Hanshi Dan Tosh


The Circle of Knowledge Continues!

by Hanshi Dan Tosh

Tosh ad BIO

As I get older, I think about what we, the keepers of the flame are doing to ensure the future of our beloved arts. It’s not really a problem for the combative coliseum-style warriors that are groomed to entertain us. Those seekers of fame and glory are on a different path and though they are some of the hardest workers and suffer some of the most serious injuries, they are not the focus of this article.

For as long as there has been aggression, there has been a development of arts and sciences to stop aggression. Necessity is, after all the mother of invention. To use your natural ability such as strength, size and senses with only your own discoveries, is a bit like taking on a new job and learning about it by making mistakes. Some mistakes are unforgiving! So we must rely on those who have made these mistakes before us and who have perfected such things. Of course as we march into the future, we face new challenges and this is part of why we see evolution in the science of our arts.


So for our youth to become proficient in their desired fields, we turn to the experience of the teachers. There are so many teachers to choose from and just like any discipline, there are good and bad teachers. Some teachers think it is proper to teach by dictation and forced respect. There are others who teach like they parent, trying to be the students best friend as opposed to the educator. In this example, the student becomes empowered with a sense of entitlement and demand, which may lead to failure.

The good educator relies on not only knowledge but also on a fine balance with regard to metered discipline and the release of knowledge. In martial arts we usually use some method of acknowledgement in the form of belt colors, sashes, shirts, short colors and what appears to be tattoos for some of the professional fighters. Regardless, the recognition has become a thing of narcissism rather than its intended purpose. Those things were originally meant for the instructor or should I say the substitute instructor. The substitute instructor may not know the individual on the floor but can easily know what the lesson should be for each student based upon the “attire”.

In comes the instructors and in this article I’m focusing on the ones I’ve recently interviewed in Northern California. These great instructors include, Dave Silvers, Rick Travis, Michael Tobin,, Sid Rayford and Jim Staley. Dave Silvers is one of my black belts, While Rick Travis and Michael Tobin studied from one of my senior black belts the late GM John Tollow. Sid Rayford trained with my best friend, the late GM Sid Campbell and while I was involved in his training I am not his direct teacher and Jim Staley trained in the Kenpo system in Hawaii. I couldn’t be more proud of what these guys have given to the future in the form of time and tradition.

Dave Silvers is a true American Hero with several tours to Afghanistan in the Marine Corps that concluded in many injuries including IED exposure. He has been tireless in his teaching and giving to the youth in his tutelage. Rick Travis, is a partner in the Ukiah, CA dojo and teaches the Matsubayashi-ryu  style of Shorin-ryu under the direction of Ota Sensei with a little of my interpretation that he learned from GM Tollow.,Michael Tobin teaches in Willits at a health club that he is an owner of and as a retired Deputy Sherriff, he gives the lessons to the PAL students for free and the PAL actually pays for the extra things such as workshops and the like. Sid Rayford is such a quality teacher who always concerns himself with the needs of others and their actions even outside the dojo. He and his wife Amy spend much of their day teaching and they both lead by example and not by dictation.

Sensei Jim Staley started his training in Hilo, Hawaii, where he was born and started training in 1950 receiving his shodan in 1958. He is a dedicated instructor that is not only a strong martial artist with a rich history but also has a kind and giving heart. Jim has, for the last 22 years or so, volunteered his time and a considerable amount resources to teaching the youth in San Francisco at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club. The young people pay $10 per year to train in the Kenpo Karate taught by Jim and his black belts who all receive no compensation, except for the satisfaction to know another child may have changed their path on the road to adulthood.

There is another such teacher located in the financially depressed area of Merced, California. Sid Rayford has been training for nearly 50 years and for the last 25 years, I have been involved with his training and teaching. He is the Vice President of WOSKKA and organization founded by Sid Campbell and myself.

Sid lives and breathes shorin-ryu taught the way is teacher passed it onto him. He balances his life with karate, family and his faith and maybe not in that order. I, being fortunate enough to have been there for each of his promotions and tests, will have the great honor and pleasure to bestow upon him the rank of 9th dan on the 12th of March 2016. This will have most likely happened by the time this article goes to print, so I want to congratulate him on such a grand achievement.

These teachers are just a sample of what makes our society of martial artists all over the world great. The photos in this article are of some of the dedicated young people and the instructors that make it possible for them to thrive.


Until next time “domo arigato gozaimasu”

In this photo from left to right: Dan Tosh,

Sid Rayford and the late Sid Campbell.












  In the following photos, from the right to left are the dedicated instructors including Sensei Dave Silvers 4th from the right and Sensei Rick Travis 5th from the right. Also represented in this photo are instructors from Tosh’s Dojo, Sensei Rodolfo Llamas, 2nd from right, Sensei Jake Custodio 3rd from right and Sensei Harrison Leon 6th from right.

GM Tosh

 Dan Tosh demonstrating a kata technique while the youngsters,

Sensei Jim Staley and one of his black belts looks on.

GM Tosh

 Senseis observing from the sidelines as their students participate in the workshop. From left to right: Harrison Leon, Mike Tobin, Dave Silvers and Jake Custodio.

Toshi 4

Kaitlan Tollow helps Sensei with a technique while the students observe.

Toshi 5

These are some up and coming young students and while some are competing almost every week in tournaments all over Northern California and a few going to Ireland to compete in a world event soon, all are working very hard to preserve the art of shorin-ryu for future practicioners:


From left to right: Kaitlin Tollow, Laura Schuler, Colleen Riley, Kody Tollow, Shyanne Barney, Maureen Kyle and Taylor Travis.


Toshi 6

Editor’s Note:

Grandmaster Dan Tosh has been training in shorin-ryu karate since 1958. He began his studies at the Coffeyville, Kansas Boys Club, continued his training in Oklahoma and finally California in 1967 under the direction of Sensei Joe Spriggs.  In 1966, Tosh was promoted to Shodan (1st degree blackbelt).

In 1970, Tosh persuaded Grandmaster 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 black belt council chaired by Great Grandmaster Al Novak.  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.

Phone 925-240-2990 x 307
Brentwood, CA 94513

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