A weekend long ninja camp was recently held on top of Koyama, the "little mountain," in Whitleyville, Tennessee. There were students of all ranks and skill levels, some coming from as far away as Massachusetts. They came for good training, good friends, and great food. No one went home disappointed.
Camp started Friday night as all of the campers met up at Cici's Pizzeria for some socializing while we had our fill of the pizza buffet. Then it was back to Koyama where we all got bedded down for the night in preparation of the long weekend. Saturday morning started off with a brisk jog which was then immediately followed by a first rate breakfast of homemade biscuits and gravy with all of the fixings. After that we all got down to training. Everyone got to work on and polish their old stuff as well as learn a lot of new things. We spent several hours developing our kicks and strikes and we all got to see some very interesting grapples from Meijin Green. Students got to learn the katas required for their next rank and some of us even had the chance to have some of the katas we already knew broken down to some extent.
Later that day Samurai Greg started us on an intensive training program using the nunchaku. We learned more ways to roll two sticks connected by a chain around our bodies than you could even possibly imagine. We even got to spar each other with foam-padded nunchaku, which, of course, was a lot of fun. The night was wrapped up with a group movie and then back to our beds for some well deserved rest.
Sunday morning began where Saturday night had ended with Samurai Greg still teaching us the finer points of the nunchaku. By now some of the students had even moved up to using two nunchaku at the same time. At lunchtime we had several kinds of banana nut bread and cakes, all of which were delicious, but training wasn't over yet; we still had to pass our navigation course. All of the students were instructed on how to read a compass and other basic wilderness skills. Once we all felt comfortable enough with the idea of wandering through the woods with a compass as our guide, off we went. It was actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
In the end, there was one black sash instructor for every two students, so everyone got plenty of training and personal attention. Several students were ranked to their next sash, and a great time was had by all. All of this leads up to the Gathering this July, a nine day camp that brings students from as far away as Poland. With almost all of the students who attended this camp planning on making it to the Gathering, hopefully I'll see you there.