This time last week, I was practicing Taekwondo with over 1000 other people in my rec room.
Okay, so they weren’t all actually in my rec room, that would be terribly irresponsible. And crowded!
I was actually taking part in the very first International Taekwon-do Federation’s Online Technical Seminar and we were all grinning at each other through our screens.
Normally, TKD seminars and courses (which are a required part of our training) take place in person and we get to learn new things from Grand Masters and Masters who have a specialized expertise in one aspect of TKD or another.
Before we started, I was very apprehensive about how well it could work online.
How were the instructors going to demonstrate and explain movements over a screen?
How could a group of 1000 people be anything but overwhelming, even online?
How well would I be able to focus in long Zoom sessions? Would I be able to take in the information in that format?
It turns out that seminars work pretty well online.
Sure, there were a few technical issues and there were struggles with internet speed (my extremely slow internet actually jammed up completely during the patterns I most wanted to hear about) but overall, it was a very smooth event and I got a lot out of it.
It was great to see so many other TKD students from all over the world checking in for the seminar. I really enjoyed experiencing so many different teaching styles from the various Grand Masters. And it was really valuable to see how the people demonstrating the patterns were working so hard to get things right, and even if they made mistakes they either corrected themselves or accepted correction with grace.
It was really exciting to be part of such a huge group participating in the same sport and I was inspired by the skill of the Grand Masters, as well as the Masters and other black belts who were demonstrating the patterns.
It wasn’t the same as being there in person, of course, you just can’t generate the same energy through a screen. I missed being able to chat with my TKD friends between sessions and or being able to get some hands-on assistance from someone nearby if I didn’t process an instruction properly.
However, this online version was a good substitute overall.
I liked being able to see and hear specific details so clearly and I liked how much easier it was to take notes during an online seminar. (In person, you are going back and forth between listening to instructions and trying new things and you can’t keep running back to your bag with your notebook. You have to wait to take your notes between sessions and I always forget!)
It was great to have relative privacy to make mistakes without feeling self-conscious. No one could tell if I messed something up completely so I wasn’t distracted by feeling foolish. (Yes, I know it is okay to make mistakes, I know that’s how you learn. However, I’m still self-conscious about it. I’m working on it!)
I enjoyed knowing that the instructors and the people demonstrating the patterns were all over the world – it really added to the experience. I don’t know if we would have had such a variety of instructors/demonstrators for an in-person seminar, that would take a lot of logistical work.
I love how much more accessible online seminars can be for the average person – minimal expense, no travel costs/challenges, no need to take a lot of time off of work.
I really hope that online instruction is regularly offered even after the immediate threat of Covid-19 has passed. I would still like to attend in-person seminars but I would definitely round them out with online courses.
Meanwhile, I will be taking as many of these types of courses/classes/seminars as I can in the next few months. Next up is a class offered by the ITF Women’s Committee in January.
I can’t wait!