Wow! What a camp! The best one ever! The CJA Summer camp began around January with planning and preparation: dates, class schedule, courses, guest instructor, etc. all had to be arranged in advance. Later came the reservation of the infamous porta-potties, reserving the forest area for the tracking class, hiring the cook, etc. Still later came the tasks of clearing the camp sites, lawn repair, mowing, moving and setting up the showers, weed clearing, and 100’s of miscellaneous construction and repair jobs. Besides the 100’s of hours put in by the students of the Shin Mei Kan with help from the Ten Mei Kan (Univ. of Montana), some other individuals showed up early to help with set up: Skip arrived on July 19, and David on July 21st. All Black Belt exams were completed in advance, so Thursday was used for additional set up, Instructor’s meeting, and the main annual CJA BOD meeting. … Yes, Travis, there is a safety exam for the trampoline!!!
Bob Reish, guest instructor of Muy Thai, Kali, and Jun Fan Kung Fu, arrived early and put on a special Escrima class Thursday evening prior to camp. Everyone was out in the moon light practicing Escrima according to the ancient tradition. Bob was able to teach for the first two days of camp, and his classes were very well received. Thanks again Bob for your kind and generous help and instruction!!! Please come again!!!
The first day of classes ended with a BANG, literally, as Dan Baca ran a great fireworks program! Three camp fire-teams were on alert during the display, but there were no problems. Because of the new metal roof over the primary dining area, there was no burned out tarp this year! Yea!
We had 36 registered campers from Northern & Southern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Montana. Fifteen – 1.5 hour classes were offered each day and ran the gamut from “No Gi” Nage, Tai Chi, Kombo, Bo & Bo Sparring, Blindfold Yawara, Kendo, Inmate Weapons III, Pugil Stick, Okazaki Restorative Massage, Freestyle Fighting, Kapo, Judo, etc. etc. etc. In addition to the Open Range classes, we had Jujitsu Trampoline classes scheduled twice every day, at the end of the lunch and supper breaks. Among the unusual and fun were Shuriken, Knife Throwing, and Blow Gun. Range Safety Certification was required for participation in these classes. Special thanks are due to Cory Nauman, Nidan, for arranging and instructing the First Aid and CPR certification classes. Many folks were re-certified. Almost 100 separate classes were offered during our five day camp. We had 14 Black Belt Instructors teaching just about everything under the sun. And there were special daily Black Belt classes for the instructors. This year at the last Shodan BB class of the week, the Shodans walked the sword: Shiraha Watari. Well done, all!
Special events added a lot of excitement to camp this year! The Opening Ceremony saw Haley Trimmer receive her Shodan, Chris Andrews his Nidan, and Cory Nauman & Todd Driver their Sensei certifications. Brian Turley arrived late in the day and received his Shodan on Friday afternoon, at the Black Belt class…. The next morning at 8:00 am a special ceremony was conducted by Skip West (Grey Wolf), and war chief, of the White Mountain Apache, Bear Warrior Clan. He was assisted by Prof. (Standing Bear) and Lora Edwards (Hilili). Spoken to by the Great Sprit, Grey Wolf was led to formally initiate five new members into the Bear Warrior Clan: Todd Driver (Nightwind), Chris Andrews (Thunder Hawk), David Hallowell (Medicine Wolf), Travis Sienknecht (Running Elk), and Kris Reed (Little Wolverine). At the conclusion of the ceremony each was awarded their bear claw, and gifts from the other members of the clan.
Sean Trace gave an excellent lecture on the history of the Samurai at Tuesday’s campfire with assistance from Marcos Baca and Jim Snook. The survival skills night tracking class in the forest was another favorite this year. Not one camper was lost to the bears or mountain lions! The Monday campfire was unique because we had a professional entertainer, guitarist and naturalist, Kieth Hammer of Montana, singing his own compositions. His “Grizzly Bear” song had to be repeated by popular request! He even brought and demonstrated his digeree doo, Australian bushman pipe. Everyone was asking that he come back again next year!
The design for the T-Shirts and Program this year was done by David Hallowell, Sandan. It represented our theme this year very well – VALOR. The design depicts two warriors facing a battle charge by 100’s of enemy soldiers, but the two are standing bravely and confidently under the sign of God in the heavens above them. The scene is flanked by the CJA symbol for valor, the “V” of the twin feathers joined by the kanji for valor. Thanks David!!!
At the closing ceremony, a beautiful leather jacket was presented to Prof. by all the Black Belts, commemorating over 40 years of service in Jujitsu What was special about this was that each camper wore the jacket for a time prior to the presentation, each imbuing it with their own “vibrations”. Prof. was deeply moved and extremely appreciative of the gift and the thoughtfulness of the Black Belts and all the CJA campers.
The food was great of course! April Hart, our former camp cook returned to help us again this year. Thanks again April! Lora said she spent more money on food this year than ever! Plus we had a special treat on Saturday evening. Carol Sienknecht, with some help from her husband Steve, put on a great meal of authentic “Indian Tacos”. She worked all day Saturday to prepare this meal. Carol is a Native American and the mom of Michelle and Travis. Thanks for the super treat!!! … And of course prior to the regular evening movies, Lora had to bring out the huge fruit pies and ice cream. Oink!
Winners of the special camp awards included the following: Pistol Marksmanship – Dan Baca (49/50 wi 4X); Rifle Marksmanship – Todd Driver (50/50 wi 4X); Knife Throwing – Jessie Smith (18); Blowgun – Jon Waggonner (118); Shuriken – Chris Matthews (26 wi X); Shoot/No Shoot – Cory Nauman. Several people donated great gifts for the raffle, and there were many happy faces after the drawing.
No other organization, anywhere, has ever put on a better camp, with more fun, excitement, and classes; with better food, more cooperation and helpfulness, or more love, than the CJA does for $100 per camper for five full days!!! The reason is obvious. You can see it in the faces of the campers. They are living the Code of Bushido, and walking in the “light” of God.
Contrary to last year where most folks departed the next morning after breakfast, this year almost everyone jumped on the road immediately after the closing ceremony and dinner. Prof. had planned a bunch of closing comments for campfire that night, but those few of us who were left, sat on the deck and watched the stars. When asked for his closing comments Prof. simply said, “Thanks to everyone for making this such a special camp and organization! Master Okazaki would be so proud of you! God Bless You, one and all”.