Shihan Stiltner began training with Master Toma, the Founder of Seidokan, in the mid-1970s. Following is a brief biography of Master Toma and his development of Seidokan.
Master Shian Toma was born on the island of Okinawa in 1929. He began his journey into the martial arts at the age of 16 while in Osaka, Japan, where he resided for a year during World War II. After he returned to Okinawa, Sensei Toma began to study under Master Shinzato Sokishi. Master Sokishi taught only four kata: Seisan, Sanchin, Chinto, and Bo. This may seem like a small number, but most of the old Okinawan masters were inordinately strict about the execution of kata. Sensei Toma practiced Seisan Kata for more than a year before Master Sokishi would allow him to learn another kata. Sensei Toma spent over 20 years as Master Sokishi’s student.
During the early 1960s, Sensei Toma became affiliated with the All-Japan Karate Association, which was under the guidance of Grand Master Zenryu Shimabuku. Master Shimabuku taught Sensei Toma the majority of the kata he would incorporate into Seidokan, including: Wansu, Ananku, Passai, Pinan 1 – 5, Nahachi, Passai-Sho, Gojushijo, Tonfa, and Kama Kata.
A few years later, in the mid-1960s, Sensei Toma began to train under Grand Master Seikichi Uehara, the head of the Motobu-Ryu system of Bu-Jutsu. According to the official Seidokan website, “The Motobu-Ryu system is a little known Okinawan martial art that strongly resembles the old fighting methods of the Japanese Samurai.” Though, as the Seidokan site points out, Motobu-Ryu incorporates throwing and joint-locks that more resemble Japanese Aiki Ju-Jutsu.
In 1984 Master Toma created Seidokan, a style that mixes several Karate styles, including: Shorin-Ryu, Motobu-Ryu, and Goju-Ryu. Master Shian Toma’s Seidokan is now taught throughout Okinawa, Japan, the United States, Greece, Spain, England, and South Africa.
Master Shian Toma passed away on May 30, 2013, but his legacy continues through the innumerable students across the world dedicated to maintaining the quality and perpetuity of his style as well as through Seidokan, which is now under the direction of Master Tamae, long-time student of Master Toma.
* Much of the above information about Master Toma and the history of Seidokan was retrieved from the Seidokan website.
* Read more about Shihan Stiltner and his development of Toku-Kai.