Seido and The Shadow

Not long ago in Rome during a Master’s Tennis Tournament something remarkable happened. In a tightly contested game, American Andy Roddick challenged a linesman’s call on a ball hit by his opponent. The remarkable thing about this incident was that Roddick argued against his own interest. He insisted that the opponent’s ball had landed inside the line and that he, Roddick, should NOT be awarded the point. Spectators applauded as if they’d witnessed a miracle. Imagine! Sportsmanship in a professional sporting event.

Such adherence to the principle of “fair play” is especially remarkable in this day and age, when the broad culture places a higher value on winning at any cost than it does on playing by the rules and planning for the long term. According to geneticists and anthropologists, however, it was always this way, and will always be thus. In Dark Nature, naturalist Lyall Watson states that the study […]

2018-03-02T23:16:52+00:00 Budo|


This Japanese word, kizeme, means “spirit of attack.” It is said of Miyamoto Musashi, the famed Japanese swordsman, that as he grew older he relied more on kizeme to defeat adversaries and, as a result, emerged victorious from challenges without taking the life of his opponent.

The willingness to attack is a potent weapon, made even more potent by prior demonstrations of effective technical skills. Clearly, Musashi’s reputation preceeded him throughout Japan and this alone would be enough to intimidate even the best swordsman of the age. Yet it was not just “hype” that Musashi employed in his duels.

The strategy of Musashi’s midlife, according to Kenji Tokitsu’s recent biography of the famed swordsman, was that of incessant interdiction of his opponent’s attack. Musashi placed enormous emphasis on intense training. Musashi himself claimed that it was through this lifelong boot camp approach to the practice of swordsmanship that he had developed the […]

2018-03-02T23:16:41+00:00 Budo|

Hone O Oru

This Japanese expression has two basic meanings. The literal meaning is to break one’s bone(s), as when falling from a height. The figurative meaning is “to try harder.” That is, to try so hard that one’s bones break.

Undertaking bone-breaking work is a core value in a classical Japanese dojo. Passage through such an ordeal presents the karateka with new insights into his or her kokoro, or heart-mind-spirit. These insights often serve to diminish the strangle-hold the ego had held on the mind prior to the ordeal. Contrary to popular belief, diminishment of the ego does not render a person ineffectual in the world. In fact, the smaller the purchase your ego has on your life, the more able you are to access highly functional energies and insights that a too-strong ego would deny. A person with a strong bond to kokoro places confidence in something beyond the small self […]

2018-03-02T23:16:25+00:00 Budo|

Culver City Seido’s Approach to Competition

Competition and cooperation are two modes of interaction that engage us throughout our lives. West LA Seido Karate recognizes the need for being skillful at both. We channel the cooperative instinct in the dojo in a variety of ways, ritual courtesy being the most visible. We also give our competitive nature its due. In weekly sparring classes and periodic tournaments throughout the year, the West LA Seido program provides the eligible student with sufficient opportunities to “test” her or himself in controlled but intense contests.

The word competition comes from Latin, where it meant “to seek with.” In Seido Karate-do, when we compete we remember that we improve quicker and surer with our opponent or training partner’s challenging presence in the dojo. Competition seen from this perspective becomes a way in which we, with our training partners, “seek together” to improve. We use each other in this intentional, mutually acknowledged process […]

2018-03-02T23:16:14+00:00 Budo|