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Brief History

Brief History
Kodokan Judo
Our Senseis
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SEIDOKWAN takes its name from the Japanese Kanji characters meaning "SEI" (sincerity), "DO" (the way), and "KWAN" (academy).

The first SEIDOKWAN was located on Rachel St. (1952), in a Centre de Loisirs run by the local Catholic parish.  Subsequent locations during the period 1953-1966 were:  a building at the corner of Drolet and Duluth, a Catholic community center at 175 Sherbrooke St. East,  and 34 Notre-Dame St. East. 

For many years, from 1966 to 1983, the club was located at 305 Décarie North (close to the Decarie/Metropolitan Blvd. intersection), and between 1983-1989 was located at Victoria and Jean Talon and at the CEGEP du Vieux Montréal.  SEIDOKWAN moved to Sunnybrooke Community Center  from 1989 to 1997, and currently at 10417A Gouin Blvd. in Roxboro.

SEIDOKWAN was founded in 1952 by a group of issei and nissei Japanese Canadians who wanted to form a Judo school in Montreal.  Many had practiced Judo in British Columbia before the relocation of all Japanese Canadians during World War II and they wanted to have their children receive the discipline and physical training that Judo provides.             

The founding members of SEIDOKWAN could be considered as the entire Japanese Canadian community at that time, since everyone gave their time and effort to building, and participating in the school during its rocky beginnings.  There was, however, a core of judoka around whom the club was established: Mr. Kametaro Akiyama*, Mr. Fred Y. Okimura, Mr. Harold Hideo Tokairin*.

The above gentlemen, along with the following Judo enthusiasts formed the initial SEIDOKWAN: Mr. Kyosuke Asano (1st President of SEIDOKWAN)*, Mr. Ryukichi Miyake*, Rev. Yoshio Ono*, Mr. Fujikazu Tanaka (2nd President of SEIDOKWAN)*.  Another group of members who deserve special mention were Mr. Y. Niiya, Mr. B. Sakamoto, and Mr. S. Koyama who contributed their time and effort in constructing most of the judo facilities such as the platform for the tatami, dressing rooms and offices.

One gentleman who had a strong influence behind the scenes was Mr. Atsumu "Sen" Kamino*, often called the "GODFATHER" of Judo in Canada.  He devoted a great deal of his time encouraging many of the issei and nissei judoka to continue to practice Judo and to form clubs in their region of the country.

After the club's initial conception, the membership quickly grew to include members from all origins and walks of life and from all parts of Montreal. The club has been very fortunate in having many of these members become black belts and do well in competitions. Also, many have served on the executive and helped to build the club over the years.

 Many changes have left their mark on the world of judo and that of SEIDOKWAN. All the while, even now that judo has become such an international sport, the club still continues as a non-profit organization and the sensei are all volunteers. The club continues to emphasize the important fundamentals and principles of Judo which so many remember as the SEIDOKWAN trademark.

Seidokwan members in 1958 

Back row:
Jim Saimoto, John Finn, Kevin Jones, Shozo Asano.

Front row:
Doug Rogers*, John MacCormick, Harry Payne.  1958

 *Mr. Rogers would go on to be the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in Judo.  (Silver 1964)

Close-up of the “Bunny Sabbath Trophy”

40th ANNIVERSARY MEMORIES - Memories of Seidokwan (Extracts from the Speech and Presentation by Brian Mitani on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary, 1992)





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