First, Dan showed us how to make origami shuriken (throwing stars), and we practiced our ninja skills by throwing them at the library's cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson. For every round, people had to aim at a certain part of his head (ear, neck, eyes, etc.) and they got candy if they hit him accurately. It was hard, and only a few people were ninja enough to handle the pressure.
We watched some random ninja videos online, with the laptop hooked up to the projector. Then, Dan did a martial arts demonstration. He talked about his intererst in martial arts, his school, and demonstrated some kicks, delivering an amazing, Chuck-Norris-style roundhouse to the jaw of Robert Pattinson (followed by a huge cheer!). After that, Dan brought out a whole duffel bag of different martial arts weapons, talking about the history of each one and doing a short demonstration. (Don't worry, it was very safe--Dan is a trained instructor and no one else handled the items.) Then, he taught everyone a few self-defense moves. It was really cool, no one got injured, and Dan was an excellent teacher.
We finished the night by watching some of the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and having snacks. What do ninjas eat? Dark chocolate, of course, and ninja brownies (cut in circles with little icing eyes). I guess they probably also try to eat quiet food, but we broke the rules with some potato chips.
At the end, we had our costume contest. We had all kinds of entries, and our winner was a panda ninja! She got the Ninja Wisdom Deck, and the runners up each got candy and a fake moustache (ninjas need disguises, you know). Congrats to Christine, Abby, Kaitlyn, Laurel, and Owen for having the best costumes!
Huge thanks again to Dan, and to the Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health for funding this program.