On Saturday, June 15, 2019 the American Martial Arts Institute held its Children’s Community Fun Day, open to the public for children 12 and under and their families. The event was organized by Grandmaster Crandall with instructors and black belt students staffing the morning’s activities. Mr. Mike McCormack volunteered for the day, giving free rides to the children in his 1935 American LaFrance Fire Engine called “Hotfoot”. The fire engine drove around the parking lot of the building, setting off it siren on occasion to the children’s delight. Another popular attraction was the bounce house donated by 3 Brothers Inflatables of New Hartford. The bounce house featured a slide down to mats in the parking lot and a basketball hoop. There were also dozens of free cupcakes with our school logo, cookies, and apple cider (donated by Twin Orchards). Thank you to everyone who donated the food for this event. Inside, the Utica Zoo was set up in training room 3 for the children to see various animals including a hedgehog. There were also plenty of balloons for the children to take home.
At 10:45 am, the students (aged 6-12), performed a public demonstration led by Master Chuff. This included a mock class, sparring, board breaking, kata, weapon’s kata, and more. American Martial Arts Institute students do not break boards in regular classes and for many it was their first opportunity to learn how to do so.
During the demonstration, Grandmaster Crandall made some presentations including a plaque thanking Mr. McCormack for bringing his Fire Engine “Hotfoot” for the day’s event. He also presented Caitlynn Mazzotta with a Red Top, accepting her into the school’s leadership program, and presented two individuals with Black Tops, Mr. Matthew Strachen and Mrs. Maria Quintal, accepting them as staff members (instructors in training).
Grandmaster Crandall and Master Jessee also presented Master Eric Stalloch with a certificate and belt recognizing him as the Headmaster and 10th Dan for the American Eagle Cane Style. 10th Degree black belt is traditionally the highest rank in the martial arts, signifying an individual as the head and leader of the style. This person is most commonly referred to with the title of either Grandmaster or Headmaster, and it can only be bestowed on the individual by another Grandmaster or Headmaster. While Crandall, Stalloch, and Jessee have overseen the growth and direction of the style together since its inception, Grandmaster Crandall and Master Lynn Jessee have chosen to elevate Master Stalloch to the position of Headmaster, making him the sole head for this style. Grandmaster Crandall will continue to be the Grandmaster of the American Martial Arts Institute school of martial arts and American Eagle Style, while Stalloch will now serve as the Headmaster for the American Eagle Cane Style.
Later that evening, many of the instructors and students participated in a Charity Glow Ball Tournament organized by Grandmaster Crandall, raising money for the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.