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I know that I haven’t blogged for a while. But, I’ve been quite busy since the beginning of the year. Let’s count the ways.

Self Defense Classes

I’ve been teaching three self-defense classes per week at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology/Durham College in Oshawa. This is the fifth consecutive semester that I’ve taught self-defense on this campus. I have found this to be a rewarding experience. Much of what I teach is based on Renshi Janet Lawless’s Strong Orange Violence Prevention program. I throw in plenty of Modern Arnis concepts into the self-defense classes. At this juncture, I have yet to be approved for the Fall semester of this year. I hope I am! Stay tuned.

Outside of the facility where I teach the self defense classes at UOIT./Durham College

Boot camp class

As y’all might recall, I moved out of the Legends Community Centre a year ago due to an opportunity to teach three times a week at the Harmony Martial Arts Center. Among the adjustments was determining which weeknight classes were most appropriate for beginners.

I quickly determined that I would reserve the Monday night classes for the advanced students and the beginner students would be slotted into the Wednesday and Friday night classes.

For the remainder of 2018, I encountered a dismal trend. Beginners would join up and then drop out at a high rate. The high attrition rate did not sit well with me. Despite my efforts (as well as my students) to make them feel welcome, many dropped out, never to be heard from again.

After reviewing the list of beginners who joined and dropped out in 2018, I determined that nearly all of them joined the classes by themselves. In other words, they did not have any class buddies on their level. They often came to class by themselves. Despite our best efforts, many dropped out.

I decided to test this by starting a 12-week boot camp session solely for beginners, starting on Saturday, January 5th. The classes are one hour in duration. 8 folks signed up. 6 are complete newbies. One is a former student looking to shake the rust off. The last one is a current student with a few months of experience but wanted to get extra training.

With two weeks left, the early signs are that all 8 will transition into either the Wednesday night or Friday night classes, depending on their schedules. Very encouraging. The fact that they were all beginners and were in the same boat seem to be strong factors in the potential retention of these students.

Encouraged by this, I have scheduled another beginner’s boot camp for the fall, starting on September 14th. I hope that this will result in another bunch of beginner students.

Mike and his son, Jacob, practicing single sinawali under Alex’s tutelage.

Abilities Centre

Back in January, I started teaching a self defense course for developmentally delayed adults at the Abilities Centre in Whitby. Classes take place every Thursday morning and focuses on boundary setting, personal space, standing up for yourself, appropriate relationships, physical skills and quite a few scenarios. The students have been incredibly receptive to my instruction. I tell you, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve ever engaged in.

I was recently invited to teach two more sessions of the adult self defense course…one for this spring and again in the fall. Good news right there.

On Thursday evenings at the Abilities Centre, I teach a one-hour self-defense class for children. I was initially told to expect a mix of developmentally delayed children and able-bodied/neuro-typical kids. To date, the class has consisted only of the latter. I hope that this changes in the future. There are currently four children in this program. At the end of this 12-week course, we will assess whether to offeritagain in the fall.

Classes

In addition to the three self-defense classes at UOIT/Durham College, the once weekly Boot Camp class, and the two classes at the Abilities Centre, I have maintained the three class per week schedule at the Harmony Martial Arts Center. As mentioned above, Monday nights are reserved for advanced students. Wednesday and Friday nights are for all levels. I am very passionate about these classes and the subject matter can range from sticks to knife to empty hand to joint locks. The students are progressing very well. Teaching FMAs is my true passion. What better than playing with sticks and knives? ๐Ÿ™‚

Private lessons

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently taught my 2,000th private lesson since moving to Canada in June 2007. The private lessons are proceeding at the usual pace. If the past is any indication, the private lessons should pick up its pace once the weather starts to warm up and some clients come back from their winter hibernation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gumroad

I have taken a leap and started making instructional videos, primarily for my students but is also available to the public. I recently got an iPhone 8 Plus with its incredible video capability. I also acquired a wireless Rodemaker audio transmitter and receiver that plugs into the iPhone (with the assistance of an adaptor). Lastly, I loaded the Filmic Pro app into the iPhone. This app offers much more than the native iPhone camera. Add in some post shoot editing and I can get amazing results. The last element is the ample lighting in the Harmony Martial Arts Center, which means that I don’t need to purchase lighting equipment. Yay!

To date, I have completed two videos. The first one was on Modern Arnis Basics and the second is entitled “The 5 Killer Traps.” It’s fair to say that I’ve learned quite a bit while making these two videos. I have yet to decide the topic of the next video. Stay tuned.

Below are a couple of free samples of what I’ve done thus far. Take advantage of this! ๐Ÿ™‚

In short, that’s what I’ve been up to since January! Have you been busy as well?

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