• Jackie Bradbury

Training in the Time of COVID-19

Wow, has the world changed a lot in the past few weeks, or what?


So like most of you, this COVID-19 (aka "coronavirus" aka "the reason why every store is out of toilet paper for some inexplicable reason") thing has started to affect my personal daily life and is no longer an abstract thing that doesn't seem real.


The newest addition to your gear bag.

In my day job, I'm working at home for at least the next three weeks for sure. On the plus side, I'm going to enjoy the commute. On the negative side, I'm actually an outgoing person who likes working in an office with other people, so I'm not thrilled about the idea of working from my kitchen-table desk solo for weeks on end.


I'm not going to complain too loudly, though. Lots of y'all have it way rougher than I do.


And hey, my dog is thrilled.

And he's scheduled a meeting at 10:00 for "throw the ball!"

So that leaves my martial arts life.


As things get more serious, we've gone from the advice of "just do extra cleaning and keep on as normal" to "suspend classes". The "suspend classes" advice is getting louder and more common, especially over the last few days, and it's coming from people whose opinions I respect.


So as a person who teaches two Presas Arnis classes here in KC, I had some decisions to make.


I teach Presas Arnis on Monday nights at Elite Dragon Martial Arts, and we're working now on delivering class material via Facebook live video in a student group for the duration.


Yep, I'm putting aside my... distaste... for video learning for the time being. It's necessary, and it's an opportunity to see how this can be done. There might be an opportunity to expand our student base using this method, so we'll see how it works out.


I still feel... dirty.

We'd already decided our very small Meetup is going to continue meeting, with a focus on material that keeps us at a distance and doesn't require personal contact. That means some solo drills we can teach, some double-stick sinawali, and depending on how long things go on, we might teach the forms (anyos).


BUT... things are getting scarier, and that decision could change. I might go to video for THAT one too (and yep, if I do, I'll let y'all know - that would be open to the public and you can see what I'm up to on Sunday mornings).


It's a brave new world.


I really don't want this to be the new normal, but I suspect things will change in our world in the aftermath of this virus and some sort of virtual/distance learning component might become a more common thing. Speaking as someone whose teacher is bit over 500 miles away by car... that's not 100% a terrible thing.


Actually, I've experimented with live training nationally before (I belong to a group of FMA players who tried it), and even though it has its downsides, it's getting better as a complementary training tool to real-life training.


I don't think I'll ever change my mind about in-person training being very much preferred over virtual training, though.


Speaking of which, I'm still planning to attend a camp in Texas at the beginning of April, as long as things like domestic flights are still a thing by the time we get to the time for me to go (and the organizer doesn't cancel it). It's not a big camp, and I desperately want (and need) the training, but like I'm sure most of you are doing now, I'll be playing it by ear as I get closer to the day to go.


I sure hope I can go, but I'm being realistic in thinking I might not be able to.


In any case, I'd love to know how YOU'RE handling training in the time of COVID-19. What are you doing differently? What hasn't changed? I bet you pro-kata people are like, "SEE?!?!?!"

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