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Local dojo works to increase community wellness with Kickstarter

Shen & Kyoseikan Dojo is working to increase wellness accessibility in its new neighborhood and transform care for cancer patients and survivors.
Shen Dojo youth aikido class

Shen Dojo youth aikido class /Courtesy of Elizabeth Rogers Drouillard

The dojo

The dojo /Courtesy of Shen Dojo

Yoga class at the Shen Dojo

Yoga class at the Shen Dojo /Courtesy of Elizabeth Rogers Drouillard

Daniel Muschiana, owner/partner of local martial arts studio Shen & Kyoseikan Dojo, continues to seek ways to integrate the healing arts into his local neighborhood.

Shen Dojo was previously located in the Heartside Neighborhood on Division Avenue, but has been in its new location at 401 Hall St. SE for a little over a year. He has joined with the Kyoseikan Dojo.

Muschiana is passionate about bringing wellness accessibility to Grand Rapids.

"I studied under Dr. Lawton of Blue Heron Academy, who came from the healing arts side of martial arts and was at the forefront of developing progressive type of massage therapy that's now licensed and common for therapists," he says. "So being a part of the healing arts has always been a big part of things for me, and something I feel compelled to pass on... Many martial arts students don't understand the sacred responsibility of being able to pass on those traditions and to help others cultivate that what they found in the lessons as well. To look right around them and connect with their local neighborhoods, communities, and hospitals."

Muschiana makes these connections by continuing to increase accessibilty to the dojo and healing arts in several ways. The prices for classes are a half to one third of the cost of most yoga and martial arts studios. He also notes that the Hall St. studio is a very tranquil, organic environment. It's in a beautifully renovated old mill building with lots of natural light and all wood floors in the upper yoga studio.

"Neighbors find is accessible, not stuffy," he says. "It doesn't follow the trendy aspects of some yoga practices, and you don't have to walk by lots of expensive clothes before you get to the studio. Because of our local and neighborhood focus, our clientel is more diverse than the average studio- which is important to me, as the healing arts should be available to everyone."

To accomplish these goals, Muschiana and his team have started a Kickstarter campaign to find key contributers and local businesses that will become supporters of the dojo.

The campaign will raise money for expansion and research in local healthcare communities. The dojo offers programs in healing and martial arts including aikido, meditation, tai chi, yoga and karate. The dojo works directly with local hospitals, sharing the healing aspects of these arts and increasing its valuable contribution to quality employee care and soon-to-be patient care.

Muschiana currently teaches Tai-chi to hospital staff at Mary Free Bed Rehab, and sometimes at Spectrum as well. With the funds from the Kickstarter campaign, he'd also like to expand his teaching to include cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers.

Research in collaboration with the wellness director at Mary Free Bed into the effects of nutrition and the healing arts would be gathered, with potential for long-term effects on cancer care.

"It's a rare opportunity for a community-based studio to work with a local hospital," he says.

In traditional Asian culture, a dojo is a place to study “the way,” meaning the path towards enlightenment. Western culture interprets this to be a school; what is studied in the dojo creates both direct or indirect pathways towards changes that are both psychologically and physiologically healthy for the body. Shen & Kyoseikan Dojo hopes to create this change in each student as well as in the surrounding community.

“Martial arts teachings allow practitioners to gain important knowledge about balancing their bodies and minds in many aspects," Muschiana says. "At Shen Dojo we want to continue to take these powerful properties and link them with the healing effects of community and collaboration. By supporting us with our fundraising you will allow us to support the city, helping Grand Rapids to grow and establish itself as a unique place. One that is healthy, vibrant, and strong for all genders and races.”

Funds raised through Kickstarter will help to build two new training areas, buy new equipment and classroom materials and offer employee wellness workshops to local businesses. This campaign will strengthen the aim of the Dojo allowing it to grow it’s current professional connections into long-term partnerships with hospitals, research teams, doctors and therapists. The Dojo is providing a valuable contribution to accessible prehabilitation and “functional medicine.”

The dojo is working to raise $10,000 by May 29. Unique rewards are offered for supporting the Dojo’s expansion including free classes, private instruction, b2b wellness workshops and authentic Japanese artwork. The studio has recently published a short film showcasing their space and goals featured in their campaign on Kickstarter and on their Facebook page .

Muschiana is particularly excited about the top tier donation, creating custom wellness workshops for local businesses, and how this integrates the healing arts into the whole community.

"This lets staff know the business owners care about their employees, which brings an excellent return from the employees. Hospitals already recognize this because not only does it help employee health costs, but it also helps the staff of the hospital give better treatment care to patients themselves," he says. "It becomes this spiral of care where multiple populations in the city are receiving the benefits. Connecting with the hospital further bridges the gaps between doctors, patients, survivors and their caretakers. The ability to see your loved one not just in a hospital bed, but moving and enjoying themselves also nourishes the family."

To donate, visit their Kickstarter campaign.

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