“What you guys do here is what I always thought marital arts was meant to be.” With tears in his eyes, this is what one of my new students (recently made yellow belt) said to me in my office. His name is John. John has a toddler son and had recently realized how out of shape he had become while playing with him one day. He knew he had to do something, if not for himself, for his son. He also told me he had been to several other schools because he always wanted to check out martial arts. He described them as ‘people just wrestling around, trying to beat each other up’, or, ‘all kinds of high kicks and things and fighting invisible people.” Those things just did not appeal to him.
John has attended a couple of mind science/life development workshops at our dojo as well. In my office he went on at some length about how much more he was benefiting from training with us than he ever expected. I know that all of our To-Shin Do dojos have students that are just as surprised and delighted as well. What we do is special. It seems, unfortunately, that it is hard to find these days.
Many years ago An-shu Hayes had a vision. Myself, and others, became a part of that vision. We have devoted our lives to creating this kind of life enhancing experience for our students. It is challenging work. It is often very rewarding work. It is noble work. The world, perhaps more than ever, needs more places like our training halls. A place where you are welcomed, where people are happy to see you. A place where you are supported in improving yourself and your life. A place where you can develop and own skills that may save your life, the life of a loved one, or perhaps a perfect stranger. A place that is about friendship, community, and doing good for ourselves and others.
There will always be those young men, and women, who just like to fight for whatever their reasons may be. I am in no way putting them down. In the end, I think they are a relatively small group; much smaller than those who would rather watch the fighting. What we do is not fighting. It is self-protection and life development. It is what I myself always thought, and hoped, martial arts would be.
Take a moment to smile at your good fortune for finding us. Take a moment to thank your teacher(s). Take a moment to thank your training partners. Do everything you can to support your dojo. Do what you can to help other deserving people find what you have found.
I am excited that two of my very gifted friends are taking the huge step to open new dojos soon. They will make their announcements when they are ready. When they do, do what you can to help. Do your best to help us spread the word. I think the world needs us; all of us.