Education Specialists

Brian and Sandy Hayes have been involved in education for all of their adult working lives. HVMAC Principal Brian Hayes was a Secondary School Deputy Principal until 2006, when he resigned to pursue his dream of teaching martial arts full time. Shihan Sandy Hayes, Director of HVMAC, was a primary school language immersion teacher in Newcastle schools which followed a short career in International Finance. As school teachers, both Brian and Sandy have felt a life long commitment to the physical, social and emotional development of young people, and this is certainly reflected in the culture and curriculum at all Hunter Valley Martial Arts Centres.

Master Instructor Brian Hayes has been involved in the Rock and Water program since 1999. With a deep interest in educational programs for boys as well as a passion for promoting self defence abilities in boys and girls, Sensei Hayes attended the first Rock and Water workshop conducted in Australia by Freerk Ykema, the founder of the program. He liked what he saw and began to implement the program immediately as an instructor.

Basically, Rock and Water is a course that is delivered over a number of lessons to students in primary or high school. A series of exercises and games are practised to develop confidence and self-reflection. The games are martial arts based, and students learn to block, hit strike shields, stand strong, negotiate using “rock” or “water” verbal approaches, walk away from a fight, consider alternatives to aggression, and develop understandings about who they are, their intuitive feelings and their personal direction.

As a Deputy Principal, Brian implemented and managed the program in two Newcastle High Schools, before being invited to conduct one-day training seminars and then three day training seminars around Australia and in New Zealand. He is currently responsible for all accreditation of Rock and Water instructors in NSW, Tasmania and the ACT.

It is this commitment to developing the powerful Rock and Water program that takes Hayes Sensei away from the centre at times, but the benefits are surely felt in the development of curriculum at the centre and staff training to reflect the principles of Rock and Water.

Rock and Water was developed as a program for boys, but the benefits for girls were immediately recognised by Australian teachers and the program is taught widely in mixed groups. The impact of the Rock and Water program can be readily seen at the Hunter Valley Martial Arts Centre. All junior classes stop for a mat chat each lesson, where principles of honesty, compassion, gratitude, patience etc are discussed. Many of the games played in class come from the Rock and Water program.

Most importantly, we emphasise the relationship between the physicality of martial arts training and the development of social skills, self confidence and resilence.

Hayes Sensei has developed a strong reputation as a program presenter. Check the testimonial page at http://www.rockandwater.com.au to see what teachers, community nurses, chaplains and mental health workers have to say about the program, and the qualities of Hayes Sensei as a teacher and mentor to educational professionals.

What is Rock and Water? Brian Hayes explains Rock and Water philosophy and his reasons for being passionate about the program.

HVMAC Philosophy