The Mid-Winter Indoor Martial Arts Program, better known as the "FunShop", is an annual educational program for students of the American Martial Arts Institute of all ranks who are between the ages of 6 and 12. Students develop and improve their martial arts skills, including a better understanding of traditional concepts such as loyalty, respect, school structure, accountability, and more.
This three day event is taught by Grandmaster Crandall, Master Stalloch, and Master Freleigh with assistance from the black belt instructors and "red tops" (junior rank black belt class assistants in our leadership program). This year's FunShop was filled with excitement and learning. Below are some of the details and pictures of the event. The following instructors assisted with this year's FunShop: Master Moller, Chief Instructor G. Stalloch, Senior Instructor Cumings, Mr. T. Stalloch.. The following Red Tops assisted with this year's FunShop: Aidan Uvanni, Timothy Ha, Matthew Strachen, and TJ Labayewski.
The day began with Grandmaster Crandall and Master Stalloch bowing in the students and discussing the rules for the FunShop, an overview of the day’s activities, and some of learning objectives and reasons for the FunShop. Grandmaster Crandall announced that the results of the recent brown belt testing were about to be posted, and several students learned that they had passed and were presented with their new rank.
This was followed by stretching run by one of the Red Tops. Students practiced punches from a horse stance with quarter turns, half turns, hops, spins, and strikes to different target areas. White belts through purple belts will learned and practiced ippon kumites, as rank appropriate, while brown belts and black belts learned self-defense techniques using an umbrella.
Students learned the rules of chess, demonstrated on large chess set. This included reviewing competition rules, castling, and a discussion of the administrative structure of the school and traditional responsibilities to perpetuate the style with chess as an analogy. Master Freleigh taught an extension tool class with a general overview of all the wooden (or non-bladed) extension tools used in our school, information which is frequently asked on brown belt exams.
Master Freleigh explained the significance of the annual “weapon’s competition”, testing requirements, history, and more. Master Stalloch taught an introductory class about the Japanese concept of Do (“the Way”), including discussions about the student-instructor (master-apprentice) relationship, accountability, and more. This was followed by the first round of the Chess Competition. Once students completed their first round, many practiced their kata in training hall room 3 under the supervision of an instructor.
For lunch students were able to bring their own food or order pizza or McDonalds, which were delivered. During lunch students were able to talk, building camaraderie (essential for brown belts and black belts), practice kata, or read the school’s textbook. They also had time for “an academic scavenger hunt.” This research exam required students to research answers in the school library and by reading the many documents and pictures on the training hall’s walls.
Following lunch students played a game of Karate-Man-Says and a class on moving kicks where students were divided into groups to learn the eight required moving kicks, including flying side kick. Master Stalloch, a certified NYS science teacher, taught an anatomy class focused on common athletic injuries. These included bruises, abrasions, sprains, and strains.
Students then took a written exam, testing their knowledge about the school, style, and day’s classes.
The day ended with a sparring class that included the rules of sparring and why we wear each piece of protective gear. This was followed by practice sparring and whacker sparring matches.
Grandmaster Crandall began the day by clarifying for the students that what they are learning is martial arts. Training in martial arts may have many other benefits for a student’s life, but what is taught at the American Martial Arts Institute is traditional martial arts, as it was taught to Grandmaster Crandall in the past and as it would be taught, unaltered, into the future. Following stretching, white belts through purple belts practiced circular self-defense, while brown through black belts learned how to use a book for blocks and self-defense techniques (such as a hardcover history book).
Students who play an instrument were encouraged to bring it and performed for other students. Grandmaster Crandall discussed similarities between music and the martial arts. The morning ended with the first round of the sparring competition.
During lunch, students practiced chess matches and katas, while others worked on the scavenger hunt. After lunch, students practiced their highest kata by rank, and students who didn’t have their highest kata were taught it. The Red Tops each gave a short demonstration, and the students had a chance to ask questions. Matthew Strachen gave a presentation about how to select a board for a board break, and how to properly set it up. He executed a palm heel strike through two boards. TJ Labayewski demonstrated the kata Old Koryo, and then demonstrated it while blindfolded. He gave some information about the history of Old and New Koryo. Tim Ha demonstrated self-defense against knife techniques, using the other Red Tops as partners. This was followed by the second round of the chess competition.
The students also learned about self-defense concepts related to guns. Colored belts learned two standardized gun techniques, while brown and black belts learned additional techniques. Time was taken to talk about what to do a gun was found laying in a park or the street. This led to the second written exam. The day ended with time to practice kata or play chess.
After stretching, the students learned about the bladed extension tools in American Eagle Style from Master Freleigh. Brown and black belts were able to practice extension tools in training room three under the supervision of an instructor. The students were then divided into two groups. Group one competed in the obstacle course, while the other group went over a series of questions with Master Stalloch regarding traditional martial arts concepts. The groups then switched. All students came back to watch top two times from each group compete again to determine first through third place.
Following lunch, white belts through purple belts learned and practiced the 36 basic forms, while the brown and black belts learned self-defense against a grabbed backpack. This was followed by the final rounds of the chess competition played on the large chess set, and the cumulative written exam.
The day ended with the final rounds of the sparring competition and trophy presentations.
After watching and working with all of the students during the three days, Grandmaster Crandall had some of the students demonstrate some of their skills for the group. At the end of the FunShop, he surprised one of the students by promoting them to yellow belt. Congratulations to Matthew Dibble.
This Year’s Trophy Winners
Chess Competition First Place: Zachary Slade Second Place: Ryan Byrne
Third Place: Henry Daley
Obstacle Course Competition First Place: Isaiah Handy Second Place: Victoria DeLuca Third Place: Ryan Byrne
Academic Competition First Place: Ryan Byrne Second Place: Zachary Slade Third Place: Victoria DeLuca
Sparring Competition First Place: Ryan Byrne Second Place: Victoria DeLuca Third Place: Dylan Cabic
Academic Research Exam Winner: Victoria DeLuca
Red Top Leadership Award: Aidan Uvanni
Next year's WINTER FUNSHOP will be held during President's Week Break, February 2017.