Many of our students arrive at Red Mountain feeling beaten down by life and robbed of their confidence. This could result from a combination of anxiety, substance abuse and depression, or having suffered a traumatic experience. We use many confidence-building techniques to overcome these challenges. One of the most popular offerings is our martial arts training program.
Our students train in Ten-Chi Kenpo, an integrative blend of several practices that focuses on developing a “peaceful warrior” spirit, which results in experiencing harmony, well-being, and spiritual peace (www.tenchikenpo.org).
We embrace “Yin and Yang,” the hard and soft sides of the martial arts. The “hard” arts, such as Shotokan Karate and Kung Fu, are excellent for physical fitness, self-esteem, trauma recovery, and boundary setting. We also incorporate the “soft” arts, such as Aikido, T’ai Chi, and Qigong, which are nonviolent in nature, using energy to calm the nervous system and build self-esteem.
This transformative practice helps increase confidence, because there is inherent value in knowing how to protect yourself. For those of our students who have experienced trauma, studying martial arts has supported them in feeling safe again. Learning how to carry oneself and moving from victimhood to radiating confident, assertive energy is a key part of healing.
Martial arts are also an excellent supplement to meditation practice. The “Budo” (warrior spirit) taught in martial arts classes helps our students develop the concentration needed to succeed in work, school, and other challenging environments.
Gichin Fukakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, once wrote, “For the practitioner of Karate, nothing is difficult.” What he meant was that, through the practice of the martial arts, one develops the ability to meet and overcome any challenge. For many of our students, the main challenge is living a joyful, stable life, free of the behaviors and states of mind that used to hold them back.
The martial arts have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety. A recent review of several studies by the National Institutes of Health found that “T’ai Chi and other related practices demonstrated…. beneficial effects for various populations on a range of psychological well-being measures, including depression, anxiety, general stress management, and self-efficacy.” We witness these benefits first-hand every day at Red Mountain.
Progress in martial arts depends on having knowledgeable instructors and those at RMS are imminently qualified.
Our founder and executive director, Josh White, is the senior instructor at Red Mountain. He began his martial arts training in 1990 under the tutelage of Shihan Elliott Edwards. Shihan Edwards was a sixth-degree black belt, and at the time of his passing was the ranking student of the system’s late founder, Hanshi Norman Armstrong. After the passing of these imminent martial arts masters, Josh took up the mantle of assisting Shihan David Lee, Ten-Chi Kenpo’s current head, in propagating the system to a new generation of students.
A third-degree black belt, Josh is currently the second-ranking active instructor of Ten-Chi Kenpo worldwide.
To attain his current rank, Josh conducted an extensive research project on the connection between Zen and the martial arts. Josh’s status as a “double Sensei”—both a sanctioned Zen teacher and a senior martial arts instructor—makes him a unique source of knowledge regarding the connections between these ancient wisdom traditions.
As one student put it, the martial arts program at Red Mountain “is much more than simply a self-defense class. In addition to physical fitness and greatly improved focus, the classes teach us modern Samurai techniques to help us overcome even the greatest of life’s difficulties.”
Given our instructors’ years of experience and high levels of achievement in the disciplines of martial arts and meditation, we can confidently say that our martial arts program is truly a unique program, offered only by Red Mountain.