Well last weekend was a pretty crazy one with my Empower Martial Arts Academy Lincoln team! A 24 Hour Live Virtual Class – all for charity.
Like many other instructors around the country, and indeed the world, the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard! I was forced to close my academy down in a matter of days and move it online. My system is a kind of mixed martial art style with a lot of close quarter training from my previous experience – something that is hard to do online and shadowing for any prolonged period of time!
I, along with the vast majority of martial arts instructors, had to adapt. We moved all our Empower Martial Arts academy classes online with a full timetable to keep people healthy and active, both physically and mentally! Zoom workouts 3 times a week, kids zoom classes twice a week and adult classes twice a week. As well as pre-recorded classes, family classes and a weekly stretching class by my super talented girlfriend all the way from India who saved my butt by mixing it up a little!
I, and my Empower Martial Arts Academy Lincoln team were in constant communication with all our members who have been amazing supporting us during this difficult time. We found that challenges were a great way to build the community even more, and also keep people motivated in a time where motivation was at an all time low!
We started with a 5000 rep challenge. 10 exercises. 50 reps each, every day for 10 days equaling 5000 reps! After this, we upped it even more to 10,000 reps so doubled the reps each day. We all smashed it and it was time for the next challenge.
This one, we felt, would be nice to do for charity and so I came up with the idea of a 24 hour live martial arts class via Zoom. 24 classes, 24 hours starting at 10am Saturday 18th and finishing Sunday 19th July at 10am. All for the PAPYRUS Charity which supports young people struggling with thoughts of suicide – a cause I know means a lot to quite a few of my members.
Originally, we were going to cycle the lessons between myself and my team, but then the idea hit to include other instructors from around the country. All instructors have had to move their classes online, so why not involve different styles too to keep it fresh?
So I reached out on social media groups asking for anyone that would be willing to give up an hour of their time, and I was overwhelmed with responses. So much so that we had filled all the sociable hour slots in one day. Everything from MMA sessions, to Tai Chi, Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Filipino arts.
I was, and am, still so overwhelmed with the level of response and how many people were willing to get on board. The martial arts industry can often be pretty insular, with people thinking the style they practice is the be all and end all. However, a host of amazing instructors came on board more than willing to take part.
What impressed me the most was that a number of instructors actually stayed on to learn other styles, watching, listening and taking part after or before their time slot. An amazing act of humility and something I always stress with my academy – never stop learning and never stop improving.
8 of my students from Empower Martial Arts Academy Lincoln completed the whole 24 hours with high intensity workouts at 2am, knife drills at 5am and all sorts of craziness. Over 30 other students from my school and other schools hopped in and out for varying hours throughout and I am pleased to say that as of 23rd July 2020, we have now raised £2000 for the PAPYRUS Charity.
I want to extend a huge thank you to the instructors and students who took part, as well as everyone that donated for such a worthy cause. I haven’t ached as much as I did on Monday morning for years, but seeing the amount we raised, and getting to experience so many different coaches and styles was more than worth it.
Our Just Giving page is still open until Sunday 26th July if you are able to donate with the link here.