Tuesday March 6th

Uncategorized May 09, 2018

Every year at the holidays I seem to always receive a desk calendar as a gift. You know the ones with something written on it for each day. This year I got Insight from the Dalai Lama and on Tuesday March 6th this was the quote from His Holiness.

How do we overcome  ignorance, by praying to the Buddha? No, by following the path he showed. As he said, "You are your own master." The Buddha didn't say, "I'm the Buddha. Pray to me." He taught the Four Noble Truths: suffering, its cause, cessation, and the path to it. He taught about lasting peace that can only be achieved through practice. His whole teaching is based on the law of cause and effect; if you want change, create the causes.

As I read this it occurred to me that with a little editing His Holiness's words could easily apply to learning our art.

How do we overcome ignorance, by just wishing to be ninja? No, by following the path created by An-shu. You are your own master and responsible for your own training....

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Beyond The Belt

Uncategorized Apr 06, 2018

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 represents.

When I started training in the early 80s there were still people asking me if I would have to register my hands as weapons when I got a black belt. They believed anyone with a black belt was a master of the martial arts.

About the same time however the franchise model took over the martial arts business and the era of every kid, when not picking up their soccer trophy, getting their black belt for participation. Once they got it the belt would sit next to the plastic replica of a champion kicking a ball while the child went off to the next item on their parent's list of things they should have.

My perspective of a black belt is someone who has been introduced to all the tools and...

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How To Be A Good Training Partner

Uncategorized Mar 07, 2018

This is one of the most important areas of our training and one of the things that sets our training apart from other martial arts. While training in To-Shin Do you are not working on memorizing a series of movements that can be done by yourself. You are learning to understand the cause and effect interplay of two or more people in a conflict. That means that your training partner is as important, if not more so, in your training.

So how do you make sure you are the best training partner you can be? First is the understanding of cooperation versus competition. You are not in an adversarial relationship with your training partner. You are not trying to defeat them. You are working with them to understand the cause and effect of a dangerous situation so that you can both improve your understanding of how to survive.

This doesn’t mean you are making the technique work for them or ‘giving it’ to them as many inexperienced martial artists sometimes think. As the...

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Edge of Training

Uncategorized Feb 07, 2018

There’s a Tom Cruise movie that came out in 2014 called Edge of Tomorrow. IMDb describes it as: A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can reset the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war.

I would describe it as Groundhog Day the movie with aliens. Tom Cruise is a marketing /pr specialist that angers a general and gets sent to the front to fight (which he is not good at), he kills, almost accidently, a time shifting alien, gets covered with its blood, dies, and then reawakens back at the day before over and over again until he becomes a warrior and learns how to save the world.

There’s a scene where he confronts Emily Blunt, the war heroin who is leading the battle against the aliens to find out what is happening to him.

Tom Cruise: "You do know what's happening to me."
Emily Blunt: "What...

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Uncategorized Jan 09, 2018

One of the difficulties that English speaking people have when they try to learn the Japanese language is that it is a situational language. How you speak in Japanese depends on the context of the situation. You can't just translate word for word back and forth from English to Japanese.

For example to simply say 'Hello' in Japanese requires you to know the time of day. In the evening you say 'Konbawa', during the day you would say 'Konnichiwa', and in the morning you would say 'Ohayo' and that depends on who you are speaking to. If the situation were more formal or you were speaking to your senior it would be 'Ohayogozaimasu'.

One way to think about how Japanese works is to look at it on an x-y axis. On one axis would be who is involved, are you speaking to your senior, your equal, or a junior? Then on the other axis would be the social context, is this a formal or informal situation? Depending on the context of the situation you find yourself in would determine how you would speak....

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Failure Is Not An Option - It Is A Requirement

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2017

We are in a time where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. Where everyone has the ability to spout whatever he or she want about a subject whether they are qualified to or not. Where parents yell at teachers because their child didn’t get an A+ for C- work. Where people want only success handed to them because they are special just like everyone else. They are afraid to fail. But without failure there is no real success.

This is from a couple of books I’m reading about the scientific process:

Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success. The scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and this is a good thing! The origins of scientific research are a process that relies upon trial and error, one, which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure...

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December at Shinobi Martial Arts Center in Plaistow New Hampshire

monthly curriculum Nov 26, 2017

Whats Happening at Shinobi Martial Arts in December

Winter Holiday The Dojo will be closed from Friday December 22nd to Tuesday January 2nd for the ThanksgivingWinter Holidays. Everyone have some great wHolidays!

Little Ninja Students are working on all their great injury prevention and evasion drills and they will learn how to escape from a double wrist grab.

Level One Ninjutsu White and Yellow Belts are looking at an Earth Level martial arts defense against  a collar grab from behind called Yubi-kudaki and an Earth Level martial arts defense one handed shirt grab called Ho-soku.

Level Two Ninjutsu  Red and Blue Belts will be working on a Fire Level martial arts interception defense against a 2 handed shirt grab,  a Fire Level martial arts rear take down called Osoto-gake, and a Fire Level martial arts defense from the ground against a kneeling attacker.

Level Three Ninjutsu Green and Brown Belts will be working on a defense against a...

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Teaching not Telling

Uncategorized Nov 06, 2017

In January of 1992 I started a training group at the request of my teacher Mark Davis. He told me that teaching this art is about creating an experience for the student so that they discover the principle you are trying to teach them on their own.

Take a moment to understand that statement.

Teaching is not about memorizing the movements of a kata. The kata are learning tools. They teach principles that change the student’s perspective and understanding.

You have to study the material, take it apart and then put all back together again so that you can find the principles inside and then set up exercises for the student to discover those principles. The nice part about our art is that the lion’s share of the work is done for you with our To-Shin Do curriculum. Now the question is, do we understand it?

Recently during a training session with a number of instructors we looked at taijutsu concepts underlying each of the elemental levels. Kamae and ken tai ichi jo (body...

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November at Shinobi Martial Arts Center in Plaistow New Hampshire

monthly curriculum Oct 26, 2017

Whats Happening at Shinobi Martial Arts in November

Thanksgiving Holiday The Dojo will be closed from Thursday November 23rd to Sunday November 26th for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Everyone have a great weekend!

Little Ninja students are working on all their great injury prevention and evasion drills and they will learn how to escape from two handed shove or a choking attack.

Level One Ninjutsu White and Yellow Belts are looking at an Earth Level martial arts defense against  a waist tackle and an Earth Level martial arts defense against double wrist grab.

Level Two Ninjutsu  Red and Blue Belts will be working on a Fire Level martial arts defense against an jabbing punch,  a Fire Level martial arts front hip throw called Ganseki-nage, and a Fire Level martial arts kicking techniques called Shi-ho Keri.

Level Three Ninjutsu Green and Brown Belts will be working on a wind response outside a heavy straight punch, a wind response to a hooking kick attack and an elbow/...

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Emotional Energetic Strategies of Defense

Uncategorized Oct 03, 2017

Some people malign the five elemental models we use in To-Shin Do often because they just don’t understand what they are. Almost thirty years ago I was introduced to them as the Go Dai no Kata in one of An-shu Hayes’ early books. Ever since then I have been listening to people say he made them up. (long sigh…)

The elemental models of earth, water, fire, wind, and void (potential) can be found throughout Asian cultures in many different areas of study including the martial arts. Years ago I visited the National Museum of American Indians where I saw an exhibit called Our Universes that had Native American Tribes' representations of the universe. The majority of them had some version of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and their name of the great potential. An-shu Hayes did not make them up.

Now that we’ve got past the childish arguments of the misinformed we need to ask then what did he create? The answer for me is a model of our minds under pressure and how to use...

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