How two passionate karateka created the World's Largest Online Dojo, an online training platform during the covid19 crisis

boot camp #2 (lifePR) ( Köln, )
The covid-19 crisis is by all means a terrible situation, but it is also driving change in so many ways. We continue to be inspired by the creativity of people who are trying to have an impact on society and help each other. By looking how they can best impact Nadja and Martin created by chance the World`s largest Online Dojo for Karate.

Our first Information was: „We’re trying to help in his challenging time of the virus. People have to stay at home and they are afraid of loosing family members and friends. We’re organizing 1 hour free karate lesson every day with top Instructors worldwide”.

Karate is known to train your mind, strengthens your character and also keeps you fit, but so far it was connected to training in the dojo with other people and very little innovation into digital solutions were available. Suddenly all dojos were closed and karateka were desperate. But karate is a lot about self-discipline and you can easily train even in a small space of 1m x 1m by yourself. So when Martin was live streaming teaching a class on facebook on March 19. It was not surprising that lots of his karateka friends around the world were watching and training to his class from their homes. It seems as if karateka were exactly waiting for this kind of motivation and the feedback was so positive that we decided to continue.

We rallied our network and had soon a full schedule of top instructors (former world champion from Canada, chief instructor JKA England, Sweden, Norway, etc) till the end of the May. We offer 1hour classes daily and even had our first 3-day weekend bootcamp (=mini Gasshuku) last week. Step by step we got more professional and within 5 weeks we grew organically to over 10.000 members . The members are from over 110 different countries around the world and it is everyone: top athletes, karateka with over 40+ year experience, younger and older folks, beginners, observers, contributors, they see themselves as a big karate family. That we could change the mindset of karateka that quick was impressive and humbling. The exchange in the community and more importantly the daily live class makes them happy and is something they look forward to during the #stayhome restrictions. We are completely for non-profit and all instructors are given their classes for free.

Karate@home will continue to improve the offering as well as communication, but we also believe, that this platform will not only be limited to the time of the pandemic. A lot of members are asking us to keep it going even when the situation normalizes itself again. We asked our members in a poll to understand their motivations better, the main driver (58.2%) is obviously the opportunity to train with instrcutors from all around the world, you would have otherwise never had the chance to. People are really happy that there is a digital resource now and appreciate the innovative aspect (19.6%). As people are more and more busy nowadays, finding time in your day to not just train but also commute back and forth to the dojo is often difficult or people might travel a lot because of work  and can`t attend a real class in the dojo. Karate@home saves them time and helps them to continue training (13.5%). And last, but not least we had some people claiming that this platform made them start training again, as they were too embarrassed to go to the dojo (8.7%)

All this positive sentiment in this group is more then we could wish for and motivates us to keep going and making Karate@Home better each day for our members.

OSS, Nadja & Martin (Co-Founders)

HOW IT WORKS:
  • The instructor curation/vetting is done by Nadja and Martin. They want to make sure a certain standard is ensured but also to get a great variety of instructors from different countries, genders, ethnicities. The beauty is that you might train with instructors that are super famous, but also new ones you will otherwise never get the chance to train with. We are not affiliated to any association but it needs to be Shotokan Karate. It is a great platform for the instructors themselves as well to get to more popularity.
  • The Event calendar is posted latest a week in advance on the fb group and page and members can sign up
  • To watch the classes instructors will go live in the fb group at the time of the class and it will be uploaded afterwards on the fb page & you tube! All instructors are not professional directors or DOPs, so there is by no means the expectation of professionality and this authenticity and realness makes this group even more intimate
  • The fb group is also a great community where members are posting interesting things around the topic Karate@Home and can get inspired, it is a great platform to exchange with other karateka around the world
WHAT MEMBERS SAY:
  • “I can see and I appreciate the class. The good thing coming out of this lockdown is being exposed to the different instructors and black belts I might not have otherwise gotten to train with and their own perspective on our beloved art” (Brian, USA)
  • “I just want to say thank you, Every night at 18:00 I try to train karate, it is so great with al the sensei from all over the world (Jessie, Sweden)
  • “A silver lining to this pandemic situation… excellent karate instruction shared around the globe readily accessible in our homes to all (Christina, USA)
  • “Oss…Thank you and I really hope that this continues past isolation, When normal routine kicks in” (Vince, Mauritius)
  • “For me such and enrichment in every way, such an unbelievable opportunity to get to know and get training from so many sensei! I would have never had met in this life. The Spirit is amazing. (Dagmar, Germany)
  • “Great idea! Karate is family, we are not isolated, and the trainings are really good tool to remain fit, and to keep contacts with outside world (Francoise, France)
  • “Thank you again for setting up this group, which I am sure is quite a lot of work being the scenes. This for me is a remarkably positive thing amidst an otherwise terribly difficult period for many. I look through the videos and cannot believe that, at the touch of a button, I can train and re-train with so many excellent instructors. All this positive energy, too... Of course, of course, we cannot wait to be back in our real dojos, being corrected “live” by our respective instructors. But in the meantime, what a fantastic idea this was. Thank you! Oss! (Emily, England)
  • La vida es karate y karate es la vida (Juan, Spain)
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