True Karate-Do it’s not strictly for technique but for developing your mind. Karate is for life. It is a way of life, a way of thinking.Seiji Nishimura
Having a competitive career second to none, Seiji Nishimura is one of Japan’s most successful, kumite competitors, spanning over an eight-year period. Being both a Wado-Ryu and Goju-Ryu competitor, sport Karate is just a small part of his overall Karate journey.
Seiji Nishimura was born in Kumamoto, Japan, on 9 June 1956.
In 1970, when he was 13, Nishimura began learning Wado-Ryu Karate. He was greatly influenced by Bruce Lee. At Kumamoto Prefectural Chinzei High School’s Karate club he trained every day for about 2-3 hours. He particularly loved the kumite aspects of his training. He also had the opportunity to train with Wado-Ryu founder, Hironori Ohtsuka.
Nishimura was awarded his 1st Dan in 1973.
On graduating from high school, Nishimura enrolled at Fukuoka University, where he studied Commercial Sciences. He joined the University’s Karate club, where he trained in Goju-Ryu Karate.
Nishimura graduated from Fukuoka University in March 1979. The following year he started working at Sato Shoji Co. Ltd, Tokyo Headquarters. Around this time he resumed his Wado-Ryu training under Toru Arakawa.
At university Nishimura had competed in inter-university Karate matches. After university, he continued competing. In 1980, at the 35th Tochigi National Sports Festival Tournament, he won gold in the 70 kg division.
In 1980 Nishimura were selected to join the Japanese Karate Team, thus beginning a very successful competitive career.
1981 was a big competitive year for Nishimura. At the 9th All Japan Karatedo Championships held in Tokyo, he won the Men’s Individual Kumite -70 kg title. That year he represented Japan in two international tournaments. At the 4th World Games held in Santa Clara, California, he won a bronze medal in the Men’s Individual Kumite. He also competed at the 4th Asia-Pacific Karatedo Championships held in Australia, where he won a gold medal in the Men’s Individual Kumite.
Since he has started training, Nishimura had dreamt of becoming a World Champion. He had the opportunity at his first world championship in 1982. At the 6th WUKO World Karate Championships held between 21-25 November in Taipei, Taiwan, he won gold. He defeated Mika Manninen in the final of the Men’s Individual Kumite -70 kg division.
In 1983 at the 5th Asia-Pacific Karatedo Championships, Nishimura was a double gold medallist. He won the Men’s Individual Kumite -70 kg title. He also won the Men’s Open Weight title.
From 1981-1988 he won almost every tournament he entered. His tournament successes include:
- World Karate Championships – 1st place (1982)
- Karate World Cup – 1st place (1984)
- World games – 3rd place (1981)
- Asia-Pacific Karatedo Championships – 1st place (1981, 1983, 1985, 1987)
- All Japan Karatedo Championships – 1st place (1981, 1987)
- All Japan Karatedo Championships – 2nd place (1983) line
- Wadokai All-Japan Karatedo Championships – 1st place (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987)
- Wadokai All-Japan Karatedo Championships – 2nd place (1982)
- Karate Open de Paris – 1st place (1983, 1985)
After retiring from a successful competitive career, Nishimura was appointed a National Team Coach for the Japan Karate Federation (JKF), in 1988. He held the position until 2004.
In 1989 Nishimura became a member of the Japanese Academy of Physical Education. The following year he also became a Director of the Fukuoka University Karate club. He helped coach a new generation of competitors.
In 2016 Nishimura was appointed a senior Director of JKF Wadokai.
Nishimura is well-respected in Karate circles for his exceptional kumite. Shotokan master, Hiroshi Shirai invited him to conduct a course in Italy. This course was held between 30 April to 1 May 2016.
Karate has been an integral part of Nishimura and his family’s life. He and his wife Mariko have three children, Seita, Sho, and Ken, all of who practice Karate.
Nishimura’s son, Ken, has followed in his father’s footsteps in representing Japan as a kumite competitor. In 2019 at the Asian Karate Championships, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, he won gold in the -75 kg event.
Nishimura currently teaches at his dojo in Fukuoka. He is also frequently invited to conduct courses and seminars around the world.
For Nishimura, the mind plays a very important part in Karate. Karate is not just a physical pursuit. The mind is an important part of Karate that must be cultivated.
Karate is not just a sport for Seiji Nishimura, it is a way of life. This is best summed up by the following quote from him:
Competition in Karate is simply a sport. Nothing more, nothing less. But Karate-do is Budo, and Budo is something that you take with you for the rest of your life. Karate doesn’t end when your competition years are over. It lasts until you die. If you approach Karate like it was a sport, you are missing the point.