Adult Seminar Day 2023
The American Martial Arts Institute offers its students opportunities to enhance their training and grow within the Art beyond regular classes. One of these events is our annual "Adult Seminar Day." The event was organized by Headmaster Stalloch and overseen by Grandmaster Crandall with assitance from Headmaster Stalloch.
Instead of competing in tournaments our school primarily seeks to offer opportunities that will most directly assist them in both their own personal growth within our style but which will also increase the camaraderie among our students and strengthen our school. Events such as the "adult seminar" have had a great positive impact on our students, and it is an event that is looked forward to each year.
The day began with Grandmaster Crandall welcoming 26 of our adult students (ages 18 and older) and more than 20 instructors. He spoke briefly about what it means to be part of a traditional martial school, and shared with them the recent publicity our school received in the Watertown Daily Times through a feature article they ran. (Read it Here).
This was followed by a class taught by Instructor Amanda Crandall on self defense techniques for assault scenarios against a knife, handgun and long gun. While these topics are taught in classes to higher ranks, a full hour was spent working on some fundamental concepts with partners with assistance by our staff of black belt instructors.
From the partner-centered practice of self defense, the seminar moved into basic forms and advanced techniques taught by Sensei Johnson. This one hour workout included clarification on details of some of our style's 36 basic forms. Some of the lower ranking students and students from the American Eagle Cane Style had never done these particular moves, and they learned them. Some of the advanced techniques covered included osae uke, ken tsui, shaped block, various elbow strikes, and more.
While the martial arts offers the individual a great deal in terms of personal development, our students also develop a great deal of camaraderie with one another. In order to teach this style you must first be a white belt who progresses through every rank and earns first degree black belt (you must also be at least 18 years of age). Some of our instructors have earned black belts in other styles before joining our school, but when they did so they started as white belts, for to teach another is more than physical skill; it requires a mental and emotional understanding the style which can only truly be acquired by experience the journey to black belt in its entirety. Our staff are all volunteers (none are paid); they teach because they believe in the concept of "completing the circle", of giving back to the next generation the same benefitis they received through training (and in the process continue their own personal growth, for black belt is truly a beginning and not an end).
With this in mind, the next activity was a team building exercise led by Instructors Amanda Crandall and Gisella Stalloch. It was both challenging and a lot of fun. Students had to figure out who was in their group by asking a series of questions. Each group had a theme based on different aspects of our school and its history. Once they determined their groups (verified by the instructors) they had to figure out what their sign said by asking a series of questions. Finally, they posed with one of our school's extension tools for a fun "movie scene."
After a break for lunch the students sat for a presentation by Sensei Riley about his experience hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. The presentation included his gear, a slide show, and five bound volumes of his online blog detailing his journey. You can see and read his entire block by clicking here.
This was followed by another class with Grandmaster Crandall where he spoke about some traditional martial arts concepts.
Sensei Stalloch taught a class on comealong to control stages. These techniques are required at testings, and students had the chance to partner up again.
Finally, the day ended with a brief demonstration by Grandmaster Crandall on self-defense for street scenarios, and some of the differences between application of martial arts techniques and concepts to a real life event versus training in an educational setting.
We look forward to next year's seminar in 2024!
Until then, the training continues in our regular classes.