The Illusion of You

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2018

If I were to ask you how much do you think your life will change in the next 10 years, would it be a lot or a little? Most people think that they will change very little. However if I were to ask you how much has your life changed in the past 10 years most people would say quite a bit.

We all share the illusion that who we are now in this moment is the end of our personal evolution but every day our experiences change us more than we are aware. Once we accept this daily change we can learn to direct it and become the person we want to be.

Think about the person you would want to be 10 years from now and then push the change a little more and then a little more from there. See that future you and describe them on paper. Write down who they are. Now work backward from that future person and write down what would have to happen for you to become that future person. What achievements and events would have to take place for you to become them?

When you work backwards in...

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Celebrate Mistakes

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2018

Our society has moved toward an educational system that promotes test prep and regurgitation of information. Teachers prepare students to take tests by showing only the material that is on the test so that the students get it right and score well. This creates students who only want to be shown what they need to pass. They are afraid to take chances and be wrong.

Unfortunately this attitude is too often seen in martial arts training also. Teachers who show series of memorized movements and students who only want to know what they have to learn to earn their next belt. Why?

To be blunt it is easier. Teacher and students can move around doing “the exact same steps” and pretend that they are learning and feel good about themselves. No one wants to be wrong but mistakes are the basis of all learning.

If you have been through the To-Shin Do instructor program you know people are so sensitive to being wrong teaching concepts like PCP are used to help students progress despite...

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What You Think You See

Uncategorized Jun 04, 2018

Go to a mirror and stand close so you can see your eyes. Now move your eyes so you are looking at your left eye then back to your right eye and continue to repeat being aware that you are physically moving your eyes. You will feel your eyes moving but what will you see? Before you read on actually try this.

Welcome back. Most of you are probably a bit confused to downright freaked out. Even though you can feel your eyes moving you didn't see them move in the mirror. Take a moment and think about this, what does it mean?

It means that your perception or reality is being fed to you by your brain. You are not seeing what is actually there like a camera taking it all in. In fact, your brain sends 10 times the amount of data forward to your eyes than your eyes send back to your brain. Basically your brain is saying to your eyes this is what I think is out there check to see if I am right. Your reality is just that, yours.

Understanding this has helped me become a better teacher and...

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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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