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.