My Seito Years

My Seito Matsumura Shorin-Ryu Years

During my first summer break from DCU after serving as a resident instructor for DCU|MAC for a semester, I realised that I needed to find somewhere to train for the summer to stay sharp.  I had determined that I wanted to supplement my TKD years with a focus on self-defence rather then sport.  Luke, my brother, had just joined a Kenpo Karate club in our hometown.  I decided to take a look at the club for myself.

What I found was Master Nicolas Burke, a veteran of many martial arts styles.  After a brief discussion with Sensei Burke I realised that not only had I found a club that would keep me sharp, but also an instructor who had already taken the path I wished to travel.  Sensei Burke's instruction is all about determining the quickest way to end a conflict.  It may not have the flair of competitive fighting, but it is very effective.

At the time I joined, Sensei Burke was transitioning from Kenpo Karate instruction to Seito Matsumura Shorin-Ryu instruction.  He had been invited by a prominent American Grand-Master to join his organisation and become a student of his style.  Sensei agreed and along with various Irish Masters formed the USKK Europe.  This organisation provided me the opportunity to become European Kata Champion (2000, Senior Male Brown Belt) and to train with masters from two continents.

Sensei Burke provided much, much more.  From him I learned about the mindset that made martial arts practical in street defence.  I learned that a student must think for themselves and develop their own understanding to become a true artist.  I learned that even Masters can learn new things.  All true artists are always students.

I also learned that the political side of the martial arts community can never over-shadow the substance of martial arts unless we allow it to.  Unfortunately, the USKK and USKK-Europe did not turn out to be the brotherhood it promised to be.  Shortly after I immigrated to the United States, members of the organisation made of mistake of believing they should and could tell Sensei Burke whom he could or could not invite to his dojo to train and share knowledge.  Ultimately, Sensei Burke determined that the only way he could stay above the politics was to leave the organisation.

Mr. Burke is the only individual I will refer to as my Sensei.  He is way ahead of me on the path I wish to travel.  There is only one individual who has influenced me as much as he has.  I still regard myself a member of his Seikawa Dojo and visit there when I return home.  Conversely, my school is considered as part of his Seito Ireland organisation.

I consider Seito Matsumura Shorin-Ryu Seikawa-Ha to be my core element of my personal art.  I am still developing my own interpretation of this ancient art form.  It serves as the foundation of philosophy and technique that I will continue to build upon through studying with other martial artists.

Seito Matsumura Ryu Black-Belt