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Proving the Effectiveness of Our Art

Back in the 1980s, I had very few actual students studying the ninja martial arts with me. Instead of running a dojo, I ran seminars around the world.

Into the 1990s, I had 13 actual challenges come up at these seminars. Guys figured that if I was on the cover of Black Belt Magazine, and they beat me, THEY would then be on the cover of Black Belt.

They were underhandedly sneaky. I was in “teaching and helping mode”, and the challengers were in “put it all on the line mode”. It would take me a moment to realize that a challenge was happening, that the “student” was in actuality testing me and not at all asking me to teach him.

I was successful in all challenges, but it was quite unnerving. What about liability laws? Could I have been sued after sometimes drawing blood from another person? Or what if what I had to do to shift emphasis from actual scrapping to a more calm handling of the challenge was perceived by less mature participants as “backing down”? Or maybe there was a team of challengers who would move into action while I was responding to the one mouthy guy?

I have not had any serious challenges in recent years, discounting of course internet huff and puff insults, where I am invited to get on a plane and go to where the challenger is and attempt to defeat him there. But those are mere trolls; I do not take those as serious challenges. And of course now I’m 73 years old.

But those challenges were an important and crucial part of my career. In those challenges, I quickly realized that I had to alter the 1500s Japanese fighting style to fit a 20th century American and European underhanded attack. I was forced to face the reality that my historical training in Japan was but one stepping stone in my path of progress. Thus was born the need for a To-Shin Do in my life. I have never looked back.

One Response to Proving the Effectiveness of Our Art

  1. mdavis January 1, 2023 at 11:56 pm #

    I remember some of those seminars in the 1980’s. You were all alone, going out into the world to show us what an incredible martial art you had to teach. There were people that would show up that had an ax to grind, to prove the black belt magazine guy didn’t have what it takes to be at the top of this game. I remember thinking how difficult it must be when your at the top with everybody taking a taking a turn, trying to hurt you. But you always maintained a level of decorum and respect, and in the end, making more friends than enemies. I can say after all these years, I’m still learning from you. Thank you for being an incredible Master Teacher and mentor.
    So many critics over the years have asked me why have I remain committed to learning from you when I get easily go and train another teacher my response is simple” I only train with the best”

    Thank you

    Mark Davis
    Boston Martial Arts Center

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