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SEIKI TOMA - SEIDOKAN

Seiki Toma was born on September 1, 1922 in Okinawa City, Okinawa. He began his study of karate in 1934. Much of his study was done in secret because his father didnít think a person so young should be studying karate. He had the opportunity of studying, training, and receiving kata corrections from some very famous karate teachers.

Among them were:

Shinjun Tawata: Student of Sokon Matsumura. Sensei Tawata taught what was simply called Okinawa Te. This particular version of Okinawa Te would eventually become known as Shorin-Ryu. Sensei Tawata was a very educated man. He was a schoolteacher, archeologist, and noted botanist with an interest in herbal medicine. It was from Sensei Tawata that Sensei Toma first learned the Naihanchi and Pinan katas.

Shinsuke Kaneshima: Sensei Kaneshima was the founder of Tozan-Ryu, a style closely associated with Shorin-Ryu. Although Seiki Toma never studied directly under Chotoku Kyan, he does remember him coming by the dojo to observe the training sessions.

Tatsuo Shimabuku: Sensei Shimabuku was the founder of Isshin-Ryu, a synthesis of Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu. Sensei Toma became so proficient under Sensei Shimabuku's tutelage that he eventually became his assistant.

Seiki Toma image

Master Seiki Toma

Zenryo Shimabuku: Seiki Toma sought out Zenryo Shimabuku to have his Kyan style Shorin-Ryu kata reviewed and corrected. It was at Sensei Shimabuku's dojo that he first met Seikichi Odo. Sensei Odo had accompanied Shigeru Nakamura on a visit to Shimabuku's dojo. Nakamura and Shimabuku went on to form the All Okinawa Kenpo Karate Federation as an association of diverse dojos to demonstrate kata and fight using bogu gear.

Shoshin Nagamine: Sensei Nagamine was the founder of Matsubayashi-Ryu, widely recognized as one of the major branches of Shorin-Ryu. His reputation was such that Shogo Kuniba, Terio Hayashi, and Tsutomu Ohshima visited him to study. Likewise, Sensei Toma's study with Sensei Nagamine was relatively short and consisted mainly of kata training.

Seikichi Uehara: Sensei Uehara also calls his dojo Seidokan. Both Tomas studied from Uehara and sometime afterwards changed their respective dojo names to Seidokan. Dr. Stephen Chan, the Dean of Oriental and African Studies at London University, has related that he believes Seidokan has strong Okinawan nationalist connotations. I quote Dr. Chan: "The key here, from my own research, is that all three men, [Seiki] Toma, [Shian] Toma, and Uehara, are Okinawan nationalists and the term 'Seidokan', apart from its normal translation, is also a barely coded reference to the House of the Way of Sho (written also as Sei) dynasty." Dr. Chan obtained this rather insightful information while accompanying Shian Toma on a tour of the restored Shuri Castle in Okinawa.

While Seiki Toma had the opportunity to study from some well-known teachers, he too produced some well-known students in his own right. Most famous of these were/are: Seikichi Odo, Seifuku Nitta, Masanobu Kikukawa, Takahiro Shinjo, Shian Toma.

Seiki Toma's karate is a dynamic blend of old Okinawa Te, Shorin-Ryu, Tozan-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu, and Motobu-Ryu. Training with him was a truly wonderful experience. His technique were fast and crisp. The flexibility he displayed was that of a person less than half his age and he would maintain a high energy level. All attributes which are quite remarkable for a man who was over eighty.

Seiki Toma passed away on October 6th 2007.

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Courtesy of Sekai Dentokan Bugei Renmei

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