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 improve their martial arts skills, communication skills, social skills, and challenge themselves to learn new things while having fun.
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: Mr. Freleigh, Chief Instructor G. Stalloch, Senior Instructor Cumings, Mr. T. Stalloch, Miss Moller, and Mrs. Jessee. The following Red Tops assisted with this year's FunShop: Aidan Uvanni, Douglas Hotvedt, Ryan Payne, and Timothy Ha.
The day began as Master Stalloch bowed in the group and then covered the day’s agenda and some general information about the FunShop, including some of its rules and procedures for safety, courtesy, and learning. The students were led through a short stretching and warm-up session to prepare for the day’s activities by one of the Red Tops, supervised by the instructors. Each day started this way.
SD-1 SD-1 and SD-2 are self-defense techniques, which are documented in the third edition of the American Eagle Style Instructional Textbook and on the American Eagle Style Self-Defense, Volume 1 DVD, and they are required to test for brown belt. After stretching students were broken into smaller groups based on experience and rank, and they were taught these techniques. For SD-1, mats were used for the takedown portion of the technique. Part of this class involved learning how to fall correctly for safety.
Moving Kicks Class Kicks can be done from a variety of “stationary” stances, or while moving throughout a room. There are eight kicks that are required to test for second gyup (second rank brown belt), which are identified in the textbook. Students were divided into two groups. The group that did not know how to play chess, went to training room 2 to learn the basic rules and piece movements. Meanwhile, the other group worked on the eight fundamental moving kicks including center kick, roundhouse instep, spinning back, skips side, and flying side kick. Then the two groups rotated so that everyone learned the both the kicks and the rules to chess.
Chess Class The chess competition is a major part of the Winter FunShop every year. It builds focus, patience, and sportsmanship. Time is also taken to discuss some analogies of how chess is like life. For instance, sometimes people must make scarifies to get the things they want. As a traditional martial arts school, the American Martial Arts Institute hopes that it will have a positive impact on how its students view the world and approach the challenges of life so that they will find success in their own personal commitments to friends, family, and community. The chess competition allows the students to have fun while improving their focus and decision-making skills. The chess class ran in two groups. The first group learned the rules to chess. The second group already knew the rules; therefore, they worked on identifying some basic patterns for openings and endings. They also spent more time on discussing some of the mental aspects of the martial arts, such as patience. The students have fun practicing on the large chess set.
Extension Tool Class Master Freleigh gave a presentation, a general overview, of all the wooden (or non-bladed) extension tools used in our school. As an empty-hand martial art style, American Eagle Style uses the term “weapons” to refer to the parts of the body that can be used to defend oneself, such as hands, feet, elbows, knees, and head. Extension tools are implements that can “extend” their empty-hand skills into a tool. These include the bo (staff), kama (sickle), eku (oar), cane, sword, and many others. This topic is often asked on brown belt exams, with students expected to know the names of the extension tools, the kata that can be executed using those tools, and more. Master Freleigh also discussed the annual “Weapon’s Competition,” the history of each tool, and more.
Chess Competition:1st ROUND Following the extension tool class, students paired off for the first round of the competition. Names were drawn for each round at random. Those completed their first round were given the option to play practice matches or practice their katas in training hall room 2 under the supervision of an instructor.
Lunch Each day the students ate lunch together as a group around tables. Students had the option to order pizza, McDonalds, or to bring their own lunch. All food was delivered to the school. Students had the chance to socialize and get to know one another better. When they were done eating and had cleaned up after themselves, they had the option to play chess matches, practice kata, or read the textbook. Time for was given for a “special academic contest,” which consisted of three challenging questions about the school and style. The answers could be found by reading the textbook, reading the certificates and items on the walls, or by looking in the display cases. A special trophy was given on day the winner, Zachary Slade. Other students took advantage of the practice time to work on the bo and sai kata with Master Stalloch and Master Freleigh.
Karate-Man-Says Karate-Man-Says pushed the students to the limits of listening and following directions precisely. After stretching, the instructors led the group through this game with prizes for the winner. Only one person could win.
Basic Forms Class There are 36 basic forms listed in the school’s textbook, with different numbers of techniques required at different ranks. Students testing for blue belt must know all 36, and students testing for brown belt must be able to do all 36 on their own without them called off by an instructor. As students progress in rank, the standard for the level of quality, power, and flow also increases. Students who didn’t know all of these techniques were taught more. Students were split by rank to focus on the level of quality expected for their rank. Higher ranks played the basic forms game and practiced calling off all 36 basic forms from memory.
Anatomy Class Master Stalloch is also a certified biology teacher, and he presented an anatomy class on the bones, joints, and muscles that are affected during blocks, kicks, basic forms, kata, ippon kumites, and hanza escape techniques. Students looked at these techniques on a full-body skeleton, and looked at individual bones using a full dis-articulated skeleton. They also received a three page hand out.
Tumbling Class Students learned and practiced the five fundamental floor exercises required during testings in our school. Practice included a discussion of why the exercises are done in a specific format to maximize safety, especially to the neck.
First Written Exam The students took the first written exam, covering the day’s topics and information about the school. Each day included an exam, and the results of all three days were added together to determine first, second, and third place.
Sparring Class Master Stalloch covered the rules of sparring, before breaking up into groups by rank for practice matches. The brown belts practiced advanced skills by sparring with the Red Tops. The day ended with a game of whack-a-doo karate, a game of teamwork, coordination, and cardiovascular endurance. Prizes were awarded.
Group Picture A group picture was taken of all of the students present. A reporter from WKTV came to cover the day’s events, which were featured on the news at 5, 6, and 11, and also on WKTV.com.
Self-Defense Class Fundamental self-defense techniques were covered for the most common types of grabs including wrist grabs, throat grabs, lapel grabs, and hair grabs. Students were split into groups based on skill levels.
Music Class Following self-defense, Mr. John Freleigh, certified music teacher and black belt instructor in the American Martial Arts Institute, presented a class on music with analogies to the martial arts such as a comparison of basic forms to rudiments. Students who play an instrument were encouraged to bring them, and they performed for the other students. Mr. Freleigh discussed the importance of being an attentive and respectful audience.
Come-Along Techniques Students practiced the 5 required come-along techniques. Students who didn’t know these techniques were taught all five. Brown belts learned the control stages. These techniques are required at all levels.
Sparring: FIRST ROUND Names were drawn at random, and the first two rounds of point sparring were held. The focus was on control and concern for partners while trying to score points. No contact was permitted to the head.
Circular Self-Defense Class Next, students practiced Ippon Kumites and blocks and counters in circular self-defense format. The rules for circular self-defense were covered. Students surrounded acting as attackers surrounded a single student and threw punches from all sides when their number was called, causing the defender to turn quickly and react with block.
Red Top Demonstrations Each of the Red Tops gave a short demonstration of skills and knowledge including self-defense and board breaking. The red tops were able to choose their topics, and they had to give a verbal presentation with their physical demonstration of skills. Students were able ask questions, and the red tops answered them on the spot.
Chess Competition: SECOND ROUND
Knife Self-Defense Class All of the students learned about self-defense concepts related to knives, and they learned standardized knife techniques for high and low attacks. These techniques are required to test for brown belt.
SECOND WRITTEN EXAM: Students who were done early practiced their kata, played chess, or read the textbook.
On Wednesday, a reporter from the Utica Observer-Dispatch newspaper came to cover the days events. An article was written for their website and for their hard-copy print edition.
Extension Tool Class and Martial Arts History While Grandmaster Crandall, instructors, and the red tops set up the obstacle course, the students participated in two classes. Half of the students learned about bladed extension tools in American Eagle Style with Master Freleigh, and the other half learn about the school’s heritage and martial arts history with Master Stalloch. The groups then switched so that all students were able to take both classes.
Obstacle Course Competition So that students could be actively engaged in learning, the students were divided into two groups. Group one completed the obstacle course, which spanned both training floors. The obstacle course is a favorite challenge for students each year. This year’s course combined tumbling, coordination, problem solving, drawing on a white board, stamina, blocking, and more. In one segment, students put on a blind fold and had to use a cane to feel for obstructions on their path to avoid them (supervised by an instructor).
Group two reviewed written exam questions for brown belt in the conference room with Master Stalloch. Students must pass a written exam for each level of brown belt with an 80 percent or higher which tests their knowledge of the school, style, and martial arts. The groups then switched. All participants came together to watch top two times from each group compete again to determine first, second, and third place.
Lunch Grandmaster Crandall posted the results of the recent brown belt testing during lunch. One of the students present had tested, and later that day Anthony Mozloom received his brown belt.
Cursive Writing, Self-Defense, and Katas
Grandmaster Crandall worked with small groups on cursive writing. Students should be able to sign their name on their own American Martial Arts Institute forms, such as testing paperwork. The other students worked on self-defense and katas. The groups rotated so that all students participated in all three classes.
Chess Competition: FINAL ROUND The final round took place in training hall room 2 on the LARGE CHESS SET. Students no longer in competition also played chess or worked on katas under the guidance of an instructor.
CUMULATIVE WRITTEN EXAM
Sparring Competition: FINAL ROUND Students sparred in the final rounds and then were able to play a final game of whack-a-doo karate.
Trophy Presentations The day ended with trophy presentations. Students who participated in all three days of the FunShop received a special coupon which makes them eligible to register two weeks early for the Summer FunShop and, if they register, allows them to be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the American Martial Arts Institute. This year will mark the first time that we will be holding a Summer FunShop. It will be for two days at the end of July and will feature classes, activities, and competitions that are different from the Winter FunShop, making it a unique experience. More Information will be release in April 2015. Next year’s Winter FunShop will be held in February 2016.
Chess Competition First Place: Ryan Byrne Second Place: Anthony Mozloom Third Place: Alyse Lisi
Obstacle Course Competition First Place: Joseph DeTralgia Second Place: James Scarchilli Third Place: Sabina Rodriguez-Plate
Academic Competition First Place: Ryan Byrne Second Place: Evan Vulcano Third Place: Zachary Slade
Sparring Competition First Place: Ryan Byrne Second Place: James Scarchilli
Academic Research Exam Winner: Zachary Slade
Red Top Leadership Award: Douglas Hotvedt