WINFIELD — A weeklong YMCA Kung Fu Camp was in full swing last week.
Grand Masters Larry Fletcher and Bill Abers conducted the camp with the assistance of students, who, in some cases, have progressed to black belt status.
Campers, some young and others with experience, tried out some of the skills they’ve been learning. They engaged in bouts, monitored and judged, along taped-off areas of the floor at their training site.
Abers said sparring gear included protection for the feet and hands, a protective cup and mouthpiece. Bouts were to either three or five points scored for successful strikes.
“The scoring is a strike from the belt to below the chin,” Abers said. “Unless you are a black belt, then the head is a target.”
Brown belt holders also qualify for having their heads as targets, he said.
Campers were given homework, or exercises to do at home during camp week if they want to progress.
“It’s not over,” Abers said as the afternoon session was breaking up. “They work hard here. These kids and adults in the morning were outside for about two hours working on ‘bo’ staff form.”
Fletcher said the staff is the sole weapon he trains students to use, as it is hard to conceal a 6-foot stick and cause trouble with it.
Bronwyn Sanders, of Mifflinburg, attended with her son, Gareth. She said he jumped at the idea after a flyer was distributed in school.
“He did not like soccer, baseball and didn’t want to do basketball,” Sanders said. “He has been doing this almost four years.”
Gareth said he is going into seventh grade.
Assistants at last Tuesday’s afternoon session included Xan Lawrence, of Sunbury, who won a bout against Alex Guffey.
Kendra Stark, of Sunbury, assembled the students at the conclusion of the day as they knelt for a moment of reflection on the floor. Alex Sabo, who earned the added distinction of senior ranking instructor in 2018, was also kept busy.
The students, if deemed proficient, were awarded higher belts Friday in a special ceremony.