When I first walked into CrossFit Wilmington in Early February 2008 I knew that it was different. Different in the sense that I didn’t know much about CrossFit at the time of course, but also different because I could tell that the people I met there were of a different breed.

They were people who wanted everything that they could get out of life and they weren’t afraid to work for it. They inspired me, pushed me, expected better of me, and themselves. They were gentle when they needed to be gentle and honest even when they knew the truth might hurt. I grew with them to understand that “Ego” was not something to fear or “leave at the door” much like the common nomenclature would have us as a society believe, but as a tool for helping the self and others that you come into contact with grow.

Who knew that putting your hands on an Olympic weightlifting bar could transcend life lessons and increase ones capacity for passion, love, pain, fear and self understanding? Not just the ability to lift more weight…

I’ve been a practicing Martialist for about 25 years. Yes, I’m only 35. Since I was 10 years old I was taking Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu, Judo and Jujutsu lessons from anyone that would teach me anything.

I would play king of the mountain in the New Mexico desert for days on end. Coming home beat up, bleeding, dirty and exhausted from summer time play in the dirt was (and still is) exhilarating to me. I started Shoshin Ryu when I was 17 years old, and it has given me the capacity for peace, self confidence and protection for me and my family from physical attack.

I now hold the rank of 3rd degree black belt in SSR. I’m on the board of directors for our system and have quite literally dedicated my life to the practice of being a Martialist (sometimes to the chagrin of my beautiful wife Rachel). Rank is a very relative thing in the martial arts world.

Dojo floor 1There are schools that will test a student every 6 weeks whether they own the information for that rank or not. This usually comes with a charge of $$ due at testing. Then, there are schools that offer no rank until you pass your first rank (black belt) after a minimum of 10 years in the school with excellent attendance. For instance in my personal history, It took me a minimum of 5 years at each black belt rank. I’ve never paid for a rank evaluation or belt and neither will my students. It is based on merit only. Period.

Through this time there was a theme behind everything, a theme of “basic, consistency, intensity”.

 Learn the Basic. Become consistent in the proper execution of the Basic. Add Intensity to that Basic so that it comes out efficiently under Duress. This is about increasing Capacity.

From that day forward I was making friendships and having mutual experiences with some of the most influential, forward thinking people I’ve ever met. I knew that I wanted to work more with these types of people and even be a part of offering something more in the gym.

Tony and I have always talked about working together under the same roof with CrossFit and Shoshin Ryu (the art that I teach). Now this dream of mine has come true.

Shoshin Ryu Dojo Wilmington North Carolina is now partnered with CrossFit Wilmington. We’ve moved into the 1200 square foot room upstairs in CrossFit Wilmington. We’ve installed a custom 900sq ft spring floor specifically made for high intensity throwing, grappling and all things Martial training.

Shoshin DOJO - kids camp8

“Shoshin Ryu is learning how not to hurt others, how not to be hurt by others, and how to be responsible for ones own harmony and happiness.”

 The above quote can be a little confusing to someone on the “outside”. How can learning NOT to hurt others be a Martial Art?

What this means, is that we train and work together in the dojo many different techniques specifically designed to defend oneself from harm. This is done in line with the following quote:

“Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. Kill rather than be killed. For all life is precious, nor can it be replaced.”

 Shoshin Ryu has five main areas of training that make the whole of our art. No one is specifically “better” than another as they all have key elements in each that help the effectiveness of the other. They are:

Atemi             – Striking (Punch/Kick/Elbow/Knee/Head butt)

Nage               – Throwing (Hip throw/Sweep/Reap/Hand throw)

Newaza           – Grappling (Ground fighting/Choking/Limb destruction)

Kata                – Forms (Learning to move with center/Focus/Intensity)

Buki Keiko      – Weapons (Stick/Knife/Gun/Tonfa/Iai)


We have two sets of classes. One for kids (ages 6-12), and one for Adults. We do not mix our classes as some of the content for adults is for mature audiences, and the falling of large bodies can be dangerous for the little ones.

Class Times:

Kids:               Mondays and Wednesdays 6:10pm – 6:55pm
Adults:            Mondays and Wednesdays 7:00pm – 8:30pm (Free play til 9pm)
Weapons:        Saturdays 9:30-11am (adults only)

Class Cost:

Full time student:        $90.00 per month

Part time student:        $60.00 per month

Weapons only:            $40.00 per month

(Association dues are $45 per year, uniform usually runs $40-$60 depending on size)

In closing, I am extremely excited to finally be under the same roof as CrossFit Wilmington. There are some pretty incredible things in the future for us and I hope to meet more of the members of CFW and train with them in the Dojo.

All CFW members receive the first month free in our Dojo. Come check it out and see what you think.



Sensei Aaron I Lawrence



Phone: 910-431-1038


2 thoughts on “Introducing SHOSHIN RYU NC

  1. t. says:

    I’ve taken great care when paring CFW with other businesses. I only associate CFW with the best services I can find. It is obvious in our partnership with ActiveCare Chiropractic, Custom Fit Meals, and others we have teamed with. Aaron Lawrence and Shosin Ryu are no different. CFW is proud to be able to invite Shosin Ryu under our roof. Aaron is a profession and a man of character. His passion is instruction… his discipline is martial arts.
    If you are interest in taking or having your children taking instruction in a martial art, I highly recommend you enroll at Shoshin Ryu.

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