About 6 years ago while I lived in Maine I was fortunate to study under Sensei John Poliquin in the art of To-Shin-Do. I loved the style, the training methods, and the people involved in the Quest Center as the dojo was called. Unfortunately due to family and employment issues I had to leave Maine and ended up back in Kansas. There were no To-Shin-Do or related dojos near where I lived in the Kansas City area, and with adjusting to the the new job and weird schedule I worked I just kind of gave up on training for a time.
About 6 months later Sensei Thomas Maienza arrived in KC and started a Quest center there. I was thrilled, though he hadn't trained in the To-Shin-Do system, he was from the Bujinkan system which To-Shin-Do was derived from and beginning to work with To-Shin-Do. The training felt right and I quickly got back into the swing of things. Unfortunately he left lest than a year later to go to Ohio to study with Stephen Hayes, the Founder of To-Shin-Do, and teach at his Dayton dojo. The school was taken over by Sensei Steven Crawford, a formidable jujitsu (and many other styles) instructor. Mr. Crawford was a great martial artist and an all around nice guy, but his background wasn't in To-Shin-Do and the training never clicked with me. I tried to keep up with it, but my heart just wasn't in it. If you are interested in being the toughest fighter you can be, Mr. Crawford is definitely worth training with, he trains fighters and trains them well. In my younger days that would have been great, but now I was looking for something that also paid attention to the "spiritual" side of things. I'm not trying to be the baddest mother on the block, just a confident, competent person that can deal with whatever life throws at me.
For the last couple of years I haven't really trained at all. I've missed it, and feel like I've lost lots of ground, both physically and mentally. The SKHQuest Center, Stephen Hayes' To-Shin-Do organization, has begun a video training course now. My initial reaction was that it was simply too commercial and not a good way to train. I've been looking around at several local dojos trying to find something that would feel right to me, but everywhere I looked I kept coming away saying "That was nice, but its just not like the Quest Center". I've thought back on some of the conversations I had with Sensei Poliquin about his early days of training where some guys would get together, go to an occasional seminar and possibly send some videotapes or such back and forth and conduct their training as good as they could in the absence of a qualified instructor. He is now one of the true Greats of To-Shin-Do. Video training isn't my first choice, but its simply the only way for me to continue being involved in the system and the Quest Network. I've twisted my best friends arm into giving it a try and will have to see what comes of it. I hope that in a few years I will once again be somewhere where I can train with a qualified instructor, but I can at least try to keep in shapes and have a solid foundation to build from if that time ever comes.
I excited about the prospect of training in the style again, hopefully good things will come of it.