Jeffrey A. Nagata is a senior Seibukan instructor (7th Dan Black Belt Kyoshi) currently residing and instructing in Portland, Oregon, USA. Married with 4 children, Nagata Kyoshi, along with Jamal Measara Kyoshi and Warren Berto Renshi, is one of the members of the Senior Board of Directors of IOSSKA (Director for International Relations). Recently, Nagata Kyoshi agreed to answer some question from Seibukan Melaka instructor, Azlimmi Himzal for the upcoming OSS!! newsletter. The newletter should be ready in mid April. Here are excerps from the interview to whet your appetite….
Question : Was karate your first martial arts?
Answer : My first encounter with the martial arts was with Judo. Being of Japanese heritage, I was obliged and mandated to take Judo at a very young age. I ended my Judo career at the age of 15 years, then pursued Seibukan Karate-do at the age of 16 years. I now have a total of 37 years in Seibukan.
Question : Why Seibukan all these years?
Answer : In the beginning, Seibukan karate offered something that was very different than other martial arts in the area of the country I grew up in. It offered full contact fighting using kendo type of bogu protection. This was very inviting to me during my early years in karate training. But, as I started to learn more about the ways of Seibukan karate-do, and to finally meet and train under the great master, Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro, I knew that I found a life long martial arts to train and teach in. Through the diligent practice of Kata, and applying the principals of bunkai, centering and concentration of oneself during the execution of kata and karate techniques, I discovered what Seibukan is as a martial art.
Question : What do you feel sets Seibukan apart from other karate styles?
Answer : Seibukan, in my mind, is set apart from other karate styles by several reasons. First is its purity in lineage. There is very little deviation in the lineage tree of Seibukan. Direct from Grandmaster Chotoku Kyan to Master Zenryo Shimabukuro to his son, Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro. We are very fortunate that we have such a pure lineage line in our style of karate.
Secondly, is the consistency in our training methods and philosophy of how Seibukan students must train. From Kihon Renshu to Zenshin Kotai, to Ippon Kumite, we are all practicing the same basics with the same intensity in our training efforts. Some karate systems develop unique training standards among different dojos. When you come to a Seibukan seminar or dojo, no matter what country you go to, we all practice the same techniques and basics. Our techniques are not designed to be used solely in tournament combat, or to apply our training to only self defense fighting. We practice to build character, bring mind and body together in unison, to exercise what we learn in our real lives, and become an honorable person, trustworthy, compassionate, a person of strong character.
Lastly is all the students and sensei that are involved in Seibukan. We are all like brothers and sisters. Many of us have known each other for many years, some for a very short amount of time, but we all are in the Seibukan family. It is rare indeed to find such a close group of friends in karate-do in such a large world we live in.