Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from a number of our dojos about how they’ve approached a “new normal” when it comes to facilitating classes during a pandemic. Many clubs have turned to Zoom virtual learning classes to stay connected with their students and find ways to maintain normalcy when it coming to training. This week, USA Karate is excited to share how Okinawa Dojo by Karatebros have not only used Zoom to facilitate classes, but have used it to allow their students participate in a virtual Kata tournament to compete while social distancing.
Okinawa Dojo by KarateBros is located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies in Denver. The dojo was founded 10 years ago by Vitaly and Alex Padalka, karate brothers who are originally from Russia. They had childhood dream of building a dojo that became a reality.
Okinawa dojo is a result-oriented Shotokan style karate school with the perfect balance of a traditional and a sport approach to karate. Karate brothers Alex and Vitaly are USA NKF certified coaches and judges. At the dojo, they are proud to say that they are one big karate family #DreamTeamOkinawa.
How has your dojo been successful over the past few months?
"During these challenging times of the pandemic, we support each other as much as we can. Once the restrictions on training in-person were placed, we started recording educational video lessons for our students. Shortly after, we added live classes via the Zoom platform. The online learning experience is very different, but we had to adjust to the current conditions. We encourage our students to always find something good and positive in any situation, take advantage of it, and come out on the other side as champions.
We follow our state and city guidelines by practicing social distancing, training outdoors, and limiting physical contact between students. We teach karate classes at a nearby park in combination with LIVE classes via the Zoom platform.
During this pandemic, new opportunities opened up to us such as online seminars and workshops with the best coaches and top world athletes.
After being out of competition for over 5 months, we were excited to compete at a virtual kata tournament this past weekend - all athletes were fired up and had a lot of fun competing. Senseis constantly motivate and encourage their students to continue learning the art of karate, they come up with various fun challenges, games, drills, and exercises."
"We are proud to say that we have a fantastic team of yudansha and junior leaders that we would like to highlight. Thanks to these young individuals' support senseis Vitaly and Alex have been able to successfully lead the dojo through the pandemic times."
Henry Badra - 2nd dan (Shito Ryu)
Sempai Henry moved to Denver and joined our dojo a couple of years ago, and we are happy to have Henry on board. He always demonstrates the exemplary budo spirit of a true warrior, is always humble and hardworking, and enjoys teaching kids and adult classes.
Laura Hansen - 2nd dan (Shotokan)
Sempai Laura moved to Colorado from the state of Massachusetts over a year ago. Laura is amazing with little kids and they adore her. She structures classes in her own way and keeps students engaged, focused, and happy.
Eduard Sagilyan - 1st dan (Shotokan)
Eddie is the Okinawa Dojo Team Captain - he follows his dream and shares his fire and passion for karate with everyone on the team. Eddie is a USA Jr. Team Member. Watch out for this kid - one day the world will know his name.
Maria Gladkih - 1st dan (Shotokan)
Maria is our youngest Black Belt at the Dojo, a USA Jr Team member and our pride as she is our first Jr Pan-American bronze medalist. Maria has a dream to win an Olympic Gold in Karate for the USA. She also helps us teach the Little Warriors class.
Martin Gissa - 1st dan (Shotokan)
Martin is a USA Jr Team member. Martin was our very first student at Okinawa Dojo and one of our first students to receive a black belt.