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 and improve their martial arts skills, including a better understanding of traditional concepts such as loyalty, respect, school structure, accountability, and more.
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: Master Moller, Chief Instructor G. Stalloch, Senior Instructor Cumings, Mr. T. Stalloch, Mrs. M. Stalloch, Mr. Byrne, Miss Hoyle, and Mr. Freleigh. The following Red Tops assisted with this year's FunShop: Ryan Byrne, Timothy Ha, Matthew Strachen, and TJ Labayewski.
The day began with Grandmaster Crandall and Master Stalloch bowing in the students and discussing the rules for the FunShop, an overview of the day’s activities, and some of learning objectives and reasons for the FunShop. This was followed by stretching run by one of the Red Tops. Students practiced punches from a horse stance with quarter turns, half turns, hops, spins, and strikes to different target areas. White belts through purple belts will learned and practiced ippon kumites, as rank appropriate, while brown belts and black belts learned self-defense techniques against a knife.
Students learned the rules of chess, demonstrated on large chess set. This included reviewing competition rules, castling, and a discussion of the administrative structure of the school and traditional responsibilities to perpetuate the style with chess as an analogy. Master Freleigh taught an extension tool class with a general overview of all the wooden (or non-bladed) extension tools used in our school, information which is frequently asked on brown belt exams.
Master Freleigh explained the significance of the annual “weapon’s competition”, testing requirements, history, and more. Master Stalloch taught a class on moving kicks including flying side kick, jump spinning back kick, skip center kick, and more. This was followed by the first round of the Chess Competition. Once students completed their first round, many practiced their kata in training hall room 3 under the supervision of an instructor.
For lunch students were able to bring their own food or order pizza or McDonalds, which were delivered. During lunch students were able to talk, building camaraderie (essential for brown belts and black belts), practice kata, or read the school’s textbook. They also had time for “an academic scavenger hunt.” This research exam required students to research answers in the school library and by reading the many documents and pictures on the training hall’s walls.
Following lunch students played a game of Karate-Man-Says and a classes on how to use three traditional martial arts extension tools the kama, bo, and tonfa. Students then took a written exam, testing their knowledge about the school, style, and day’s classes, followed by a class on tumbling.
The day ended with a sparring class that included the rules of sparring and why we wear each piece of protective gear. This was followed by whack-a-doo sparring games.
Grandmaster Crandall began the day by clarifying for the students that what they are learning is martial arts. Training in martial arts may have many other benefits for a student’s life, but what is taught at the American Martial Arts Institute is traditional martial arts, as it was taught to Grandmaster Crandall in the past and as it would be taught, unaltered, into the future. Following stretching, white belts through purple belts practiced circular self-defense, while brown through black belts learned how to use a book for blocks and self-defense techniques (such as a hardcover history book).
Students who play an instrument were encouraged to bring it and performed for other students. Master Freleigh, a certified NYS music teacher led the students through their performances. The Utica Observer Dispatch came and took photographs and interviewed students and instructors for an article that ran on Wednesday. Students learned the five fundamental come-along techniques. This was followed by the first round of the sparring competition.
During lunch, students practiced chess matches and katas, while others worked on the scavenger hunt. After lunch, students practiced their highest kata by rank, and students who didn’t have their highest kata were taught it. Grandmaster Crandall took some time each day to work with the Red Tops, and on Tuesday they learned Chulgi 3, a third degree black belt kata.
The students also learned more self-defense techniques, completed a mannequin challenge, and completed the next rounds of the chess competition
After stretching, the students learned about the bladed extension tools in American Eagle Style from Master Freleigh. Brown and black belts were able to practice extension tools in training room three under the supervision of an instructor. The students were then divided into two groups. Group one competed in the obstacle course, while the other group went over a series of questions with Master Stalloch regarding practice written exams for brown belt and black belt levels. The groups then switched. The morning also included practicing kicks, basic forms, katas, and origami.
Following lunch, white belts through purple belts learned and practiced the 36 basic forms, while the brown and black belts learned self-defense against guns. This was followed by the final rounds of the chess competition played on the large chess set, and the cumulative written exam. The students also learned the 9 standardized take down techniques.
The day ended with the final rounds of the sparring competition and trophy presentations.
After watching and working with all of the students during the three days, Grandmaster Crandall had some of the students demonstrate some of their skills for the group.
This Year’s Trophy Winners
Chess Competition First Place: Anthony Ritz Second Place: Joseph DeTraglia Third Place: Anthony Rocco
Obstacle Course Competition First Place: Henry Daley Second Place: Joseph DeTraglia Third Place: Adriana Labuz
Academic Competition First Place: Dakota Fedor Second Place: Joseph DeTraglia Third Place: Alivia Franz
Sparring Competition First Place: Dakota Fedor Second Place: Sydney Labayewski Third Place: Alivia Franz
Academic Research Exam Winner: Joseph DeTraglia
Red Top Leadership Award: Matthew Strachen
Next year's WINTER FUNSHOP will be held during President's Week Break, February 2018.