First Saturdays is a special love among all of our students. And it’s easy to see why!
As the name hints at, this event happens the 1st Saturday of each and every month. It’s rather easy to schedule, but if you need help, check out Our Schedule :P.
What are First Saturdays?
First Saturdays are for current students (of any Style or Program we offer) only.
It’s a relatively recent creation (we started it in the beginning of 2017). Some students have been hesitant to join us, but once they do, they have been sure to be hooked! Read on to find out why.
First Saturdays is an interesting, fun, informative and social event that all current students are invited to join.
Before going into what happens on First Saturdays, it might be interesting to note that this wonderful Kung Fu event is Completely FREE for current students!
Yep, you read that right. Now let’s get on with what exactly happens at this interesting event.
What happens at First Saturdays?
Just kidding – I know you’re chomping at the bit, so I’ll stop joking (for a minute) and let you know.
First Saturdays, although happening regularly every First Saturday of the month, is a revolving occasion. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, it is.
There are three modules to each First Saturday. These modules never change.
However, the content of each module, does indeed, change.
What are the Three Modules?
The Three Modules of the First Saturday Kung Fu Event
The three modules rotate out each First Saturday:
- Administrative Media Activites
- Kung Fu Content
- Kung Fu Family Social
Administrative Media Activities
In short, this module is about making media. Pictures or Photos and Videos of our Kung Fu.
Whether that be Northern Shaolin Kung Fu or Tai Chi / Taijiquan, either way – it’s about taking a bunch of shots – in postures, exercises, drills, applications – you name it!
Initially students thought this might be boring, but when they started seeing themselves on Instagram, this very website, etc., and the fun obstacles of dealing with lighting, timing and spacing, etc., they began to find it quite enjoyable.
Yes, of course, we might use these for marketing, for our student center or for sending each individual student pictorial progress… It seems to be a great way to wake up the day for this Kung Fu event
As for the rotating or revolving nature of this module, it varies. One month we might focus on getting more video footage of applicaitons. Another month might be more specific form instruction within video and photo for the Student Center. Who knwos?
Kung Fu Content
This would be the "meat" as opposed to the "potatoes," I assume.
Within this module, revolves a variety of activities:
- Slow Sparring
Let’s look at what these might entail.
Good for both the External Northern Shaolin Kung Fu stylist as well as the Tai Chi student, this is where the rubber begins to meet the road.
This is a much-loved event by all. It’s sparring. And yet it’s "Tai Chi slow." What I mean by this is that everyone is given ample time to act and re-act.
One might think that this would make the activity boring as hell. But I promise you, it is much the opposite. It tends to end up as a master-level Chess game of strategy, tactics, timing, spacing / distancing, sensitivity and more.
Oddly enough, as much as one might think that Ego, that nasty drivel, be very far away from this activity, it actually does rear its head most often! Yes, people get annoyed and angry with one another during this. And so, the referee must step in and put folks in check – to slow down, to relax, and so on. One would think, with enough time to see the thing coming, that they’d get out of the way in time. It is not so. Intention is key. Entries are key. Deception is key. Footwork is key. And so much more. And then at the end of it all, we all chuckle, laugh, share stories and help each other.
This much-loved activity is a cornerstone traditional drill that is often over-looked in favor of simply jumping into the ring. We prefer slow, steady, wise (and safe) progression.
So we learn to put ego in check, anger or emotional response. We learn spacing, timing and relaxation. We think about counter-attacks. We look at entries. We work on a lot.
And we do it in a safe manner so that nobody goes home physically hurting.
Yes, it’s a stepping stone; a phase. But a much-needed and much-loved one. We record what happens in these activities, so that we can see common situations and learn.
And yes, switches out, month to month, with the other activities.
As it sounds, these are Seminars. However, a more accurate term might be mini-seminars.
Not that you’d be getting a tiny piece of something, but rather the content would be tiny; or at least something that we can cover in the time allowed.
We’ve run regular seminars, workshops and camps in the past. It’s been a learning experience. Trying to find the right amount of time to cover the right amount of material and (most importantly) the time to practice, to work with a partner, to gain some actual skill, etc.
And this is a difficult task!
So, in this Seminar module of the First Saturday, we find just the right amount of content for this time-slot. And that means it’s a small amount. Usually an extremely short form or a principle, or a simple entry or something.
For example, we recently covered one of the Duan leveled forms of Chang Quan or Longfist. It was a nod to our Demo Team, as they are learning and training a lot of Longfist stuff currently, that is quite unique from what they train in the regular Northern Shaolin Kung Fu class.
Some future topics of Seminars might include:
- Entries for Throws
- How to really use high kicks
- Using a weapon to disarm a weapon
- And many other topics
The key idea to the Seminars module is to learn something new – a small something – and gain some proficiency at it. All the while being fun. Not a huge form or hard-to-grasp seminar topic that will go in one ear and out the other. 😛
As a revolving module, Challenges come and go.
But we also record these and enter the data into the Student Center, as we do for the Slow Sparring module.
The Challenges, however, are yet another much-loved activity!
The Challenges are little games that you play with your brothers & sisters – to challenge your own abilities and progress and to add a bit of familial competition, which we normally don’t do, since the Programs are usually all about Personal Progress, but herein…
You might find yourself in a Challenge to:
- Hold a Horse Stance longest
- Maintain a level head-height (no telegraphing) while engaging in a difficult stepping pattern
- Move through a particular form as fast as possible
- Hold a Bow Stance, such that the thigh of the front leg is parallel to the ground, for an extended period of time
- Capture the Flag
- And many other interesting, fun and challenging games…
Kung Fu Family Social
This is, of course, the Let Loose part of the day. This is the time where we eat together – usually some Chinese take-out, or a trip to an authentic Chinese restaurant or sometimes we might be treated even to a homemade meal from Laos!
For lunch we tend to bring our own brown-bags or go in together on a special lunch.
But for Dinner… Sometimes we do the same. And sometimes we don’t.
After dinner we will engage in one of several activities:
- Watch an old Kung Fu movie
- Play some cards
- Play some DnDM/
- Play or Learn (to play) some Mahjong / Majiang
Needless to say, the Kung Fu Family Social is an enjoyable time, to say the least.
How do the First Saturdays rotate?
Now that you have an idea of the things involved in First Saturdays, it might be beneficial to know how they rotate or revolve.
Okay, so we know that First Saturdays happen on the 1st Saturday of every month.
And we know what they might consiste of. But how do we know what happens when, in regards to the rotations of modules?
The regular attendee might figure it out. However, in general, it’s up in the air. The basic formula, however, is as follows
- Admimistrative Media
– What, specifically, might change from first to fist
- Kung Fu Content
We already know this changes
- Kung Fu Family Social
We know this changes from one fun activity to the other
So now you have an idea of what happens on First Saturdays. Visit our normal Kung Fu Class Schedule, our Blog or something else.
But above all else…