Dear Todai Clan,

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your support. I am so thankful to be surrounded by not just practitioners, but individuals of your caliber. I wanted to take the time to share my vision for Todai, and let you know how we can continue together into the future.

Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to study this art. It wasn’t until I came to Todai that I was able to realize that dream and so much more. Like many of you, Todai means much more to me than just a Martial Arts school; we are a community – a family – a clan.

Too a large extent, Todai is Mr. Woodard, and it is impossible to try and replace him. But I believe he created something greater than himself – the community of students. Now that Mr. Woodard is accepting a new career opportunity, it’s up to us to keep the torch of the lessons and values he’s taught burning bright. After all, Todai is Japanese for lighthouse – and we need to keep this light burning bright to guide those around us.

That is why I have decided to purchase the dojo to keep and preserve our community and our lineage – and grow it further. In order to do this, there will be some necessary changes. I won’t pretend to be the same caliber practitioner or instructor as Mr. Woodard. I can only assure you in my dedication to preserving and growing the community we call Todai.

If you weren’t aware, I am already CEO of a family run business. This means that for me personally, I will need to balance my responsibilities to my family business as well as my responsibilities to the dojo and all of you. I am not perfect, so I’m sure there will be mistakes made along the way. I just ask for your patience as we make this transition together.

Classes
The Hombu dojo in Japan has classes from different instructors in addition to those of the Grandmaster. When you come to take a class, you simply pay for the class when you show. Each of the instructors are Grandmaster’s long-time and top students.

At Todai, we will be mirroring this structure; I am asking those highest ranked to consider teaching classes. This gives every student the opportunity to train at both different times of the day, as well as learn with different styles of teaching. I will still teach in addition to these other instructors, and I will have an updated schedule (you can click here) for everyone to take advantage of the different classes as those who wish to teach come forward. For now, that invitation will be open to the Uchi Deshi. However, let me know if you have an interest in teaching.

Training
For our adult classes (what will be called “Seijin” class – which is just Japanese for Adult), we will be going to a full Historical Curriculum. To make things easier, there will be a list of techniques that I’ll will be giving to all the students in that class.

For the Family Classes (what will be called “Kazoku” class – which is just Japanese for Family), I will be focusing on the fundamentals – the Kihon Happo in particular. That way when some of our younger students get old enough to take the Adult training (13 years old) and those parents interested in the Adult only classes, they will be better prepared for the training.

Each teacher can teach whatever they like, and there is no set curriculum they will need to follow. As far as ranking is concerned, we will move to the historical kyu/rank system. It is each teacher’s prerogative how they grade students (i.e. testing, difficulty, etc.). Of course you’re grade will be honored by the other teachers and myself as well.

Pricing
Our pricing structure will change to make training more affordable, and flexible to everyone’s budget. We will continue the policy that we only charge for the first two members of a family. There will be two ways you can pay for training:

1. Pay-as-you-go: Simply put, you just pay when you show up for class. This will allow everyone to pay for the training they receive, and adjust their training frequency as needed to fit their budget. The price per class will be $30.00. However, if you check in on Facebook for the class, you’ll receive a $5.00 discount. This means you’ll only pay $25.00 per class. To allow our instructors to collect money, classes will need to be paid in cash – at least as things start out.

2. Subscription: For those of you that wish to save a little money and make paying easier, we will have what’s called a Subscription, where you pick how many classes you want to train per month, and then pay monthly for those classes. You can adjust or cancel this at anytime, simply give us 30 days notice to make the necessary changes to your Subscription. The per class rate will be $25.00 per class, and a minimum of 4 classes per month to subscribe. Also, for every 5 facebook check-ins, your 5th class is free.

The reason for the Facebook Check-Ins is to help spread the word about us to everyone in our social circles. If you’re not sure how to do this, just ask and I can show you (it’s pretty easy).

In order to track your subscription and the number of classes you have, every Subscriber will be issued a Subscription class card. When you come to the dojo, simply show your card to whoever is collecting money for the class, and your card will be marked. Please treat these as you would a credit card, and keep it in your wallet. If you go over the number of classes you’re subscribed to, you can simply pay for those classes at the pay-as-you-go rate.

There will also be some small branding changes to better reflect the training within the dojo. However, these changes are mostly cosmetic and hopefully will invigorate the pride we all have in the dojo that Shihan Woodard has built. After all, what we do is pretty cool.

Change can be scary; but I want to assure you my main goal is to keep Todai alive and to help it thrive, not necessarily to get rich by being a school owner. I also believe in complete transparency, so I will make myself available to you all to answer any questions or concerns you have. You can reach me via the Dojo’s main phone: (805)532-1794, our facebook page (fb.com/TodaiDojo) or my email. (ShinobiNoTodai@gmail.com)

Todai is my sanctuary. Ninpo taijutsu is my passion. And I hope to protect those two things, and our lineage with Shihan Woodard alive. I appreciate your help and support, and I look forward to our future together.

This Thanksgiving, I’m truly thankful to be a part of our community that is Todai.

Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you in class,

Shidoshi Scott Hamilton

Shidoshi Hamilton

Scott Hamilton is an 8th degree black belt in the Bujinkan, and travels regularly to Japan to train. In addition to being the owner and head instructor of Todai Dojo, Scott is also the CEO of a national manufacturing company. He has also received training in other martial arts, and in-depth modern weapons training.

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