It's 2022. Gas prices are sky-high, food is getting more expensive, and covid in everywhere.
All the more reason to stay home from karate. But I've noticed this: as more people come in to the dojo, just as many are returning to Zoom. Why come in when you can stay home and save gas money?
No, seriously. I mean it.
But this isn't 2016. We're in 2022 and everything has gone virtual. Even karate. At first, class from home was a marvel: some people were thrilled, others hated the idea. At the start of Covid I had no idea we could do karate from home, but not only has karate evolved, instructors have evolved to make it not only possible to do karate from home, but fun and rewarding, too.
And not just as a last resort. Not just as an "I have to". At first, many parents and students pushed back against the idea because training from home "wasn't for them". It was new, it was weird, and they thought their kids would never go for it or it just wouldn't feel "the same". But as more and more people make this their norm for a multitude of reasons, maybe think again.
But there's a catch.
There's a certain set of criteria I've noticed you must have if you want to successfully do karate from home.
Let's get into it.
You need space, but not a ton of it.
Take stock of all of the rooms in your home.
Which one has the most open space? Or, if not open space, which one has the most things easily moved? For example, my living room. It looks too small to do karate in, but once you move the hassock onto the couch and push back the coffee table, there's more than enough space, and I can easily push these things back for class. Perhaps you have a dining room with a table you can push back, or even a front hall with enough room to move around in. In the good weather, most people have a backyard or a porch they can use (I do).
"But Sensei," you say, "My house is too small."
Where there's a will there's a way. If you want this, you can manage.
2. Company (or lack thereof)
Kids: Children, all children, need an adult with them, sitting nearby, encouraging and helping. Hold pillows for them to hit, help them set up and take down, be their partner for drills. you don't
have to do physical activity, but do engage and let them know you love to be their karate partner. I have found this to be vital to all children who train from home. Kids need constant encouragement. They need to be pushed, and they need you to help them with that. To the right, find a video I filmed a while back on ways to help your child with karate at home.
Adults: I (as you probably guessed) am an adult. I prefer solitude to train. I can't focus if anyone bugs me. If you are also an adult, make sure you have the time and space to train alone without being interrupted (as much as possible). I put my phone on silent, make sure I have no appointments during class time, let everyone know it's class time and they know not to bother me. I would suggest a punching bag, though. See more on that here. And if you have a spouse/parent/child who trains and lives with you, maybe have them join you, but I like doing partner work on my own.
This one is tricky. You don't need gear to train from home, but does it ever make a difference. Some suggestions:
Hand Targets for punches and blocks (parents hold it, kids hit it)
Kick Shield (for kicks, obviously lol)
There are always more things you can buy if you want, but at the end of the day you don't need any of this stuff -- but it does make the experience more realistic.
This stuff might seem a bit weird if you're new to the adults' class and/or training, but if you're going to train from home with the adults, you need this stuff. No way around it. It's all traditional or modern training gear that the IOGKF & my dojo uses on the regular to make our bodies stronger.
A Chi-Shi (DIY, sorry, you can't buy these)
Nigiri-Game/Gripping Jars (take a peanut butter jar and fill it with sand or rocks)
Kettlebell Weights in whatever weight is good for you
Dumbbells (same as above)
You have to want this. You have to be dedicated, have a goal, and know what you want. If all you ever do is complain and find reasons not to train, you'll never get where you want to go.
Let's be honest: most people take proximity for granted. You take training experiences for granted. When I moved 2 hours away from my old dojo back in 2016, long before Zoom karate was even a thought, I missed my classes and my friends so badly. I got to see what life was like when I didn't have the option of doing class from home. Now that I do have that option, I train weekly from home. Daily, even.
At the start of Covid, I said (briefly) that teaching karate from home would be impossible. But the alternative was shutting down, and that wasn't an option for me. So thought longer and harder and I made it possible. Within 2 weeks, all of my students were online and virtual.
So think about it. And maybe, if you think long enough and you want it badly enough, it will become possible.