We are based in New Braunfels area and surroundings

The Legacy of Shian Toma: Seidokan Karate

Fill Out an Application Now

Seidokan Karate And Kobudo

Juko-Kai houses a formal Seidokan Karate and Kobudo division of Okinawa and has done so since the early 1980s. This division is authorized by Shian Toma, Soke/10th dan, Headmaster of the All Okinawa Seidokan Karate and Kobudo Renmei, Okinawa/Japan. Those earning ranks in Seidokan Karate and Kobudo under Juko-Kai receive their Seidokan certificates directly from Okinawa. On September 01, 2001, Rod Sacharnoski was graded to 9th Dan Hanshi in Seidokan Karate, Kobudo and Toide by Soke Toma, and is one of the very few non-Asian’s to ever achieve a 9th dan grading from a traditional Okinawan master.  

The Legacy Of Shian Toma

Okinawan Karate has a rich heritage and is an ongoing legacy passed from the masters of antiquity to the current generation of instructors. One of the leading masters who carries on the full and total martial arts traditions of Okinawa is Shian Toma. Born in 1929, he began the study of Karate at the age of sixteen. From that time on he dedicated his life to the Okinawan martial arts. When Toma first started training, Karate was not so definitively divided into completely distinct styles. Rather, all Karate teachers were friends, with curriculum not cast in stone, but flexible, allowing creativity in the training program. Kata were still in the period of flux, when many teachers taught only one and most only taught a few.  On Okinawa he began his study with Shinjato Sokishi, a student of Chojun Miyagi and Tatsuo Shimabuku.  Sokishi only taught four Kata, which he had learned from his Goju Ryu instructor, Chojun Miyagi, but trained his students on them religiously. To this day Shian Toma maintains strict standards of kata performance for his students, because of his original training from Shinjato Sokishi. Later in his Karate development, Toma had the privilege of studying under Zenryo Shimabuku and Shigeru Nakamura, leaders of the concept of Okinawan full contact sparring in armor, and the masters of Shorinji Ryu (currently known as Chubu Shorin Ryu) and Okinawan Kempo Kai, respectively. Especially from Shimabuku, he learned the Kata of the Shorin branch, which he teaches today. 

Shian Toma was a dedicated Karate practitioner, but he sought to understand the greater depths of the Okinawan martial arts, which he achieved by seeking instruction in the oldest extant art on the island. This was achieved when he began training with Seikichi Uehara in 1968. Uehara teaches the system named Motobu Ryu Kobujutsu. Motobu Ryu Kobujutsu is the art founded by Uehara in 1947. It preserves the ancient art of the Motobu family which is also known as Gotente. The art was originally founded in the seventeenth century by Sho Koshin, the sixth son of Okinawan king Sho Shitsu. Having learned his family’s martial art, and not being the eldest son, Sho Shitsu changed his name to Chohe Motobu and established his own family. He created his own particular martial art, which he called Gotente, and passed it on to only his eldest son, instructing him to do the same. Thus Gotente was passed on from father to eldest son until modern times, when Chosho Motobu taught his eldest son Choyo Motobu. This was at the beginning of the modern era, so that the feudal age was over and the restriction to teach only the eldest son was over. Choyu Motobu accepted Seikichi Uehara as his student, hoping that it would encourage his son Chomo to train. Uehara and Chomo, whose name of youth was Toraju, were close friends, thus Seikichi was allowed to learn the complete, heretofore secret system. While Choyu Motobu founded the Okinawan Karate Kenkyu Kai, ‘research society’, where he trained many of the leading martial arts masters of the day, it was only to Seikichi Uehara that he taught the entire system. When Choyu died in 1926, and Chomo refused to learn the system, and then passed on himself, it left Seikichi Uehara as the last master of Motobu Gotente.

What is considered by many the main principle of Gotente, and what separates it from modern Karate, is Toide. Thus the secret is the ‘taking hand’ skill, which is very similar to Aikijujutsu, but with a unique Okinawan application. The main emphasis is on Bunkai, which translates to ‘analysis’ and refers to the interpretation of movement, which leads to typical Karate techniques having concealed within them aspects of body manipulation. This is why the throwing techniques of Toide are nearly limitless. Motobu Ryu Kobujutsu, as taught by Seikichi Uehara to Shian Toma, includes not only the Toide, but the familiar striking art, which is practiced in the ancient manner without prearranged forms. Also taught are the full range of weaponry, contained in the Motobu Ryu curriculum, which includes; Katana, Wakizashi, Nicho Tanbo, Yari, Naginata, Rokushaku Bo, Goshaku Bo, Uchi Bo, Jo, Nunchaku, Tonfa, Kai, Sai, Choto, and Tanto. Out of respect for his original teachers, Shian Toma requested permission from Uehara, to add the practice of prearranged Kata to his martial arts. While Uehara maintains the purity of the Motobu family art, he does allow outlying schools to incorporate the formal Kata into their individual schools.

Shian Toma calls his school and system of martial arts Seidokan. He teaches a curriculum which includes Shorin Ryu Kata and most especially Motobu Ryu Kobujutsu, which includes Toide, ancient striking skills, and ancient weaponry. Shian Toma is the recognized Soke (Head Founder) of Seidokan Karate, Kobudo and Toide. All abilities, whether of the ancient warrior skills, the empty hand fighting techniques, or the weapon methods, are required to be of a high level of proficiency for any grading, but most especially in regard to master level. Rod Sacharnoski has earned Shihan gradings in all of the aspects of Seidokan martial arts. He has kept close contact with Shihan Toma, who serves as his personal instructor, as well as brought the great Seidokan master to the United States for personal training and the instruction of Juko-Kai students. On September 01, 2001, Rod Sacharnoski earned the rank of Kudan / 9th Dan Hanshi in the art of Seidokan Karate, Kobudo and Toide, and is one of the very few non-Asian’s to earn the 9th dan on Okinawa.

*Editors note: Some speculate that close ties to the royal family initiated the use of such costly, non-plebeian weapons. These same ties later protected the weapons very existence and practice by the Motobu family during Japanese occupation when others had their weapons confiscated.