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Topic:Anyone Here Experience Training In Japan?
Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2010-12-08 04:02:10
Just curious what your experiences were like, where you trained, etc.
Posted: 2010-12-11 22:37:54
Yes. I don't train on the pro level, but I used to train at Seidokaikan in Nagoya but now live in Osaka and train at Sabakishindo, which is led by someone high up who broke off from Seidokaikan. You might not know Seidokaikan, but that's the same organization (or should I say, "company") as K1, both founded by Kazuyoshi Ishii. After Kazuyoshi Ishii went to prison for tax evasion he virtually disappeared from both organizations and I believe doesn't play an active role in anything now.

The training at Seidokaikan dojos throughout Japan have completely different training methods than anything you might see at private K1 dojos in Tokyo. It's basically sport karate, but it's a very strict atmosphere in terms of the protocol for etiquette. I think most Western fighters have problems training at Japanese dojos because they don't won't to be insanely polite all the time. Also, most Japanese men and women aren't that strong so if you're wanting to fight with your brute strength you'd get bored easily. I've seen many tournaments where the Western fighter wasn't that particularly good but creamed their Japanese opponents from sheer strength alone in the heavy weight divisions. But of course, the top level Japanese fighters are very good and completely different from the amateur majority.

I always suggest to Westerners that if they want to do martial arts here to first enjoy losing if you want to be shown special techniques. Be sure not to maim your partner in training and I would suggest not winning a trophy as your only goal. If you go to tournaments and win this or that trophy you might find yourself lonely at the top. The real beauty of martial arts training is when there's no competition at all except within yourself, when you learn deadly techniques and immerse yourself deep in Japanese culture. It's a whole new way of thinking and living...


...I don't imagine this mindset suits most fighters on this forum.
Posted: 2010-12-13 04:01:14

Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2010-12-14 09:59:31
Thanks, sabaki-princess.

What are the differences between Sabakishindo and Seidokaikan?

Do you know if it's common for people to crosstrain at different gyms on occasion? Or do people tend to stick to the same gym always? If someone at Seidokaikan trained at Sabakishindo, would that be considered disloyal?
Posted: 2010-12-15 17:38:39
The Japanese mindset about martial arts is that you stick with one style at one dojo, completely empty your mind (including what you assume to be your knowledge and experience) and fully take in what your sensei teaches. Though recently they're beginning to be more open minded, but that's not the majority.

The training at Seidokaikan is geared towards tournaments so the techniques and target areas are for scoring points. No elbow strikes or punches to the face. It's difficult to say a lot more because Seidokaikan is such a big organization but each dojo is run by different sensei who often add their own techniques. The quality of instructors isn't at all the same at each place and perhaps that's a drawback for large organizations.

Sabakishindo is quite different because the target areas are for subduing your opponent by any means necessary and not for scoring points. It's about being about to make immediate responses with the body in an instant to parry attacks and not rely on ballistic random kicking and punching. In the beginning it's pretty cerebral and gave me a headache but I enjoy this style more because it's unique to Japan.
Posted: 2011-01-01 06:28:52
Posted: 2011-01-01 06:44:46
This above paragraph sounds like a real eye opener. I personally think the Japanese martial arts mindset would suit my own dojo greatly.
Posted: 2011-01-05 01:32:41
I just published an article on "shuhari" on my site and it's written by a German-Australian fighter training here in Osaka, Japan. "Shuhari" is a Japanese philosophy about the mindset for martial arts training.

In the beginning we must dedicate ourselves fully to our masters/instructors and absorb all that we can, but in time there are twists in life that inevitably force us to break away from our first master/teacher. Or we find that after reaching a certain point of development we must move on in order to continue to grow.

But knowing when that time is appropriate is essential. If we start and quit a style of training every 6 months then of course that's a reflection of a personal problem. After 5-7 years though, we've had the opportunity to take in the moves, the spirit and philosophy our master/teacher has to offer - but every moment in that period must be serious with consistent dedication for it to be effective for our martial development.
Posted: 2011-01-11 06:12:51
A friend of mine LDF from went a she wrote a whole diary on the experience on that same site, bottom line I think she hated it
Posted: 2011-01-13 15:28:24
on which site? my site is very new with only a few authors.

but yes, Japan is a hard place to adjust to. and it's hard to navigate your way around to find the right place to train.
Posted: 2011-01-13 15:29:51
ah i c, the site you mentioned... it's early in the morning over here. what were some of the problems your friend had?
Posted: 2011-02-16 05:09:27
Yep, went to Japan in 1981 and trained at Nihon University Karate Club, Tokyo. Stayed nine months when my visa expired. Have to agree with some of the other posts, you got to be prepared for the harsh discipline. University clubs are relentless in the training, four to six hours a day, six days a week. The Karate is contact with the small mitts, half a dozen students had their front teeth knocked out. Mine got rattled a few times, but fortunately I had boxed before so was a little better prepared. Great experience,I lived in, so got to experience the whole lifestyle with the other guys.
I now go back and I often have re-unions with them. Friends for life. My son is now doing the same, different university but same stuff. Real proud of him cos I know what he's going through.
Brian Ritchie
Posted: 2011-05-04 00:07:07
Hey Arthur. Which country are you from? When you trained with them, had you done any type of Karate training previously? Or was that your introduction to Karate training?
Nigel Eagles Thai
Posted: 2011-05-23 05:45:30
I have spent a lot of time at the seidokaikan with Matt Skelton a few years ago, we trained every day for three weeks solid the first time and it was good to be there training and sparring with the japanese K1 guys, we always went early for fights and got a weeks training in beforehand, and got invited to go for sparring sessions too. great bunch of guys back then and all totally respectful
Posted: 2011-08-03 11:56:29
I know this is going abit off topic.... s literati, have you ever heard of or trained under sensi K enoda?

He was a great figure in japan, uk.

Is sensi otto still around.

I know sensi Enoda passed away many years ago he graded me a number of times with KUGB instructors.

It will be nice hear that sensi otto is around.

Posted: 2011-08-03 11:58:21
sorry forgot to say they are shotokan karate based.
Posted: 2012-01-23 12:24:17
Hi Brian, sorry didn't realised you had replied to me til now. I am from Somerset, had already passed 1st Dan with the UKKW Wado Ryu Federation so was kind of up to speed with the technical aspects of Karate. However the duration, intensity and the discipline was something that took some getting used to. It was a University club so there was no 'well I'll do a bit today but will skip tomorrow' attitude. You trained 6 days 4hrs per day, no exception. If you had an injury you reported to the captain then had to attend the class anyway standing in the corner.
Up at 5.45 am lights out at 10pm. There were exceptions when the coach was away, we drank and partied in our rooms, this kept our sanity. I wouldn't have changed the experience. Some top fighters at the club and I wanted to be like them, simple as that.
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