Unlimited training from $25/month

Archive | Featured

Year End “Big Clean”

Ō-sōji (literally, “big cleaning” at year end) is a significant tradition in Japan. This ritual symbolizes purification and renewal of one’s home, workspace, dojo, and environment. Transcending mere physical cleaning, it assumes a spiritual dimension. Take time to clean areas that may usually be passed over. Get rid of things you don’t use. Use a […]

Clarifying My New Position

In my mid-70s, I now call myself retired. That just means I no longer run a dojo, I drastically cut back on my traveling seminars, and I have assigned rank-awarding duties to the To-Shin Do seniors. I am however still working with a select few dedicated students. In the past, I devoted my entire life […]

The Tragedy of the “Wave Person”

There is an American interpretation of a Japanese concept that is totally backwards. Some martial artists love to brag that they are “ronin”, a lone masterless samurai. They even name their (usually small) training halls “Ronin Dojo”. Maybe this comes from a misguided sense of the American pioneer spirit, going it alone to forge a […]


Recently I took on a new life coach client. At our first meeting he got very emotional and asked me why he felt he was always struggling with a sense of negativity. He said he had looked into whether he was clinically depressed and felt that this was not the case. “I’m not really depressed […]

To-Shin Do Schools – Vision, Mission, and Values

I was asked how I define our work, and specifically, what makes the Quest Center To-Shin Do schools stand out. Here is what I ended up replying: Vision: Life mastery through martial arts Mission: To encourage peace, happiness, friendship, and fulfillment through the practice of modern and classical protection, health and fitness, life organization, and […]

Concepts, Principles, and Techniques

Something I will be emphasizing in seminars this year is the differentiation between concepts, principles, and technique instructions. If our students know the concept of good taijutsu and know the principle being taught, it may help them do their techniques more correctly. A CONCEPT is an overarching description that applies to everything we do. “Rely […]

Order and Chaos

What if martial arts training is really an interactive experience of order and chaos? When there is an imbalance, there is less than effective training. You need to have order — the discipline, respect, and intelligently paced learning. You also need the chaos — free testing, the “try it outs”, and “what ifs”. When you […]

Above the Fray

I am 70, and have seen so many cultural fads come and go over the decades. WWII vets got parades; Viet Nam vets got spat on; Iraq vets got applauded in airports. Black and white were segregated in the 1930s; black and white were integrated in the 1970s; blacks demanded black-only spaces on college campuses […]

Because I Love It!

“So you’ve been doing this for a very long time, why do you keep doing it? I mean, when do you think you’ll give it up?” This question came from an acquaintance that I have been bumping into for many years at my local Starbucks (those of you who know me are aware that I […]

Our New Instructors

I’m proud to announce that we have two new instructors offering great courses on NinjaSelfDefense.com this month! Hair Grab Defenses by Helen Jotoshi Russo will teach you how to leave an attacker more focused on their own injury, giving you time to escape or defend further if necessary. Master Russo guides you clearly step by […]