"Shidokan" - Heritage and Pride A Brief History of Shidokan Kendo & Iaido Club

The Story Begins

Shidokan Kendo Club was founded by Mr. Tamaichi (Douglas) Funamoto, 7th Dan Kyoshi, in 1974. It began as a part of 'Shidokan International', formerly known as 'Shidokan Academy of Martial Arts', which was founded by Judo instructor Mr. Nakamura in 1968.

Since its foundation, Shidokan has produced and been home to many Kendo players in Quebec. In the beginning only Kendo instruction was given, but in 1987 Iaido instruction was officially introduced by Judo and Iaido Legend: Mr. Fred Y. Okimura .

Funamoto Sensei retired from actively participating in class in 1993, but he continued teaching until he became ill in 1997. His students also kept practicing together under his supervision and actively participating in competitions.

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The Communion

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How Shidokan evolved into a "Kendo and Iaido" dojo is greatly due to the hard work and dedication of Santoso Hanitijo, Robert Miller and Dean Jolly. They played an important role in the communion of the two martial arts. They have kept the spirit of both Funamoto Sensei and Okimura Sensei alive and they are the greatest connection to our dojo's legacy.

Former Shidokan Instructors such as Lawrence Tsuji Sensei, who no longer lives in Montreal, keep very close contact with the new generation, regularly visiting and giving valuable advice to keep the true Shidokan spirit alive. We are very lucky to also receive kind advice from former Shidokan members such as Gilles Valiquette Sensei, who was Funamoto Sensei's first student, and now is the head instructor at the Isshin dojo.

The Locations

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The physical location of Shidokan has changed over the years. The Kendo, Iaido, Karate and Aikibudo groups moved from the old location on De Maisonneuve st. to the Gold Gym, and then to the Tri-Star gym on Jean Talon.

Around 1996 the Tri-Star Gym closed down. It was then that a close friend of Santoso Sensei and Robert Sensei : Melarie Taylor Sensei (from Shidokan Karate) secured a time slot at Concordia University, and generously offered a training space for the Kendo group as well. Nowadays Shidokan Kendo & Iaido Club takes up residence primarily at Concordia's Loyola campus (main Kendo and Iaido instruction), and at John Abbott College (Iaido instruction only).

The Friends

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During the time at the Tri-star gym in the 90's, our brothers from the Montreal Kendo Club joined for practice led by their founder and valued friend of Shidokan: Ono Sensei. Until this day Shidokan holds great respect for Ono Sensei, and keeps great relations with the MKC (Nowadays under the guidance of Junko Ariyama Sensei) often visiting each other and enjoying Kendo together as brothers.

Founder of Shidokan, Funamoto Sensei

“His dedication to teaching kendo was tremendous, and his humble nature will be remembered fondly. On a personal note, Funamoto-Sensei was my first kendo Sensei. He was a very patient teacher, and he instilled in me the importance of kendo basics and gentlemanly play. These are things which I will always carry with me. Thank you, Sensei.”
- Lawrence Tsuji

“The irony of his love with fundamentals was the fact that he was famous for being a shiai champion and not having good solid Kendo. He told me that his Kote strike was so good that he went years at a time without ever scoring Men. He never raised his voice at me and I'll never forget his Polident denture smile. We always spoke in Japanese. His pre-war dialect and bluntness with people was priceless. No demographic was safe from his salty criticism. I'm glad that he isn't around to put up with political correctness. His favorite restaurant was KFC of all places”.
- Yutaro Matsuura

Funamoto Sensei passed away on Saturday, February 17, 2001. In the Canadian kendo community, though he practiced kendo in Vancouver before world war two, he will be mostly remembered for helping to introduce kendo in Quebec and founding Shidokan Kendo Club in Montreal and the Vieille Capitale Dojo in Quebec city.

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History in the making

We would like to express our gratitude to Santoso Hanitijo Sensei and Lawrence Tsuji Sensei for granting us access to this graphic material. These photos are truly a treasure for every Shidokan member.

Arigato Santoso Sensei, Arigato Tsuji Sensei !

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For many years to come, Funamoto Sensei and Okimura Sensei's legacy will live on in his students and his teachings will always be Shidokan's most valued treasure.

Shidokan Memorabilia

Thanks to Lawrence Tsuji Sensei: Old Shidokan flyers

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Stories about Shidokan

Shidokan legends Yutaro Matsuura Sensei and Lawrence Tsuji Sensei have shared their thoughts and amazing stories about Shidokan with the new generation. Our immense gratitude for their kindness.

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Arigato Dear Sensei !

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