Life has a way of surprising you. It will make you take turns down paths that you would have never expected to be walking on. When I began working at the Dayton Quest Center (DQC) during my second co-op in January of 2017, I had no idea that my post-Antioch career plans were going to center around the Hombu dojo. Yet, here I am, writing my final co-op blog post about my experience at the DQC.
The Dayton Quest Center’s objective is “Unleash Your Potential!” Through our martial art, To-Shin Do, we aim to help our students achieve mastery over their lives. We seek to empower, encourage, and promote wellness through the physical and mental aspects of our martial art. To-Shin Do is a self-defense based martial art that focuses on the alignment of the body and skeletal structure and the power of gravity to gather strength. I used to lack confidence in myself. I used to believe that, if something happened to me, I would be unable to defend myself. After discovering To-Shin Do, that all changed. I know that I can defend myself. I know that I am worth defending. I deserve to go home at the end of the day happy, healthy, and safe, and To-Shin Do has shown me that I can achieve that.
At the DQC, my title is Administrative Assistant. That’s job-title-speak for, “I do basically everything.” I begin my day with a checklist of tasks that must be completed before classes start at 4:15 p.m. I check missed calls and messages, sift through our email, restock the uniforms and snacks, take inventory, clean and organize the desk and lobby, and do a quick dusting. This work usually takes just an hour. Then I will fill any online orders that we receive. After that, I have a variety of tasks that I could do. Something new needs to be done each day, so I always experience something different. Once classes start, I typically help teach the Mighty Ninja classes. After, I will sit behind the desk, answering the phone, running the Pro-Shop, and answering questions from our students. Once the night comes to an end, I will clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, and do a quick organizing of the desk before I head out for the night.
During my one year and eight months at the DQC, I have learned so much and developed many skills. I help prospective students make financial and time-commitment decisions to help them fit our program into their schedule. I see at least eighty people every day, so I have developed better people and communication skills. I am currently fostering my salesperson skills and am working on selling our products in an ethical manner that feels good to me. While my time at the DQC has been relatively short, I have learned so much and expect to continue expanding my abilities as an employee, person, and community member.
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
For some, the idea of working a 9-to-5 job every Monday through Friday sounds like the worst thing that could happen to them. I thought I was one of those people who would go crazy working what might seem to be a boring and tedious job. However, after working at Yellow Springs Home, Inc. full time for a little less than a month, I can definitely say that I love this job. I am so impressed with the work that has been done, and I connect with the mission of the organization, which is, “Yellow Springs Home, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen community and diversity in the Yellow Springs area by providing permanently affordable and sustainable housing through our Community Land Trust model.”
I always felt that I have had a good sense of community. I used to be deeply involved in a Girl Scouts troop back home that would make cards for the local senior center and bake cookies for the local firemen among other tasks, but it wasn’t until I started working at Yellow Springs Home, Inc. that I truly started to understand how a “sense of community” should truly feel.
My usual day consists of me arriving at the office around 8:45 AM, checking my emails, running down to the post office to check the mail, checking in with my supervisor about my work plan for the day, completing said work, then updating my work plan and sharing it with my supervisor before I leave for the day. While I have a basic general routine, the work that I do during the day is usually varied day-to-day. On some days, I will be more focused on grant writing and researching, some days will be spent entirely in meetings, and other days will be used to contact board members and other organizations to ask for donations or volunteers. There are some days where I am scanning papers, making coffee runs, leading and supervising volunteers, planning an open house event, or removing fiberglass insulation. I am grateful that my job allows for such variety in events and experience to help keep my skills well-rounded.
I have discovered that my favorite part of my job so far is creating and managing my own work plan. I have some guidance from my supervisor and other staff to add tasks and give advice, but for the most part, I set my own deadlines and create my own goals. I appreciate the learning experience and the chance to be self-disciplined and responsible. I have not had a similar experience in any other job. This is something I will be able to say Yellow Springs Home, Inc. has taught me.
Home, Inc. does more than just provide homes for low-to-moderate income families in Yellow Springs. We help to keep the people who make Yellow Springs what it is, an eclectic and artsy small-town full of bright minds and creative souls, right here in this community. Small towns have this habit of turning into glorified, overly-expensive cities that people can only afford to travel through. There are so many people who, for various reasons, want to live in Yellow Springs but simply cannot afford to do so. That’s where Home, Inc. comes in. We work personally with our clients to design homes for them while also making sure they contribute back to our community and other homes via “Sweat Equity,” which are required volunteer hours that homeowners must fulfill to satisfy certain needs of our land trust model. You can find more information about the incredible work we do at www.yshome.org.
I am incredibly happy with the work I am doing at Yellow Springs Home, Inc. Working at a non-profit has its ups and downs, but I can’t help but see the end goal of handing somebody their first set of keys when I’m filing papers or making a coffee run. Knowing that my supervisor doesn’t have to worry about the smaller tasks that I handle means they can move forward with the bigger and more time sensitive tasks. Eventually, this leads to a gathering where I can see the true impact of our organization and all of the work that we do. Those small, cherishable moments make the seemingly boring and remedial tasks worth so much more.
My second Co-op in my Antioch experience is the complete opposite of my first Co-op despite them both occurring in Southwest Ohio. I am working full time as an intern at the Dayton Quest Center, which is a To-Shin Do dojo here in Dayton. At the dojo, over two hundred students come to train under experienced instructors. To-Shin Do is a modernized form of Japanese ninjutsu, and it focuses on self-defense and the journey of oneself to better the world.
My day-to-day task schedule can vary quite a bit. I usually arrive at the dojo at noon. On Mondays and Thursdays, we have an All Rank class at noon, and the rest of our classes start at 4:45PM during the week. The first thing I do is run through a daily checklist, which involves checking phone messages, updating appointments, opening the cash register, and completing a general clean up check. The few quiet hours between opening and the first classes are generally used for staff meetings, filling online orders, and updating our current attendance-keeping program to better fit our needs. When classes start, I am usually behind the desk, asking questions, answering the phone, or helping to set up appointments, private lessons, or memberships. During some classes, I am able to help run them. I especially love to work with our COOL Kids class, which are a group of four to seven year olds. Their energy makes me smile. I also sometimes coach in the Level One class, which is a new experience for me that I hoped to gain through this Co-op. During Level Two classes, I train. Part of why my experience here is going so well is that I have a new place to train and learn and grow my knowledge of To-Shin Do. In the other classes, I am usually stamping attendance cards and entering them into our system, or I am interacting with the families that come to watch the classes their kids are in. Meeting this community and getting to know the people individually has been such an honor.
During the first week of the month, most of my time is spent on preparing the month’s graduation list, pulling color belts for graduation, filling inventory orders, and making new attendance cards for those that had just graduated the week before. The second and third weeks are mostly filled with updating the graduation list, ordering anything we might need, and catching up with any task we may have looked over. Week four gets a little hectic. Week four is test week, where those with their names on the graduation list are tested in class on the techniques for the month. We give out “stripes” of electrical tape that we wrap around the ends of the belts of those who are progressing well. Once a student gets their red stripe, it means they will graduate at the end of the week. We host our graduations on the Friday of week four, and it is always a big celebration.
I have trained To-Shin Do for over a year now. I knew once I started that I would want to practice it for a long time. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to intern at the Dayton Quest Center. The skills and experiences I have gained through this job are unlike anything I have ever experienced. Along with growing as a person, I have also been able to meet a large number of new people. The community of the dojo welcomed me with warm and open arms, like I was already one of their own. The dojo is truly a family. I feel that I could talk to anyone in the dojo about something happening in my life, and that they would listen and try their best to help me if they could. A community with that level of trust and care from the first moment you enter it is worth more than any treasure in the world. I am incredibly thankful for my time at the Dayton Quest Center, and I know I will be sticking around for quite a while longer.