On Saturday, February 4, 2017, the American Martial Arts Institute held its annual Adult Seminar Day at its main location in New Hartford, New York. This year Grandmaster Crandall was assisted by the five Master Instructors and 12 additional black instructors throughout the day (some were not present for the group picture). The seminar began at 9 am with Grandmaster Crandall going over the day's agenda, followed by brief stretching. With three large training floors, regular classes were held in training floors one and two, while the adults and black belt instructors began the day in room three.
The first five classes of the day were each taught by one of the Master Instructors. Each Master presented 20-30 minutes of the classes they taught during this past summer's Martial Arts Training Cruise to the Caribbean. Master Stalloch taught the first topic, focused on techniques without the use of vision. This included the use of a mindfold to simulate total darkness. Master Freleigh taught a class on elbow techniques, combinations, and close range fighting. Master Chuff presented about Acupuncture, including vital target areas and healing principles. Master Moller presented on practical applications of the kata Geum Gang. Master Morris presented a class on offensive blocks. This was followed by a class on properly executing a flying side kick. A short break was taken for lunch.
Individuals who test for seventh degree black belt in American Eagle Style earn the status of Master Instructor, and part of their testing requirement was to design and document a traditional American Eagle Style kata. These katas are required to test for 8th Degree Black Belt. This year, the students had the opportunity to learn part of Guantlet taught by Master Freleigh, of Unity taught by Master Morris, of Wind taught by Master Chuff, and Trilogy taught by Master Moller. Students who did not have all of their highest katas were taught more by the instructors. Some of the katas taught included Heian 1, Chip Jang, American Eagle, and various pal-gwe.
Master Freleigh presented a class on the extension tools taught in American Eagle Style, as a brief overview. These tools can be found in the third edition of the American Eagle Style Instructional Textbook. She also covered traditional weapons that are part of our school's heritage, but not necessarily regularly taught to students. Grandmaster Crandall took time to sit down with the students and covered some traditional martial arts concepts, and some trends in the martial arts in American society from the early 1950s through the present. This was done to give the students some perspective on the relationship of the style to the culture in which it is practiced. Time was also taken to discuss more details about the Red Top and Instructor's programs.
The final class of the day was focused on point sparring matches for those with sparring gear. Those without gear (or white belts) practiced katas with help from some of the instructors. Everyone learned a great deal, and it gave Grandmaster Crandall and the five Masters an opportunity to see all of these students outside of the regular class format for several consecutive hours.
ABOUT THE SEMINARS:
The American Martial Arts Institute strives to offer the martial arts in a variety of programs for men and women of all ages that will arm their minds with knowledge, their bodies with skills and excite their emotions. One way the school implements this philosophy is by holding three annual seminar events, based on age, to meet the understanding of the students in those age groups.
The "Winter Funshop" and "Summer Funshop" are held for students ages 6-12; the Teenage Seminar Day is held for students ages 13-17; and, the Adult Seminar Day is held for students ages 18 and older. These seminars provide a tremendous opportunity for growth within the style, and many areas that are not ordinarily taught in classes are covered. They are essential events for each student's training, especially at the brown and black belt levels.
Out of 365 days in a year there are only two days that give all of the Master Instructors the opportunity to see all students over an extended period of time, interacting with fellow students and the instructors. For adult students, one of these days is the “Adult Seminar Day”
We realize that the communities and employers have put many demands on these individuals but these are the only two days out of the year we have to evaluate who has the qualities to be a brown belt or black belt aside from the basic physical skills. This day covers topics, not ordinarily covered in class, which appear on black belt exams. With the Master Instructors carrying a greater role in the strength and direction of the school and its future, it has become imperative that they know the brown belts and how they came to be brown belts.
Our school will be teaching for years to come and many of today's brown belts will be tomorrow's black belts and future instructors, committed by their own path to uphold these standards of tradition and quality. Therefore, for students who are blue belt or higher, the annual adult seminar has become an essential part of their training.
Next Year's seminar will be held in February of 2018.