The American Martial Arts Institute teaches the traditional martial arts: American Eagle Style, Takenouchi-Hangan-Ryu-Matsuno-Crandall Iaido, and American Cane System. Traditional martial arts schools must maintain a delicate balance if they are to stand the test of time and be passed from one generation to the next, allowing the style to be perpetuated, unaltered, so that those who become its students in the future receive the same joys, benefits, challenges, and experiences of growth that those who came before them did.
One of these critical areas is recognizing the importance of giving and receiving in their proper perspective. For instance, instructors in the American Martial Arts Institute are not paid. Instead, they volunteer to assist the Grandmaster in the training of students. At first glance, this may seem like a clear example of giving. The instructor sacrifices personal time to come to class and teach. This is not giving. An instructor is receiving when they teach. They receive the joys and emotional rewards of teaching. They learn more about their own training by passing it on to others, and so forth.
Similarly, students who attend classes are receiving. They received time from the instructors, the most precious gift anyone can receive. They benefit from stress relief, improved physical fitness, increased knowledge of the art and themselves, improved balance, improved self-confidence, camaraderie, physical skills, and much more. Like teaching, training is receiving.
The American Martial Arts Institute is a home for the students of American Eagle Style. It is not like other organizations. It is not simply a fitness center. It not simply a physical endeavor such as a sports team. It is filled with much more subtle intricacies, history, and traditions that are very much alive in every practicing student, including instructors. Therefore, everything the school provides must be balanced by giving back to the school. This is essential. Therefore, throughout the year instructors care for the school by giving in a variety of ways. A few of these include, vacuuming and cleaning, replacing light bulbs, physical maintenance and repairs, promoting the school, purchasing and donating items for the school's use, and many, many more.
One day each year, some of the students are permitted a similar opportunity. They are allowed to assist in a day of cleaning and caring for the school. Each Spring, adult purple belts and brown belts and black belts of all ages are invited to come and give their time for the benefit of the school and its students.
Some of the areas cared for included: sweeping and cleaning the parking lot and lawn, replacing light bulbs, hanging pictures, washing the walls, cleaning the bathrooms and showers, organizing the basement storage, washing all of the mats, bags, and training equipment, touching-up the paint on the red and blue stripes, dusting, sweeping all perimeter edges and vacuuming, cleaning vents, fans, and radiators, installing new shelving, installing new light fixtures, repairing signs, replacing carpeting, cleaning all glass windows and showcases, organizing the cabinets and weapon's storage, and many more important projects. These keep the main location as a professional, clean environment for the benefit of all.
This year over 40 instructors and students came together on June 4 to care for their home, a 6,400 square foot training hall with many rooms and the outdoor premises. Many instructors and black belts had other commitments to their families or professions and could not attend the June 4 date; however, they have volunteered their time to come in on other days during this month take on small projects independently. It is exciting to see this traditional aspect of loyalty and dedication alive in our school.
Instructors and students who helped on June 4 (in no particular order):
Master Stalloch, Master Chuff, Master Freleigh, Master Moller, Master Morris, Mr. Johnson, Zachary Slade, Maria Quintal, Alivia Franz, Alexis Rocco, Anthony Rocco, Ryan Byrne, Evan Vulcano, Mrs. Craw, Tim Ha, Joshua Gray, Mr. Mizgala, Mr. Riley, Mr. Sanson, Brady Morris, Vincent Siegfried, Dave Faulkner, Judy Faulkner, Peter Hotvedt, Anthony Ritz, Jessica Ritz, Mrs. Jessee, Tom McCune, Mrs. G. Stalloch, Mrs. M. Stalloch, Mr. Brown, Matthew Strachen, Mr. Lilley, Barb Hauck, Dick Pellegrino, Victor Chambers, Mr. Walker.
Many of the instructors traveled hours from across New York State and as far as New Hampshire to come and help for the day.
The other instructors who could not be present on June 4 have assisted by completing projects on other days this month. Some of these include painting, wiring new lights for the basement, repair to base-boarding, painting of benches, cleaning bathrooms, putting together lockers and storage spaces, landscaping, and more.
Next year's cleaning day will take place in early Spring.