Biography of Saeki Sensei
Founder of Ottawa JKA and CJKF Chief Technical Director
Saeki Sensei holds a 7th degree black belt and is the most senior ranking JKA instructor in Canada. He has been granted special rights to conduct up to sandan (3rd degree black belt) examinations in Canada. Listed in the official JKA handbook, he is also a qualified A-class instructor, A-class examiner and judge. Saeki Sensei currently serves as member of the Masters Committee and member of the International Board of Directors.
Born in Japan, Saeki Sensei started his karate training at the age of 14 in his home town Toyama. Armed with an eagerness to learn and fierce determination, Saeki Sensei enrolled as a student at the JKA headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. It was there he met his mentor, Tanaka Sensei , a former world champion fighter and one of the handful of people who have earned the distinction of 8th degree black belt.
Saeki Sensei first arrived in Canada in 1973 as a tourist. His newfound Canadian friends were awed by his technical command and commitment to Shotokan Karate and together convinced him to stay to teach them the art. With the support of his students, he soon opened his own dojo and the Ottawa JKA was born. Ten years later, the late Nakayama Sensei honoured both Saeki Sensei and his students by officially opening Ottawa JKA's current home located at 475 Cambridge Street South in Ottawa.
Saeki Sensei's enthusiasm for Karate and notable technical expertise attract people from around the world to Ottawa to train with him. Committed as ever to mastering his martial art and imparting his knowledge and love for Karate to others, he travels to Japan twice a year to train at the Honbu dojo in Tokyo.
Master the Empty Mind: Sensei Saeki's Karate Philosophy
The training of Karate brings one closer to the state of death. While it strengthens the body, and so may be seen as prolonging life, Karate training also engenders humility and discipline, and dispels feelings and thoughts of anger, fear and helplessness. This quietness - or emptiness - of mind mimics the experience of death.
As Karatekas gain mastery over their egos, thoughts and emotions through training, they better understand death and so are better able to appreciate and respect its opposite - life. After years of practice, one can empty the mind so that it is open to everything. It is then that one experiences and acts precisely without hesitation or distraction.
In a combat context, having an empty mind enables a martial artist to perform to his maximum ability. Karatekas who have achieved this level of mental discipline do not feel the need to prove themselves in any way and are not afraid to experience pain or lose a battle. Liberated from doubts and fears, they fulfill their maximum potential even in times of danger.
A Karateka's belt symbolizes the emptying of the mind. Once a Karateka has earned a black belt, he or she is a beginner with a mind full of techniques and movements learned through the kyu levels. With practice, the black belt slowly wears to white. Meanwhile, the Karateka's body slowly begins to internalize the technique, and acts - and reacts - without direction from the mind. Unneeded, the mind loosens its fixation on the how and why of each movement and instead observes and is open to all around it.
This state of an open, empty mind is known as mushin (無心 or without mind) and is similar to the "awakening" that Zen Buddhists aspire to through meditation.