Greetings from the Dayton Quest Center in Dayton, Ohio! My name is Kyna Burke, and this quarter marks the beginning of my third Co-op term and my third year at Antioch College. I opted to stay local again and work with the Dayton Quest Center (DQC), a martial arts dojo that originated right in Dayton. The typical Quest slogan is, “Unleash Your Potential!” which expresses our commitment to unlocking the greatness within those who train with us. The martial art we train is called To-Shin Do, developed by Stephen K Hayes and Rumiko Urata Hayes in 1997. It was evolved from Masaaki Hatsumi’s Bujinkan lineage and adjusted to focus on threats that are common in western society.
Due to the recommendation of Antioch’s To-Shin Do Instructor, Johanna Norris, I started working with the DQC in January of 2017 as a volunteer on my second Co-op term. I was nervous to be working a different job since I had been working with Yellow Springs Home, Inc. since November of 2015. I had an understanding of the job, thanks to Johanna, and realized that this experience was sure to be quite different from my lovely, calm, grant-writing desk job back in Yellow Springs. It took me a while to become accustomed to working retail, filling online orders, and finding the space for my ideas without the hesitation of not being taken seriously on account of my lack of long-term or related work experience. Shortly into my term, the team must have recognized my efforts and potential and asked me to join them post-Co-op for a part-time job. I have been working with them ever since, and I am beyond thankful for this opportunity.
My duties in the DQC are widely varied but incredibly important. My typical day starts at noon. On Mondays and Thursdays, we host an All-Rank noon class, which any student can attend. We always teach youth and adults at the same time, but we usually split off due to curriculum and/or size differences. If I don’t train in the noon class (or, even if I do train), I will start my task list with breaking down the register and counting the money from the day before. If there was a class, I will stamp the students’ cards and enter them into our system. That is how we oversee their attendance and help them stay on track to graduate to their next belt! Then I will move on to checking our online orders and filling them. After that, there is usually a hodgepodge of tasks to complete: emails to follow up on calls to make, clean up the front desk, restock the Pro-Shop, take inventory, and much more. Once 3:00 PM rolls around, I typically take my lunch, which usually consists of me eating my lunch in the back room while I check more emails. We typically host private lessons around 4:00 PM, so I will sit at the front desk to greet people as they walk in. Classes begin at 4:45 PM. I will usually be behind the desk, stamping cards, answering questions for clients, and running the Pro-Shop. I will also take photos or videos of students during classes to post on our Facebook and Instagram pages to showcase their progress and efforts, to highlight a difficult technique, or to promote a special class we will be hosting. I typically coach our Mighty Ninjas class, which is our four to seven year old range of students. They are an energetic bunch, but working with them is always a pleasure. The later evenings usually consist of me making a social media post, cleaning up the front desk again, wiping down the bathrooms and the front counter, and taking out the trash.
One of the newest additions to my task list has been managing the social media page. I spend a fair amount of time on social media, so I felt extremely comfortable with taking on the challenge of learning to manage a business’s social media account. Both Facebook and Instagram have incredible business account features, which include analytics, post boosting, and more. Exploring the capabilities of what a social media post can do has been exciting! I do my best to keep with a specific style of photography and videography, as I believe it helps to create a signature look to our business. Social media is a great way for people to connect and explore the world around them in a way that feels more capable, comfortable, and tailored to their personal experience. My goal is that a new student mentions they originally saw us on Instagram or Facebook. We have yet to boost a post, so the outreach is limited at this moment, but I know hearing that will fulfill that sense of, “Is what I’m working so hard on truly making a difference?”
As a young woman, martial arts always felt a little out of touch for me. I was under the impression that all martial arts dojos were full of burly, tough, strong men who fought each other for competition. Whether or not that is true in reality, that was my experience and perspective. When I began training with Johanna at Antioch, I was beyond thrilled to learn that To-Shin Do is a martial art that focuses on self-defense and using your balance, body alignment, and mindset to overcome your attacker, or “uke,” as we call them in the dojo. Training in this martial art has changed my life. Gone are the days where I couldn’t walk outside at night without someone with me. I stand tall, confident, like a mountain. I think more carefully about what I say to others, how I treat them, and what my actions say about myself. I am more aware thanks to the training I have been through. I am currently a Red Belt in the art, which means I am halfway to my Black Belt. There are many besides me who carry the same uplifted spirit. I truly believe To-Shin Do has the potential to unlock one’s true self if one will allow oneself to take the journey. In my year at the DQC, I have seen people, both young and old, blossom. This art is something special, and I am beyond excited to continue to train, to work with the DQC, and to create a safe haven for exploration, community, and trust.
You can find our website at https://www.daytonquestcenter.com. Our Instagram handle is @daytonquestcenter (https://www.instagram.com/daytonquestcenter), and our Facebook Page is https://www.facebook.com/skhquest. From there, you can explore more about what our art is about, what kinds of programs we offer, and the work that I have done regarding our social media pages.
Enjoy, and I’ll see you on the mat!
Antioch College Class of 2019