Predicting martial arts changes following the Corona crisis


April 4, 2020
Yossi Sheriff

Yossi Sheriff, April 3 2020

Following the social phenomenon that occurs because of the Covid-19 virus I briefly outline a few trends that I expect to occur:

The amateurs return, for better or worse

Inside a personal room and the internet it’s easy to create an imaginary world that has never been tested against both colleagues and opponents. But, what determines the next era is the ability to communicate online. This is not ideal, this is already the case and it will only get worse.

The Takeaway: Do learn to communicate online but do not be a amateur.



Some martial arts will lose students

Martial arts that emphasis close body contact will lose students. In the post-Corona world, despite the desire for human touch and physical embrace, the risk of close breathing and bodily fluids will be reserved for those who ignore risks.

The Takeaway: If you are centred in a Grappling, diversify.



Other martial arts will gain students

Martial arts that can build or have a syllabus of contactless training will be more popular – see section 2. In times of uncertainty many want and need to learn martial arts, the question is which ones. Defensive abilities give us a better quality of life because the fear of the other becomes an emotion in control. I expect a rise in historical weapons, karate, kung fu, and some forms of ninjutsu.

The Takeaway: Change syllabus to adapt to post pandemic world. Use the Methodical Pyramid.



The intimate session is back

AKBAN’s teachers, and myself, usually teach a few dozen students. It’s intimate and allows a reasonable number of students to Zoom learn. Seminars abroad with the physical presence of tens and hundreds of attendees will have to wait a long time to resume.

The Takeaway: Intimacy and closeness can be discovered in a large group and an online class. It takes sensitivity and work.



Streaming is not just for the experts

Any teacher who wants to teach now must learn how to overcome the technological hurdles and learn well how to stream. This is the situation.

The Takeaway: Control the technology or be its pawn.



Streaming will build a deep student audience

The human ability to communicate will bypass the limit of presence in the same room. Students who study in streaming can go deeper in some places than students who attend.

The Takeaway: The urban, easy access dojo is relatively new, many more models of learning used to exist. Embrace change with an easy heart, this is a challenge.



Streaming needs to evolve

Streaming needs to go beyond the basic video – we’ll find ways to teach better with streaming, methods we don’t know at the moment, from cellular reminders to specific merchandise for training – I’m waiting for our human creativity here.

The Takeaway: Do not wait on the sidelines for the technology to evolve. Play with it, learn and maybe, contribute.



Not everyone will survive professionally

Not all teachers, not all organizations will survive the crisis – a strong community is just as important as a fighting spirit. There will still be times when one of us will feel down. A strong and close community is key. A spiritually and physically strong community is the most important help now. Writing this Again: Community (Friendship, Humanity, Participation, Patience, Tolerance, Openness). 

The Takeaway: Give more than you receive.



Those who survive the crisis will flourish

Martial arts, no matter which ones, show ability. Those who will show ability in crisis (clarity, speed, generosity, fighting spirit, emotional balance) will reap the reward afterwards.

The Takeaway: Frown strong. Breath deep.



New priorities

More students, more things, more money – that belongs to previous era. This is changing to better students and less things (but good and useful).

The Takeaway: An axe never runs out of batteries. Five good students are better than fifty mediocre  ones.



Modifications

The local will replace the international. Online will replace the physical. Good or not good, it’s no longer to us to decide. It is what it is.

Some will naturally freeze and hesitate, others will deny and go to escapism and nostalgia.That is not the best reaction. We need to put our natural emotions in check.

The Takeaway: Stop, asses the situation and then start doing.



The Individual and telling a story

An academy, like AKBAN, is more than the sum of its parts, it exists in each individual. Each of the teachers and practitioners should be strong to hold both the practice and the knowledge. In this multiple task scenario on multiple platforms it is easy to loose yourself.

The Takeaway: Learn how not to dilute the personal story when telling it to others.