Photos by Shifu/Sensei Koré Grate
Teaching martial arts in the new normal still leaves much to be desired. However, it can be done well. I was able to get some advice from Renshi Lori O'Connell and Shifu/Sensei Koré Grate.
If you want to try teaching online, see if you can attend or watch someone else’s online class so you can get an idea of how to start, then do a practice class with a few trusted students to get used to the flow and get feedback. Most importantly, be patient with yourself. It’s completely different from teaching in person and it will take practice to get the hang of it. It’s okay to make mistakes. Your students will understand and appreciate efforts to keep them training.
Keeping our school going since mid-March has been a creative learning experience. As Martial Artists, we understand that challenges are what helps us become stronger, smarter and more adept in our lives—and this year has been a “Doozie”.
At FEMA-Five Element Martial Arts in Minneapolis, MN, we have adjusted by having classes via ZOOM every Monday & Tuesday (for Internal and Iaido), and then shortened, safe, masked, etc. one hour classes at our Dojo/School on Tuesdays (Iaido) & Wednesdays (Open for up to 9 students-socially distanced). Minnesota has a required MASKS to be worn in ALL indoor spaces, and a specially limited amount of people gathering depending upon the size of the space, so we learn to breathe with a barrier over our nose and mouth. To keep the air moving we purchased two Filtrete 7000 air purifiers, we open our windows, and turn on all the fans. We do NO TOUCH practice which requires a lot of “energy work” and imagination. I have been able to “help” students adjust their posture, etc. using a staff with a foam unicorn head attached-that I sanitize after each “touch”. I continually mention that the six feet of distance is exactly what we teach in our Self Defense program—TWO LARGE STEPS away from someone who feels threatening. Good practice for COVID too.
Students really enjoy and need to see each other-and keep practicing their Martial Arts.
Last week my teacher, and the Head of our Style-Dr. Alex Feng, taught Immune and Lung Qigong via ZOOM. Being able to see him, and have him teach was such a gift. I praise ZOOM for this new way to reach across the miles and be together, learning and sharing.
We keep practicing, and keep finding ways to work with each other-that is DEEP Training!
I send everyone light and love, and hope for these times of change and revolution.