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  • Writer's pictureShihan Kendall

A Year Stronger, Part 2

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

A year after the Pandemic began, we're looking back at the battle we waged to keep our Dojo alive and healthy in every sense, the principles employed and the lessons learned.

LESSON 2: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING NIMBLE "A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it." ~Chinese Proverb

On Thursday, March 12, a group of instructors, our new office manager Annie Francis and our super student/resident technical genius Leanne Heller, gather

ed for margaritas and burritos at Metzy's. It was two days before we would shut our Dojo down to in-person classes for almost half a year, although we didn't know it at the time. The sheer tonnage of what we didn't know at that time is, looking back, staggering. But we were aware that changes were afoot and we didn't want to be caught off guard.

What came out of that meeting was what we now refer to as "The Remote Dojo 1.0." It was a system wherein we would make instructional videos covering all of our curriculum, in the event that we had to close the Dojo down for a bit. Just having students watch videos, however, was not an acceptable method of instruction--there had to be teacher-student interaction. So we figured out a system wherein students would send us videos of them practicing their skills, techniques and forms, and we would respond with personalized feedback. It was daunting, to say the least. But none of us were well-versed in Zoom at the time, and this anyway seemed the best way to maintain our relationships with each and every one of our students. A fairly sleepless weekend later, and the first iteration of The Remote Dojo was unveiled.

Something else very important came out of that night, something that would navigate us through the rocky year ahead and out the other side. At one point during our discussion, the word "nimble" was used. We all latched onto that, and "nimble" became the Word, our guiding principle.

"Nimble" can mean "quick to comprehend", or "quick on one's feet". Both qualities are essential to the art of self defense. The warrior needs to be able to detect a threat and prepare a response--even if the exact nature of that threat isn't immediately clear. Then, in action, a fighter has to be able to switch up their stance, position and method of attack in response to what their opponent throws at them. And what works one moment might not be the best course of action the next. That would be the case a number of times over the next 12 months (and counting)...

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