Mountain Quest 2011
80 dedicated To-Shin Do practitioners gathered for our 12th annual Mountain Quest seminar with An-shu Stephen K. Hayes and hosts Richard Shuntoshi Stack and Hardee Hakutoshi Merritt, along with guest instructors Mike Dentoshi Ford, Hakim Intoshi Isler, and Dennis Fuutoshi Mahoney on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Participants traveled in from To-Shin Do training halls all across America, and as far away as Denmark for this unique presentation of An-shu’s “Nine Cuts – Nine Powers” teaching theme for 2011.
Training featured tactics and techniques with the Japanese naginata halberd, along with our incomparable To-Shin Do taijutsu counters for strong and rigid aggressors attempting full-body throws. Weather was cool and rainy, and participants acknowledged that on a battlefield in old Japan with naginata or sword in hand, such mud and blood and tears conditions might be exactly what a warrior would face.
Ninja kuji warrior spirit power number 1 – strength of body, mind, and intention – was the theme, with a final test of body and spirit in the cave of the waterfalls at the close of Sunday training. Candidates for Black Belt 1st and 2nd Degree entered the cave one by one to receive their new belts and go under the pounding purifying rush of icy clear water that fell from the river pounding into the cave. From the cave there was a swim across a deep cold pond to emerge a To-Shin Do Black Belt to the roaring cheers of friends and the congratulatory handshake of An-shu. After the new Black Belts, all participants were invited to challenge themselves roaring the Fudo Myo-Oh resolute mantra as they stepped under the waterfall.