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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, […]

Are You Breathing?

When you are training, are you breathing? Seems like a silly question, you may think of course I am, but are you? If you tense up doing a kata or technique If you lose your focus during training If you start thinking about what you should do If you feel yourself rushing ahead to the […]

Grand Opening, Grand Year

A few days ago my wife and I held our Grand Opening for our new dojo in Cincinnati. An-Shu Stephen and Rumiko Hayes provided a wonderful opening ceremony for us, and during the ceremony Mr. Hayes reminded me of what my original plan had been when I moved to Ohio years ago. I was more […]

REPRINT: To-Shin Do Club and School Requirements

In case you missed this important information from last month it is being reprinted again. Licensed Instructors, we have very few requirements governing your participation as head of a To-Shin Do club or school. The following are not new points. Most people have been observing these for years. But it might be good to state […]

Are You Really Training?

This recent Ninja Festival was simply amazing. Mr. and Mrs. Hayes took the training to a new level as promised. If you were there you had the opportunity to make significant progress in your training. Provided you were really training. As I watched people at Festival this year I got to see an extreme spectrum […]


Sudden transitions (shifting quickly and unexpectedly from one situation to another) are challenging. Sometimes the brain gets stuck, not wanting to let go of what it was just focused on, even if the new situation is really important. If the change is unexpected enough, such as facing surprise violence when violence is something you only […]

Getting Hooked

In our Black Belt training we have many strategies and principles that rely on ‘hooking’ our attacker, using their emotions or their expectations against them so that they almost can’t help but deliver the very thing to us we need to defeat them. While it may not always implicitly say so in the ‘kata descriptions’ […]

Anniversary, Reward Or Obligation

Festival is coming soon and with it the ability to test for upper ranks. I always find it interesting to see the different attitudes about belt ranking and promotions. There are as many perspectives as there are people but I’ve noticed three, categories if you will, of how people see their rank. The first, and […]

Know Thy Drill

One of the locations I teach at is across the street from a fire station. A couple months ago I happened to look out the window and saw the fire station was running through some sort of training drill. It was three groups of firefighters, four in a group, and they were all working with […]

Techniques as Relationships

I took me years to appreciate how techniques in our martial art were determined by the relationship between attacker and defender, as opposed to just, well, a technique. I knew the idea almost from the beginning, of course, but it took me a few years to realize just how profound that concept was. The other […]

Front and Center

An important concept in our art is the ability to take the attacker’s center from them to control the situation. At our recent seminar with An-shu Stephen and Rumiko Hayes, An-shu Rumiko was demonstrating an angling defense against a punch and then moving in taking the attacker’s center. She did a number of variations taking the […]