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San's Martial Arts turns to online classes

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Governor Larry Hogan’s March 16 executive order to close gyms in Maryland presented a number of obvious difficulties for owners and employees of fitness centers across the state.

San’s Martial Arts, like many others gyms, has gone online to continue offering classes to its clients who are banned from most businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Sanbuichi, the owner of the studio located in Rising Sun, says the move is necessary at this time.

“I’m certainly not the only one who’s going through this. Basically, the thought process has been in this time period, this is what you have to do. I don’t really keep people in contracts,” he said. “If I don’t offer anything, at a certain point, people are going to get tired of paying for something they’re not getting. So, I’m just trying to stay connected with all of my students. It’s not the same. You can’t do self defense by yourself, but it’s a way for me to stay in contact with them while they’re all stuck at home like everybody else.”

Sanbuichi said he is using Zoom to conduct classes. The two-way video enables students and their teacher to see and hear one another, allowing him to provide demonstrations and offer critiques.

“Zoom is interactive, back-and-forth, which has its plus and minuses,” Sanbuichi said. “If I decided this is awesome and I’d like to continue this, then I’d have to have a few different tiers. I’d have to have an online components that’s interactive and we work out together, but then I’d have to make smaller videos that were structured in a way that were very specific.

“I’ve know’ve some people that have done this before – not because of coronavirus, but they teach online and that’s their thing. There has to be an accountability portion. That involves having a whole curriculum drawn up and videos made. I’m not there yet.”

Sanbuichi holds online classes at the time at the times they were always offered. Reception has been good right from the beginning of the new normal as the state takes extreme measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sanbuichi said his youngest virtual student has 3 or 4 years old. Others are into their 60s.

Some clients have had a parent or family member willing to be practiced on, but others don’t. Some have plenty of space to operate, while others may not.

“If half of them have a parent, the other half don’t. If half of them have a lot of space, the other half don’t. I’m trying to tailor my workouts and be conscious of the space that they will need,” Sanbuichi said. “People are happy that I’m offering it and I’m happy be staying busy.”

San’s Martial Arts has been at its current location in Rising Sun for three years after operating for six years in North East.

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