Last night we had our second demo practice and it was far better than our first for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the number of students who decided to participate in the upcoming demo. For that I need to thank both the students and their parents for carving out more time out of their schedules to practice and to parents for driving the students to practices.
We have been asked to participate in an event called “Rockin At The Ranch!” on Sunday May 5th located at the Bedford Boy’s Ranch, which starts at 10am and runs till 6:00pm. Now our school’s part in this event is admittedly small we are one small part of the entertainment for the crowd and our part is only from 12:30-1:00pm. “Rockin at the Ranch” is a fund raiser for Third Tradition Charities a non profit 501c3 organization benefiting multiple charities; so when I was asked to have our school do a demo to help out I readily agreed.
However to be truthful as much as I wanted to help out it was not without some hesitation because to do a demo I needed to have students and parents step up and want to take part and we didn’t have a “DEMO TEAM” of students who were all ready practiced and ready to go. Plus I’m not the flashy demo kind of a teacher and I don’t really teach the flashy demo stuff. However; last night’s practice had me feeling excited that we are putting together a small demonstration to help out at this event. It also made me believe that we can and hopefully will do future demos at other events.
Our first practice we had three students show up, while it was a good start and I was thankful for their courage to step up, last night at our second practice we had nine plus Kevin, Jackie and I. While it was still hectic I believe the practice went well. After asking who wanted to do what for the demo, I then sectioned them off to the other room to work under Jackie and Kevin’s supervision and I stayed in the our regular room to work with our students doing Kobudo and the higher kata.
When I was asking who wanted to do what, two students asked to do things that aren’t in their normal Tae Kwon Do program, but are in my Modern Arnis program. I have encouraged cross training between programs and I sometimes blend in some self defense from the Modern Arnis over to the Tae Kwon Do, but I hadn’t expected Matthew to announce he wanted to do a double stick drill (that he had only be shown or worked on a couple of times in class). His type of enthusiasm is what we look for so I handed him off to Jackie to work double sticks. Brooke who has become our resident kata/anyo (encyclopedia) wanted to do two empty hand Green belt katas, one from Tae Kwon Do and the other from Modern Arnis. Brooke’s ability to absorb and perform kata is very special, she not only knows her Tae Kwon Do forms up through Purple belt, but also the first two Modern Arnis forms and her Nunchaku kata, she keeps all of this sorted out in her head, even though she’ll be testing for her Blue belt the weekend following the demo.
Two students wanted to do the Nunchaku so Isaiah is doing the kata Nunchaku Ni (or the Nunchaku #2 kata) and Hunter is going to do one steps with the Nunchaku against the Bo, which I’ll probably be doing with him. Isaiah has fire when he does the kata, when he is on, he does it like it is real to him. Hunter being one of my senior students has the technique and control needed to do the one steps without hurting the feeder.
The twins Rod and Z are going to do Yul Gok kata synchronized, which I’m glad to see since both are good dedicated students and good technicians. These two students come four classes per week, sometimes even doubling up on class in order to help out, they are great Blue belts. Leilani is going to do Hwa Rang kata and be Kate’s partner for one steps. Kate has chosen to do one steps and self defense. Bryce stepped up and is going to do Kwan Gae kata which in our system is a 2nd Dan (2nd degree black belt) form. I picked Bryce to learn this kata; even though he is still a 3rd brown because of his kicking skills and last night we worked on this form together for the first time in months. He remembered it better than I did but he (we) were (are) still rusty on the kata. After classes last night, I stayed late to run over the kata again and again so I could get back into the swing of things with it.
Kevin had the great idea of the crowd drill, so if you heard a bunch of chaos (loud noise) coming from room it was actually part of practice. The crowd drill is designed to make the student focus on the task at hand instead of getting sucked into the distraction of the crowd. So the crowd which is all of the student who aren’t performing make crowd noise when the student is demonstrating their kata, one steps or what have you. Now I thought the students and the adults might talk amongst themselves while the student was doing their part of the demo to make crowd noise, but was I wrong. The first student got up there and all of the sudden I hear “POP CORN, PEANUTS,” “Hey can I have a Coke with that!!!”, sticks banging on the floor like drums, clapping, yelling, and basically LOUD crowd noise. WOW what a difference that made! The kids really got into it and it was distracting, I know it first hand because it was hard for me to stay focused when feeding Hunter the Bo strikes for his one steps. Kevin was pleased that Brooke finally cracked a smile doing her kata because as he said she was like a machine when only a couple of the students were the crowd, which validated to him that the drill was working.
I can’t express how proud I was of the students as they got up and performed their skills during the crowd drill. Special mention goes to Jackie and Matthew, because Matthew not only did Single Sinawali, but he also did Single Sinawali Advanced and Advanced 2 with foot work changes. Under Jackie’s guidance they put together a really nice little part of the demo that show cases his and her skills in a quick 30 minute work out, and during the crowd drill he stayed focused and to the normal observer he never missed a beat. This is worth special mention because he had never learned these drills with footwork and only worked on the hand motions of Single Sinawali (the basic drill) once or twice in class, also he had never worked with another adult; pretty good for a 9 year old blue belt.
After the kids were done at 7:30pm Kevin Jackie and I worked on the Modern Arnis portion of the demo. Kevin and I went over and worked out a single stick drill that is choreographed by putting together different pieces of drills, but seems like a stick sparring match. Jackie and Kevin will be doing a double stick flow drill that is an enhanced version of what Jackie worked with Matthew on. Then I think Jackie and I will be doing empty hand flow drills. After all of this I stayed later and worked some on Kwan Gye, so I would ready for Bryce tonight.
It was a very productive night and our next two Demo work outs will be next Monday and Wednesday nights at 6:30 -7:30pm as we get ready for the demo next week end.