Why Jane Studies To-Shin Do

At Boulder, Colorado, SKH Quest Center, one-third of the students are women – different from the national perception of martial arts being a male endeavor. So, what inspires girls to study with us? What have they gained? Feeling confident about themselves in any situation – on or off the mat – was a consistent response to “why?” questions.

On the physical side, our girls have used their martial arts training to avoid injury in sports accidents. They instinctively rolled, jumped in the air and landed on their feet, or used a “break-fall” to end up safe on the soccer field, or when a bike skidded on ice and slid out from underneath, or a skateboard hit a bump and sent a girl flying head over heels.

What surprised me were the girls’ references to non-physical benefits involving thinking, organization, and spiritual fortitude. To-Shin Do Black Belt test-taker Jane Bright – a 14 year old freshman at Shining Mountain Waldorf School and competitor in downhill ski racing, basketball, volleyball, and soccer – was quite articulate about the mental side of her training:

“If To-Shin Do wasn’t one of the things I do, I couldn’t manage and enjoy everything else I do. I have learned how to organize myself so that I can have all these things simultaneously. There’s stuff I have learned through To-Shin Do that I could not learn through other sports, and the lineage – it’s very inspiring. To learn the techniques you must embody them in your mind and body. This takes a sense of focus and organization, and the ability to bring everything into one to make it successful. When you can master your own mind, you can master so many more things in the physical world. Studying through the elements (i.e. belt levels for Earth, Water, Fire, Wind & Void) through the years, the progression is on purpose. Everything has a meaning. My potential as a whole being has expanded from To-Shin Do.”

Quite the quote from a 14-year old!

by Mary Aitoshi Casey, Chief Instructor, SKH Quest Center in Boulder, Colorado

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