Beyond Mortal Combat

I asked some of my training friends what keeps them going in their To-Shin Do martial arts study. Why are you doing this? If you are not anticipating a lot of life-or-death fights in the next few weeks, what is the pull to keep on training? Give it to me straight. What is the pay-off beyond the exceptional physical combat efficiency we offer? My friend Russ Nemhauser sent me some heart-warming thoughts of how To-Shin training reaches beyond combat and addresses other realms of chance-taking and risky exploration.

Here’s what Russ had to say:

Since beginning To-Shin Do I have noticed that my personal growth has really taken off. I was growing and succeeding in my work life, something that nearly monopolized my attention for twenty years, but I was at a near stand-still when it came to personal growth.

At 37 years old, I made my first trip to Europe. While there I toured buildings that have been standing four times longer than the United States has been a country. I engaged with the locals in their culture and history. At times I could literally feel the bigness of where I was. I found it most invigorating. Ironically, for my first 30-plus years I had no interest in exploring other countries. Now I can’t wait to get out there and see more.

Since my trip I wake up in the morning eager to find ways to expand my horizons. I’m ready for new ways of thinking instead of the same old repetition. I like to use the Internet to learn more about why things are the way they are in today’s world. What happened? How can I use that information as a lesson before I need to learn that lesson?

When we’re bored by routines, it’s easy to become distracted by the next fancy car, the fastest new computer, or that next promotion and raise. Sometimes we begin to think those material goals are what life is all about. It‘s easy to forget that the toys often serve as a “treatment” for unhappiness. By the time you notice it, the daily grind defines your life and it can be difficult to break out and start a new, fresh path. The lucky ones realize that material rewards are a treatment and not a cure, and much like for an addict on drugs, the rewards need to get bigger and bigger in order for you to feel enough happiness.

To-Shin Do opened this door for me and helped me to realize new horizons. It helped me to think beyond the boundaries of what I accepted as my life. I encourage everyone to do what I’ve only just started to do: break the mental routine. Instead of obsessing over work tomorrow, spend 20 minutes feeding your own interests. It may be a book you want to read (or write), a long quiet walk, meeting new people, exploring areas you generally don’t frequent, or anything that isn’t part of your normal day. Do something fresh and stimulating. You’ll find something new and exciting to add to your life. I think you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to add to your internal toy chest new things that aren’t made of metal or wood and can’t be measured by money. It made me feel ten years younger, and I’ve only just begun.

10 comments to “Beyond Mortal Combat”

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  1. Good stuff! Ninpo Ikkan!

  2. Yes! Good Stuff! It’s been said, “Travel is edifying.” Joseph Conrad, author of, “Heart of Darkness” amongst others was well traveled. He familiarized himself with The East India Company, as well as The West India Company. At some point in his travels, he shot himself in the chest wanting to die. He lived, and went on to create a prolific body of literature. He is known for his proficiency with the English language, even though it was his second language. He was Polish. Actually, his first name was Conrad. He displayed an awesome knowledge of the peoples of the world of his times and their interaction. More so, he displayed a unique ability to use simile and metaphor to create a tangible essence of what he was trying to convey. Marlon Brando as Kurtz in ‘Apocalypse Now’ was fashioned after Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness”.
    My guess is, lesson learned, “Travel lightly”. Probably not a lot of luggage at Deer Park. I may be wrong. ” Who knows?” Maybe 10 elephants of luggage. I learn as I write. Travel like ancients.

    as derived from his experiences.
    Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones wasn’t bad either.

  3. Truly awesome Russ, reminds be of being mindful~ even when feel don’t need to.
    In this way Truly Live ~ Go Beyond the ordinary to Truly Experience the Extraordinary hidden with the moment. 😉

    Let our challenges, our boredom, be our opportunities for learning ~ Growing.

    Stationed Overseas

  4. Terry Garrett says: -#1

    The reason I love this community so much is that y’all get it. Martial arts is SO MUCH MORE than mearly kicking and punching. It is a life style. That is one thing that people in the west have to realize. Evrything in the dojo can be applied to everyday, mundane, activities. Thank you Anshu for sharing this wonderful posting.

  5. Daniel L Dunn says: -#1

    I think ‘The Cold Moon, Wisdom from the Ninja Village’ says it very well; “spiritual growth, and the chance to become a consious part of the scheme of totality”. The kicking and punching is truly only a small aspect of the greater growth and ability we can attain from our continuing training, and certainly is a very good way to gain fresh new perspectives and experiences!

    Thank you An-shu

  6. Philip Resden says: -#1

    A martial art should develop in it’s students a warriors mindset. And a true warrior will use the same mindset and principles for peace as he/she does for combat. To better both himself/herself and thous around them. Thou we train for combat we use that training to further peace and foster a mindset of understanding as well. The warrior should feel at home no matter what the situation, circumstance, time or place.

    This I feel is why we train in our respective martial art, be it on a conscious level, where one is aware of this, or on an unconscious level, where one does not realize this fact but is non-the-less still moved and influenced by it.

    Enjoying your blog An-Shu,

    Philip Resden

  7. To my mind, martial arts training and personal growth/developemnt are inextricably linked. It wasn’t until I started to take my training seriously and really internalize the concepts and ideas behind it that I started to really make headway with my personal growth. I find embracing the martial arts and really making them an integral part of your lifestyle helps greatly in taking your mind of the material world and the needs of your ego and helps firmly ground you in your sense of spirituality, and from that comes a great deal of inner-peace, strength and real fulfillment. If you give yourself whole-heartedly to your art your art will give back in abundance, just as the universe does when you give yourself over to that too. Good post and great site.

  8. James J. Spangler, ND, Ph.D. says: -#1

    I would like to share what some of my own students have said. Keeping in mind that though I have studied An-Shu’s arts since 1990, was a member of the Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo for less that a year, and have only recently studied the distance learning program…. I am NOT licensed to teach the programs, but have created my own forms, structure, and now martial arts program that I teach to my children and their friends.

    I am now at the point of my life where I must focus on To-Shin-Do, as I cannot progress further without it, and my students demand it.

    Just the basic principles, the earth elements, the stances and grounding forces have proven invaluable to them in everyday elementary school life. In their PE programs, they have started pushing knees forward and sinking the rear in basketball and volleyball, with far greater results than their classmates, who unwittingly, still bend forward as if to be ready to lunge into their opponent. This has also encouraged better posture while sitting in class, resulting in their ability to be more focused and awake….they are learning and understanding so much more now, and their grades are the proof.

    If a child can benefit from only the earth element…. the basics of Nin-po, what can we truly accomplish as adults who advance in the real program An-Shu has provided us? I believe it has no limits.

    I have only just contacted my new local Quest Club here in Colorado Springs, CO for assistance in advancing to Instructor so my own Dojo can benefit from An-Shu’s To-Shin-Do, insights and guidance!

    -Dr. J. Spangler

  9. Prof. Sam Vasquez says: -#1

    Tell me about this Anshu Christa Jacobson from the Budo Ryu Ninjutsu, is she for real, it seems as if her sites are all about her. Vanity at its best. She claims to have trained with the quest center, is this true? I tried to email her for information and she told me in not to many words to screw off, that why are we attacking her. All we needed was information about her time line and lineage. Are we wrong to question others. Can anyone claim to teach ninjutsu as long as they do not claim a lineage? Thank you sir for your time to reading my post, my respects to your title and quest centers

  10. Shauna Rapose says: -#1

    How do you learn best? You want to make sure that the coach provides the environment in which you learn best … case of audios, videos, books, etc.

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