January 16th, 2021

Kicking it in cyberspace

By Woodard, Dale on March 24, 2020.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald


The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down gyms across Lethbridge.

So Champion Taekwon-Do is using cyberspace to bring a little fitness, workouts and fun challenges to its members.

With the COVID virus shutting Champion Taekwon-Do’s doors last week, instructors Josh Dumoulin and Nicole Stratychuk kicked it over to the internet to maintain contact with its members.

“Last week on Monday was the last time we were able to run a class based on any rules they put in place,” said Dumoulin, a 6th degree black belt.

“So (last) Monday night we ran a physical class where we put Facebook Live up. We had people who were at home hop in and watch the class that we were teaching and participate at home.”

Around noon on Tuesday Dumoulin said they got the word all gyms had to close.

“So we closed immediately and we went online and created our Facebook group that our members could join and we taught a class that night,” he said.

“We stood in front of a camera and told the students ‘We want you to do this 10 times and we want you to do these kind of kicks, do 20 sidekicks, 20 push-ups and do your pattern five times’ and then ran through some stuff. I would teach Nicole, that way they had a person they could visually see and then I would give them corrections. They were able to see what I was talking about and what it looks like when it is done wrong and this is what it looks like when it’s done right. I think the big thing about it is the community.”

With the orders to shut down, the move was also a necessity.

“This is a forced thing,” said Dumoulin.

“All the gyms had to close. So we had no choice but to shut down. So we are not the only ones in that situation. It’s not a complaint, but we’re right there with everybody else. The only thing we could do about it was try to put some classes online for our people and try to stay afloat for the next couple of months until this thing hopefully blows over.”

Champion Taekwon-Do’s live classes run Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“Then we do daily videos on top of that where I might not go on to a live video, but I’ll show how to do a sidekick,” said Dumoulin.

“The big part is I have my son (Ryder) and I’ll teach him how to do a technique. I teach them how to do a sidekick. So they’ll get pointers on how to teach it to a kid. It’s not just for the students, but it might be for the parents. So I give some of the little secrets I use. Then I will demonstrate it with my son, who is six, and then he will do the technique and I’ll give them little pointers.”

Fun daily challenges are also part of the online experience.

“We put up a challenge and it could be something like make a peanut butter sandwich blindfolded or hold a sidekick while brushing your teeth,” said Dumoulin.

“To earn points they will have to send us a picture of them brushing their teeth while holding their leg up in the air. Every day we try to put those up in the morning and if we haven’t gotten it (up) by the afternoon we’ll have people asking where the challenge is or if they missed it. They’re staying engaged.”

The online workouts allow some member contact in the face of uncertainty, but Dumoulin said the lack of one-on-one instruction is the toughest part.

“We see these kids several times a week. That’s the hardest part for us, you take out the operating the business and in the financial strain of it. It’s not being around our members that is actually the hardest part. People have been on their computers at home and participating in challenges and they send us pictures of their kids who are now out of school and not able to do anything. So being able to have that community online with everybody, at least we stay connected in someway with everyone and it gives them goals to work on while they are stuck inside and give them objectives to complete.

“I started in the early-90s and our instructors never would’ve been able to do this. The fact that we do have it, even though it’s unfortunate that we have to do this, it’s pretty amazing that we can.”

The Little Champs, consisting of members aged four to seven start at 5 p.m. Monday and Thursday.

“Then we do all belts and all ages at 6 p.m.,” said Dumoulin.

The initial online workouts will be a free trial period.

“We are offering two weeks for free to try this online,” said Dumoulin.

“Of course, we know we are not the only ones going through financial strains, so we have offered a huge discount for our members to take part in this online. If people like what they see and they want to keep their kids busy and keep doing something and have that community in their home at least they can try it out. But we’ve had quite a few people inquire about it.”

“It’s us doing the class and they follow along. They do their thing at home and hopefully get to partake in it. It’s not the best way, but given the situation we just had no choice.”

Those interested can visit Champion Taekwon-Do’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/taekwondochampions or email the club at championtkd15@gmail.com.

Information can also be found at http://www.championtaekwon-do.com.

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

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