After 50+ years of teaching martial arts, some things stand out. Let’s take a look at 12 bare-bones gotta-do-it To-Shin Do skills as minimal requirements.
In To-Shin Do Level 1 classes (White and Yellow Belts) as you practice the 12 fight scenarios and basic striking and ground-hitting skills, you have to constantly remember 3 things:
BEND YOUR KNEES – the deeper the better. Do not stiffen up like a mannequin.
BACK STRAIGHT. Do not hunch forward with your butt out or lean away with your hips forward.
HANDS UP. Keep your elbows over your ribs and your fingertips about the height of your lower lip.
In To-Shin Do Level 2 classes (Blue and Red Belts) as you practice the 18 fight scenarios and basic striking, throwing, and ground-hitting skills, you have to constantly remember 2 sets of things in addition to the 3 above:
In water mode:
Peel back and away at 45 degrees to his center line, just out of his reach.
Your leading shoulder should be aimed at his center with your chest turned to the side.
Your feet should be aligned so that your ankles are lined up in a straight line with his center. Imagine a string linking both your ankles and extending straight on to meet his center line.
In fire mode:
Crouch on flexed knees ready to fire in, just slightly out of his range.
Keep your leading shoulder turned in and your hands up at about your eyebrow height as you close in.
At first hint of his decision to attack, you let loose with your attack of multiple strikes or grab-holds.
In To-Shin Do Level 3 classes (Green and Brown Belts) as you practice the 18 fight scenarios and basic striking, throwing, locking, and ground-hitting skills, you have to constantly remember 3 things in addition to the 5 above:
Jam your upright torso into his torso, pressing your shoulders along with your hips into him to take him off balance. Do not lean away with your shoulders. Do not pull back with your hips. Equal pressure both high and low.
Do not press too hard – he will fly away and regain his balance. Do not press too soft – he will maintain his dominance and you will lose your balance. Perfect pressure!
Pay attention to what he is doing. Move with him as opposed to moving to block him or oppose him. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, and is the key to moving like a ninja and not just another conventional martial arts practitioner.