The Rock and Water workshops offer new ways to interact and engage with young children, adolescents and adults through physical/social teaching.


Rock and Water

The Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle in collaboration with Gadaku Institute offer a variety of Rock & Water workshops across Australia.

The workshops offer new ways to interact and engage with young children, adolescents and adults through physical/social teaching. This international program was founded by Freerk Ykema from the Netherlands.

We mostly work with; Principals, Assistant Principals, School Teachers, Youth Workers, Health Professionals and Community Support Services.

How can Rock and Water help?

The workshops offer:

  • Practical anti-bullying strategies
  • Alternatives to aggressive verbal and physical responses
  • Better ability to be in control through grounding, centeredness and mental focus
  • Increased self respect, self control and self confidence
  • Enhanced resilience skills and well-being
  • Skills to identify and monitor reactive behaviour patterns

The workshop exercises promote:

  • Boundary setting, simple self-defence and communication skills
  • Awareness of purpose and motivation in life
  • Intuition, mental strength, empathic feeling, positive feeling, thinking and visualising

The Rock Concept:

  • Physical Rock Attitude: Muscles are strained, breath is down in your belly, body is hard, and feet are rooted to the ground. Physical contact is met with hard resistance.
  • Mental Rock Attitude: You go your own way! You may have exchanged opinions to come to your point of view but now you're closing off from other ideas.
  • Social Rock Attitude: You close off from opinions and feelings of others.

The Water Concept:

  • Physical Water Attitude: Muscles are relaxed but alert, breath is in your belly (your centre of action), and feet are in contact with the ground.
  • Mental Water Attitude: Strong awareness of own feelings and ideas but there is also attention toward others. Self-confidence leads to introspection and exchange of ideas with others.
  • Social Water Attitude: Communication and solidarity are at the centre of positive and cooperative relationships.


T:02 4921 6403


Level II Advanced Training

Workshop Fee

$950.00 (inc GST, 2 intensive days training with Brian Hayes, Rock and Water polo shirt, advanced trainers guide, basic exercises DVD, Action/Reaction DVD, Perspectives theory booklet, and certificate)





1 - 2 December

Hunter Valley Martial Arts
Warners Bay, Newcastle

 Manual registration only.

Level II Advanced Training - information sheet and registration form

Workshops in Western Australia

Contact Edu Solutions

Bill Johnstone |  0411 134 808  |
Paul Stein  |  0431 173 165  |

Workshops in New Zealand

Introductory Workshops (Completed for 2014)

Primary School Focus Workshops

View website for additional workshops

Contact Robin Schofield, Director of Rock & Water New Zealand Ltd by email

3 Day Rock & Water Workshop

24 hours of NSW Teacher Institute endorsed accreditation

This professional development training, delivered only by our Master Instructors, offers educators and professionals a new way to interact with young people, adolescents and adults. These workshops begin with simple self-defence, boundary and communication exercises. The workshops aims to develop self-confidence, ability for self-reflection and respect for oneself and others.

Rock & Water reduces bullying, increases self control and enhances social and communication skills.

2 Day Primary School – School Wide Workshop

16 hours of NSW Teacher Institute endorsed accreditation

This workshop applies the Rock & Water concepts and principles to all grades of primary education and the common situations that often occur at school. It meets the demands and needs of teachers and trainers working with young children.

Students learn to stand stronger in many ways. In the playground and the classroom they learn to identify their limitations and possibilities, learn to communicate more effectively, learn to feel, set and defend their own boundaries and to respect others' boundaries too.

The workshop manual includes profiles of students from each age group, and gives emphasis to their age specific (social) identity development. Practical material is provided which explains why certain exercises are better suited to students from various age groups.

2 Day Girls and Women Workshop

The workshop consists of a 10 lesson program using the basic skills and concepts of the Rock & Water program, while also paying special attention to the developmental challenges, qualities and strengths of girls and women.

Participants work with Rock & Water principles to enhance communication skills and encourage a sense of one's own individuality and personal path in life.

This training aims to support girls and women in their journey to becoming powerful individuals. The Rock concept is used to enable girls and women to believe in their own strength and to increase their self-confidence. The Water concept works as a tool to help translate this new-found strength into communication with others.

2 Day Autism Spectrum Disorders Workshop

This workshop presents a unique Rock & Water approach to helping children living with ASD. The workshop can assist boys and girls to gain greater self understanding and self awareness. The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) workshop includes exercises that reinforce 3 important concepts in self development; Safety, Assertiveness, and Communication.

After completing the workshop, boys and girls usually have enhanced communication skills (verbal and non-verbal) and better coping strategies for managing stressful situations.

After completing the lessons:

  • there is a greater understanding of non-verbal communication;
  • there are more reference points for controlling emotions;
  • there are more skills, both verbally and non-verbally, to respond to situations adequately.

Closed Workshop Options

1 Day Introductory Closed Workshop

6 hours of NSW Teacher Institute endorsed accreditation

Concentrates on the basic principles and first 6 lessons of the Rock & Water program.

Cost: SET FEE $2,980 (incl. GST) plus travel, accommodation and sundries
*remote locations may incur additional charges

2 Day Specialised Closed Workshop

Specialised 2 Day workshop for Primary School or Focus on Girls and Women or Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Cost: SET FEE $11,500 (incl. GST) plus travel, accommodation and sundries
*remote locations may incur additional charges

3 Day Closed Workshop

Entire 3 Day Rock & Water training program for a whole school or organisation.

Cost: SET FEE $16,500 (incl. GST) plus travel, accommodation and sundries
*remote locations may incur additional charges

To express your interest contact the events coordinator on 02 4921 6403

Or email

Who can teach Rock and Water

On completion of a 3 Day Rock & Water Workshop with a Master Instructor, you can then deliver the program within schools or organisations to students, parents or clients.  It does not entitle you to train other service professionals. We highly recommend completing this 3 day workshop if you are considering implementing the program in your school or service.

On completion of a 2 Day Specialised Workshop you can then deliver the program to the students, parents or clients relevant only to that focus area e.g. Girls and Women only, Primary School, or Autism Spectrum Disorders. It does not entitle you to train other service professionals.

On completion of a 1 Day Introductory Workshop you can deliver the basic lessons 1-6 to students, parents and clients only. It does not entitle you to train other service professionals.

Master Instructors

All Rock & Water Master Instructors have received extensive personal training from the Founder of the Rock & Water Program Freerk Ykema. Mr Ykema is the Director of the Gadaku Institute in the Netherlands.

The Master Instructors in Australia & New Zealand are:

Freerk YkemaFreerk Ykema

Freerk Ykema is the founder of the Rock & Water Program. He worked as a Physical Education and Remedial Teacher and Counsellor at Schagen in Northern Holland, and in 1995, trialled the Rock & Water program at his school to help address boys' motivation and self-confidence.  Since then, Rock & Water has become a very well known program in the Netherlands. It is now a standard subject in the curriculum of many Dutch schools. The program won a national award in The Netherlands for targeting and supporting boys' education. Freerk is currently training teachers throughout the world, helping them to deliver the Rock & Water program within their schools.

Brian HayesBrian Hayes

Brian Hayes has over 25 years experience working in high schools and was a history teacher and deputy principal. Brian has taught the program in Australia since 2001. After extensive training with Freerk Ykema, Brian became the first Australian 3 day presenter, and has presented accreditation courses since 2007. Brian is currently Principal of the Hunter Valley Martial Arts Centre, Newcastle. It has a student body of over 550 students. He has extensive experience in developing programs to improve outcomes for boys, with a particular focus on pedagogy and strategies to enhance social and emotional development.

Carl MarshallCarl Marshall

Carl Marshall is a Physical Education Teacher at Murwillumbah High School in the far north of NSW. He has been teaching Rock & Water for 8 years. Throughout 27 years of teaching he has taught in secondary schools and colleges in various systems around Australia. He has been a successful teacher working with students in Learning Centres and Learning Enrichment Programs. As an outdoor education teacher for 12 years he has developed and delivered various programs that were particularly successful with otherwise disengaged students.

Rob SchofieldRob Schofield

Rob Schofield has been a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour since 2000. He has worked in Secondary and Intermediate schools, including co-ed and single sex. He is experienced in many aspects of special education including the Autistic Spectrum Disorders and other learning difficulties.  Robin trained in Rock & Water in 2007 and is now the Master Instructor for New Zealand. He has facilitated Rock & Water programmes in a range of formats and has helped develop school wide programmes, organising three day trainings for professionals,  mentoring and training teachers and expanding the programme in New Zealand. Robin is committed to promoting the Rock & Water programme in schools, organisations and communities.

Ray MesserRay Messer

Ray Messer is a Consultant on Adolescence and Education, and a Student Welfare Coordinator at Parade College Melbourne, which is an all boys secondary college in Melbourne (~1800 students).
Ray has been an Educator for 15 years teaching in both co-ed and single sex settings here in Australia and also the UK. He has spent time overseas investigating educational trends and issues. Ray has undertaken undergraduate studies in Melbourne and Canada and is currently completing a Master of School Leadership at the University of Melbourne.
Ray has a real passion for connecting with young people and helping them through adolescence.

Tim BrentonTim Brenton

Tim Brenton is a founding Director and Manager of Services to Young People for the South Australian based company, Connected Self.  Tim has been instrumental in developing components of Rock & Water that are strongly recognised and used in South Australian schools and youth agencies. Connected Self has transformed elements of the Rock & Water program into other forms of intervention such as mentoring and case management for young people.

Tim currently delivers the Rock & Water program to young people across Australia, but particularly in South Australia. He has delivered the Rock & Water program in private and public schools, remote aboriginal communities, boarding schools, rural communities and youth agencies (government and non-government) since 2004. Tim is a former professional basketball player, Senior Youth Worker and Special Programs Coordinator for the South Australian government.

Liz MahlerLiz Mahler

Liz Mahler is a Master Instructor of Rock & Water for Girls and Women. Liz has taught Rock and Water to boys and girls from pre school age to high school since 1999.  She is an advanced trainer of Rock and Water and has taught the One Day introductory program to hundreds of teachers and associated professionals in the Eastern States of Australia over the last 13 years.  

Liz has been a full time martial arts professional since 1987. She is a 6th dan in karate and a 2nd dan in Okinawan weaponry. She is the founder and Master Instructor of Black Belt Martial Arts which works with schools on the Central Coast of NSW, and in Sydney and The Snowy Mountains.

Liz was a multiple NSW State Karate Champion, multiple Australian Karate Champion, an Australian Karate Team member for 5 years and international medallist. She has held positions as NSW State Karate team coach and Australian Karate Team Coach. 

Liz is also a Martial Arts Business Coach, helping martial arts professionals from all codes. Liz was a registered nurse and midwife and studied philosophy, psychology and sports science at university.

Bill JohnstoneBill Johnstone

Bill Johnstone is a primary school teacher with over 30 years of experience. He has had a wide range of roles from pre- primary to deputy principal. He was a recipient of a National NEiTA Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching and an Australian Scholarship Foundation Research Grant researching issues in Boys Education. He was also awarded The Westfield Premiers Education Prize and a Rotary Civic Award for Innovations in Education.  Bill has been a presenter at numerous local, national and international workshops on topics related to Boys in Education and Community Engagement. He co-manages the Rock & Water Programme in Western Australia and conducts workshops throughout the State.

Paul SteinPaul Stein

Paul Stein has been a primary and high school teacher, school administrator, university lecturer and environmental scientist, with over 35 years' experience. Together with Bill Johnstone, he formed EduSolutions in 2007 to help positively progress emotional, social and academic outcomes for adolescents and children. He is now devotes much of his time facilitating trainings for teachers, administrators, school psychologists, chaplains and youth in Western Australia. He was nominated for the prestigious 'Premier's Teachers Award' in 2007 and was the coordinator for Follow the Dream, an innovative program for indigenous youth, in both Kalgoorlie in 2006 and at Mt Lawley Senior High in 2011. Paul still teaches part time.

The Rock & Water program I found to be extremely motivating and educational on a personal and professional level. I am inspired to make my teaching more fun, practical and engaging for boys and girls. My tolerance of boys I feel will be much greater due to a better understanding of why they behave like they do. The reflection personally on my attitudes towards others and ideas has been challenged and it is great to realise you are much stronger than you thought. Sometimes in life you lose yourself and forget the importance of self-respect and self-belief

- Teacher, May 2012

This is the best professional development I have ever done, I can't wait to implement the program at my school.

- Steven Teacher, May 2012

The 3 day workshop was amazing, the ability to use combat and movement to actually find out what boys are actually feeling and thinking. I can see a lot of value in this program with a number of students who may not be aware of boundaries. I can also see how to adapt this program in daily class routine and classroom management. The 3 day workshop has helped me personally to become aware of the vital role I play as a teacher, father and male role model. Well done and thank you.

- Teacher, May 2012

Rock and Water 3 day training manual

Rock & Water 3 Day Training Manual – NEW EDITION

A comprehensive Rock & Water course Manual for teaching physical-social skills. Includes17 detailed lessons, and comprehensive information on the principles of the Rock & Water Program

Price: $55.00

Download the Order Form

Bringing it together

Bringing It Together

Edited by: Freerk Ykema, Deborah Hartman and Wes Imms

Bringing It Together: 22 case studies of Rock & Water in practice

Includes 22 case studies describing how the Rock & Water program is implemented in diverse settings such as school and correctional institutions.

Price: $49.50

Download the Order Form

Poster Pack

Rock & Water Poster Packs

Designed by: Freerk Ykema & EduSolutions, WA

The posters add a visual dimension to the positive values, attitudes and feelings that the R&W program embraces. Each set consists of 7 laminated A2 posters with accompanying cover guide. The graphics are colourful & contemporary and the text powerfully complements the lessons from the Rock and Water program.

Price: $79.00 per pack or $149.00 for both packs

Download the Order Form

Rock and Water DVDs

Rock and Water DVDs

Author: Freerk Ykema

Basic Exercise DVD: This DVD contains the most important and challenging physical exercises from the Rock & Water program.

Action and Reaction DVD: This DVD contains five scenes about different forms of violence to be avoided. Suitable for high school-aged children only.

Subtitled in English.

Price: $60.00 each

Download the Order Form

Certificate Packs

Rock and Water Certificate Packs

Designed by: Freerk Ykema & EduSolutions, WA

Provides a powerful way of honouring students and reinforcing positive behaviours. These A4 certificates come in 4 different designs, plastic wrapped in packs of 40.

Price: $39.00

Download the Order Form

Strike Shields

Rock and Water Strike Shields

Strike shields can be purchased from any martial arts supplier. If you wish to purchase shields with the Gadaku logo the Family Action Centre recommends Hunter Valley Martial Arts Centre.

Purchase online