Philosophy Of Tai Shin Doh
The philosophy of Tai Shin Doh is embodied in the three characters Tai, Shin and Doh.
Tai connotes the head or the intellectual part of us.
Shin connotes the heart or the physical and emotive part of us.
Doh, literally “the way”, is the path we choose to train the intellectual and physical parts of ourselves in our particular martial arts endeavors. The Tai Shin Doh path is one that takes an entire lifetime to traverse.
For Tai Shin Doh, there is no one goal. Our philosophy is to maximize the quality of life through the martial arts, that is, to develop our minds and our bodies to be the best martial artists we can be – throughout our lives – and, in so doing, to be the best students, teachers, citizens, spouses, or parents… contributors all.
Our Greatest Resource – Our Young People!
Implicit in Tai Shin Doh is the recognition that our greatest resource is our young people. And that the greatest contribution is to endeavor to help children to become the best people they can be. Tai Shin Doh teachers are those who actively promote self-discovery, self-achievement and a strong sense of contribution among our students. In our modern world, some adults commonly surrender ethics to career motives, and of late, many leaders in both Public and Private sectors are no longer role models, and sadly, even some religious pillars of our communities have shown cracks. Tai Shin Doh promotes simple honesty, integrity and ethics as the most important fundamentals of martial arts, the critical building blocks that also make us worthwhile and valuable members of our families, communities and nation. Without these fundamentals, not even the highest black belt has value above that of a common length of twine.
Tai Shin Doh is a bridge to help students build from wherever and whoever they are now to improved self-control, self-assurance and positive self-image. These, along with a healthy and effective means of understanding principals of Tai Shin Doh, allow our students to successfully move forward in our modern world toward an adulthood in which they can make a positive difference to their families, their communities and their nation.
Allowing Our Children to Be Children
Tai Shin Doh is not the disciplinarian’s first choice of martial arts schools. Our philosophy and our guiding principal is that very young people, children, should be allowed to be HAPPY, LEARNING CHILDREN. If that is nurtured, they will soon be open to discover the value of self-discipline at the appropriate time, and, it is part of learning.
My philosophy of teaching centers on “OPPORTUNITY, DISCOVERY, LEARNING!” All of these areas are to be found in great abundance in the world we live in; the world we live in however, is oftentimes quite different. Many young people seem to have a sense of direction and purpose, while others flounder and encounter difficulty in growing up. I have a personal conviction, which addresses a unique and different concept of most important "national resources.
"The "resources" of which I speak is not to be found in gold depositories, museums, or national archives, but rather, they are to be found in the form of our people, young people specifically, into whose hands, one day, we will give the stewardship and the helm of our Nation’s Ship of State..
In our lifetime, young people of the present will become the adults of tomorrow; young people will become heads of households and homeowners. Young people will become parents and leaders in both the public and private sectors. Young people will become our tradesman, educators, scientists, and industrial leaders, and -- we have entered a new Millennium, the 21st Century!
Their future, our future, one might say, is no longer tomorrow, but NOW! How exciting to be alive at this time,--a witness to discovery. The contemplation for an advancement of humankind and a better quality of life for all people as a result of new discoveries through science, medicine and space exploration, can excite the mind in wonder and amazement.
The basic sciences and technological advancements which will occur during the next Century, as well as our own capability to better understand and coexist with other diverse people, will realize a phenomenological growth, and in the first generation of the new Millennium, our existing body of knowledge will double.
Young people have a quest to learn; to seek out new questions and to discover new answers, not only to our beginning, but to our future as well. Young people, by virtue of their existence -- "here and now", will be part of a human population who will be witness and attestants to wonderful discoveries in their lifetime, and they will lead us well into the 21st Century!
The future of Martial Arts in the World is in our children, our young people!
Children in Martial Arts are the future of our Art! It is a human axiom that the way in which children perceive a new learning experience, can influence their attitude about learning in the future. I have been in Martial Arts for more than fifty years, and as a Teacher from 1966 to the present, I have taught thousands of people during that time, and while not every student became a “Black Belt, ” I felt that most people learned something about Karate, and, I made learning a pleasant, unique, and memorable experience that possibly in some way influenced a young life.
On occasion, I meet people who were former students of mine -- twenty-five and thirty five years ago and, who are now parents themselves and recall fond memories of their time in the “Dojo” and remind me of the importance I placed on character development, self discipline and education which is the hallmark of our program. Today, many of these former students are Physicians, Lawyers and Educators; they have become leaders in both the Public and Private Sectors; they are homemakers and skilled employees; and yes, to really date myself, I have recently met a few former students who are “retired!” We have children of children from another generation, even grandchildren of former students!
Teaching Children demands no less than whoever is called, “Sensei”, must be an adult, and, as a result from years of Martial Arts training and teaching, has the maturity, temperament and skill level to be responsible for the Martial Arts education and training of young students in his or her care.
I believe in a rededication and commitment in teaching children and youth Martial Arts. Children and youth are the future generation who will carry on traditions as we impart it to them, therefore, in our traditional program, my guidance to all new Black Belt candidates who aspire to become teachers, includes the following excerpt from the speech, which I have given for almost forty years.
“And so, honored Student, there was a point in your training when you were given the assignment to assume a role of assisting Sensei with instruction, and while the physical aspects of a Martial Art are relatively easy to convey from one person to another, the designation of TEACHER - SENSEI carries responsibilities of a magnitude second only to that of Parent; -- it carries highest honors, respect and
SENSEI - TEACHER -- since the dawn of civilization, the responsibility of preserving a collected body of knowledge was given only to those men and women who had been entrusted by the community to teach the collected history and traditions to the next generation of youth, and help prepare them for their future as well.
SENSEI - TEACHER! - the title is not sold nor decreed by proclamation, nor bestowed by grant, rather the designation is earned by deed and by council, by the development of character, of forbearing, sacrifice, patience and honor; it is earned as respect is earned; it is given to you by others as an honored trust! (RFB 1967 revised Full speech available by request through E-Mail)
Teaching young students Martial Arts demands that curriculum be commensurate with the students physical, mental and emotional development, and of course, a “teacher” having a University Degree in Education or Health related fields is always considered as a plus to accent an added quality of professionalism in teaching youth..
My philosophy in working with young people is uncomplicated, and whether it is teaching students Martial Arts, or helping to open young minds to the Liberal Arts, Science, Music or Literature, and, as I have said, I believe that Opportunity, Discovery and Learning, are areas to be found in abundance in the World we live on, the World we live in however, is oftentimes quite different.
How sad it would be for Karate if students came to the DoJo and all they would learn is physical Karate; "move here,-- move there,” and not have any idea as to reasons why! To open the mind; to learn to free oneself of the weight of things which can distract one from learning; -- a child beginning to learn -- to experiment -- to make discoveries as to their new abilities as the result of their own efforts (I believe) is the "ESSENCE of KARATE!" It is immensely thrilling to hear an excited young voice on the threshold of discovery proudly exclaim,
“Sensei, look what I learned, -- look what I can do!"
Young people are the future generation who will carry on traditions as we impart it to them. The creative mind, opportunity, discovery, free exchange of ideas between people, guiding and encouraging the student to rise to a higher potential! Young people will be part of a human population who will be witnesses and attestants to wonderful discoveries in their lifetime, and they will lead us into the 21st Century; -- one question we ought to asking ourselves at this time is, will they be ready?
As the “lyricist” wrote in a certain song so poignant and reflecting,
"There is a road which leads to tomorrow,-- and the pathways are to be found in the recesses of our mind,”
It is what we teach our children and young people today, -- helping to shape and form their minds, -- helping them to be able to dream, -- to think, and grow, -- to take them on many roads, -- to many places, -- to see and experience a World around them that will ultimately prepare them to accept the challenges and to be able to live in those tomorrows.
I believe children and youth becoming involved in Martial Arts is good, and that they being involved in Martial Arts can achieve higher potential. Children can be taught basic rules, protocol and etiquette of this “new discipline” (to them) with a gentle and guiding hand.
Competition and Its Role.
The Tai Shin Doh philosophy believes healthy competition is good, and it fosters realistic self-appraisal and good sportsmanship. We believe in competition as an ongoing tool to help us learn how we are progressing. On the other hand, Tai Shin Doh recognizes that not all students achieve best through competition, and thus we gladly accommodate training and evaluation to suit each student as an individual.
Variety of Paths to Choose.
Tai Shin Doh further promotes individuality by offering its students the gamut of martial arts: Self-Defense “full contact karate”, Ju jitsu, Kata, traditional Weapons Forms and Kumite and “Creative” Forms. Over time, each Tai Shin Doh student finds the specialties in which he or she can excel. Paramount in importance is the students’ comfort levels at each step along their paths. We challenge students to become their best, and our credo is best said by,
“Aspire to a higher potential!” Every Student Can Be a Teacher.
It is the philosophy of Tai Shin Doh that one of the highest accolades one may bestow... or achieve… is the title of Teacher. To that end, we emphasize the development of effective teaching skills as part of our program. We encourage intermediate kyu belts to help instruct beginners. We encourage advanced kyu ranks to help the intermediate students. Teaching is contributing, and we believe strongly in making contributions at each step in our life path (Doh).
Because we take our roles as educators seriously, our students deserve the best we can give them. They deserve the best teachers we can be, because someday they will be the best teachers they can be.
More Than a Black Belt
Finally, Tai Shin Doh is not just a “way to a black belt”. In fact, we are known for our conservative approach to promotion through the ranks of colored or kyu belts. Tai Shin Doh is much more. Tai Shin Doh is a life philosophy that uses healthy, effective martial arts to help achieve a successful, contributing adulthood. The Shodan or first black belt is a coveted step along that path, but it is, in our view, a beginning to a new phase in that pathway rather than the objective in itself.
Above all, we are totally open in our programs. We believe in being seen and evaluated in all we do. Our philosophy is one that invites and encourages close observation and questions. We, like our students, want to continually improve. So, just as every student can be a teacher, we also believe that every teacher MUST be a student too.
Sincerely, Ronald F. Balas, Soke