5 August 2004

“In the Spirit of Seigokan”
by Bill Mok (Hong Kong Seigokan)

Very often we saw Seigokan members signed off their letters/emails with the phrase “in the spirit of Seigokan”. What does it mean anyway? What is “the Spirit of Seigokan’? The spirit of a school or the spirit of a family or the spirit of a nation, is sometimes hard to define. But once a strong and generally accepted school-spirit is established, just like patriotism towards a country or the love of a family, this spirit will always become a tremendous source of power and motivation. The Spirit of Seigokan, as explained by YOKI Yukiaki sensei, has been established by our late and beloved founder, TADA Seigo sensei. Tada sensei used to stress three very important personal qualities or traits for every Seigokan members. They are: Honesty Modesty Perseverance

Some Seigokan dojo used these as “Dojo Kun” (dojo rules) but these are beyond the mere limitation of dojo kun because most of the dojo kun are basically rules to be observed inside the dojo. These traits (Spirit of Seigokan) are meant to be our guidelines to be observed in our daily life as well as in the dojo. But are these three simple words all about the Spirit of Seigokan? Well, perhaps it will be prudent to look at each one carefully.

Honesty “Honesty is the best policy” is a saying we had all heard of, or in some cases, had been forced to copy 100 times or more in our primary school days. Honesty is indeed the best policy because once people know that you are honest then you will surely be considered to be trustworthy too. The two, Honesty and Trustworthy, will always go hand-in-hand and you cannot have one without the other.

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An Irish educator once said, “Any coward can tell lies, but it takes a man to tell the truth”. Modesty Modesty is more than just being modest. We must also be polite and always behave like a gentleman/lady. The late Tada sensei was considered to be “the Gentleman in karate-do” by other Japanese karate-do masters. Young people, as well as some not-so-young people, should always remember not to boast in victory as well as not to sulk in defeat. It is easy to be a good sport when in victory but try to be a good loser as well. Please remember that “It is a far finer and a far harder thing to take a beating manfully than to conquer”. The other aspect of modesty not easily realized is the recognition and hearty appreciation of the effort and sacrifices that our instructors/seniors had made in bringing and guiding us through our path in karate-do. As a sempai (senior), we should always be ready to offer to help our kohai (juniors). Tada sensei believed that the best show of appreciation is to pass on the teaching of karate-do without egotistic or personal financial gains.

Perseverance Karate-do training is always tough and a strong will to stay on and strong determination to excel are mandatory for progress in karate-do skill. Sport karate tournaments are aplenty these days and most beginners are attracted to learn karate at the influence of this competitive aspect of karate-do. But we should remember that there will always be only one champion in any competition, therefore never sulk over losses. We must be able to face ourselves and say like William Hung had once said “I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all”. Perseverance is more than just being stubborn, it takes a lot of courage and selfdiscipline to persevere and succeed. “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.”--Plato

As YOKI sensei pointed out that the late TADA sensei always stressed that “Seigokan is a big family”, therefore when we possess these traits and are proud to be a member of this big Seigokan Family, then we are ready to say:

“In the Spirit of Seigokan”

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