Over the past few months, our dojos doors have been closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this ongoing health crisis, there has been many challenges we’ve had to face, including how to supplement our athletes’ training experience at home. We reached out to our member clubs to see how they’ve been successful over the past few months, and want to take the time to highlight some of those clubs by sharing their story with you.
One of our member clubs that has stepped up to the challenge is Champion Karate Academy (CKA). CKA was started in 2005 in Irving, Texas by Senthil Thiyagarajan and Ponmalar Senthil. Champion Karate Academy has recently celebrated their 15th Anniversary with 300+ students, two locations, and four full time and two part-time instructors. The academy has received the “Best Karate School” award from Irving Awards multiple years in a row, and the City of Irving has also proclaimed the month of June 2016 as Champion Karate Academy Month.
We reached out to the club with a series of questions aiming to gain insight on how the they’ve been successful in teaching their students and what’s been happening behind the scenes. Here’s what we learned:
Describe the impact that virtual learning has had on your dojo. How and when did you implement it? To what extent do you utilize it? What are your plans for virtual learning in the future?
We started incorporating virtual training on March 16, 2020 using Zoom virtual video call. Teaching virtual classes has proved to be much more challenging than the in-dojo classes due to the lack of physical and personal inte
raction. In order to better teach and motivate our students, however, we accepted the challenge and were greatly successful in implementing the virtual classes to our everyday curriculum.
We have used a variety of Zoom’s features, such as break out rooms, to better divide students based on belt level and experience. We’ve also used this feature to give personal one-on-one instruction to further our students’ training and mirror our normal everyday classes. We have also successfully conducted our online kyu belt grading 3 times so far. There has been very positive feedback from most of our parents, and are planning to open up the virtual classes to out of city/state/country students as well.
How else has your dojo been successful while in-person classes are unavailable?
We’ve used this time to launch our eSyllabus with videos of our academy’s syllabus and curriculum (basics, advanced techniques, kumite combinations and forms). The videos are published on YouTube and made available only to our academy students. Our instructors came up with lot of new ideas, games and drills to keep our students motivated. We sometimes involve the parents or siblings for partner game, drill, or exercise to keep the student active and build a theme of consistent daily physical activity for the entire family.
We also use Facebook to post our virtual class updates and reminders for any upcoming events. We posted a social media campaign with video of our competition team athletes doing some variety of drills, exercise, etc. at home to motivate our non-competition team students to keep training at home and to stay fit and safe.
While in quarantine and under stay at home orders, it has prompted athletes to come up with creative ways to contribute to online learning within their dojos. While many athletes have stepped up to the challenge, here are five athletes from Champion Karate Academy who have truly gone above and beyond and you should watch out for within the karate community.
Jared is a tireless worker whose high energy always lifts the spirits of everyone anytime he teaches. He is always there to help teach kids every day and gives his best during any training and inspires and pushes others to do the same.
Sai works with both the competition team and regular students, and balances both in a perfect blend of difficulty, exercise, and most importantly fun. Any class with Sai will put a smile on your face.
Vikram comes up with a variety of ingenious drills and hilarious jokes to keep the classes from becoming stale. They keep the class on their toes with a variety of drills and exercises to encourage the physical fitness of the students.
Anshul is a student of great determination and persistence with flawless technique. Many times, we will highlight his video for the rest of the class to see that anything is possible with a little hard work. He also has great insight when assisting in teaching a class.
Malhar is one of our younger competition athletes, at the age of 6, but has the mindset and maturity of an adult. Executes drills with complete focus and limitless energy, and is a perfect example and model for all of our younger students to show that age is irrelevant when dedication is involved.
A huge thank you to Champion Karate Academy for sharing their success with everyone! We want to remind all of our members, athletes, coaches, officials, and clubs that we are in this together and support everyone every step of the way.
Learn more about Champion Karate Academy: http://www.championkarateacademy.com