Today will be two years since I started the adventure that is being a Martial Arts school owner. Milestones such as these are an opportunity to take stock and reflect the journey behind as we look forward to continue to create our path into the horizon.

I can honestly say that this journey has thus far been a success. The school is now more fiscally stable, and we have a community of awesome students that take what we do seriously – and seem to have a lot of fun doing it. We’ve grown a bit too; in the size of our little dojo, the new faces we see in class, our understanding of our art, and our ability and confidence in ourselves.

When I purchased the school from Shihan, I didn’t know what I was getting into; I had always taken for granted what Shihan Woodard provided for us; not just a place to train – but a sanctuary. When I took over the school, I had explained that it was to preserve our unique community – our lineage – to this art, and the methods of Shihan Woodard. But, in truth, this wasn’t my only motivation – I had another motive. I took over Todai to preserve it as my sanctuary as well. I had long suffered from depression, something that I can only now comfortably admit publically. Yet Todai was one of the few places that truly invigorated me – that gave me the strength to battle the challenges I faced. And while l continue my constant battle, fueled by the stress life brings, each day I spend here with all of you gives me more and more strength, courage and confidence to carry on. Todai is truly as it seems an “antidepressant”.

I don’t share this to solicit pity, but rather give hope; I very much had no idea what was going to happen when I embarked on this journey with all of you, but I knew my life would be better with this place in it. There has been quite a few challenges along the way, as I’m sure there will continue to be. But as each hurdled is cleared, we become stronger and more confident in our ability. Each success offers validation, and the courage to persevere. So if you begin to feel depressed, if you feel inadequate to succeed in the face of challenge, if you feel the odds are too dire – remember. Remember your successes, your triumphs, your sanctuaries that give you strength. Remember there is a community that believes in you.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you all for your support, your loyalty, and helping keep the sanctuary that is Todai Bujinkan Dojo alive. I look forward  to the challenges, obstacles, and indeed success, that we will overcome together as we continue to find our path towards the horizon.

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita,

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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