I hate social distancing. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to hug my students. I want to correct stances by nudging the back of the knee. I want to correct punches by moving arms, make sure hands are aligned with wrists, positioning students so they look like a “karate movie.”
I want the kids to put on gear and put their karate to the test sparring with classmates. And OMG, I really, really want to go to a tournament, and of course, hold another Overmountain Open.
But that’s not reality. Given that the August Greene County Fair has already been cancelled, and a vaccine before the end of the year possible but unlikely, social distancing is likely here for the rest of the year, at least.
So, I can’t do any of those things. We are changing the entire studio to comply with recommendations because it’s important to keep our students safe. So, we make the best of it and do what we can. We just hope it is enough.
I am having to devise new ways to teach. “Which hand is out? Shake it. The hand that’s shaking moves to the opposite shoulder. Keep shaking it. It’s the same hand that will do your low block after the turn-around turn.” It works. Slower, but eventually we get to the right place.
Classes are smaller which isn’t as much fun but once again, it works. There are no more big games. No more 20 kids out there aiming origami throwing stars at each other, or whacking each other with noodles for our game Three Lives.
But there are still many things we can do. Games like Black Belt Says, Karate Statues, and even the obstacle course may be possible, just not with as many kids.
We are still running Zoom during our classes for those who are not quite ready to return yet. Doing live and Zoom at the same time is a whole different ball game and we are still working out the kinks. I am so grateful to our students and their families for helping to keep us alive as we learn how to run in our modified state. They are helpful, hopeful and still learning. Without them we would not exist, and they are working their hardest. I hope we can provide a worthwhile program as we move forward toward 2021.