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To-Shin Do Ranks

To-Shin Do® Technology

We encourage our students to earn success by emphasizing the importance of the following three things in their To-Shin Do self-development and self-defense training:

  • Self-confidence as key to recognizing your potential for happiness and success
  • Discipline as key to accomplishment
  • Respect for self and others as key for attracting allies and utilizing power

Our program promotes five life-fulfilling aspects that every human desires to experience:

  1. Abundance – Authority to seek our own definition of success – living a full, rich, and important life
  2. Authenticity – Knowledge of the true nature of reality and self – realizing personal peace through intelligence
  3. Association – Connection to friends, family, and allies – expressing who we really are and sharing respect and admiration with others
  4. Accomplishment – to sense we are needed – serving a worthy and noble cause
  5. Actualization – Personal fulfillment – having the time and space to live up to our expectations and dreams

Three important roots from Japan’s ancient cultural heritage

To-Shin DoTO – the sword
From the nin-po combat methods of the legendary ninja phantom warriors born of Mt. Togakure and cultivated in the wooded mountains and marshes of shadowy Iga, comes the core of our physical protection techniques and strategies. To-Shin Do martial arts practice is a great way to reduce stress and increase strength, endurance, and flexibility, while fostering a sense of peace, security, and control in life.

SHIN – the focused spirit of intention
From the kuji intention-channeling training of the shugenja mountain spirit seekers of Mt. Yoshino, comes the essence of our program for the discovery and development of the nine key qualities that characterize a fully actualized human being. We can achieve a more focused and disciplined understanding of the cause and effect dynamics that lead to success and fulfillment in life.

DO – the path to mastery
From the originally Himalayan esoteric mikkyo yoga mind and spirit sciences of Mt. Hiei, comes the technique of cultivating our unlimited physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual potentials. We can learn skillful ways to transform the inner and outer challenges of life into success, and ultimately come to grips with the question of how to experience directly the significance of life itself.

NIN – Important symbolism behind the To-Shin Do ® name

The Japanese written character for nin of Japan’s ninja stealth warriors and their martial art of ninjutsu can also be pronounced shinobi. It is translated as “stealth, endurance, perseverance, or putting-up-with”. Nin communicates the kind of strength required to keep our eyes on the grander goal. We know what we need, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. We are not diverted, even when tempted to take on the petty affronts and insults tossed in our path from those who fear or envy us.

  • The top part of the Japanese letter character for nin is pronounced “toh” which means “sword” or actually “blade edge” – To represents the martial arts technology we study to perfect
  • The bottom part is pronounced “sheen”, and means “heart” – Shin represents the resolute spirit we need to win when negative forces attempt to drive us to defeat

Together as one single character for nin, the To-Shin ideal reminds us of the miraculous power of knowledge and intention combined to result in spirited intelligence in action.

To-Shin Do® Belt License Grading

kyu-beltsAs with many Asian martial arts traditions, a series of colored belts indicates your progress in To-Shin Do training. The yellow (earth), blue (water), red (fire), green (wind), and brown (source) belt colors reflect the 5 elements of our martial technology.

You begin with 3 initiate belts starting with White Belt, awarded as you move through the Earth Level Foundations of Self-Protection course.

Once you enter the Water Level Advanced Self-Protection training course as a Blue & White-stripe Belt, there are 12 kyu “class” grades leading to Black Belt. It usually takes a student at one of our dojos attending at least two classes per week 3 to 4 months to earn each colored belt, so it usually takes four years or more to earn 1st Degree Black Belt.

Once you enter Black Belt Master level training, there are then 10 dan “degree” levels of study


To-Shin Do® belt ranks include:

White Belt

Your first belt in Level 1 Foundations of Self-Protection

Yellow Belts

Two Yellow Belt “Earth ground-holding element” stages in Level 1 Foundations of Self-Protection

  • “Grounded” proper use of body weight and gravity as you protect and counter
  • Assert your right to defend; do not stop or passively cover up once attack begins
  • Understand the concept of kamae – psychologically attuned body posture
  • Mind, voice, and body positioning to establish boundaries – good kamae
  • Yellow Belt successful test demonstration is effectively repositioning with 4 ground-holding postures and counters against an advancing aggressor (“We need to see you stay grounded.”)
  • Effectively resist ever-repositioning push pressure from an aggressor
  • Deliver power from your base and core. Rotate hips and shoulders from the foundation to strike through your targets; do not just pop the surface of your target
  • Study bone alignment for effective protection and power

Blue Belts

Three Blue Belt “Water tactical-positioning element” stages in Level 2 Advanced Self-Protection (like grades 1-3 of Primary Elementary School)

  • Understand appropriate weapon and target – soft weapon to hard target, hard weapon to soft target; hammer, claw, or palm to head, hand edge to neck, punch to body, knee to hips and thighs, kick to shins/knees/ankles.
  • Do not strike when off-balance
  • Clearly demonstrate understanding of the 5 D’s model – Discern, Defend, Disrupt, Deliver, Discern
  • Learn to use strategic placement to access weak points your adversary leaves open
  • Bladed body position; do not square up in front of an adversary
  • Understand strategic angling and footwork – do not be forced into defensive covering position
  • Move from hara center of energy in your lower torso core, not your upper body
  • Keep your legs flexed, back upright, shoulders over hips, hands up, so that strategic footwork moves you off-line and out of reach
  • Keep your back straight with freedom of movement in your leading leg – good kamae
  • Learn to let gravity move you
  • Counter-attack using footwork, bent knees and core rotation to deliver effective strikes and takedowns

Red Belts

Three Red Belt “Fire intention-intercepting element” stages in Level 2 Advanced Self-Protection (like grades 4-6 of Secondary Elementary School)

  • Effective rolling skills: Lower your body as close to the ground as possible before a rolling ukemi break-fall and keep your limbs tucked in close like a ball
  • Stay connected, use pre-emptive timing to take space
  • Move with effective forward angling
  • Use gravity for natural speed
  • Understand relational speed as opposed to conventional speed
  • Align your bones to drive your strikes into their targets with effective piercing, redirecting, or stopping power
  • Move in and sit into your punch or hit, and keep your feet under you. Reaffirm critical basics of body weight and gravity

Green Belts

Three Green Belt “Wind effortless-capture element” stages in Level 3 Path of the Protector Martial Arts (like grades 7-9 of Middle School)

  • Move adversaries center off-balance to where he must work to regain his position
  • Understand the difference between throwing to take balance and taking balance to throw
  • Stay connected, follow adversaries when they pull away from a clinch – fill space
  • Give up position to confuse your adversary with evasive movement
  • Find and use space, and keep him from finding and using space
  • Don’t slug with a slugger – slip, evade, submerge, invade; find the space
  • Capture momentum – pull a pusher, push a puller, ride a punch, slip a kick
  • Get lower if you have to grapple a taller adversary
  • Use body positioning, body weight and gravity to break balance

Brown Belts

Three Brown Belt “Formless creative-integration element” stages in Level 3 Path of the Protector Martial Arts (like grades 10-12 of High School)

  • Use taisabaki (footwork and body positioning) to weaken your attacker. Don’t freeze or lock up in a clinch; sense where he is going and move with him to negate strength and advantage
  • Create the right answer at the right time
  • Do not rush blindly through your finishing moves
  • Be ready for his counter movement; no one will stand still while you defend
  • Fight with mindfulness; hands and feet strategically follow your intentions
  • Counter immediately after defense; break up predictable rhythm
  • Move fluidly and seamlessly

Black Belts

  • Two Black Belt “Practitioner” stages (degrees 1 & 2; like High School Grad, & Associate Degree)
  • Two Black-&-Bronze Belt To-shi “Senior practitioner” stages (degrees 3 & 4; like Martial Arts B.A. & M.A)
  • Two Black-&-Silver Belt To-shi “Master practitioner” stages (degrees 5 & 6; like Martial Arts Ph.D.)
  • Two Black-&-Gold Belt To-shi “Senior master” stages (degrees 7 & 8; like Martial Arts Professor)
  • Two Bronze-Maroon Belt To-shi Mei-jin “Grandmaster” stages (degrees 9 & 10; like Martial Arts Dean”)
  • Silver Belt “An-shu’s Hombu Councilor” stage (“Martial Arts Board of Regents”)
  • Gold Belt An-shu “Headmaster” stage (“Martial Arts Chancellor”)

The To-Shin Do® Online Ranking Process

blackbeltWhile Online Evaluations and Ranking are available up to Brown Belt with Black Stripe, we strongly recommend you attend events and or training locations where you can get feedback in person. Black Belt ranking and above must be done in person with a To-Shin Do Instructor or at a To-Shin Do Event.

  1. Get your Online Ninja Startup Kit and begin your training.
  2. When you are ready, make a demo video and purchase an evaluation for $49
  3. When you pass your test, you are sent a link so you can purchase your diploma and your next rank curriculum for $49.97

To be eligible for rank in To-Shin Do you must have a To-Shin Do Annual Membership.

There are two ways to do this.

First, you can get your To-Shin Do Annual Membership here.


You can choose one of the subscriptions at NinjaSelfDefense.comto get access to training and membership. To-Shin Do Annual Memberships are included in all NinjaSelfDefense.com subscriptions. For more information about NinjaSelfDefense.com and to receive your first Free Course, The 5Ds of Self-Defense, click here and enter your email:

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