The Art of Winning Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 Reasons JoAnna is Psyched about the New Schedule




Ninja Admin extraordinaire JoAnna Pappas delves into her first blog post with her thoughts on why the new schedule is such a hit.  
  1. Every time I have attended Ninja Mind, the bell always seemed to ring entirely too soon at the end of class. I wished it would go longer to get deeper into the subject at hand. Now that it has been consolidated into a once-a-month class, my wish has come true!
  2. I think having a monthly themed Ninja Secrets class on Monday nights will not only help me retain the material, but it will also give me a chance to put in requests for the subjects I am burning to delve into.
  3. As a coach, I am excited to work with Water belts in addition to Earth belts at the new Thursday night adult class.
  4. I am excited to see what each new month will bring in terms of specialized material and seminars.
  5. I love being a part of a community where scheduling and training requests are taken seriously and honestly considered. It reminds me my voice matters!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why You Want to Join Ninja Master

Ninja Master Membership
A whole new level of ninja is now available for you!

In addition to our incredible Martial Arts and Ninja Warrior memberships, we are pleased to announce the inception of the Ninja Master membership. In addition to all the benefits of Ninja Warrior, there's discounts for An-Shu's visit and monthly private lessons.

See below for a full list of prices and benefits.


Martial Arts member

9 month commitment or 75 To-Shin Do level classes, whichever is first (2x/week average)
&  All To-Shin Do Classes at or below your level
&  $125/mo
Ala carte add-ons:
Ninja Fit Add-On: $10/month
Ninja Weapons Add-On: $40/month
Ninja Secrets Add-On: $40/month
Ninja Philosophy Drop In: $10
Ninja Mind Drop In: $10-$50

Ninja Warrior member

9 month commitment or 110 To-Shin Do level classes, whichever is first (3x/week average)
&  All To-Shin Do Classes at or below your level
&  Unlimited Ninja Level Classes (Fit, Weapons, Secrets, Philosophy, and Mind), which would cost over $100 to add-on
&  $165/mo

Ninja Master member

9 month commitment or 150 To-Shin Do level classes, whichever is first (4x/week average)
& All To-Shin Do Classes at or below your level
& Unlimited Ninja Level Classes (Fit, Weapons, Secrets, Philosophy, and Mind), which would otherwise cost over $100 to add on
& 30 Minute Private Lesson monthly, normally $30-50
& 25% off any one seminar
&  $195/mo

All benefits subject to change so let us know what you think!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Learning and Martial Arts

Sometimes Facebook has an amazing gem of insight on a random morning. I wanted to share it one of this with you today. Chapel Hill ni-dan Kim Stahl shared an article on learning, along with this comment:

"The premise here is great, not that it applies only to children. Adults learn better this way too. Real success, and real failure. Which is why I feel so strongly about martial arts training. Done properly, it's really easy to tell when you've gotten something and when you haven't (if you have good training partners who don't pretend, and good teachers who tell you the truth). There's nothing like NOT getting a stripe on a belt, or having to try a couple of times to get that brown-black belt or higher, regardless of actual performance, to build perseverance."

In my own training, I've found that struggle is a good thing. It pushes me past 'cherished limitations' and into new vistas of learning. Sometimes I feel bad for students for whom the early lessons are so easy because I know they aren't yet building the perseverance skills that will get them through the challenges.  As a teacher, I push my students to the height of their personal potential, not some arbitrary standard. Of course, there are minimums that must be met but there is no maximum. I think this confuses a lot of people who expect that if they can do a standing front roll on day 1, they should automatically test into a higher level. I disagree. I expect that student to refine and improve turning that standing roll into a silent, stealthy arrow that makes movement easier and effortless. If a student can knock a target back on their first day, I'm excited. Now I can work with them on nuances of bone alignment for targeting. If a student can barely impact a target on day 1, I'm excited. Now I can work on nuances of bone alignment for keeping their body safe when striking. I believe that whatever your base level of skill, you always have something to learn--if you are bringing your full self and engaging in the learning process.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Growth on the Way to Black Belt (Full Essay)

Happy Labor Day! Thanks for being a part of Hunter's journey. To celebrate, I've included a copy of his entire essay here so you can read it in one place. Hunter is a senior at CU working towards his degree in Advertising. He has been studying To-Shin Do for 4 years.

Earning a black belt is a symbol, it demonstrates that I have learned the fundamentals, but more than that, it is a personal symbol. It represents my progress and the obstacles I have overcome during the course of my journey since white belt. To Shin Do is a continuous learning process, if it ever stops being challenging, it is because I have stopped improving. Training has taught me to be in my body and in the present moment, but above all to be more patient with myself. Earning a black belt is not a destination, it is a milestone. It signifies, the faith, commitment and priority it has taken to get here and my readiness to take the next step on the path to mastery.


One of my continuous learning processes, has been to become more patient with myself. I have accepted that learning anything takes time and requires repetition. Progress is incremental and my “breakthroughs” are usually the moment in time when my gradual improvement has accumulated enough to become noticeable. I avoid setting unreasonable expectations for myself by remembering that everything takes time. As well as by clarifying and asking questions and remembering to have fun when learning something challenging. When frustration arises anyway, I have learned to work through it, by reminding myself to breath, more deeply and more often. I have found that the more I stay in the present moment, the less likely I am to become frustrated when my performance does not match my expectations.


When I first began training, I found it an unnatural experience to be in my body and was more comfortable being in my head. Part of learning to be ninja has been finding a balance between approaching things intelligently, while still being present in the body and in tune with the situation. I have learned enough about myself to know that I do depend on over-thinking things when exposed to a new idea. However, I can move beyond this after a little while and begin to integrate movements into my body as I become more comfortable with a technique. Alternatively, I sometimes focus on moving without fixating on what I want to happen, simply letting the answer to the problem come out of the situation. Making the shift from always thinking about things to simply being in my body represents the improvement past an obstacle, which has been crucial to overcome.


To Shin Do has stayed constant while other things have shifted and changed around me. It has always been something I can depend on to be there, even as the experiences I have while training have evolved over time. Part of the significance of earning a black belt, is knowing that I have stuck with it. I owe my persistence to three things; faith, commitment and priority. These three things have helped ensure that I have continued training, even when it becomes challenging, as well as encouraging me to come to class regularly, despite a busy schedule.


Faith can be defined as believing in something you cannot see or touch. Faith is believing that To Shin Do can work and that I can make it work for me. My perceptions have changed internally and externally as a result of having studied martial arts. However, I have come to realize that many of the changes, in my outlook, perceptions and level of ability since beginning To Shin Do are somewhat intangible. Skill manifests on a physical level, but the knowledge behind that skill is not finite. Progress can be seen, but it is easier to see over the long run than from moment to moment. The belief that I can keep getting better is built upon past experiences, but ultimately it is an act of faith.


I think of commitment as the ability to, do the thing I said I would do, long after the mood I said it in is over. Commitment has enabled me to take the promise to keep training until black belt seriously, not just on the day I made that promise, but every time I come to class. I kept my goal alive by staying committed to achieving it and in return it has given me little boosts of energy, determination and enthusiasm when I needed them most. Commitment is about more than just showing up to class, it is about getting as much as I can out of the experience, every time I am in the dojo.


The final quality, which has helped me along my path to earning a black belt is prioritization. Knowing that I have made the choice to be here, gives it more value and makes earning a black belt more meaningful. I have chosen for various reasons not to own a car, so the ensuing bus rides across town, to and from the dojo, take as much as twice the time I spend in a single class. I do not say this to brag, but simply to remind myself that I have not gotten to where I am by accident. I made the effort to come to class consistently because I made it a priority. I am here on purpose!


It is not earning a black belt that is significant to me as much as what it symbolizes that gives it power. For me, a black belt stands for everything I have learned during my path. It represents all the challenges and obstacles I have overcome as well as the many good moments I have had along the way. The path to black belt has been just as much of a journey of inner exploration as outward exploration. On the outside, I now have the knowledge that I am capable of something significant if I work at it, do not give up, and remember to have fun along the way. On the inside, I have come to have a deeper understanding of myself. I have come to understand that knowledge is power and that therefore, knowing yourself is self empowerment.
 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Self Growth on the Way to Black Belt, Pt 8

This 8 part series is from Hunter's Shodan essay. I've gotten his permission to publish each paragraph as a blog post. Look for 1 every day to get a feel for his journey. Hunter is a senior at CU working towards his degree in Advertising. He has been studying To-Shin Do for 4 years.


It is not earning a black belt that is significant to me as much as what it symbolizes that gives it power. For me, a black belt stands for everything I have learned during my path. It represents all the challenges and obstacles I have overcome as well as the many good moments I have had along the way. The path to black belt has been just as much of a journey of inner exploration as outward exploration. On the outside, I now have the knowledge that I am capable of something significant if I work at it, do not give up, and remember to have fun along the way. On the inside, I have come to have a deeper understanding of myself. I have come to understand that knowledge is power and that therefore, knowing yourself is self empowerment.
Stephen K. Hayes Pro Shop



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