What is Seitouha, and how are we different from other traditional styles?
In the Seitouha system, it is our intention to teach traditional Eastern-style fighting techniques in an American society. Our fighting style is harsh, practical, explosive and combat effective. Our philosophy, however, is not derived from Eastern culture, as many traditional schools are, which results in many problems for Americans participating in these types of schools. Seitouha differs from other traditional schools in how we develop our system rules, disciplinary actions, teaching style, and life priorities.
Seitouha translates as legitimate, or orthodox, which means to conform to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards. But what are these so-called accepted rules, standards and principles, and who decides what they should be? All of us follow rules, or moral codes to some extent, many of which stem from values instilled upon as at a young age. The problem is that every culture raises their children with different views on moral values. These views may not only vary from culture to culture, but from family to family, brother to brother. In many martial arts systems, the moral codes of the system are ambiguous, often originating from Eastern values (values taught upon an upbringing from this type of culture) and therefore difficult for people of different cultures to understand. As a result of this confusion, non-Eastern members are often disciplined for breaking rules that they were unaware of. To avoid this type of situation, the Seitouha system has created a clear list of system rules based on several established sources. The list of these rules is available upon becoming a member.
In addition to having a clear set of rules, the disciplinary actions associated with the breaking of these rules are not as severe as are the more traditional, Eastern-style practices. For example, dismissal from the system is an action reserved for only the most severe offenses. In contrast, in many traditional schools, black-belts are given no room to be wrong. For instance, if a black-belt is given a task, and that task is not carried out to the master's liking, that student, though he may be a capable martial artist and a good person, could be asked to leave the system. This is a waste and a shame. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we should have more liberty in our system than what is described above. It is the goal of the Seitouha system to make every attempt to cultivate students, and help them to learn from their mistakes so that they may reach their goals as martial artists. Goju warriors, after all, do not give up easily, if at all. We try not to leave anyone behind. If the student is willing to try we will not give up on him, unless he gives up.
A Seitouha dojo is a positive learning environment. Students are taught with encouragement and constructive criticism, not with public humiliation (or with floggings, which does occur in other styles, believe it or not). In our dojo students are held accountable for their mistakes, but in a healthy way, learning how to deal with them, instead of running from them.
Seitouha does not encourage its members to put their karate system over their family, religion, career, or anything else that they feel is important in their lives. Members are free to choose how much time and effort they wish to commit to the system. There are also members who simply wish to train, and that's all. This is all acceptable. Students should be able to set their own priorities in their lives. Seitouha is not a cult or dictatorship that expects people to sacrifice all for the system. For example, if a system event conflicts with an important family or religious event, students will not be penalized for choosing their priorities over the system. Of course, they may miss out on the benefits of attending that system event, but there will be other opportunities for growth. Some other schools would reprimand members, especially those of high rank, for making such a decision.
Basically, Seitouha retains the pure, traditional fighting style of Goju-Ryu Karate, without the religious dogma, Eastern philosophies, or cultural influences. Members are free to study effective fighting techniques without the culture shock. Goju warriors from different systems who are fed up with this type of situation may always look to Seitouha as a safe haven, and are welcome to train here upon attaining membership. The legitimate path is difficult and full of obstacles. But with hard work, discipline, courage, and the right frame of mind, anyone can achieve their goals in martial arts.
How do I become a Seitouha Warrior?
If you are a local beginner:
If you've never trained in martial arts at all, it's simple. Come down to our dojo, take the first class for free. There's no cost, and no obligation to join. Or, if you prefer, you can watch the first class, and then try the next one. But you must call and make an appointment at 516-381-9660. If you like the class and you want to continue, then you must become a member, which only costs $30.00 per year. For each additional year, the cost goes down to $25.00. Please note that the membership fee does not include the monthly dojo dues.
If you are a black-belt from another system:
There are many ways of becoming a Seitouha Warrior. First, you can come down to our dojo and check out a class. Or, we can come to you. There is also a video program in the works to make learning martial arts more practical and cost-effective for our students.
No matter what style of martial arts you may be currently studying, we will give you enough of time to adjust to Goju-Ryu Karate, just as Master Peter Urban did in the 60's, the man who brought the Goju style to the United States from Japan. It was his practice to give new members an adjustment period, and gave students a white piece of tape on their belt, to indicate that you are not yet a fully-fledged member. We follow the same tradition at Seitouha.
If you are an out-of state- member, learning is still possible through today's video technologies. But there will be times when you must come to us, and us to you. You do need to spend time on the dojo floor in one of the certified Seitouha locations. For more information, please contact Seitouha Long Island, New York headquarters at Seigidai Dojo: 516-381-9660, firstname.lastname@example.org.