As COVID-19 continues to impact many dojos across the country, USA Karate continues to share how virtual learning and ingenuity have helped our clubs find new ways to be successful. This week, Barbara Maile Chinen shares how Kachi Karate Hawaii was able to adapt to new norms and stay connected during a time where connection doesn’t come easy.
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Describe the impact that virtual learning has had on your dojo. How and when did you implement it?
In these times of pandemic, we have all learned to adjust and adapt to many 'new norms.' When we were first impacted, we tried to keep some type of normalcy for the students and families and kept our class schedules the same. In all my years of being in karate, I have never thought that I would be teaching virtually on a daily basis, but here we are. We have been teaching on Zoom since mid-March and am grateful to still be doing what I love. It definitely makes you think outside of the box and to be more creative in keeping your students engaged (especially the beginner and younger students) but I am enjoying every bit of it. For the time being, we are continuing to teach classes on Zoom for the safety of our students, Senseis, Senpais and families and continue to monitor the situation. Once we re-open our dojo, we will offer a hybrid class (online and in the dojo) for those who are eager to come back and for those who are still wanting to continue the online training.
How else has your dojo been successful while in-person classes are unavailable? Have you been using social media?
While we are unable to all be together on the tatami, logging into Zoom has kept the 'dojo mates' accountable for their trainings and their daily lives. We have used social media, emails, and video tutorials to assist our students with their training. Through online classes and through social media, we have introduced many different exercises, drills and games that can benefit students and are enjoyable at the same time! Our Senseis and Senpais continue to encourage our students to stay in routine, spend quality time with family, learn something new that they've always wanted to try/do and to stay active, safe and happy. We've recently completed our first ever virtual testing for our beginner and novice students, and have offered free online semi-private lessons and step-by-step tutorials to help them prepare for testing. We are proud to say that they all did an amazing job!
In our virtual dojo, all our Senpais have stepped up to the plate in leading different drills and exercises with our munchkins. Zoom's ability to have 'breakout rooms have allowed me to breakdown our open class (that includes different ages and ranks) and use many of the Senpais to lead smaller more distinct groups within the class. The Senpais have helped them in their katas, kumite drills and physical fitness.
Our competition team checks in with each other often by sharing different recipes, showing off what they've cooked or baked, and anything new and exciting! They all have been holding each other accountable and we Senseis can't wait for our next dojo potluck and all their delicious cooking and baking.
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Thank you to Kachi Karate Hawaii and Maile Chinen for sharing! Learn More about Kachi Karate Hawaii: http://www.kachikarate.com