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SEIKIDO means vital force that enlivens the universe. Seikido is a relatively new martial art, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in October, 2017. It is founded mainly upon Tae Kwon Do and Aikido techniques, both of which have their origins in older martial arts. The founders of the Seikido School have incorporated over fifty years of combined experience into the present curriculum. Douglas Gagel was a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and subsequently learned Aikido. Zivorad Petkovic was a black belt in Hombu Aikido before he studied Tae Kwon Do, also achieving fourth degree. Both continue to practice, learn, and teach the latest unarmed self defence techniques available. Seikido is a form of crossing training based on the principles of two very effective styles, aikido and tae kwon do.
The teaching stresses courtesy, self- control, perseverance and harmony. It will give you self confidence as well as strength and physical fitness. SEIKIDO is suitable for ages six to sixty, male and female.
The sport aspects of Seikido, including tournament competitions, with their striking and blocking techniques, are derived from modern Tae Kwon Do, which was founded by General Choi Hong Hi shortly after World War Two. He, along with other Korean masters, set out standardized principles and rules after studying many older Karate and Kung Fu style arts, especially Japanese Shotokan. Tae Kwon Do masters spend years researching the physics of striking and kicking methods, and developed very effective tournament sparring techniques. The World Tae Kwon Do Federation has recently evolved very sophisticated sparring tactics. What is lacking in modern Tae Kwon Do as a complete martial art are self defence techniques against grappling attacks, especially against much stronger and larger assailants.
Seikido uses self defence techniques which are based mainly upon the Japanese art of Aikido, which was founded by Morihei Ueshiba ("O-Sensei") in Japan around the turn of the century. Ueshiba was a master of Jujitsu and Aikijutsu, as well as sword and spear fighting, before developing Aikido. Aikido is the culmination of decades of refinement of these older Japanese martial arts, and incorporates their most scientifically sound principles. Aikido involves subtle and supple movements, grips, and applications of pressure against vulnerable points of the assailant's anatomy to render him incapable of further assault, by utilizing his own weight and momentum against him. Many techniques are designed to disarm and immobilize attackers who are armed with weapons such as a knife, sword, club, or staff. Modern Aikido has become a demonstration art with no competitive aspects, and lacking effective punching and kicking techniques, as well as sport fighting.
It is the blending of the most modern and scientifically correct techniques derived from Tae Kwon Do and Aikido that makes Seikido unique. The founders built upon these foundation arts, both of which are considered the pinnacle of their respective styles, and developed techniques unique to Seikido.
Seikido attempts to build a strong sense of justice, fortitude, and humility, with its strict discipline, physical conditioning, and mental training. A proper mental attitude is necessary to separate the true practitioner from the sensationalist content with learning only the fighting techniques of the art. Qualities most respected in the Seikido practitioners are benevolence, politeness, honour, and loyalty.
Seikido instruction is standardized according to sanctioned rankings, with all branch schools utilizing the same requirements for student advancement. Korean and Japanese terminology are often used to identify specific techniques and procedures. Seikido students can attend other Tae Kwon Do or Aikido schools throughout the world, understand the instructions, and generally maintain their ranking.
Some time ago, in 1987, the practitioners of various different martial arts joined together, taking the most effective techniques from some older styles to create a new martial art. Our intention was never to diminish the need for any style already taught, but to enhance the more realistic applications of these styles for contemporary self defence. At first, we held separate tae kwon do and aikido classes, every third class focusing on the implementation of techniques from the other style. We began to explore how we might contract (tae kwon do) and expand (aikido) our ki, our energy, at the same time. As time progressed, we persisted with rigorous training in both of the arts separately, with the ultimate goal of eventually combining them.
The development of our students was on the highest level. Those who excelled in tae kwon do participated actively and successfully in tournaments, while those who excelled in aikido attended numerous seminars in the art. Even with the successes we saw, we continued to lose some of our best students, who would learn to prioritize the classes to only attend those suitable to their needs. For our tae kwon do fanatics, winning trophies at tournaments led them to believe that their future was in sparring and patterns (katas), while other students were praised in aikido seminars, and grew to prefer the more spiritual side of martial arts. It would be several years before these students returned to continue their search for what they felt was missing in each of their preferred martial art forms.
During this time, tae kwon do itself went through some major changes, as all ITF (International Tae Kwon Do Federation) schools were pressured to become part of the Olympic sport version of tae kwon do, WTF (World Tae Kwon Do Federation). Tae kwon do was becoming tae kwon (the sport) instead of tae kwon-do (the way). We remained neutral, endorsing both federations and continuing to practice in our own way, while aikido, rich with many disciples of the founder, O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, continued to lead us on a course of self-discovery.
Seikido, our form born from the fundamentals of these two styles, may seem to some like a variation on something already in existence, and we believe strongly in recognizing our inheritance from these two styles. Our hope is that the do—the way—of Seikido will represent the same values that true martial artists strive for all over the world.
Seikido was able to foresee a need for a new modern martial art form. Seikido began from a defiant need to express oneself without limitations, and the ability to change in an instant, one moment like an immovable rock in a strong tide, the next flowing like the water around that rock. Moving from a show of strength through sparring and board breaking, to harmonizing through blending and redirecting movement. Our intent, then, was never to divert anyone from their path in discovering the essence of budo (the way of the warrior), but to enrich their ability to engage in self defence, the key reason many people join martial arts.
Seikido means the way of the universal force, the force dominating the well-being of every living thing and the force of the universe. Through encouraging breath meditation, we visualize techniques practiced during classes, with a goal of bringing ourselves closer to an understanding of the importance of relaxation and unifying body and mind. Each of us must feel free to search the universe in our own way, to rid ourselves of negativities, and to purify ourselves. We must strive not only towards personal enlightenment, but towards the harmonizing with others, creating a more peaceful and caring society—only then can Seikido truly be understood. For those students who have understood the depth of Seikido, it has not only become impossible to leave it behind, but we have sought to expand on our original ideas and continue to grow.
The diligence with which some of the very first students studied Seikido, grasping and adapting to it, was a strong encouragement for us all—students and founders—to continue to develop our style. Seeing the first Seikido black belts implement extension and contraction simultaneously without hesitation and at last understanding the essence of Seikido was our greatest reward. We could see the path before us, leading into the new millennium and towards our goal of enlightenment. With practice, each of us could and would become more fulfilled as individuals through the art of Seikido.