Seikeikan History

Seikeikan in Burlington

Sensei Springer explains the origins of Seikeikan

"In 1963 Masatoshi (Bill) Umetsu started a Judo club in Burlington, Ontario. He called it Seikeikan Judo Club. Umetsu sensei was a very strong competitor and was particularly skilled in mat work. He was so strong that he was nicknamed "the human hoist".

The name was derived from the fact that if he was held down on his back on the ground he could pick up his opponent and turn his opponent off himself and then pin him on the ground so that he could not escape. His tachi waza consisted of techniques to take the opponent to the ground. So you might guess that Sutemi Waza techniques were his favourites.

However, he was particularly good at Tai Otoshi, and Uki Goshi. Both Umetsu brothers were strong judoka. Jack (Toru) was very very quick as I found out when I practiced with him. He didn't practice as much at the Seikeikan.

The Symbol that is used for Seikeikan is the plum blossom "ume". This was the crest that Umetsu sensei used as a family crest.


The concept of Seikeikan deals with the idea that, to learn a martial art, is to learn the lessons of life. Umetsu sensei was skilled in the Japanese Language and he particularly was fond of the derivation of characters. The first character "Sei" is derived from a old character for a tool used in the honing of wood. He uses that character to describe the lessons of life, because he said it is from the lessons of life that a person should fine tune his or her character.

The second character, "Kei", deals with a foot path or if you wish the foot path of life that we all walk. Kan of course means a practice hall. So the term Seikeikan as Umetsu sensei meant it to be means:


"A practice place for honing your character as you walk the path of life"