Groundhog Day and Ikuru

Posted on: Wed, 02/15/2017 - 00:00 By: Tom Swiss

These are my mediation lecture notes from February 2nd.

Today is Groundhog Day. This is actually a holdover from the old Celtic holiday of Imbolc — some of you might know it as Candlemas at your church. It’s halfway (give or take a few days) between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The days are starting to get longer, you can see buds starting to swell up on some trees. In one way of figuring the seasons, this is the beginning of spring, while in another it’s the middle of winter — this is probably the root of the story about the groundhog deciding if we get another month and a half of winter.

But today I want to talk about the movie Groundhog Day. It’s a comedy from the 90s, where Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, gets stuck in a time loop while covering the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney. He lives the same day over and over and over again. Whatever he does doesn’t matter, he wakes up the next day and the whole world is reset.

The Cosmopolitanism of Seido Karate

Posted on: Fri, 12/02/2016 - 09:26 By: Tom Swiss

Over the past few weeks there have many disturbing incidents and news stories about bigotry and intolerance. Even before the politics surrounding the election, the FBI reports that “hate crimes” increased last year.

It's becoming clear that a lot of people are afraid of those who are different from them.

I want you to know that Seido Karate stands firmly against this trend. We are an international family. We have dojos in the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Korea, Poland, South Africa, and the UK.

Seido Karate students include Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, Pagans, atheists, agnostics, and pretty much any other religious denomination you can think of. We also include members of all racial and ethnic groups. We are also open and welcoming to the gay and lesbian community. Whoever you are, so long as you respect your fellow students you are welcome to train with us.

Everything Is Contingent

Posted on: Thu, 06/23/2016 - 00:44 By: Tom Swiss

A few weeks ago I attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the World Seido Karate Organization. One evening featured a Seido history roundtable with our founder, Kaicho (Chairman) Tadashi Nakamura and some of his senior students, people who had been there since the start, or nearly so -- or before the start, in some cases, people who had started training with Kaicho Nakamura when he was still part of his old organization, the Kyokushin-kai.

One story that came up is a dramatic event that happened shortly after Nakamura left the Kyokushin-kai. His autobiography tells how he was shot, probably by a Mafia hitman -- I've always gotten a bit of a black humor chuckle of the way the book jacket says he was "gunned down in a Manhattan parking lot" in contrast to the way the calm way the story is told in the book, how he and a few students were trying to fix a flat tire on Nakamura's car (in retrospect, an apparent trap) when they heard a loud noise, and he only realized he'd been shot in the leg when he went to chase after the shooter (!) and his leg started to hurt. Fortunately the bullet had passed cleanly through the muscle. Many of us assumed that the shooter had been trying to "kneecap" him, to end his martial arts career with a crippling injury.

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