AMERICAN-AUSTRALIAN CULTURAL EXCHANGE 2005
From November 17th to 28th, 2005, Grandmaster Crandall led a group of 28 American Martial Arts Institute instructors, black belt students, and guests on a cultural exchange tour of Australia. The exchange took place between the American Martial Arts Institute and the International Martial Arts Alliance of Australia. Master Graham Slater, the founder and head of the International Martial Arts Alliance of Australia, and Head Master Anthony Ball, Soke of the Association of Oriental Fudoshin Arts, welcomed the representatives of the American Martial Arts Institute for a performance and teaching exhibition in Melbourne. The exchange also allowed the American delegation many experiences as they toured the country through Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, and the surrounding regions. The event was covered on WKTV of Central New York, an NBC affiliate, several newspapers, the only Australian martial arts magazine, and Action Martial Arts Magazine. The knowledge and experiences of this trip are being shared with hundreds of American martial arts students. This website describes some of those experiences.
This historic group picture was taken in front of the Sydney Opera House.
After a fifteen hour plane flight from Los Angeles, the American delegation arrived at Melbourne International airport where they were welcomed by a tour guide, Jan Roberts. The team members were all given a half-day tour of the city sights.
The tour included seeing the Old Customs House, the iron-laced work of the terraced houses of Carlton and Melbourne University, several high-rise office projects, the Bourke Street Mall, the Town Hall and Federation Square, and the Queen Victoria Market. Everyone had an opportunity to tour and shop the open air market.
Later in the tour, the group passed by Parliament House and Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Everyone got off the bus for a tour of Cook's Cottage located in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. The bus tour also allowed the group the opportunity to see the National Tennis Centre, the 1956 Olympic venues along the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne's Art and Cultural Center, the Shrine of Remembrance, a panoramic view of Port Phillip Bay and Historic Williamstown from the Westgate Bridge, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The evening allowed time to experience other aspects of the city in small groups.
The International Martial Arts Alliance of Australia reserved the Sports Stadium at Melbourne University and invited representatives from 257 schools from across Australia to participate in this historic event. It was the first time that an American style was demonstrated on the continent. Students of Master Slater and Soke Ball greeted the American team and escorted them to the University. The seminar included the demonstration of traditional katas including Cheongwon, Basai Dai, Eye-of-the-Eagle, Old Koryo, Hansoo, Continuity II, and many more. The Australian martial artists also demonstrated traditional empty-hand katas. The American Eagle Stylists then executed several katas using extension tools that included the Tonfa, Naginata, Cane, Sword, Bo, Kama, Escrima, and Sai. The insturctors then taught the Australian martial artists segments of the the katas that had been demonstrated. Grand Master Crandall, assisted by the certified American Martial Arts Institute instructors, taught the American Eagle Style self-defense techniques SD-1 and SD-2. Grand Master Crandall is also the Head Master of Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Mastsuno-Crandall iaido style, and two of his advanced students, Mr. James Colasurdo and Amanda Peterson, demonstrated the katas Wu-ken and Sa-ken. Grand Master Crandall presented Master Slater and Soke Ball with gifts of appreciation, and they in turn presented Grand Master Crandall with gifts of appreciation. Everyone received certificates of participation and cloth patches. More details of the seminar can be seen the article published in Action Martial Arts Magazine.
The afternoon was spent discussing philosophy with the Australian martial artists.
After the excitement of the previous day, the group had the chance to experience several different parts of Melbourne, and they divided into smaller groups.
Several members of the group went on a walkabout tour in the wild outback. The tour guide, Janine, was energetic and extremely knowledgeable. The group had the chance to see and run with a herd of wild kangaroos. While in the outback they also saw emus, wallaby, several lizards including a blue-tounged skink, Australian geese, and koalas. The natural beauty of Australia was both emotionally powerful and splendid.
Other members of the group elected to go on a wine tour that allowed them to see beautiful vineyards, the open countryside, and the traditional techniques employed in crafting one of Australia's most respected wines.
Grand Master Crandall and Mr. Travis Donely enjoyed skydiving with Darren Ball. Grand Master Crandall and Mr. Donely are both highly experienced jumpers with USPA D Licences, and they got to see the expansive country from high above.
Linda Austin had the rare opportunity to attend a special tour where she saw the penguins returning to the main land after a long day of gathering fish. These were only a few of the unique experiences shared by the group.
After three wonderful days in Melbourne, it was time to say good-bye and travel by plane to Cairns. Soke Ball met the team at the hotel before departure and presented Grand Master Crandall with gifts of appreciation and good will. They also presented the instructors and black belt students with certificates and cloth patches in appreciation.
The team departed from Melbourne domestic airport and arrived at Cairns domestic airport where they transferred by private coach to the Lakes Resort in Cairns. Cairns City is the heart of Tropical North Queensland and is the primary gateway to Northern Australia. Cairns is a modern sophisticated city with front door access to World Heritage listed Reef, Rain forest, and Outback, which the team experienced.
After the five hour flight, transfer, and check-in, the team had a half-day to explore Cairns, including the night market, lagoons, shops and restaurants.
Jon Lyon prepares for diving on the Great Barrier Reef
On November 23rd, the group divided again. Several of the instructors and students had earned PADI certification for open water in preparation for the trip and, therefore, went on a series of guided dives at three locations of the Great Barrier Reef. The remainder of the group took a cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef for a day of snorkeling, glass bottom boat tours, and diving lessons.
After the excitement of experiencing the natural beauty and wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, the group had an opportunity to see another World Heritage area, the Rain forest. The team was transported by private coach to the Freshwater Station where they boarded the Kuranda Scenic Train. The train journey through 15 hand cut tunnels and passed some spectacular views of the country side, rain forest, and waterfalls. The group was able to explore several local attractions including an aviary, freshwater crocodile sanctuary, gardens, and other sites.
The team then transferred to the Skyrain Rainforest Cableway where they enjoyed the wonders of the rain forest as the cable cars glided over the canopy. From high above the team was treated to the breathtaking views of the Coral Sea and Green Island.
After descending from the canopy, the private coach took the team to the Tjapukai Cultural Theme Park to see the indigenous people of North Queensland. The team enjoyed lessons in boomerang throwing, demonstrations of spear throwing, performances of traditional dances and myths, and a tour. The evening provided one last opportunity to explore and experience Cairns.
The team said goodbye to Cairns and transferred to Cairns domestic airport for their flight to Sydney. After arriving at their hotel, the team had the remainder of the day to explore and experience Sydney in small groups.
The team awoke early and ran to a nearby park to train with Grand Master Crandall. In a rare opportunity, all of the black belts practiced Bassai Dai together. Those who did not know this traditional Japanese kata were taught it by Grand Master Crandall.
After returning to the hotel, the team prepared for a Full Day Sydney City Sights tour. The team visited Mrs. Macquarie's Chair for a superb view of the Harbor, Opera House, and Sydney Bay Bridge, and it was here that the historic picture of the team was taken. The group then toured to see the Queen Victoria Building, Centrepoint Tower, the Rocks, and other historic buildings.
In the afternoon the tour continued with a visit to the Featherdale Wildlife Park where the team was able to come face-to-face with unique Australian animals including Kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, Emus, colorful parrots, wombats, kookaburras and more. The team was excited to be able to touch and have their photos taken with koalas and kangaroos.
From the Wildlife Park the team traveled to Telstra Stadium, host of the Olympic and Paralympic games, rugby union, rugby league, Australian football and soccer, extreme sports, motorcycle speedway and concerts. The one hour tour allowed the team to see the main stadium, the lower levels, the VIP rooms, the press box, and more. The team even got to stand on the platform where the Olympic medals were awarded.
The remainder of the evening was spent touring the city. Many of the team members met to practice katas in one of the conference rooms and to share time together.
The team made its way to the Captain Cook Coffee Cruise. This world renowned cruise traveled through the upper reaches of Sydney Harbor and featured magnificent waterfront homes and parklands, giving a comprehensive view of Sydney. The team had the chance to meet the Captain and stand in the Bridge as he piloted the ship.
In the evening the team had once last change to tour Australia, but met together to recognize Grand Master Crandall. If not for their efforts and leadership, the trip would not have been possible. They were presented with gifts from the group as a token of appreciation for their time and hard work.
In the morning the team transfered to Sydney international airport to begin the long series of flights home. The experiences and training from this trip will be shared with hundreds of American martial artists for years to come. The memories will last a lifetime.