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Curious Attention

I challenged my students to an awareness exercise over the next few weeks. As they head in to the hectic holiday season, I asked them to pay attention whenever they are in a crowd (at the mall, the supermarket, etc.). But specifically I asked them to pay attention to how many people around them were […]

Everybody On The Mat

A question was raised at Festival that required a woman’s touch. So this month I’m going to step aside and let you read a very important post from my friends. -Fuutoshi Everybody On The Mat: Inclusivity Through The Lens of Kunoichi Women Warriors By Theresa Murphy and Amy Tiemann We highly value the benefits of […]

Natural Movement

We talk a lot about having ‘natural movement’ in our martial art. As important as it is, it can be just as hard to describe what that means. Sure, we want natural speed, relying less on fast ‘muscle’ speed. We want to use gravity and not rely solely on strength. We want to take away […]

Mindful Action and Self-Defense

The To-Shin Do Mindful Action Code is a powerful self-defense tool and one I’ve grown to appreciate more and more over the years. I’ve seen as a teacher how many youth and adults find it such a meaningful part of their lives. That, by itself, is enough for me to make sure it is a […]

Mindful Training

One thing to watch out for in your training is repetition without awareness. The more mindful you can make each movement of your training the better. Mindful in this case doesn’t mean up in your word brain. But rather, avoid doing lots of repetitions of something just for the sake of doing repetitions. Years ago […]

Eyes Of Wonder

Watching my almost two-year-old these past several months, I’ve enjoyed seeing him interact with the world more and more. Some of my favorite moments is when he sees something in the world that is, to most adults, something mundane, but to him is a thing new and full of wonder. Often he’ll point, and say […]

Appreciate Each Moment

In the days leading up to the annual Fall Festival, I enjoy seeing all the social media posts of people from all over the world beginning their travels to Dayton, Ohio for a special weekend of training. I enjoying seeing everyone’s excitement because it reminds me of all the wonderful training to come in a […]

Remembering To Be A Student

With Festival approaching I thought I’d write a quick note about remembering to be a student. Being a student isn’t just a relationship, it is a mindset. Some years ago two students came into the dojo within a few weeks of each another, and both had solid backgrounds in previous martial arts. Since they started […]

Respecting Space

One of the things we emphasize a lot for young students in our dojo is finding a safe place. We ask where a safe place might be, or who they could go to in order to avoid a dangerous situation. Sometimes we have them defend against an instructor then run to their parents. With adults, […]

Knowing The Problem

A couple months ago I wrote about the role of the attacker in To-Shin Do. Specifically, I talked about advanced ways we can make sure our training partner (and ourselves) are getting the most out of each training exchange. Left out of those tips was the obvious beginning lesson: know what the attack is. But […]

Calm In A Storm

What are you doing in your training to practice staying calm under pressure? I don’t just mean, ‘how are you practicing staying calm at the dojo’ either. I mean, how do you find opportunities in every day life to practice staying cool? As martial artists we want to know we can handle a dangerous situation. […]

Role of Attacker

Improving physical skills in To-Shin Do often requires someone to play the role of ‘attacker’. We all take turns doing it, but it is easy to forget what exactly that role entails, and why it is so important for our own training, not just that of our partner. Here are a few tips: Slow, Safe, […]