To Shin Do

To Shin Do is a martial art style established by Stephen K. Hayes as a means of teaching ninjutsu (or taijutsu) in a format more accessible to American audiences. It is now practised in many countries around the world including the U.K.

His prior organizations, the Shadows of Iga Ninja Society, and the Nine Gates Institute, relied more on the Bujinkan’s methods of instruction. To-Shin Do was founded with the aim of blending classical martial arts techniques taught with more modern educational methods and techniques.

To-Shin Do was founded in 1996 as the curriculum for the HGI Quest Centers, a corporation founded by Shihan Hayes, along with business developer Bill Poett and Joseph Koenig. A couple of years later, Poett’s role in the corporation decreased, and the business was renamed SKH Quest, Inc.

In 2003, Tom Maienza took over the business development role, and SKH Quest began to offer distance learning systems via DVD, along with the original concept of Quest Center martial arts franchises.

Along with the To-Shin Do goshin taijutsu modern self defense, SKH Quest has started issuing classical rank cert in To-Shin Do Kasumi-An classical warrior arts training.

An-shu Stephen K. Hayes’ To-Shin Do martial arts training leads to the ability to live life fully, fearlessly, and freely. Ours is a thorough system of personal preparation for facing the kinds of conflict and opposition that can surprise us in the course of daily life.

To-Shin Do techniques are based on an ancient and well-tested system of warrior disciplines handed down by nine historical Japanese family lineages.

At the same time, our training program is built around a very modern approach to handling the kind of threats and confrontations most likely in our own contemporary culture.

To-Shin Do is a reality-based system that includes techniques and strategies for dealing with:

  • grappling, throwing, choking, and joint-locking
  • striking, kicking, and punching
  • stick, blade, cord, and projectile weapons
  • successfully handling multiple assailants and surprise attacks
  • overcoming psychological intimidation or bullying

Beyond the basic training that leads to Black Belt license in To-Shin Do is a collection of optional advanced courses including:

  • methods for survival in hostile environments
  • security protection for dignitaries
  • how to instruct classes and run a school
  • classical Japanese weapons
  • meditation mind science yoga

Lineage: To-Shin Do encompasses the nine schools that are part of the Bujinkan organization:

  • Togakure Ryu
  • Koto Ryu
  • Gyokko Ryu
  • Kukishinden Ryu
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu
  • Gyokushin Ryu
  • Gikan Ryu
  • Kumogakure Ryu

Ranks: To-Shin Do has a number of different belt ranks corresponding roughly to the former Marishi-Kai belt system above the rank of black belt, with a new, more differentiated ranking system below the rank of black belt. Ranks are based on the go-dai elemental system, historically used as a counting system in Japan.

Earth (Chi):

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Yellow/black stripe

Water (Sui)

  • Blue/white stripe
  • Blue
  • Blue/black stripe

Fire (Ka)

  • Red/white stipe
  • Red
  • Red/black stripe

Wind (Fu)

  • Green/white stripe
  • Green
  • Green/black stripe

Void (Ku)

  • Brown/white stripe
  • Brown
  • Brown/black stripe

Black Belt Ranks:

  • Black – shodan 1st degree student
  • Black – nidan 2nd degree student
  • Black/red stripe – sandan 3rd degree student
  • Black/red stripe – yondan 4th degree student
  • Black/silver stripe – godan 5th degree student
  • Black/silver stripe – rokudan 6th degree student
  • Black/bronze stripe – nanadan 7th degree student
  • Black/bronze stripe – hachidan 8th degree student
  • Black/gold stripe – kyudan 9th degree student
  • Gold – judan 10th degree student

To-Shin Do History: Stephen K. Hayes’ To-Shin Do martial art was born of the historical legacy behind 3 important roots of Japan’s ancient cultural heritage:

To – the sword: From the nin-po combat methods of the legendary ninja phantom warriors born of Mt. Togakure and cultivated in the wooded mountains and marshes of Iga comes the core of our physical protection techniques and strategies. To-Shin Do martial arts practice is a great way to reduce stress and increase strength, endurance, and flexibility, while fostering a sense of peace, security, and control in life.

Shin – the focused spirit of intention: From the rigorous kuji intention-channeling training of the shugenja of Mt. Yoshino comes the essence of our program for the discovery and development of the nine key qualities that characterize a fully actualized human being. We can achieve a more focused and disciplined understanding of the cause and effect dynamics that lead to success and fulfillment in life.

Do – the path to mastery: From the originally Himalayan esoteric mikkyo vajrayana mind and spirit sciences of Mt. Hiei comes the technique of cultivating our unlimited physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual potentials. We can learn skillful ways to transform the inner and outer challenges of life into success, and ultimately come to grips with the question of how to experience directly the significance of life itself.

Nin – Important Symbolism Behind The To-Shin Name: The Japanese written character for nin , of Japan’s ninja stealth warriors and their martial art of ninjutsu, can also be pronounced shinobi . It is best translated as “stealth, endurance, perseverance, or ‘putting-up-with'”. Nin or shinobi communicates the kind of strength required to keep our eyes on the grander goal. We know what we need and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. We are not diverted, even when tempted to take on the petty affronts and insults tossed in our path from those who fear or envy us.

  • The top portion of the Japanese letter character for nin is pronounced toh and means “sword” or “blade edge.” This represents the martial arts technology we study to perfect.
  • The bottom portion of the character is shin, pronounced sheen, and means “heart”. This represents the resolute spirit needed to prevail over the negative forces that attempt to drive us to defeat.

Together as the one single character for nin, the To-Shin ideal reminds us of the miraculous power of knowledge and intention combined to result in spirited intelligence in action.