Nearly two months ago on March 12th, we had our normal Thursday evening classes, with no idea that it would be our last time training in person for two months and counting. We have not stepped foot in the Recreation Center since then, and we do not yet know when we will be able to return.
All our routines have been disrupted. The ways we used to do things are no longer available. But rather than just stay at home and do nothing, we have found new paths to follow. We have all been forced to get creative.
At Redwood Dojo, we practice martial arts, something that happens in person, with a community coming together in the dojo to learn by working both individually and with others. And now suddenly, we can’t come together. But rather than just shutting down, we are now teaching classes online with Zoom – something that it seems everyone is trying out now! And while it is certainly not the same, we have found some advantages in this new medium. Rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole – and being frustrated that it doesn’t fit – we can notice and appreciate the new shape of things. For teaching martial arts, now instructors can really show details up close to all students at once (just move closer to the camera), we can split big classes up into small groups (we are not limited by the Recreation Center’s available hours), and the commute has never been better!
Dealing with the unexpected is part of being a martial artist and we can continue training despite the challenges. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t have, we look at what we can do. Furniture can become training tools, not just objects in the way. Family members can see and sometimes participate in our practice. We can workout on our own, on a schedule that fits our needs. Katas can be modified or new ones created to fit our new training environment (in fact, this was a category in Rohai Dojo’s recent online Kata Tournament – with some great and very creative results!). While Redwood Dojo continues to offer a full schedule of (virtual) classes, we know that not everyone is able to attend these. We also have a webpage dedicated to additional resources and ideas for training at home, including videos and printable activities for children and adults. All the teen and adult students were also mailed a packet of training material to continue home training.
We will get through this challenge. We will do what we can now, and be ready to continue adapting as we ease back into life outside the home. It will be some time before life fully returns to normal, but in the meantime, we will keep training.