Here's what people have to say about Shidokan International:
Lee Wedlake talks about being recognized by Shidokan International as a Hanshi level instructor.
From an original student:
When I was ten years old, my parents enrolled me at the House of the Samurai under the
watchful eye of then-Sensei Richie Bernard. At the time, I had no interest in karate - but
they told me to try it for a month and, if it turned out that I didn't like it, then I could
stop. That was in August of 1984. Over the years since, I found a place where I could
achieve and be proud of my accomplishments; where I knew that there were no gifts and that
I'd have to earn whatever rank and status I received; where I could learn to respect myself,
respect others, and become someone worthy of being respected. I was part of something
larger than myself. I could make a contribution. It had value.
I have since left the House of the Samurai, and am now in a position to offer these things to
my own students, in the community where I now reside. My students have the opportunity to
belong to something larger than themselves, and it has become my responsibility to see that
it has value for them. Each September, my dojo hosts the annual Rising Sun Martial Arts
Fall Seminar, to which we invite martial arts schools from around New England. Each year I
remind the students that we belong to a larger community; that we are all travelling up the
mountain together. This, too, has value.
I don't know what my life would be like if I had never trained under Hanshi Bernard. I do
know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it would have been a much poorer life. This is the
debt that cannot be paid back - but must be paid forward.
Rising Sun Martial Arts stands with Hanshi Bernard and Shidokan International. I cannot
express how grateful I am to be a part of this community.
From a transfer:
I joined Shidokan International because, after visiting several Shidokan schools, I could clearly see how much benefit my students and I would receive from being part of this community. I was unsatisfied with the foreign-based organization of which I had been a member, and my options were limited: continuing to send money to the "black hole" in Korea or trying to go it alone. Hanshi-Sei Bernard gave me a real alternative; I could be part of a world-class, legitimate, highly-accredited organization AND have direct contact with the senior hierarchy and other member schools. My students have sometimes questioned why we, as a Tae Kwon Do school, would join a Karate association -- but every single Alpha student has felt the benefit of doing so. The impact on my existing student base was immediate and positive, and we were not forced to change anything.
Hanshi-Sei travelled to my school to advise me on how I could improve my business practices, and by taking his advice my retention has improved and I'm signing up more students than ever. Training with Hanshi-Sei has allowed me to improve my skills as a Martial Artist and as an instructor.
I have never had the slightest regret of joining Shidokan and I in fact feel confident that joining Hanshi Bernard's organization was the single smartest decision I have made as a school owner. In the time since then I have come to view Hanshi Bernard as an adopted father, and Shidokan International as an extended family. I used to wonder what it would be like to be part of an organization that cared about me and my students; now I know.
From a school owner who started with Shidokan International:
Before I opened my school in 1994, I joined Shidokan International. I knew that I needed a solid foundation to get off to a good start. Hanshi Richie Bernard has the business skills as well as the technical skills to help any school prosper. He immediately gave me sound advice and my school did prosper through the rest of the 1990's and the early stages of the next decade. My school started to flounder when the economy took a nosedive and many of the students' parents started to lose their jobs. I was forced to take a full time day job and continued to teach part-time in the evenings and weekends. It was obvious to me that it was only a matter of time before I would have to close my school and go out of business.
Hanshi Bernard realized that I was in dire straits. He started to visit the Dojo weekly. He gave the school a complete makeover from ceiling to floor. He brought in his own instructor, Hanshi Ron Martin, who gave me additional solid recommendations. After this dynamic duo started to focus their energies on my situation the school took an upward turn which enabled me to resign my full time day job to return to teaching full time. Without any doubt, the National Karate Institute would cease to exist if I weren't a member of Shidokan International, an organization that will put you on the pathway to success.
From a family-run school:
Path of the Samurai has been a Shidokan International Dojo since we opened our doors in January of 2005. Our Director Kanrisha Sandi Patterson has been a member since 1998, I am our head instructor Shihan David Patterson, and I have been a member since there was a Shidokan. Hanshi-Sei Bernard, during a visit to our school, approved Path of the Samurai for Ryu-Ha liscensure (number 24) and gifted us with a beautiful certificate, matted and framed for display. In all our years of training we have found Hanshi-Sei to be generous with not only his Karate knowledge, but with his business, personal and legal knowledge and resources.
When Path of the Samurai was nothing more than an embodiment of our need to continue training and teaching, Hanshi-Sei made available to us advice and resources that made our start-up not only easier but more affordable and thus attainable. He asked for nothing in return.
We are a Shidokan dojo for many reasons, some practical and some emotional. I invite you to contact me if you wish to hear more. We Shidokan Schools stand together supporting the same common goals and standards that Hanshi-Sei and Shidokan represent. We each have different perspectives, but respect and appreciate methods and paradigms other than our own. Shidokan International allows us to be a part of a larger entity while preserving our unique identity and not being swallowed up by beaurocracy. If you are a school owner/operator and want support without constraint this will be a good fit for you. If you are a looking to become a student of the Martial Arts please feel free to contact your nearest Shidokan school and set up a visit. If you are in the Barnstead NH area I would love to talk to you about your goals and aspirations.
From a transfer:
I have been a member of Shidokan International for 14 years, after many years with another
organization that got too political for me, so before I joined, I had been around the Karate
scene for many years (now over 30). My association with Hanshi Bernard and later Shidokan
International began back in the early 90s. I walked into his dojo and saw a sea of Black
Belts training in traditional Karate, learning effective self-defense and more
importantly effective life skills. The spirit was high and the etiquette was very
When Shidokan was formed I came on board because I wanted to be associated with men of
character like Hanshi Bernard, who has always put the preservation of authentic,
traditional Karate above all else. From a business perspective, I guess you could say real
Karate is a market niche, no longer the main stream. To teach and carry on with the
teachings of the masters of old separates your dojo from all the fly-by-night dojos that
come and go. To join Shidokan is to continue in a long and storied legacy of great Karate
We started training with Hanshi Bernard at his hombu dojo, House of the Samurai. We saw the benefits of training in our children, as they developed confidence, skills and patience as they focused on their goal of becoming black belts.
We started training, and eventually our entire family became black belts. And Hanshi Bernard and Shidokan were there the entire time to motivate us and keep us focused. Equally important was the depth of skill and knowledge that was passed down to us by instructors who themselves were trained under his guidance.
Years later we had an opportunity to save a Shidokan school that had ceased taking advantage of all that Shidokan offers. We immediately put into motion so much of what we had learned over the years, and experienced growth that exceeded our goals every year since.
We embrace our roots,and our students recognize the value of having a lineage, actually dual lineages, that respect the utmost in tradition and professionalism. With so many "McDojos" out there it is comforting to know that we are part of an organization of substance that truly embodies what the martial arts should be all about.