By Gianluca Bianchini


I first met Vincent and Stephen at the gym where they teach, in order to write the article you are reading. On a dreary late winter evening. A day like any other. Filled to the brim with thoughts related to everyday hectic life: work, so many problems, urgencies, and so on. I arrived in front of the school. Crossing the entrance threshold of the Dojo, a place where it is possible to train the body and mind, I immediately realized that I was inside something very different from a simple martial arts gym.



The Dojo is considered their second home. Also called Seido Juku it fully reflects the Japanese name with its meanings: spiritual place, disciplined place, special place. However secular, upon entering this environment I was pleasantly impressed by its atmosphere. One can sense the founding values of Seido Juku Karate, founded on a deep understanding of the spiritual aspects of karate.

Five are the basic rules. All begin with the word Hitotsu, Japanese for ‘first’ because none are secondary or less important: character, sincerity, constancy, respect, self-control.

Master Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura was Japan’s youngest Kyokushinkai black belt. At just twenty-four years of age he arrived in America, to be precise on April 12, 1966 to spread the philosophy of karate in the northern States. Pursuing a stupendous dream, ten years later, on October 15, 1976, he founded his own style of karate calling it ‘Seido’ or ‘The Sincere Way.’ Three words, Sonkei (respect ) Ai (love) and Jujun (obedience ). Three principles, represented by three concentric circles in the plum blossom symbol of the Nakamura family, encapsulate their philosophy.

The Sesto Fiorentino Dojo fully reflects and conveys these values. This is how I begin my interview: Vincent tells me his story, with a pleasant Italian-American accent, which began in New York and landed in Sesto, founding the current school back in 1991, with more than 25 years of experience in training and teaching Seido Karate-Do; unique in Italy and connected to a network of schools around the world.

He tenaciously and consistently communicates the vision of Seido transmitted to him by Master Nakamura and his philosophy to the Florentine and Italian community. The more I delve into various topics with them, the more I realize I want to know more. The Dojo given the hour is at this time empty: I think I would like to see it populated with masters and students. They tell me that nothing compares to the spirit and feeling emanating from one’s Dojo where the parquet floor absorbs every drop of sweat, spirit and effort.

Vincent and Stephen without delay – generous hosts they are – invite me to a trial lesson. I accept with pleasure pervaded by a pleasant feeling, proposing that I should not reveal my role as a journalist to the other masters, remaining incognito as a normal beginner, perhaps a bit vintage.

So, the fateful day arrives, and I won’t hide that I was a bit excited: I walk up the stairs with my sports bag, I hear the rustling of kimonos wrapped in soothing background music, everything is calm and serene. I am introduced to the masters and some of the students present, with more to follow. I feel part of a big family wearing the white belt donated by them. The quality of instruction given to the students is fundamental and is based on the progressive development of physical, aerobic and motor flexibility skills necessary to maintain good health, know themselves better and create a moral code over time. Explaining with simplicity and passion: Simone, Giorgio, Paolo, Giulia and Laura the other teachers present.

“Technique before strength, spirit before technique.” This is one of the main teachings of master Kaicho T. Nakamura.

I start training. The Dojo is truly the focal point for everyone who attends: no one feels excluded, judged or measured for his or her abilities, inabilities, disabilities or defects. On the warm wooden parquet we are all equal. A haven, a safe aid where to train the body and mind while building lasting friendships with others, following the discipline of karate sincerely and consistently.

I also learn about the great commitment of the school and all his masters in social welfare: in fact, they participate in every initiative of the municipality or USL of Sesto in order to involve students with disabilities or problems. So as to teach education and respect for others. This is the teaching of Master Kaicho so that Seido Karate is seen as the perfect example of the true martial art, which perfects the whole person: mind and body, not just his physical state.

Meditation is an inescapable part of the teachings of Seido Karate: one must work with body and mind to know one’s limits and be aware of one’s own strength, unencumbered by any sense of superiority or inferiority. Everyone does his or her best to deal with obstacles.

Having finished my class, I left the Dojo with a smile on my face, my mind more serene and clear of negative thoughts. The social implications of this philosophy truly make it “The Human Face of Karate.”

It only remains for me to advise you from the bottom of my heart to try Seido Karate: you will surely be fascinated by it and perhaps some of you will discover an unexpected or hitherto hidden passion.


“(…) It doesn’t matter if you haven’t achieved grand champion placement, what matters is the commitment you put into your training in how you devote yourself to the study of Karate-do, how you help your community and how you contribute to your country and society. That makes a difference.”

Kaicho T. Nakamura



Info: Seido Karate Italia, Via Giovanni Amendola 40, Sesto Fiorentino (Fi), Tel. 347 627 7548 /