Hi guys, as my first official Mod activity in this forum, I'm re-naming this thread "The To-Shin Do Experience". I believe that was more along the lines of the original intent of the thread. Please feel free to discuss your experiences through home study, your difficulties, your challenges, and your revelations and significant study events.
Further disruption of this thread will not be tolerated.
Just returned to the UK after spending four days training at the dayton Quest Centre. Please bear with me whilst i write this as I am still suffering from jet lag. An Shu Hayes took a lot of time out his schedule to work with me on a personal level, and An Shu Rumiko Hayes, the staff and all of the students were both helpful, friendly and more than willing to teach various aspects of the art to me.
Whilst I was there, there were various students visiting from Colorado, New York and other areas who immediately introduced themselves to me.
During my four days I studied ground fighting, which has got to be experienced for its effectiveness, and striking drills from the TO-SHIN DO. I was also taught the Happo Biken and some of the philosophy behind these sword kata, as well as covering Takagi Yoshin Ryu Ran Sho, Koto Ryu Koyoku and An Shu Rumiko Hayes taught Kukishinden Ryu Bo.
The trip was well worth all the effort and money to get me there. I found not a hint of back stabbing, snobbery and one up man ship but instead martial artists working together in a spirit of martial friendship.
I am a tai chi guy but i've been reading these posts and Hayes' site so I drove into east mesa last night and watched a class at the Phoenix Quest Center. The place was immaculate, very well laid out and I met the husand wife teaching team. Their 8-9 pm time slot was open to all belt levels and began with the a philosophical discussion. This was a bit of a surprise as I have never been in a martial arts class that made the time to formally talk over philosophy. It was well structured and was followed by warm-ups and then careful discussion of the body mechanics of a particular technique. I believe he said they were doing the "fire" group. Higher belt levels were given a more demanding version to do. Then there was an exercise called "Free Response" in which a person was surrounded by other students, who would attack at random. They said for a given month they learn new material the first two weeks and practice it in the third week. After awhile the higher level belts started to warm up and get into it a bit, trying all the different moves they knew. I had some interesting insights into yang tai chi's single whip posture from watching their explorations.
My take on it is that what I saw was extremely simple and extremely practical, useful in real world self defense. But that is just me and another person could walk away with a different opinion.
At any rate everything about the teaching and the teaching environment was was a class act.
You had many kind words in your post. I think you would have similar experiences at the other Quest Centers around the country. The Stinsons are good folks. I had the opportunity to work with them when I was in Dayton.