Sub-headline: Please don’t reply with politics.
The problem: The social structure for our children is a test of dizzying inconsistency like a square-shaped carousel. Some kids go to school in person. Some are virtual. Others are 2 days a week hybrid optional opt-outs. Some kids started in person and it’s back to virtual until if or when test results are in.
The problem: Parents need jobs. Adults want a mildly dependable schedule. Moms work. Dads work. By and by, they love their children and want to spend time with them but also want to provide them with the highest quality of life possible. That could be freedom to go on nature walks, have a working toilet, or learn how to build a circuit board. Most parents can’t do it all. Let the shock of that set in. Most parents do not have the freedom flexibility knowledge self-awareness patience joy and perfect child to raise their child without the cultivating influence of community.
The problem: Children need an education. Correct me if I’m wrong but the only real solution to poverty in any way is education. Education in whatever form is the most basic building block of freedom and social justice (in the broadest sense of the term). Education is so important. To get an education, one must have some attention span, an environment open to that person’s learning, exposure to something beyond four walls of their own home and a helpful person teaching.
The problem: A small in-person business is a wildly challenging pursuit. It’s never the domain of the thin-skinned or she who has small vision. But now, you can’t just make a business plan and jump off a cliff with it. Now we have to change parachutes in mid-air. How do we schedule classes for kids who may or may not be in a physical school with who knows what schedule and parents paying for what without job security? It’s more and more expensive to run a business with more limitations. Almost every small business that wants to stay open has to either make a hard turn on a carousel like Mary Poppins or get stuck. I don’t see another option. Yes I liked being a packed in-person martial arts school but we can’t be that anymore no matter how bad I want it or was good at it.
A solution: At Action Karate, we did a survey among parents and here are some conclusions. Parents want on-demand and live virtual karate classes. We are staying on Zoom and offer new on-demand classes weely for the foreseeable future. We also have socially distanced in-person classes.
Another solution: This is BIG for us. We are offering a kids club program. We had an after school program that abruptly ended in March. This one will be different - with social distancing and parent drop-off. But we think it fills a need based on our survey: Parents need a break. They don’t all need childcare all day, but part of the day. This way, the kids are out for a few short hours, they get their fitness and homework time and extracurricular pursuit. It’s half the price of full day care, way less than private school and lots of productive time.
Another solution: We are offering a new enrollment option with private lessons. Students can get a private lesson once a week or once a month with a trained instructor.
Another solution: Weapons. Karate in 2020 is now a non-contact sport. Weapons training naturally enforces social distance and creates the impression of contact when kids hit themselves with nunchucks (they’re foam. It’s fine.) Weapons training has also been shown to improve neuropathways in the brain, coordinate right and left, improve tactical skills such as grip strength and inspire creativity. Another blog is coming on that soon.
Conclusion: Yes, this is a self-promotional essay. Underneath that, this is a desperate effort to overcome, redefine and succeed as a small business with the heart of a martial artist. A business is only worth the problem it solves. We hope that these options don’t just solve problems, but 360-rear butterfly spin 560-drop-tornado kick the problems.