Open post

The Freedom of Natural Movement

In our recent blog post interview with survival skills expert Tom McElroy, he talked about a specific type of freedom that he connects to through survival skills. In this post we connect with natural movement coach Kyle Koch who talks about another freedom to be found through movement in nature.

If you happen to wander the snowy forests of northern Minnesota on a subzero winter day, you might get a glimpse of a creature bounding through the forest on all fours, dive rolling over logs, and quickly scaling the highest trees. Chances are this is not a Yeti, but instead a person named Kyle Koch who is honing his unique art. Kyle is a former IT software technician turned practitioner and coach of Natural Movement.  Kyle has been facilitating transformative experiences in nature for almost a decade: inspiring youth and adults to connect to their gifts through exploration, play, and curiosity through movement outdoors. Kyle is always expanding his practice through the study and application of functional neurology concepts, traditional strength training, martial arts (Systema), meditation and breathing (Wim Hof Method).

We caught up with Kyle recently (after he came down from the treetops) to learn more about his art.

Pathways: Can you tell us a little about your history/background and what it was that led you to this form of Natural Movement training?

Kyle: I grew up on the outskirts of Milwaukee Wisconsin. When I was younger I was interested in rough housing and physical arts. Later, after becoming an IT technician I realized that all of my personal skills depended upon equipment. I relied solely on technology to express my skills. My life was changed when I took a survival course where they taught us how to make shelter, fire, and how to move in nature. I remember making my first bow drill fire at that course. At that moment I realized my greater potential. I realized I was capable of so much with so little. Then I studied and eventually became an instructor at Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State. After years of sitting at a desk as an IT professional, my experience in the wilderness taught me that nature allowed me to express myself physically in the way that I wanted to be. I’ve been teaching since then. Now I facilitate transformative experiences in nature centered around movement and play.

Pathways: You call your art “Natural Movement.” How do you describe it?

Kyle: I describe it as moving from a place of joy instead of a place of fear. I believe a lot of our movements are dictated by conscious or unconscious fears. Social fears in particular are one of the biggest limits to people's movement on a daily basis.

Pathways: In some of your videos you give the disclaimer that what you teach is not about losing weight or building a specific physique, although becoming fit is a likely side effect of natural movement. Can you explain?

Kyle: I consider fitness as a side effect. If you have a good nutritious diet, healthy social relationships, and a movement rich lifestyle, then looking and feeling good is a natural side effect. However the flip side isn't always true. If you just focus on looking good, it doesn't mean you eat well, have a healthy social life, or a movement rich lifestyle.

Pathways: What are the benefits of the natural movement techniques that you teach?

Kyle: My goal is to help people move towards freedom. By freedom I mean the ability to make choices. Your ability to move can dictate the choices you have. If you don’t use it, you lose it. In our modern world most people do most of their movement at a table. With the kids that I work with, I notice that as they get older, they lose their ability to squat. By time youth reach their teens today, most have lost this ability completely. Most adults avoid spending much time near the ground. With the skills I teach, you can regain many of your lost movements and retain them for the rest of your life. I do a lot with coordinating movement on both sides of the body. This has huge neurological benefits. Moving on the ground on all fours also has huge neurological benefits, especially for those who haven’t done this movement before because it is what is referred to in science as a novel complex movement. This is one of the most stimulating things for your brain outside of food. For me this is about learning what keeps you young. I think movement is one of the best skills for continuous learning of new things. The more movement skills I know, the bigger the map I have of my body. The bigger this map, the more choices I have for the places I can go, and ultimately the more freedom I have.

Pathways: Why would a practitioner of ninjutsu (or any martial art) benefit from this training?

Kyle: To be a “protector” in nature requires movement and a level of strength to move through the rough terrain or to climb trees. Ultimately I think of these skills as a relationship with the ground or the Earth. Unless you are in an airplane, you can’t escape the ground. It’s always there. The fear of falling is real for many people. As people age, falling can become catastrophic. Tens of thousands of people die each year from relatively minor falls. I like to think of falling differently. I like to think of falling to the ground as if I am meeting an old friend. What if falling could be like getting a massage? Instead of tensing up and fearing a fall, I try to relax. The ground has so many variables, so you have a diversity of ways to meet the ground and find comfort.

If you are practicing stealth movement as a hunter or a ninja, getting close to the ground and moving slowly is important. The animal movements that I teach give you a lot of options for this. If I’m far away I might move like a raccoon. As I get closer to a target, I might move like a lizard. When I get really close I might move like a worm. I look at this progression as bipedal (human) to quadrupedal (lizard) to belly (worm) and then reverse.

Pathways: For someone just beginning or possibly living in an urban environment with limited access to nature, what is one way they could begin practicing natural movement?

Kyle: One of my favorite introductory exercises is to challenge someone to go from standing to touching their butt to the ground in ten different ways. Most people start to struggle after five attempts. From there you can switch it up. For example, can you get to your back from standing in ten different ways? Can you get to your chest? Can you do it with one hand or no hands? And so on.

*********

To connect with Kyle for some of his free introductory lessons or to train one-on-one with him, visit his website www.trottingsparrow.com. You can also follow him on Instagram and subscribe to his Youtube channel.

In our Pathways Ninja Training classes, we teach several animal form movements as part of our white to black belt curriculum. Learn how to tap into your inner primate with Kyle's monkey movement tutorial below. These movements are a great way to practice moving low to the ground, build coordination, and develop strength and agility, everything a healthy ninja monkey should add to their training quiver!

 

Open post

Should Ninjas Listen to Birds?

One thing that Sensei Roemke and I share in common is that we both used to go on patrol in nature as a job occupation. Another thing we have in common is that we both eventually had our minds blown by the language of birds.

In the video below Sensei Roemke shares a technique for moving through nature silently in a state of heightened awareness called Shinobi Yoko Aruki. This skill will come in really handy if you want to move invisibly through the forest. And, the technique relates to birds and ninjas.

Full disclosure…I used to be a “bird nerd.” Okay, actually once a bird nerd, always a bird nerd. It’s impossible not to notice them once you start paying attention.

I was a professional ornithologist for the better part of twenty years. I began as a ranger patrolling the Brooks Range in the Arctic of Alaska. While on patrol, we were supposed to record all the birds we saw. I was new to Alaska at the time and was unfamiliar with the local birds. So, I started with the easier, big birds…first learning to identify the eagles, then gradually moving to smaller birds such as ravens, owls, hawk owls, and falcons. Eventually I learned to identify the LBBs (a.k.a. the Little Brown Birds).

I then moved to Hawaii where I had to learn an entirely new suite of birds as a wildlife biologist. These birds were sometimes really tiny, lived at the top of the dense forest canopy, and often made quiet "whisper" songs. In other words...they were a real challenge to learn.

Eventually I figured those birds out too. At that point, I thought I knew a lot about birds.

Then I met people who new about the ancient art of “bird language”. Mind blowing stuff.

What is bird language? In short, the birds are communicating to each other about all the threats that are moving through the forest, including us. Learn this, and you have the keys to moving "invisibly" through nature.

But I’ll take a Shinobi Yoko Aruki step or two to the side and let Sensei Roemke take over to tell you his story first about meeting someone who understood this language.

Tag. You're it Sensei…

When I was in the army we were taught to use our sense of sight, smell and hearing to try and detect the enemy when on patrol. My martial arts awareness training complimented this military training. Through years of martial arts training, I learned how to heighten my awareness.

I thought I was pretty good at finding ambushes and booby traps using my senses until the day I went on a hike with a tracking instructor.

I really love being a student and am always seeking new teachers. When I met a local tracking instructor, we soon realized that we had a common interest in the natural world. He was interested in ninjutsu, so we decided to trade skills with each other. He would take me tracking, and I would teach him ninjutsu.

He took me to a trail in the nearby redwood hills near where I live in Santa Cruz. A few miles into our morning hike we stopped. He turned to me and said, “Let's just stand here for a minute and tune in.”

We stood there quietly for a few moments, paying attention to the sounds of the forest.

All of the sudden, a large group of birds flew down the trail over our heads. The instructor turned to me and said,“There's going to be two people coming down the trail in about two minutes. Start your watch.”

I looked at my watch, and we waited.

Then, in exactly one minute, fifty-nine seconds, two people came hiking down the trail.

“Good morning!” they said with smiles on their faces. I stood there looking at them in disbelief.

I just had my mind blown.

I learned more in those two hours of training with my tracker friend about sensory awareness than I did from all of my training in the military.

What I learned was that the birds can teach you so much. They give you an understanding of what is around you.

That morning made me think about the ninjas of old times, and how they could use their observations of birds to tell where people were. I have heard Hatsumi Sensei say, “Go back to nature to learn.”

He wasn't kidding.

It really helps to have a mentor or instructor to help guide you down the path. I feel lucky to have met a lot of great teachers in my life.

But I know what you are thinking…

“Lucky you! You had a tracking instructor living near you.”

Yes, but not to worry.

If you don’t happen to have one on your street corner, we have one lined up for you in the next blog. Master tracker and naturalist Jon Young will be dropping by in the next blog to give us some tips about learning bird language.

Until then, if you want to move silently through the world, and not freak out all the birds (who are more than happy to give your location away), I have a skill for you to practice.

It’s a silent walk that the ninjas developed called Shinobi Yoko Aruki, or “silent sideways walking”. This move also allows you to avoid looking at your feet so that you can expand your awareness around you. I also include a technique that we used in the military to spin 360 degrees while doing this move.

Shinobi Yoko Aruki

I hope you enjoyed this one. This video is part of our White to Black Belt training series at Ninja Training Tv.

If you want to hear another bird language story, checkout another previous post The Sword and the Whisper Song.

Bird language is amazing stuff. Get ready to have your mind blown in this series on the birds and learn what it truly means to become invisible in nature.

Open post

The Sword and the Whisper Song

Recently I was sitting on my back porch, watching the sunrise, and tuning in to the language of the birds around me. Bird language is a little different than typical bird watching or bird identification by song. Bird language is a three dimensional practice of being aware of not just who is out there communicating, but what the landscape is telling you through the soundscape. Among other things, it teaches you how to detect alarms in the forest of approaching danger, well before you actually see or encounter it.

On this recent morning I heard a whisper song that I had never detected before. What's a whisper song? Most people are familiar with bird songs. But there is a subset of birds that have an additional, much more subtle addition to their playlist- the whisper song. These are very quiet, almost murmurings of songs, whispered by a few birds.
I had first learned of whisper songs while doing bird surveys in Hawaii. I was part of teams that would annually trek from the tops of volcanoes, through thick impenetrable fern covered native forests, all the way to the ocean in some cases. We would stop at designated locations, listen, then record the species of birds we heard. Many of these birds were endangered. Some have since vanished from the planet. Some sang very stealthy whisper songs. These were the hardest to detect. Imagine a recording of a squeaky wheel on a grocery cart, turned down to the lowest volume, and played 100 meters away. That's how challenging it was to hear these songs.
I had forgotten about whisper songs when I moved to California and changed professions (to become an educator). Then, one day I was sitting in my backyard watching my son try to lure a local Scrub Jay to come down and take a peanut off his head. That's when I heard a quiet murmuring of a whisper song behind me. To my surprise, there was a Scrub Jay, perched on the roof, looking at us while going through a near-silent repertoire of babble. I doubted what I was hearing until I did some research and sure enough, the local jays were known for occasional whisper songs.
Fast forward to the East coast where I live now. I was on my porch when I heard a very faint Cooper's Hawk call. If you are not familiar with Cooper's hawks, they are deadly to many of your backyard songbirds. They are silent hunters of the forest canopy and subcanopy. They specialize in killing birds. They are especially effective at decimating entire nests of their young. They are also one of the main reasons at the beginning of the fledgling season you see a lot of young birds following their parents screaming for food, and then within a few weeks, many of these young birds disappear.
It took me a moment to realize that what I thought was a distant Cooper's Hawk calling was actually an Eastern Blue Jay in the trees twenty yards away. In California, the Scrub Jays do a near perfect imitation of a Red-Tailed hawk. Whenever I would hear them doing this, I would look to the skies, and usually there would be a Red-Tailed circling overhead. Some believe that this is the way the jays communicate to each other that this predator is nearby.
But this Blue Jay was not only doing a whisper song of a Cooper's Hawk, it seemed to be doing this call to an audience of its three young fledglings. It hopped on a branch by these three birds and quietly did this call. These young birds at the time were being quite noisy with their begging calls. I couldn't help but wonder, was this the parent's way of saying, "Pay attention! Are you listening!! There is a Cooper's Hawk nearby! Do you want to get us killed?!!!"
But what does this have to do with ninjas or swords?
Ancestral knowledge, passed down from one generation to the next, with the intent of ensuring survival.
Two years ago I visited the honbu dojo for a week of training. I watched Soke (the grandmaster) Masaaki Hatsumi, teach about sword evasion. It was so subtle, quiet, a whisper song of movement. He hardly spoke. He deflected and controlled the sword at times with only his fingers, a light touch, sometimes just a single finger. At the time I was a green belt, and I understood that he teaches to the level of the 15th dans, so I know there were many levels of teaching that I wasn't comprehending. Still, I walked out of the dojo that day, struck by the value and effect of soft, subtle, and quiet.
There's another whisper of the sword I have encountered as a student of Sensei Roemke. It's the quiet sound that the sword makes when cutting through the air. It's known as tachikaze, which means "sword wind". It's one thing to hear this sound. It's another to create this sound yourself, and it feels sooooo good when you create tachikaze. Sensei Roemke has entire video sets on sword training if you want to venture down the path of tachikaze.
Here's a recent one from our Pathways Youtube Channel where he teaches how to draw and put away a sword.
Ninja Mentor Suggestion
It's hard to find a youth that is not interested in wielding a sword. Grab a nearby ninja youth. Ask them if they want to "learn how ninjas draw and put away swords". Then go make or find a sword and practice these skills that Sensei Roemke teaches with them.
Within a few days, the family of jays I observed had dwindled from three young birds to two. I had to wonder if the surviving two had actually paid attention to the Cooper's Hawk warning, while the other hadn't. I also wondered if this evasion technique was ancestral knowledge that has been passed down from teacher to student since as long as there have been jays and hawks in the same neighborhood.
Like avoiding the sword, there are valuable lessons to persevere, but sometimes you have to be listening for the whisper song.
Open post

Footwork Swift Like a Falcon

I remember staring down at my hand as the reality of the situation sank in. Literally.

A hawk’s talon was sinking into the center of my palm. I had eight additional puncture wounds on my hand that were bleeding.

I gripped the back talon, the most powerful of all the toes called the halux, with my finger and tried to slowly pull the small dagger out of my hand. This only caused the hawk to resist and tighten its grip. The searing pain was intense. After a brief struggle I was able to  wrench its grip loose. In a flurry of wings it whirled and retreated to the back corner of the modified dog kennel and jumped on its perch. I slammed the door quickly behind it.

A few minutes prior I was assisting with putting a radio transmitter on another hawk at a table in the forest. We were a team of biologists working with the endangered Hawaiian Hawk, or ‘Io as it was known. We were also studying and trying to save a critically endangered bird called the Hawaiian Crow or ‘Alala. The problem was that recently the endangered hawks had started to eat the critically endangered crows. One component of trying to solve this problem was to assess the situation first, which involved learning about where the hawks lived, moved, nested, and other natural history. Thus our reason for catching hawks that day.

My friend Peter who was a master falconer at the time with the Peregrine Fund was finishing the stitches on the harness of a hawk.

“Ken, can you go get the next hawk out of the kennel and bring it here?” he asked.

Being new to working with this bird of prey, I was more than eager. “Sure!” I said.

I looked at Peter and noticed that he was bare handed as he finished working with the current hawk, which had a falconer’s hood on its head to calm it down.

Hmmm. Well if Peter doesn’t need leather gloves, I guess I don’t either.

Big mistake.

When I arrived at the kennel, I slowly opened the door and eased my bare hand in towards the bird that was sitting on its perch to grab it.

In an instant, there was a blur of feathers and lunging feet. Within a couple of seconds it had lashed me with its talons multiple times, one of which sunk into the center of my palm.

After I removed the halux, I stared at my bleeding hand that day and thought of two things:

#1 The swiftness of its feet, and…

#2 The power of the talons from a bird of that size.

I returned sheepishly to Peter and asked, “How did you get the bird out of the cage bare handed?”

Peter laughed and said, “What, are you crazy? I wear leather gloves for that. I take them off after I get the hood on the bird.”

I still have a faint red dot in the center of my palm that reminds me of that day.

But what does this story have to do with a ninja blog?

Two things.

One- there is a history of ninjas or shinobi as master falconers.

Many ninja clans or families were falconers that were closely embedded with emperors, daimyo lords and shoguns. Falcon masters were known as Takasho or Takajo who had intimate knowledge of inner workings of people of power.

They also often had the ability to move freely outside of their homeland, something few people were able to do. These abilities allowed them to develop relationships with spies and shinobi. The Takasho could roam the territories, take in information, and report back to their superiors.

There is a recent book that details this that I highly recommend by Sean Askew titled Hidden Lineage: The Ninja of the Toda Clan. This is one of my favorite books on the history of shinobi.

The second ninja connection is the video we have for you today.

Today we have a video by Sensei Roemke that incorporates this feeling and action. It is called Shun Soku, or “footwork swift like a falcon” from Gyokko Ryu.

This is another video from our Ninja Training TV Live classes that Dai Shihan Mark Roemke teaches each week. In the previous blog he teaches another skill about henka from a recent NTTV Live class.

Get your katana ready for this one!

Shun Soku

When I practice this move I like to imagine myself as that hawk in the kennel that day with lightning swift feet, taking on a giant 20 times my size, feathers on my back, fresh mouse in my belly.

Ok, maybe not the mouse.

(Here's a blast from the past- a pic of me releasing an 'Io into the Hawaiian forest.)

 

Open post

The Henka of Bujinkan and Banjos

I might as well get this out in the open early in this blogging series. I’m a banjo player.

I know what many of you are hearing when I say that.

The Dueling Banjos song from the movie Deliverance.

I know it’s hard for many of you to block that out of your head. It’s like saying “whatever you do, don’t picture a pink elephant right now in your mind.” It’s impossible not to.

Moving on…

What does Dueling Banjos and the art of ninjutsu have in common?

Henka. Stick with me here. It’s not about a battle or even a duel.

I picked up a banjo over 40 years ago. I was obsessed with learning at a young age. I learned the basics- key songs that everyone played, scales, fancy “licks”, and all the foundational elements that most banjo players learn.

And then I started to play with other people, which evolved to joining bands, recording, performing at festivals, and teaching- typical evolution for an obsessed musician which also included having to learn to sidestep the brunt of all the banjo jokes.

One thing would often happen after “jamming” with people. Someone would ask me after a song ended, “How did you play that part you just did in that jam?”

I would often answer, “I have no idea. I just played it.” I was in the proverbial “zone”.

When I get in the center of an improv-jamming moment, there’s things at work…

Sinking in the “zone.”

Being present in the moment.

Creativity.

Awareness of myself relative to others around me (band members I play with).

Taking a basic concept and dancing with it.

And above all, playing and having fun.

Sensei Roemke began his training in ninjutsu about the time I picked up a banjo.

The first time I watched him demonstrate the concept of henka, I immediately thought of one thing…

“He’s jamming!”

And I heard Dueling Banjos in my head. Just kidding. My sincere apologies for bringing that up again for those of you who successfully removed that earworm from your head.

Henka is a Japanese term meaning a variation of a technique. There is a LOT that can be expounded upon this concept.

For a perspective on this concept, Sensei Roemke uses a technique called omote gyaku, or “outside wrist twist” in the video below. He teaches the “basics” and then shows examples of henka for this technique.

But if you watch closely you may catch a few things that happen in the video below.

He does a different variation every time.

And, he’s laughing and smiling.

And when finished, he says, “What did I do? I don’t even know. It was a blur.”

When I work on learning a new technique on the banjo, I’ll take a specific piece of a song and slow it down to analyze it part by part until I learn it. My daughter and I do this a lot with Sensei Roemke’s ninjutsu videos. When he shifts into henka mode in the video below, I highly recommend putting your video player in slow speed format. It’s fun to watch it this way to catch all of the little subtle things he’s doing

Check it out.

Omote Gyaku Henka

I’ll leave you with what Sensei Roemke has to say about Henka.

“My perspective on the concept of using “variations” of a certain skill in your life or as a student in the Bujinkan is that you will never know what is going to happen, and thus you have to be in the present moment. If you stay totally present and don’t think too much about what is about to unfold or happen, then something beautiful will emerge from the moment you are in.”

That idea can apply to so many aspects of life, even banjo playing.

Hope you enjoyed this one. This video is an excerpt from our weekly live online adult Ninja Training TV Live online class where you can request skills and get feedback from Sensei Roemke.

Here's to health and happy henka hunting!

 

Open post

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick

When I walk through the forest and look at the trees I think...

Fire-making supplies...

Food...

Syrup (I live in the northeast and just finished boiling some sugar maple sap!) and...

Rokushaku bos.

Today let's talk about one of the oldest self defense tools, a big stick, otherwise known as a rokushaku bo, or full length staff. We have a couple training videos for you today that teach some of our favorite rokushaku bo skills.

My first encounter with this training tool occurred at 4000' elevation on the southwestern slopes of the volcano Mauna Loa in the wet forests of Hawaii. We were working on methods for catching one of the rarest birds on the planet, the Hawaiian Crow, or 'Alala. There were only about a dozen birds left in the wild at the time. But that’s another story.

We were hosting two guests from India, who were there to teach us some ancient bird catching techniques. Our visitors were an elder father and his son. The father was in his 80's and didn’t speak English. His son was our translator.

The father had been taught traditional ways to live-catch birds for food when he was a boy. At the time of their visit with us, they were employed by the government of India to live-catch endangered birds.
At the end of a day of teaching skills to our field crew, the son asked, "Would you like to see my father demonstrate some martial arts skills?"

I had been exploring local martial arts teachers on the island at the time and eagerly jumped up and said, "Yes!"

"Good. Go get my father a long piece of straight wood about this long," the son said holding his hand up to his head indicating full body length.

I ran off to a nearby patch of forest and cut a section of non-native bamboo and brought it back for his father.

Up to this point, the elder had moved slowly as we hiked about the forest. He spoke little, only occasionally talking to describe a technique. When I handed him the full length staff he suddenly became alive. He started spinning the staff at high speed to the front, sides, and back of his body. Then he spun it overhead. Then he started laughing while running up and down the meadow while spinning the wood. He looked like a human propeller.

Oh man. I really wanted to learn how to do that!

Only problem was that they left five minutes later, boarded a plane that day and flew home. I never saw them again.

Fast forward several years when I happened to meet a guy named Mark Roemke at a friend's house.

Before long I venture through the doors of Pathways Dojo.

On my first day training, Sensei Roemke pulled a rokushaku bo off the wall and began teaching us spins!
I'll let Sensei Roemke take it from here to say a few things about this ancient training tool...

"The rokushaku bo is one of my favorite weapons because when you start to spin it, no matter which direction you turn or go, you are in the center. The center of the rokushaku bo is one of the safest places to be. Once you understand the matrix of how to turn it, you will forever be in the middle.

The rokushaku bo has many other uses. You can use it to bound off a tree to reach the first lower branch in order to climb the tree. You can use it to carry pots of heavy drinking water or supplies. And you can use it to defend against wild animals such as an encounter with a mountain lion."

We've been gathering wood from the forests and making our own rokushaku bos for years with adults and youth in our Ninjas in Nature Program. We even use them to make survival debris shelters.

We noticed too that kids are magnetized by rokushaku bos. Have you ever noticed that kids are always wanting to carry a big "hiking stick" when walking through the forest? It usually takes less than five minutes for an empty handed kid to pick up a big stick on a hike through the forest.

Even Gandalf carries one.

So here's a couple videos by Dai Shihan Mark Roemke. The first teaches techniques for spinning a rokushaku bo.

Rokushaku Bo Spinning

The second video is an excerpt from our youth Ancient Ninja Training Tools Series

Ninjas walk softly and carry big sticks. I highly recommend both!
Open post

The Power of Rope and Ring

Recently we guided a group of youth ninjas with our online live training program through the process of making training kyoketsu shoges. What's a kyoketsu shoge? For starters, a homemade version with parts gathered from nature looks like this...

A rope, ring, and wood. To be specific, the ring in this photo is made from a dog chewie. This is the training version. The ancient ninja version would have been made from an iron ring, and used among other things to hit the hands of sword wielding opponents, causing them to drop their sword.

A few summers back, Sensei Roemke and I co-led East and West coast summer camps where we had the kids make their own kyoketsu shoges. We realized that branches from trees made perfect handles. It was amazing to watch the focus (and quiet!) that kids put into carving, sanding, burnishing, and oiling their wood.

Then we started to train with them. So much fun.

Target practice, wrapping around branches, spinning drills. I can't tell you how high the youth stoke factor was, and for the instructors too!!!

What was really cool was how the kids used their creativity with these. They quickly figured out that with the right throw, that they could wrap them around branches and use them as a rope swing, or to climb up into the tree.

Then Mark showed them this "advanced" neck spin in the video below. Check it out. So much fun. But...you have to make one first! I'll save that for a future blog entry. For now, enjoy this one.

Kyoketusu Shoge Neck Spin

Scroll to top