrations in many countries around the world.
Kaicho Nakamura began his karate training in 1953 at age eleven. His first experiences were in the Goju style under the instruction of Kei Miyagi Sensei, the son of the founder of the style. In 1956, Nakamura began studying with Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, and in 1959, he earned his shodan rank. At the time, he was the youngest Kyokushin student in Japan to receive a black belt.
In 1961, at age nineteen, Nakamura debuted on the tournament scene with a first place triumph in the All-Japan Student Open Karate Championship. The following year, Nakamura became a Japanese national hero by knocking out a Thai kickboxing champion in a match to determine which nation had the superior martial art. Nakamura would win many more tournaments throughout his competition career.
Around this time, Nakamura also began teaching karate to others. He served as the chief instructor at Camp Zama, a U.S. military base near Tokyo, from 1961 to 1965 and coached the Toho Medical University karate team for 3 years. While earning his seventh dan in Kyokushin Karate, Nakamura also served as the chief instructor at the Kyokushin Karate Honbu in Tokyo.
In 1966, Nakamura was personally selected by Masutatsu Oyama to help bring the true spirit of karate to America.
Image Kaicho on the rooftop of the Brooklyn Academy of Music
That year, Nakamura moved to New York City and began teaching Kyokushin Karate at a small dojo in Brooklyn. He served as the American head of Kyokushin Karate for a decade and trained and developed many skilled students in that period.
In 1976, Nakamura respectfully withdrew from Kyokushin Karate. The same year, he established the World Seido Karate Organization, which reflected his own beliefs about the true meaning of karate. Nakamura created Seido–which means “sincere way” in Japanese–to develop complete individuals, ones committed to improving themselves and their communities. With the principles of love, respect, and obedience as the foundation of Seido Karate, Nakamura ensured that his students would develop spiritually and morally, as well as physically.
Image Black Belt Clinic
Today, Seido Karate is an international organization with thriving branches in eighteen countries and has more than 20,000 students worldwide. Seido’s New York Honbu is one of the largest martial arts schools in the world and has approximately fifty black belts training on an average day. More importantly, Seido represents the personal ideal of Kaicho Nakamura that karate can help individuals to better understand themselves and others. Seido Karate programs around the world continue Nakamura’s vision and help to develop individuals who make significant contributions to their communities and to society at large.
Image Kaicho giving a Meditation Lecture
While performing many duties as the chairman of the World Seido Karate Organization and the Seido Juku Benefit Foundation, Kaicho Nakamura is first and foremost an instructor of karate. He continues to actively teach classes at Seido Honbu and also teach classes at Seido’s Westchester branch, Johshin Honzan. Students can take advantage of visiting both locations to participate in his classes and Meditation lectures. He remains committed to assisting others to reach their full human potential, as both karateka and individuals.
Thinking about the future and legacy of Seido, Kaicho officially gave his son, Akira Nakamura, the title of “Nidaime”, meaning successor in Japanese. This was not a difficult decision for Kaicho as Nidaime has taught alongside him for over 15 years, been involved in all important decisions for the organization, and continues to fully dedicate himself to Seido. With Nidaime’s manturity as a karateka, instructor and individual, Kaicho is both happy and confident with this decision.
Kaicho and Nidaime – Atsuta Jingu JapanIt was further confirmed during their 2012 trip to Japan to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Jun Shihan Sawahira’s Aichi Branch. In addition to supporting this milestone, Seido was invited by the Atsuta Jingu shrine in Nagoya to “perform” for their Budo god. This was a special invitation given to Seido by the shrine and recognized by the Imperial Family of Japan. Kaicho decided to have Nidaime do a special kata for the occasion and felt that the unique environment of the shrine created the perfect opportunity to present Nidaime with his original ceremonial black belt, presented to himself 35 years before. (This belt is the same one Kaicho wears on the cover of his book, “Technique and Spirit”). The handing of this belt signified his firm belief in Nidaime as a successor and also his achievements as a karateka.
It was on that day that Kaicho also gave his son the special rank of 8th degree black belt in the company of fellow Seido students who attended the event.
For more information about Kaicho Nakamura, please read his autobiography, The Human Face of Karate.