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Archive | Teacher Insights

Verbal To-Shin Do

In the ancient Toltec wisdom tradition words are viewed as having magical potential. Words that create negativity, suffering, and pain are considered black magic. Conversely, words that comfort, heal, and facilitate the manifestation of positive realities are white magic. This belief is clearly consistent with the Japanese Mikkyo doctrine of Sanmitsu; the triple secret. The […]

A Proposal for the Future

To-Shin Do takes the timeless principles of ninpo taijutsu and brings them into the 21st Century. Have you ever seen a proud YouTube video of a poorly trained Bujinkan practitioner attacking slowly with a non-accelerating lunge right foot and right arm, and leaving the right hand out there so that the defender can make his […]

Is It Necessary?

We were winding up a seminar training session. I was taking questions. A long distance student asked a very common question. “What is the most important thing for me to work on at my stage of training?” There are always many things; improvement is continuous. Given that this student was a Black Belt my response […]

Beyond The Belt

Why are you training? Think about that for awhile and we’ll get back to it. If you are involved in martial arts teaching sooner or later you have the conversation about why so many people quit training after they get their black belt. The answer I think depends on what you believe a black belt […]

Practicing Perseverance

Keep on keeping on. That was the lingo we used to encourage each other to persevere when I was a teenager. That phrase has resurfaced from my memory archives on several occasions during the past few months. The process of building my new five star training hall has been riddled with unforeseen challenges, setbacks, frustration, […]

Yesterday’s Lunch

It was a typical summer day in London, shifting temperatures and periods of light rain. I was just outside the British museum spending time with friend and teacher Lama Rigdzin Dorje deepening my understanding of the esoteric Buddhist practice of Vajrakilaya. This practice is very complex and was introduced to me by my teacher An-shu […]

Why Don’t We Spar?

I have been asked this question a number of times over the years. To this day I remain a bit mystified by how difficult it is for most people to grasp the fundamental and critical difference between sport and athletic performance oriented martial arts and martial arts that focus exclusively on realistic self-defense. As I […]

The Ultimate Secret

To-Shin Do taijutsu is ultimately about principles as opposed to techniques. Oh, sure, we start students out memorizing things, as opposed to considering things. But that is just an expedient to match their beginner expectations. Normal people expect they will be taught how to move faster, be stronger, and to know something that others do […]

Boundary Setting

Winning a fighting contest is such a different result than returning home healthy and happy each day. And yet many martial artists confuse this reality, talking on one hand about self-defense, but then on the other hand being drawn into a contest when someone makes a challenge. Our training works on a “continuum” model — […]