I am certain that none of us will forget the days and weeks that our email inboxes were flooded with messages from local businesses and organizations letting us know that they would be closing their doors and/or postponing activities for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus pandemic. My oldest son, who had just landed a spot on a local baseball team the weekend before, learned that he would likely not be able to play this season. We received a message from my youngest son’s soccer league - also cancelled. Our schedules were completely disrupted and our boys were greatly disappointed.
However, there was one exception. My middle son, Charlie, trains in martial arts at TriStar Martial Arts in Westminster, MD. When it seemed like the rest of the world was canceled, TriStar swiftly adapted and changed course. Their first mode of action was to ensure that students would still be able to train. To do so, they began posting pre-recorded videos for each class/belt level on a weekly basis. Charlie is able to watch these videos remotely on his own time and continue learning the skills he needs to advance to the next level.
TriStar also began offering live Zoom classes for all students. They are all encouraged to don their uniforms and belt for these lessons and to follow along with the instructors as they teach full length classes. At various points during a recent class, Shidoshi Birger from TriStar Westminster MD, perched close to the computer, supervising as the students practiced their blocks and strikes from the comfort and safety of their own homes. He was able to correct form and provide encouragement and personalized instruction. The students are unable to train in the dojo right now, but TriStar brings the dojo to them.
In addition to the seamless continuation of training and classes, TriStar also began offering a Facebook accountability group with fun and motivational daily challenges. Every day, a new post is made with a list of exercises for the participants to complete and a skill to practice for that day. Charlie is beginning to perfect burpees, squats, and push-ups through these challenges! The challenges also include ideas for important conversations, such as discussing fire safety plans with the family. Recorded videos from various instructors teaching new self defense techniques can also be found on this page. Every day that the challenge set is completed, we check off a box and will bring the completed forms to TriStar when they reopen to be included in a drawing for a prize. This little bit of extra motivation and fun keeps the community connected and has boosted spirits during this time of upheaval - which is sorely needed.
This period of time has been difficult for so many people and businesses. No one knows when we will be able to fully return to our lives and activities as they were before. But, we do know that we are so thankful to be a part of the TriStar Martial Arts community. Their ability to face this crisis with flexibility, determination, and the will to provide for their students brings hope and encouragement in an otherwise dark time.
*My son has received free classes in exchange for prior reviews. As always, opinions are 100% my own.