EVICTION NOTICE! WHEN YOU'RE FORCED TO TEACH OUTSIDE, PART 1
Black Belt|April/May 2021
FROM THE DAY BLACK BELT WAS FOUNDED, MARTIAL ARTISTS HAVE LOOKED TO THE MAGAZINE FOR GUIDANCE ON CURRENT TRENDS IN THE ARTS, FROM KICKBOXING IN THE 1970s TO GROUND FIGHTING AND REALITY-BASED SELF-DEFENSE IN THE 2000s. NOWADAYS, THE HOT TOPIC IS, UNFORTUNATELY, SCHOOL SURVIVAL IN THE ERA OF COVID.
FLOYD BURK

Often, the questions the magazine receives revolve around this notion: “My school has been closed for a long time, and I still have to pay rent. My state says I can’t teach inside, so I want to start holding class outside. Do you have any suggestions?”

In this installment of Better Business and the next, I’ll shed some light on the subject.

Let’s assume that you live in a locale where state and local officials have issued orders keeping you from conducting class in your school or orders that restrict the number of people allowed inside. I’m a school owner in San Diego County, so I know of what I speak. I also know that even if you’ve been doing Zoom and/or Facebook Live classes like I have, it’s important to do whatever it takes to teach in person, to make things seem as normal as possible for students. How do you make things seem normal in a pandemic? I’ll tell you what we did.

I decided to nickname the alley in back of our school the “outdoor dojo.” I ordered a big banner that says OUTDOOR KARATE, rationalizing that it would convey to prospective students the existence of this new training space. To reach those people, I often affix the sign to the side of my SUV and park it on the street. Sometimes I hang the sign in front of our school.

The reason I’m passing along this tactic first is I know it works. We’ve had sign-ups who told the staff that they saw our banner and it was the reason they came in. We’ve also had longtime students who feared training inside say they noticed the banner while driving by and were inspired to return to outdoor lessons.

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