Shodo means "first move" and seisu means "to control". Therefore, shodo-o-seisu literally means "to control the first move". However, shodo-o-seisu is easily misunderstood; it has a deeper meaning than simply overpowering one's opponent with speed or technique.
The true meaning of shodo-o-seisu is to keep calm, to be ready with the right attitude in our daily lives so that we have complete control over ourselves before a conflict arises. Our ki should be flowing calmly so that whatever comes in contact with it will blend and melt into the flow. We must put ourselves into a state of tranquility and readiness. The appearance may look static but the flow of ki is dynamic. Like an engine idling calmly at an intersection that is ready to accelerate with a light touch on the gas pedal, we must be ready to spring into action with efficiency at any time. Preparing yourself [and remaining] unnoticed always gives you the advantage.
Example: Let your partner hold onto your wrist with all his/her strength and then try to turn your body to lead him/her around you. You will find that you must be much stronger than your partner to move him/her. Now, visualize your ki flowing naturally out your arm as you let your partner hold with equal strength and think that you touched him/her first. You will naturally control the situation from the beginning, and should be able to move your partner with ease. This is a good example of shodo-o-seisu.
Having a better understanding of others is also shodo-o-seisu. We won't lose friends in our daily life if we can control a situation before it deteriorates. By understanding each other well, we will be able to prevent misunderstanding and automatically avoid confrontations.
Rod Kobayashi, Shodo-o-sesu, Seidokan Headquarters, 1986