A Year Stronger, Part 1
Updated: Apr 18
The decision to cancel classes at The Dojo on March 14, 2020 was about as last-minute as you can get. Tashi Caroline and I woke up before dawn that Saturday morning, after sleeping on the latest information on the Novel Coronavirus, and turned to each other, both knowing what needed to be done. And so began a year (and counting) of challenge, innovation, and change so profound that our very way of teaching has been changed going forward.
An account of how that unfolded, the lessons learned and the principals applied:
PART ONE: WISHING IS NOT A STRATEGY
I was not angry, and scared.
I always hated it when a storm or other event out of our control forced us to cancel classes (as understanding as everyone always is, I still can't help as feel like it's a failure to deliver on services promised). But this bothered me much more. It was admitting that this new bug was indeed something out of our control, and that responding to it was going to take a whole lot more than just increased diligence in our Dojo cleaning and extra cases of hand sanitizer.
Just three days before, I had sent out an e-m
ail to our community detailing the extra steps we were taking to make our Dojo a Covid-free zone. I also urged our community members, some of whom were getting increasingly anxious about this new virus, that stress is also a threat to our health and well-being and that we should all keep our cool while we saw which way this thing was going.
Reading that e-mail now, I can clearly see just how bad I wanted to believe that anxiety was the real danger. I didn't want to contemplate a threat to the lives of our Dojo family, particularly to the senior members always coming to watch their grandkids. And, of course, I was scared of the existential threat to the school itself, should we be forced to shut down our doors for an undetermined amount of time.
Fortunately, though, preparing for the unthinkable is in the DNA of a martial artist. I feel really good about the odds that I will never have anyone try to cave my gourd in with a crowbar or other blunt object. Yet I have practice
d my defense against that kind of attack that I am actually even more confident in my ability to handle that situation if it actually does arise.
And so, even as I was hoping with every ounce of my being that the Novel Coronavirus was going to quickly go the way of SARS or H1N1, a team was being assembled and a plan was underway.
in Part Two: Darwin's Number One Rule of Survival