Dan Seger, a social studies teach at Cole Junior High School wanted something out of the ordinary to help bring his lessons on Eastern Culture to life. He found it through the Black Ships Festival when they recommended a martial arts Trainer named Adam Mitchell.
In order to bring Mitchell to Cole from his Kinen Kan Dojo (training center) in Mahopac, New York, Seger turned to the East Greenwich Education Foundation (EGEF). Seger wrote a grant request for an "Enrichment Activity" and was awarded $300 to make it all happen.
Mitchell, who has been training others in Japanese martial arts for the past 11 years was happy to visit Cole to show the entire 8th Grade how to disarm, subdue, and restrain opponents. He also talked about how those moves had been developed in the mid-1600's when Samurai were the main arm of feudal law.
"Imagine for 150 years each individual state in Japan was at war with all of the other states," Mitchell challenged. "That is how the Warrior Class evolved, to act as the protective arm for each Lord. Then, after all of the states unified, there wasn't much call for the Samurais' services anymore."
Though the Samurai had become obsolete, many schools opened to teach the traditional martial arts in Japan. When US Servicemen were stationed on the island after World War II, they became interested in the tradition, became trained, and brought the discipline back to the states with them.
Mitchell, who learned from a retired Japanese Army Colonel, is happy to pass on his knowledge and experience to others through school assemblies on bullying and child-on-child cruelty.
"I hope I can change the lives of others, especially challenged and disadvantaged kids," he said.
Seger was very pleased with the demonstration. "Its beyond my wildest dreams."
The students were equally enthusiastic and polite during the assembly lest they incur "Haji" (shame or dishonor) about which they learned during the presentation.