CAPITAL DISTRICT For Hanshi William Reid, Seido Karate is more than just a form of martial arts, but a way of life.
The owner of U.S. Budokai Karate in Albany said the ancient Japanese program is “not just a bunch of punching and kicking,” as some people perceive it to be. It’s also not about causing harm to others.
“It’s a very honorable way to lead your life,” he said. “It’s about having a stronger personality, and not being afraid of facing challenges.”
Reid has been studying and training students in several forms of martial arts for nearly 40 years, but in March of 1987 he opened U.S. Budokai to strictly teach Seido Karate. His classes use as much traditional Japanese theory as possible, and are about “building a strong mind, body and spirit to foster self-esteem.”
U.S. Budokai offers classes for every age range, from toddler to senior. Children 3 to 7 years old are placed in the Tiny Tigers group, while those 7 to 12 years old can enter the Junior’s class. Everyone over 12 is placed within the adult class so older students can help mentor the young. Reid said all beginners start by learning basic technique and movement, so everyone can participate.
“The classes contain no physical contact for almost a year, so students can understand the background of the art form,” said Reid. “It’s also getting the body in condition to handle the more advanced techniques.”
Reid said those first classes are about teaching students how to be aware of their surroundings. They then work up to defense methods. “It’s essentially learning how to fight, so you don’t have to fight,” he said. “It’s a hard concept.”
Younger students are also taught how to use karate to prevent bullying, but not through violence.
“We teach students how to carrying themselves, so they aren’t seen as a weak link that can be picked on,” he said. “We even go as far as having them walk the floor and show them how to walk, where to look, and to be confident. It can be a huge weapon against bullying to not look like a target.”