Rock and Water


Master Instructor Brian Hayes has been involved as a teacher of Rock and Water since he met Freerk Ykeema, the founder and Grandmaster of the program, in 1999. Freerk had been invited to present a workshop at the University of Newcastle, and, with a deep interest in boys educational programs as well as a passion for promoting self defence abilities in boys and girls, Sensei Hayes attended. 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.

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 resilience. This important principle has influenced the development of our unique leadership program, our ten values, respect challenge and many other aspects of our program.

Hayes Sensei has developed a strong reputation as a program presenter. Check the testimonial page 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.


Our staff are Rock and Water accredited and can teach the program at any of our Martial Arts centre’s or on site. 

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