‘With teaching I found fulfillment’: Teaching a contact sport online
The internet has proven to be one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic. It has become the new hot spot for most social interactions, with classes and meetings now being held online. People virtually hang out with their friends thanks to various online platforms. One of the many things the internet has saved is the Ampongan Taekwondo Academy (ATA). Thanks to the internet and the tireless passion of the ATA team, it continues to teach contact sports with no contact at all!
Head Coach and founder of ATA, John Paul “JP” Ampongan, describes the organization as the product of his passion for teaching. He states that “with teaching I found fulfillment, seeing my students become better, more confident, them finding direction in life was better than winning medals.”
Due to the strict guidelines stemming from the pandemic, ATA knew that they “had to be creative for our students.” ATA made sure to innovate the programs and drills taught to their students. They continuously work to improve their online services in order to accommodate more people into their program, taking into consideration different learning curves such as varying internet connections and time preferences of numerous students. They also organize various special activities and competitions online, within ATA, that all students may participate in.
Despite teaching online, Coach JP and his team still hope “to uplift our students’ self-esteem, improve their health, and face their daily lives with more confidence and vigor.”
Guided by the virtues and morals developed in Martial Arts, Ampongan and his team are committed to the full development of well-rounded students. They aim to help each student reach their fullest potential and assist them in applying the things that they learn into their everyday lives.
You may be wondering “wait… isn’t Taekwondo a contact sport? How can you learn it online, without any physical contact with others?”
To this, Coach JP acknowledges that online learning “has its pros and cons.” Taekwondo practices such as contact sparring are completely out of the picture, although, Ampongan states that “the beauty of Taekwondo [is] it’s not only sparring.”
Poomsae, or prearranged forms, and a wide-ranging variety of kicks and techniques are still at the disposal of all ATA students. Ampongan also notes that “Despite this kind of distance learning, sparring techniques can still be learned.”
With the difficulties that come when teaching Taekwondo online, Ampongan states that it is “Our love for our students” that keeps him and his team going.
He stresses that, “We care very much for our students, having an activity for our students is very important for their mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Everybody needs an outlet or an activity. We at ATA provide that for them during these unconventional hard times.”
One year into the pandemic, you might be feeling frustrated at the fact that it isn’t over yet. Maybe you feel like yelling, maybe you feel like punching and kicking something. Take all your frustrations out by learning a new hobby like a contact sport from the safety of your home. Take all your frustrations out, shout, and learn Taekwondo online today!
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