STRABANE Shotokan Karate Club has moved its training sessions online in order to help members retain some structure to their lives during this difficult period.
Sensei Simon O’Dowd takes the Monday and Wednesday classes at their normal times, except he’s now taking them in an empty Dojo in front of his phone for his students to follow on Facebook Live.
Initially, Zoom looked like being the preferred platform for the sessions, but Simon soon found issues with that particular technology and has decided to stick with the Social Media provider instead.
“Zoom allows you to see everyone and I decided against using that because the coach in you comes out and you start correcting. It‘s not about that,” he explained.
“This way I know they are there, I do it and they join in with whatever they can for that 40 minutes. Also, it‘s good for some people, who can do it in the privacy of their own home and don‘t have the pressure of performing in front of others.”
Initially, Simon felt the online sessions would be a good way for members to stay in touch with each other, but he’s found them to be much more beneficial than he initially thought during what has been a particularly difficult time for his family,
“This is new to you, it’s new to me, it’s new to everyone. I got the news two weeks ago that my mother had Covid – she’s out now thankfully – so this is keeping me sane,” he added.
“It’s a good distraction and I felt it was important as a club that we show what we‘re about, that we make a good representation to the community. For most people it’s a hobby, it’s something that you do, but for some, they don’t miss a class and I know it helps their heads.
“Also, I’m nearly 50, I’m not Bruce Lee but they know me and it’s not about having a very spectacular guy in front of you, it’s about that connection with the familiar – it’s not about having Joe Wicks in your living room, it’s about having that grumpy guy from the Derry Road because it’s me that they know and it’s going well but we’d like to be
back doing what we normally do.
“We’re lucky we can do it and we do it at the regular class times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when everyone came to the classes so we’re trying to keep a little bit of structure in an otherwise unstructured time.”
• The online sessions aren’t just for members of Strabane Shotokan Karate Club, anyone can access them by visiting their Facebook page.