At Tosh's Academy of Shorin-ryu Karate, our focus is on traditional Okinawan Karate as it has been passed down for generations.
Grandmaster Dan Tosh has been training in shorin-ryu karate since 1958. He began his studies at the Coffeyville, Kansas Boysclub, continued his training in Oklahoma and finally California in 1967 under the direction of Sensei Joe Spriggs. In 1966, Tosh was promoted to Shodan.
In 1970, Tosh pursuaded Grandmaster Musashi Miyagi to become his teacher and mentor in Hawaii. In 1974, Tosh returned to California, and at the request of his teacher, put on a white belt and trained in a shorin-ryu school taught by Sensei Ed Perkins under Eizo Shimabukuru. At the end of six months, Perkins promoted Tosh to blackbelt. Hearing that Tosh complied with grandmaster's wishes, he was promoted to 5th degree blackbelt in 1976 by Grandmaster Miyagi. To wear a white belt after having been a blackbelt, as it turns out, was a test of humility.
In 1976, Tosh was promoted to Godan (5th degree blackbelt). In 1987 he was promoted to 7th degree blackbelt and in 1998 to 9th degree blackbelt by Professor Sig Kufferath, 10th degree blackbelt and friend of Miyagi from Hawaii. Sid Campbell, a shorin-ryu master, was a board member and authenticated the quality of Tosh's kata and technique. It was long ago decided by Miyagi, that on the celebration of Tosh's 40 years in shorin-ryu, he was to become Hanshi or Soke; the official grandmaster of this interpretation of shorin-ryu.
On January 13, 2007 at the WOSKKA annual gathering, Tosh was promoted to 10th degree blackbelt by the counsil. This honor was bestowed on Tosh in the presence of several Great Grandmasters and Grandmasters including such dignitaries as Bob Wall, Sid Campbell, Al Novak, Carlos Navarro, Eric Lee, Bob Maschmeier, Ernie Reyes, Sr., Tony Thompson, Harry Mok, John Oliver, Gary Lee, Mark Gerry, Greglon Lee and Max Pallen.
Grandmaster Tosh is known for his incredible speed of both hand and foot. He is an authority in tuite and kata application. Tosh has been involved in choreography, movie production, stunt work, workshops and tournament competition for many years. Students who train at the Hombu dojo learn exacting movements and information that could only be learned from a teacher from Okinawa. In the past, it was difficult to find a qualified instructor to learn the old ways and there are only a handful in the United States. There are many, many schools of martial arts, but few have true depth of the knowledge that they impart.
Our system is defensive, never offensive. The student will learn technique, kata (form), traditional kumite (sparring), self-discipline, confidence and balance. We do not push the student and they do not compete with anyone but themselves. Attitude and humility are combined to create a self-confident, pleasant and well adjusted individual.
We are located in Brentwood, which is in the Delta Area of Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco.
There is a shorin-ryu dojo located in Ukiah, California under the direction of Sensei David Silvers, the dojo of the late Grandmaster John Tollow, 9th degree blackbelt who began his training in shorin-ryu under Tosh's system in 1979.
Martial arts in some form or another have been around for thousands of years. Early man had to know martial arts in order to defend himself and his family. There are thousands of different forms of martial arts such as Karate, Wushu (Kung Fu), Boxing, Wrestling, Savate, etc.
The actual term of Karate did not appear until the early 1920's. Empty hand (karate) was developed in Okinawa and was believed to come originally from China. Karate was developed from a need to defend with empty hand and crude makeshift weapons against attackers.
In Okinawa it was against the law for anyone to know, practice or teach any form of martial combat. Therefore, the Okinawans had to practice in dark clothing at night. If they were caught, they were be-headed. It is for this reason that we in Shorinkwoondo-ryu Shorin-ryu wear a black gi.
Below is probably the reason my last teacher named our system the "kwoon do" ryu of Shorin-ryu :
A kwoon (simplified Chinese: 馆; traditional Chinese: 館; pinyin: guǎn; Jyutping: gun2) is a training hall for Chinese martial arts.
According to A Chinese-English Actually, the first part of the word, Do, means a way or path. In Chinese we call it the "Tao" meaning the same thing in essence, a way, a path, a discipline. This is the bottom line purpose of a Kwoon - a place to teach the methods of the so called " way."
Many of the customs of Chinese Kung Fu are taken from everyday life, as the Chinese see it. At one time KungFu was taught strictly from father to son. A person's particular style came from his father. Your teacher was your Father, so you called him SiFu which means "teacher father." Many of the varied styles we have today bear the family name of the originator. Other titles used in the Kwoon such as SiGung, SiDai, and SiJie are translated into English as Granfather, Brother, and Sister.
In essence, a Kwoon was a family oriented atmosphere. To this day traditional Kwoons are run this way: like a family, a brotherhood if you will, where people all share the same desire to learn, experience, and refine the mind, body and spirit.
The Kwoon is a friendly place, where people meet people and share the training experience. Learning of all the methodological, ideological, and philosophical aspects of the arts making the learning process that much more fascinating.
Traditional training has the potential to transform people for the better. As the noted martial artist Master Peter Urban once said, "A way or path is intended to lead the individual to the attainment of perfection, or what is often known as self realization, enlightenment, or simply maturity."
Although Chinese Kung Fu is a powerful fighting art, the original purpose in spreading it was to unite people. In Chinese thought, fighting is the lowest form of compromise. A teacher once said, "Fighting is easy. Just walk into the street and slap someone, and there you are in a fight. It is not fighting that is indeed difficult."
It is in a Kwoon that we learn to control our tempers and simply walk away when we can. Well trained students are always confident, self assured, and controlled in any situation. Fighting is always the last resort.
A Kwoon is a place of sharing with others the knowledge of the ages. This is why we always bow when we come and go from the Kwoon floor. It is a sign of respect for what the Kwoon symbolizes.
Some Kwoons are very beautifully built while others may appear rather shabby. Some are located in obscure areas, some are located in the heart of town. But they all teach the same thing: The Way.
A kwoon is a cherished place of learning, a place where one could learn to develop himself /herself to the highest order of excellence, to be a person of virtue and confidence, clear mindedness, a person of character. These are the qualities a Kwoon attempts to instill in its training. Respect is taught, a respect for life and how to preserve it, most importantly, how to live it. A Kwoon is a place of peace and harmony with the universe. It is the place for cultivation of the Tao.
A Kwoon houses the complex world of Chinese Kung Fu with all is principles, ethics, customs, rituals. It is place where one can experience inner growth and change. In fact, a person who enters a Kwoon can never be the same person again. It is in a Kwoon that one undergoes a metamorphosis, from the mundane to the sublime.
MAIN INSTRUCTORS: Grandmaster Dan Tosh Hanshi, 10th Degree Black Belt Chris Sasville Kyoshi, 8th Degree Black Belt George Del Cid Kyoshi, 8th Degree Black Belt Jorge Martinez Kyoshi, 7th Degree Black Belt
Leita Stevens Renshi, 6th Degree Black Belt
Jake Hargus Renshi, 5th Degree Black Belt
John Gaudette Renshi, 5th Degree Black Belt
Rodolfo Llamas Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt
ASSISTANT INSTRUCTORS: Phil Clark Renshi, 6th Degree Black Belt
Anibal Vargas Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt Steven Chin Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Jake Custodio Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt
Harrison Leon Sensei, 2nd Degree Black Belt
John Longacre Sensei, 2nd Degree Black Belt Yesenia Llamas Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt
Some of our Other Black Belts: Danny Lee Tosh - Kyoshi, 7th Degree Black Belt Luis Zapanta - Renshi, 6th Degree Black Belt Tim Hall - Renshi, 6th Degree Black Belt
James Payton, Renshi, 5th Degree Black Belt Beau Lanning - Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt
Craig Sasville - Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt
Kelly Lloyd - Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt
David Silvers, Sensei, 4th Degree Black Belt (Ukiah) Michael Nguyen - Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt Mark Montgomery - Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt John Francisco - Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt Cody Lanning - Sensei, 3rd Degree Black Belt Robert Page - Sensei, 2nd Degree Black Belt Brandon Olson - Sensei, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Kat Lehmann - Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt
Christian Wellington - Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt
Justin Homan - Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt
RETIRED INSTRUCTORS: Jim Lowe, Renshi, 6th Degree Black Belt
UC MERCED DOJO
Fernando Cruz Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt
Nick Soon Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt Kennedy Nguyen Sensei, 1st Degree Black Belt