PURPLE Dragon is not letting the coronavirus pandemic stop its members from continuing their programme, as children from as young as four and a half years old have the option of joining Zoom sessions in the comfort of their own home.
The virus has forced sporting clubs, fitness enthusiasts and people just looking for a fun outdoor activity to change their routines. Over 20 of the Purple Dragon dojos throughout TT have been using the Zoom app to participate in a number of martial arts and fitness disciplines including jiu jitsu, aikido, self-defence, kardiokickboxing and karobics.
Shihan Anthony Thompson, speaking with Newsday about the new initiative, said, “It is important to keep (the children active). The kids are at home, you don’t want them forgetting all the things that they know because all now would have been training time. We were getting ready for grading, that is when you get promoted to higher ranks. Imagine you had them there, almost (ready) to peak to do grading and then it get put off.”
Black belt grading was supposed to be held last weekend, but it could not take place. Also, Thompson said national grading was scheduled to start on Monday where all the branches in TT are graded.
Thompson, who is in charge of the Arima dojo, is also instructing members of the Bon Air/Maloney, Belmont and the Diego Martin dojos with the Zoom sessions. The training sessions are for all Purple Dragon members who range from four and a half years old to those in their sixties.
Thompson encourages other martial arts groups, sports teams and school teachers to use the app. “We at Purple Dragon, we were given the directive by our grand master professor (Don) Jacob to go ahead and do it. I know a lot of the schools are doing it because the kids doing their work from home. Some of the teachers are on Zoom giving the work to the kids which is very good, so I would indeed advise anybody and everybody (to do it).”
The Government guidelines must be followed said Thompson. “We have to obey the laws of the land and right now we can’t come together and train or do anything like that in groups. People have to stay at home and this is perfect, this is ideal for everybody to maintain their social distancing and still keep fit or still get their education.”
Speaking about the response of the members to the sessions, Thompson said, “The response has been really good. A lot of people are not tech savy, but you find that Zoom is easy like one, two, three. You have us as the hosts to lead them through (the process). Once a person downloads the app, we just send them the link and they go on. If they are having any problems they let us know.”
It has also allowed families to bond at home and exercise together. “With the fitness class, you see the parents coming in and doing the exercise along with the kids, so that is very good. It is a little bonding for the family.”