A strong family values oriented dojo

Welcome Visitor to Dojo – Everlasting Friendships Tuesday 13th March 2018

Fresh off the plane from working in Washington, USA Sensei Mel brought with her one of her long time friends Jenny Morgan who was visiting Wellington…
Friends since 1986, the pair met at a women’s self defence course where Jenny recommended that Sensei Mel try SEIDO Karate….
The rest is history….we are very grateful that Sensei Mel tried SEIDO as a great number of everlasting friendships have been created because of it….
It was great to meet you Jenny and to have you with us a part of the class last night…
Warmest regards and much love
Ken Szeto, Sensei Mel and all at Lower Hutt Dojo















Amazing Dad’s of Lower Hutt Dojo

Hi, I am Sholto Stephens and I am in the New Zealand Army.
I often have the fortunate opportunity to represent New Zealand overseas – at present I am serving in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan.
My key role here, along with about 150 other Kiwi's, is to help make Bamyan province (about the size of the Manawatu and Taranaki combined) a safer place for people to live their lives in a normal way.
Afghanistan has been a country consumed by internal conflict and war for over thirty years and many Kiwi's have already passed through Bamyan Province (which has a population of about half a million people) to make it safer for them.
When we first arrived here back in 2003 there were no schools open for kids to go to; nowadays there are hundreds of them, for both boys and girls.
This is one of the many signs of the good that has happened since we starting operating in this Province.
I enjoy everything that I do with the New Zealand Army; having the chance to represent my country overseas on missions like this is a real privilege.
He tini mano ringa ka oti ai
121111 Sholto on top of PT hill


For some, this means tying a thin piece of nylon sheet to a back pack with a very thin chord and then hurling themselves off a cliff and give it a cool sounding name like “base jumping”, or striving to be the best of the best, to be an astronaut, or a world leader …… to others it is simply overcoming one hurdle at a time.   This could just be getting out of bed for someone battling cancer, or a car accident victim learning to walk again.


As a child I dreamt at being great, I was confident and always wanted to be the best at everything I did.  I was quietly competitive… “who could do the biggest jump on their push bike?”  “Who was the best skate boarder?”  “Who got the best job, or who got paid the most money”. 


At college I was a bit of a lad, yet at the same time was a quiet achiever.  “I cut the cake and ate it too”, a philosophy I still strive for today.  I studied hard to become an architectural draughtsperson while my mates left school to get normal jobs.  I have pushed myself to become good at snow skiing, water skiing, snow boarding, wake boarding, competed nationally with jet ski racing, surfed, mountain biked, raced moto-x, became an active trail bike rider and experienced parenting (my most rewarding activity to date).


At the age of 39 my passion to be better was under threat.  Coming off my trail bike I tried to pick the 112kg bike up from the muddy bog and I felt a sharp pain, like a knife in my lower back, paralysing and excruciating pain.  I needed someone else to help. This was the beginning of symptoms that turned out to be a long degenerative scoliosis of the spine.  Over the next 12 months the pain became relentless and unbearable during some activities……. needless to say the trail bike got sold and I resigned myself to a sedentary lifestyle (and got fat!!)


Why did I do all the things I did?  I didn’t like missing out, or being left behind…


So, when my mate of two and a half decades (Don, my “brother” from “another mother”) started Seido Karate, I was intrigued myself but found many reasons for not having a go.  My aching back; my right knee ACL reconstruction; my left shoulder rotator cuff tear; my damaged femoral nerve.  Then, my six year old son showed an interest, but he also had excuses due to shyness, so I said I would do it with him.  But, before that, I had to check it out!


I quietly sneaked in to the dojo and sat down on the white plastic chairs as a bunch of crazy people in white pyjamas’ where training and shouting Kiai! …. I was the only spectator…. Not for long! Sensei Ken then stopped the training and approached me to ask if he could help me.  In hind sight I reflect on that statement and feel overwhelmed by how much Sensei Ken and karate has helped me…  “I’m just here to watch, I’m here with him”, (pointing to my mate, Don) to which Sensei Ken replied “there is no spectating in this Dojo…. join in!”


Denim jeans, t-shirt and a pile of sweat.  What a heap of fun and great people!  I was hooked!  So much so, I momentarily forgot about the pain.  However, still battling with the reasons why not, I learnt early on about a non-quitting spirit.  Something I think I always had in me, just temporarily suppressed! 


Despite sometimes being in terrible pain, I now keep telling myself “know no boundaries”, “keep going”. This also flows over into my work and personal life when hurdles are put in my way.


So, I had become a student of Seido Juku Karate – the sincere way!




I mentioned previously how much karate has helped me, it extends far beyond the dojo.


Everyone’s karate journey is unique and their paths are never the same.  My mate (Don) and his partner (Wendy) are like my brother and sister, and the three of us started our journey together, but are now on different paths, all striving to be better.  Better physically, better mentally, better spiritually…. to be better people in very different ways. 


Something that I have always known, but have only recently appreciated, understood and whole heartedly accepted is that it is not about the colour of the belt, it’s not a competition with anybody else but with oneself, to be better today than yesterday, to be better tomorrow than today.


My physical karate may change in the future as my physical health changes, but my karate will not stop.  I will fight to keep my physical health…. relentlessly and to know no boundaries.


While karate has a combat element to it, this is merely one part of the whole for me.  I am a lover, not a fighter but I will fight for love, for my wife, for my son, for my parents, my family and for my dojo family.  My journey is to be a better person, sincere, empathetic, to care for others, to be humble.


I hope that what I do helps someone, somewhere…. just as my Sensei has helped me….. starting with that one statement… “Can I help you?”




“Know no boundaries”









Amazing Dads of Lower Hutt Dojo

We are privileged to have the most amazing students and families at Seido Karate Lower Hutt Dojo….

And proudly we have some of the most amazing Dad’s and Mum’s as well….people who are dedicated to improving the lives of others through their efforts at work and within the community…
Below we highlight the efforts of one the Dojo’s most amazing Dad’s….David Murden….who received a special mention in the Hutt News about his work with the Hutt Valley’s youth.

Gray Family Karate Journey

In the middle of last year (2011) after 6 months of my lovely eldest son struggling socially at school, and have done all that I could with in the framework of the school, I knew that Patrick needed something for himself, to grow his confidence, awareness and something to “ground” him.


Somebody suggested dance, (no that’s not Patrick), martial arts I thought, not Karate (too violent) not Taekwondo (too many legs) Aikido (can’t find a decent schedule anywhere). 


Then I met a lovely bright bubbly lady who suggested Seido Karate (never mind the violence they do meditation). So tentatively I took Patrick along one evening to be told there was a grading on (not a clue as to what that was) stayed and watched, Patrick seemed highly disinterested, I decided it was perfect!!


Patrick was highly reluctant to go to his first class, but afterwards he was hooked and hasn’t looked back since, and always seems to be practising around the house (please Patrick no kiai right now Diana’s asleep). 


As for me, I sat on the sidelines watching, and rather liked what I saw. At first I thought “no I won’t indulge myself in this, it’s for Patrick”, but I couldn’t resist one little class – which I loved, my little voice in my head chipped in though and said “still though this is for Patrick and I’m so busy how can I fit it in. 


A few months later I took Patrick to his Saturday class we arrived rather early and got to watch the adults being taken through their Kata by Sensei Ken.

Sensei Ken put on Earth song on by Michael Jackson, the Kata I saw was beautiful, graceful, dynamic and intense then there was the explosive sound of the “Kiai”. 


In the moment of that sound, the road blocks I had carefully constructed around not doing Karate dissolved and I relented (who can resist a good yell now and then)


A week or two later I went along (because I know one day I’ll get to learn that Kata) and I have loved every moment since – even when I feel like a completely uncoordinated gimp! 


My 6 year old daughter has also got in on the act, and I think my younger 2 children also want a piece of the action.


For me as a person, for a few times a week I get to completely put my attention in one place rather than in the 4 plus place’s it seems to be the rest of the time, and I seem to now be getting a better grip on the mad rush that seems to surround me.


As a mother I’ve seen my son become more grounded and take on more responsibilities at home, plus take a pride in the things he has achieved such getting through his first grading (with some motherly encouragement from the sidelines) and to his great delight obtaining his blue belt.   


The Dojo has become a very special place for my family, not to just train hard in, but to also have fun in and come together with others to create a truly warm and encouraging community.


Many thanks to Sensei Ken for the all the time and energy he devotes, it is truly appreciated.


Anna Gray


The Sharma Family Story

Our family karate journey began when both my little heroes Aman and Abhay started putting themselves into the large shoes of Jaden Smith after watching his movie' The Karate Kid'

There used to be a lot of practise of untrained techniques such as punching, kicking and balancing on one foot etc

They became so familiar with the movie that the entire movie dialogue was always on the tips of their tongues


Looking at their levels of interest, we decided to put them into a proper Dojo, somewhere where they could learn real karate. I began my enquiries and decided to enrol them at the Lower Hutt Seido Karate Dojo

They were very excited on their first day and when they met Sensei Ken in their first class there was no limit to their fun..!! Even I was amazed at the way he coached the kids

There was absolutely no pressure on the kids as they enjoyed learning karate while they having fun

This was awesome..!!

They started to like the Dojo so much that they literally waited for every next class

Sensei Ken would close every class with words of encouragement and questions to all the kids

As a parent I found this to be most reassuring

Sensei Ken would reinforce the Dojo’s focus on the importance of family by asking the kids questions about themselves and their families….

Sitting there during class, it has been really touching to hear some of the responses from the young children.

We get to hear what our children think about certain things.

As a mum and as parents we get to hear what’s on the minds of our kids when Sensei Ken asks each child questions like:

“Why do you think your mum and dad are important to you?”

“Why is it important to look after everyone in your family, especially mum and dad?”

“What do you want to become when you grow up?”

Also Sensei Ken teaches the kids to set goals, to stay determined no matter what gets in the way, to keep their spirits high, to work hard and to practise every day

All these things have benefitted my children a lot personally


They are being mentored by one special person and as a parent we only want our kids to be good human beings first and foremost

How different my two children are……Aman serious and quiet, Abhay carefree and boisterous

When Aman started he was much more serious than Abhay and picked things up very fast at the Dojo

Abhay on the other hand was always naughty and did not have much focus and seemed to have the Dojo record for being asked to sit by the rubbish bin when naughty in class

Despite of all my many lengthy talks about his behaviour in the Dojo, he hardly showed any glimpses of improvement early on.

I have had discussions with Sensei Ken about his behaviour and he has always been optimistic about Abhay and said that young boys always take a little longer to adjust to the behaviour required in the Dojo……all he needs is time

I was relieved to be told by Sensei Ken that Abhay was a fun child and a pleasure to have at the Dojo


We have always tried to bring out the confidence and will power that we knew was in Aman and when he was asked to do his first grading we did not know what to expect

We were excited to see his performance in front of so many people on his first grading

This was a big event for us as we wanted to see whether he could successfully overcome his fear and stand in front of everyone and demonstrate his best

Aman succeeded in his grading and it was indeed a time for us to celebrate as a family

Aman’s grading has had a positive effect upon on Abhay and he has started to improve concentrate and efforts in the Dojo. He has shown much determination in trying to get his third stripe on his belt so that he can then be included in the next children’s grading group


But the challenges keep coming….next the Quadrangular Tournament at the South Wellington Seido Dojo

When the Quadrangular tournament dates were announced I asked Aman what events he would like to consider entering…..he selected the Sumo event only and did not feel ready to compete in the other events such as tag, individual kata and team kata

In the lead up to the tournament Sumo was practiced quite a bit at the Dojo and even by Aman at home too, on me….

With the forms completed I asked Sensei Ken to look at Aman’s entry form and see whether he might be good enough to try the other events

Tournament day arrived on Sunday the 7th May 2012

Indeed it was a great event…well at least for me and husband Nag as it was our first tournament experience with the children

Aman was very nervous on the day and even the day before

He was shivering when we stood on the mats of the South Wellington Seido Dojo

Fortunately, the first events started with Sumo, Aman was confident about Sumo and he gave his very best and made the final and placed second in this event

We were so elated to see the happiness on his face and the pleasure of achievement in his eyes

It was worth multi millions to us……

We thought that that was it for Aman…..but no, there was a big surprise waiting….

We were shocked to find his name listed in the individual kata events

Sensei Ken had entered Aman for Individual kata..!!

Honestly I wasn’t sure that Aman would be good enough for individual kata, as he had not focused on kata for the tournament

Every time his name was called to perform his kata he gave his best with strong stances and loud kiai

To our absolute surprise and amazement Aman went on to compete in the final and won first place…..


This is the wonderful level of confidence that Sensei Ken has instilled in his students

All our personal gratitude goes to Sensei Ken for having faith in Aman and his abilities

Both Nag and I felt so proud of his achievements on the day that were on the top of the universe!!!!

We are sure that Aman has gained a lot of positives from the whole experience and will learn to apply these in his young life


We are indeed very grateful to Sensei Ken for having given Aman the opportunity of challenging himself with competition and experiencing his own success

Although Abhay was disappointed that he was not able to compete because of the age restrictions of the tournament he learnt to enjoy the day by positively encouraging his brother and all his Dojo friends by cheering loudly and keeping their spirits high with his humour

He is now confident that he will make his mark very soon if given an opportunity

Our heartfelt thanks go to all the senior students who have been encouraging and supporting not only our kids but all the children of the Seido Lower Hutt Dojo and providing them all with such a wonderful confidence building and caring launch pad for their futures


The Sharma Family


Kia Ora From the Lewin Whanau

Thank you so much for your email.

What an amazing photo….

All the credit for the kids achievements on Sunday at the Quadrangular Tournament must go to you.

My kids are all so appreciative of the support and time that Don and Wendy have for them and all the other children from the Lower Hutt Dojo.

There is another special person who is just like his dad, that they would also like to thank.

Yes, it is your son Leighton. What a great son you have and yes, Caitlyn wants to take him on.

Kingi is just amazed he makes time for him and for Mikayla, well she just finds him so talented.

Tony and I are so glad that the kids have been given the opportunity to join the Lower Hutt Dojo.

What you have taught our kids (respect, self-achievement, setting goals, personal well-being and self-discipline) the list goes on. They have implemented these values at home and at school.

Thank you Sensei Ken.

Training at home is done by personal choice.

will always find Mikayla and Kingi practicing what they have been taught daily.

As for Caitlyn she is very stubborn and chooses to do things when it suits her (which is very late at night and in the early hours of the morning).

Tony and I are getting used to their screaming and yelling, at least it’s for a positive purpose.

Despite having studied karate myself, I personally have not taught my kids any Karate, which does annoy them at times.

It was their choice to take up Karate, I'm just so glad we found you.

We don't set high expectations for our kids, but encourage them to do their best and persevere with any challenges that arise.

Here is a Maori proverb that we bestow on our kids


….Whaia te iti kahuranga ki te tuahu koe me hemaunga teitei"…..


Aim for the highest cloud, so that if you miss it you will hit a lofty mountain.

Which is often interpreted as giving your heart and soul to any project to reach your goals, but if you don't quite make it you are one step closer. With perseverance comes achievement.

Once again thank you Sensei Ken, what a great mentor you are.

Arohanui. The Lewin Whanau.


How our family got involved

Submitted by Don Beattie

Dad, check out this move that Sensei Ken taught us tonight….”insert ouch here”……

Now, as all us parents know, when our children come home all excited about something they have just learned, they want to share it with us!

“OK Dad, stand like this”…. Liam pushes my back leg out and makes me bend my front leg so I look like a geriatric hurdle jumper in reverse…”lower Dad, it’s called zem-coochie-dancie”…my front leg is burning now, “hold the stance Dad, and don’t move!”

“Hurry up Liam, this is killing me” I tell him. “Ok, when I tell you, I want you to lunge forward and throw a punch at me and I will show you how to block it” he says with all the confidence of a seasoned MMA fighter, “….ready……GO!!”

This is pretty much where my journey into the world of Seido Karate began, standing in my kitchen in a strange stance, legs burning, throwing punches at my son who responds with a barrage of defensive moves . I am sure anyone looking in from outside would have called Child, Youth and Family Services and reported us, but the only one with bruises afterwards was me!

“Dad, you should come along and watch, you might like it, and you don’t have to join in if you don’t want too”.

I must say at this point I was a Dad who had little to no interest in karate, this was something my son wanted to pursue but I really wanted him to apply himself more to his Rugby. My lack of interest along with my large workload meant I was not giving Liam and his new passion the attention they deserved. This was all about to change with Liam’s first grading coming up.

I went along to a couple of his classes and distinctly remember feeling very uncomfortable the first time I entered the Dojo. I sat close to the door so I could escape should they try to drag me up and promptly pulled out my phone to try and look busy. I did my best to just fade into the background but little escapes the eye of Sensei Ken who quickly noticed the new face and headed over to introduce himself, shaking my hand and slightly bowing as he did so.

Sitting next to me he told me about Liam’s progress in his first 4 months of karate. He commented on Liam’s strengths and how he saw him as a great kid with loads of potential. He welcomed me into his Dojo and into the extended Seido family with open arms and a warmth that really captured me. I could feel the strength of this guy just from sitting next to him, and throughout the class watched as he taught my child how to push himself to be a better person. The class ended with the children being reminded to always show love and respect to their parents and those around them and to try hard in everything they do.

I was literally blown away with what I had just seen.

After going back to watch a few more of Liam’s classes it was time for Liam’s first grading. It was a Friday night and the kids were all excited about what was about to transpire, Liam looked worried but ready. Earlier in the week Sensei Ken had pushed the grading group pretty hard in class to give them a taste of what to expect and, without going into detail, Liam came away doubting he could do it. The grading got under way and I watched as the children pushed as hard as they could to show what they knew. Liam dug really deep and I must say that until this point I had never seen him display so much determination and drive, I was truly inspired.

I went away from Liam’s grading and reflected on what I had just seen. I looked back to the first day I stepped into Sensei Ken’s Dojo, remembered the feeling of strength that emanated from him. I thought about the respect his students have for him and the respect he shows them in return. I thought about the elation I had seen on my sons face, the massive sense of achievement he was feeling and the camaraderie he had built up with others, children and adults alike, in the Dojo.

I wanted to be a part of this.

A couple of weeks later I found myself standing on the Dojo floor in that same “zem-coochie-dancie” stance, looking like a geriatric hurdle jumper trying to keep up with the other students. I had no idea what this crazy little Chinese guy was yelling at us, all I could pick up was that we were all terrible and too slow, that our OSU wasn’t loud enough and that the word is Kiai not Hi-yah, Eeee-yah or a loud grunt! I was sweating profusely and my tracksuit pants were about to cause me an injury but boy was I having some fun!

I would be a liar if I said I was not nervous about joining in, and it took me a number of weeks to zone out to the people watching from the bench. For some of us the first step is so hard to take, some of us are really self-conscious, some of us doubt our fitness, and some of us are just plain scared to take that leap into the unknown. These are the exact things that makes every day I train in karate so special to me. I was self-conscious, worried about my fitness level and scared in my first class too but I challenged myself to take the leap and have not regretted it.

Since joining Sensei Ken’s Seido Karate Dojo, my wife Wendy has also joined. Wendy, Liam and I are a family that plays together and I firmly believe that we are a family that will go all the way together. We are also a part of a bigger family, the Lower Hutt Seido Karate family who have welcomed us with open arms. 

We are a family that decided to join the game and not just watch from the bench, why don’t you come and join our family too?

  • Station Village Complex
    Upstairs Studio (next to Laughalots Play Land)
    499 Hutt Road
    Lower Hutt
    Ken Szeto, Instructor