I’m excited about this year. Not only do I have a lot of personal adventures ahead of me this year, but I’m excited about the growth of To-Shin Do and the access everyone will have to it in the coming year and beyond.
Having access to the source of To-Shin Do (in other words to Stephen K. Hayes) is vital to be sure you are staying true to the concepts and principles of our martial art. In such a deep martial art, it is easy to get lost, even to drown, because you drifted far away from the principle without even realizing.
I’ve seen instructors misunderstand something I presented, then watched as they presented their misunderstanding to another class. Whoops. That’s easily corrected, and the whole point of having a teacher, but the farther away you get from the source, the harder it becomes.
The great thing is in this day and age there is so much material … books, DVDs, online videos, and even online private lessons, that the access to the source is much easier to maintain.
If you’re lucky enough to already train at a To-Shin Do dojo, then you’re well on your way to staying connected to the source because I know how hard all the To-Shin Do instructors work to stay connected to Stephen K. Hayes and the Shihan. But that connection takes some awareness, whether you live far from the nearest dojo, or sleep on the floor of one. You have to keep checking back in to be sure you’re on track and not drifting away. Let ego get the best of you, let the ‘I already know that’ monster get ahold of you, and you’ll likely be too far out to sea before you ever realize you’re adrift.
Make a commitment to stay even more connected this year. Watch your teacher carefully, even when they are saying something you ‘think’ you know. Watch online videos, even ones you ‘think’ you’ve already seen. (Many times I’ve re-watched a video of my teacher and swore that new footage was added since I last watched it … footage that somehow answered a question I had and was certain had never been addressed by my teacher. Whoops again) And make a commitment to attend seminars. Train with Stephen K. Hayes, his senior black belts, and students from schools all over the world at least once this year, and you’ll be even more inspired to stay connected.