Martial Arts

Red Mountain Sedona

tai-chiMany of our clients 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 clients 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 clients 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 clients 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 clients, 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 death 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.

Instructor Allen Stewart has been studying Ten-Chi Kenpo since 1994. A second-degree black belt, Allen has taught since 1996 and has additional training in T’ai Chi and Qigong. Allen has taught numerous women’s self-defense seminars, and is particularly interested in martial arts as a vehicle for trauma resolution.

Allen is also a Reiki Master who is keenly aware of the connections between the martial arts and healing modalities, a traditional relationship widely known in the East that has largely been lost in the West. Through his teaching, Allen brings these ancient practices to life at Red Mountain.

As seasoned therapists with many years of clinical experience, Josh and Allen have created a powerful interdisciplinary matrix, allowing clients to overcome significant challenges through martial arts training and mindfulness. Their teaching of Ten-Chi Kenpo has been honed through more than two decades together as teacher and student, and as co-instructors.

As one client 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.