Seidokan Aikido

The objectives of Seidokan Aikido are to study the philosophy and the arts of Aikido and further develop them to best suit the modern way of life. Seidokan Aikido is the study of Aikido as a whole. Old traditions are analyzed and only the good traditions are kept and further developed so that they can be useful in our daily lives. Seidokan Aikido emphasizes the attitude of training. The students and the instructors grow together at our dojos. The students learn the fundamentals from the instructors and the instructors gain deeper understanding of Aikido while sharing their knowledge with the students. Through earnest, realistic and sincere training, the students of Seidokan Aikido will learn the true meaning of Aikido.

The motto for Seidokan is “earnest, sincere, and realistic”. This is derived from the kanji for “sei” (alternatively pronounced “makoto”), which means “fundamental truth”. Seidokan therefore emphasizes an approach to Aikido which requires continued honest evaluation of both technique and philosophy. In particular, Seidokan follows the line of tradition of O’Sensei which encourages ongoing refinement of the art to accommodate a modern way of life.

Technique as taught by Seidokan Kancho, Roderick T. Kobayashi, tends to utilize movements which are very small and economical. While Kobayashi Sensei encouraged his students to discover an aikido which is truly their own, he nevertheless stressed the importance of doing away with the extraneous and focusing on that which works. Effective technique which manifests the principles of oneness and “loving protection of all things” is the goal of Seidokan practice.

Seidokan Aikido technique is based on the idea of “loving protection for all things”. It is characterized by its emphasis on range of effectiveness and getting off the line of attack. A lot of Seidokan technique draws an attacker outside of his range of effectiveness. That is, nage leads uke off uke’s one-point and into nage’s range of effectiveness (close to nage’s Hara) where nage is strong and uke is weak. This is important in both tenkan and irimi techniques. Just as important is getting off the line of attack, which both protects nage from the attack and leads uke’s ki into nage’s range of effectiveness.

On a personal level, it seems to me that Seidokan aikido, as an Aikido style developed and refined by R. Kobayashi Sensei, embodies minimalist aesthetics. This style expresses movements that are not fancy or traditional, but rather concise, distilled, and do not claim much space or time. The aesthetic principles of Seidokan movements can remind one of a type of Zen asceticism, where pone does not do anything more than minimally required. This type of aesthetics stands out against the background of contemporary culture, where there is much—much too much—of everything. In contrast, I see Seidokan esthetics as promoting the principles of distillation (tsimtsum) and cultivation, and the beauty that lies in true simplicity and humbleness.

The Seidokan organization issues Seidokan Communicators which contain information concerning the organization, teachers and dojos, as well as Aikido-related articles. To view Seidokan Communicators hosted on our site, press here