New Red Top
During the Adult Class on January 5, Grandmaster Crandall announced that he has accepted Thomas (T.J.) Labayewski into the junior rank black belt assistants program and presented him with his Red Top.
In the American Martial Arts Institute only adult black belts that are 18 years or older may be trained to become instructors; however, junior rank black belts often possess the same love of the art and desire to help others in their martial arts training. The concept of the circle is an important one in all traditional styles; a student one day gives back to the art that has become a way of life.
As a young adult under the age of 18, those junior rank black belts have not yet had to take on the responsibilities that most adults have, the maturity of their personality is essential in the true understanding and teaching of the martial arts and that has not yet taken place. These junior rank black belts are role models for other students. They set examples with their attitudes, their enthusiasm, and their skills. The junior rank black belt assistant program, often referred to as the Red Top program, provides these students with an opportunity to assist certified adult black belt instructors during children’s classes. As assistants they do not teach the style, but they do get to learn skills such as running stretching, holding a shield for punches and kicks, and being a partner for demonstrations. Red tops still train in regular classes.
To be considered for the program a student must submit a request in a typed letter to Grandmaster Crandall. It often takes months before the candidate may be accepted into the program where Grandmaster Crandall and the other instructors will train them in their new responsibilities. Many of the aspects of Red Top leadership program are documented in the book Leadership Piece by Piece by Master Stalloch and Grandmaster Crandall.
Congratulations to T.J. Labayewski and his instructor.