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Archive | Teacher Insights

3 Levels, 3 Tips

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: […]

Relative Reality

“I’m no Einstein,” I said, “but I do know it’s all relative.” Someone had just asked me what my views on karma are. “Well, what does that mean?”, they replied. “Can you elaborate?” First we have to acknowledge that there are two views of so-called reality, I said. OK, now you’re starting to blow my […]


New year, new beginnings. This is always a good time to apply one of my favorite life management models – Continue, Stop, Start. Perhaps especially so as the year of the rat suggests, the time is right for turning pages and embarking on new journeys. So the model is quite simple, that’s why it works […]

Consistent Tiny Steps Win the Day

“An ant on the move is more powerful than a dozing ox.” – Lao Tzu Even though we start from humble beginnings, we can rise to lead a extraordinary life. If little practices are repeated consistently over time, we can improve ourselves and advance in capabilities. We come to the dojo two or three times […]

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 […]

Why the 3-Part Student Creed?

When people come into our schools as white belts, they learn a three-part Student Code, or student creed, and promise to abide by it. We tell them right up front: “These are the three things you must remember whenever you’re doing anything dangerous, whether it’s a surf board, or a bungee jump, or martial arts […]


The ability to stay focussed in a violent situation on the presesent moment is often the determining factor in surviving. The development of this focus is the main point of all of our training. The problem is that we have three attention/focus systems in us that are constantly vying for control of our focus. The […]

Verbal Taijutsu – Fire

In this third article on verbal taijutsu I will focus on the energy of the fire element. First let’s start with energy itself. The fire element is about connection, but also energy. An intense level of positive energy is always contagious. Enthusiasm is inspiring. This is what a lot of motivational speakers survive on. By […]

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 […]