Continuing the Legacy: Nidaime Akira Nakamura
About Nidaime Akira Nakamura
Reflecting on his training, Nidaime has said, “I don’t think there was ever an exact date to say when I began my karate training. It’s all I knew growing up. Kaicho would teach me, but that was just something we did. It’s the way I grew up. It’s my life.”
Nidaime A. Nakamura taught his first class at Honbu in 1996. Soon after, he approached Kaicho and his mother about working at the dojo after college graduation. Although he would not be using his B.F.A. in architecture, he believed that his college experience had fostered a work ethic that he could apply anywhere. Putting himself at the heart of Seido, alongside Kaicho, seemed a natural progression.
Now, more than 25 years later, Nidaime’s classes include every level from beginner white belts to senior black belts, with specialized classes for kata, kumite, conditioning, and weapons. He is also a chief instructor, along with Kaicho, at Johshin Honzan. In 2008, Kaicho formally named his son as his rightful successor and bestowed on him the exclusive title of “Nidaime” (“ni” for second, or next in line). Nidaime travels regularly to branches worldwide to conduct seminars, and works with Branch Chiefs and head instructors to ensure that the syllabus material and general instruction remain consistent with Honbu guidelines.
Nidaime served as Director of Seido’s 5-day 30th Anniversary Celebration (SAITEN) in 2006, an international event that brought in more than 1,500 registrants. He also organized and directed Go-En, a week-long 40th anniversary celebration held in Westchester County. He continues to organize and direct many of Seido’s annual events, which include Black Belt Clinic, the Inter-Dojo Tournament, Gasshuku (a summer retreat), and the Annual Seido Anniversary and International Benefit Tournament.
In the spring of 2012, Kaicho and Nidaime traveled to Japan for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Seido Aichi branch. The trip included a visit to Atsuta Jingu in Nagoya, where they were granted special permission by the shrine to present Seido to the Budo god of that location. It was at this event that Kaicho presented Nidaime with the ceremonial belt that he himself had worn 35 years before, and promoted Nidaime to the rank of 8th Dan (degree), in recognition of his position within the organization and knowledge of the Seido syllabus. Nidaime humbly accepted these honors and vowed to continue dedicating his life to preserving the integrity of Seido, while defining the kind of leader he should be to guide the organization in the years to come.
Being raised in a family that embraced American culture while retaining a strong connection to its Japanese heritage has contributed to Nidaime’s strengths. He has been greatly influenced by his parents: Kaicho, an exceptional leader with an unfaltering dedication to sharing the heart of karate with the world, and Mrs. Nakamura, a woman of humor, resourcefulness, and unfailing devotion to her family. Bolstering this foundation are Nidaime’s sons, Issei and Tai, who are his greatest joys and inspirations, elevating him to meet every goal he sets for himself and to be the best role model he can be, both on and off the dojo floor.
When asked about his biggest challenge, he maintains that it is “bridging the nuances of east and west, but also connecting the past with the future…all while staying in the present.”