Even though face-to-face classes at Weber’s ATA Martial Arts Academy are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are still learning their craft, thanks to virtual instruction.
“It seems to have turned out pretty well,” said Audrey Weber, who owns the business with her husband, Christian.
The academy has locations in Pine Township and Hermitage, with class offerings that include Krav Maga, kickboxing and martial arts.
The academy’s facilities are following Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders to temporarily shut down non-essential businesses in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When the Webers first learned of Wolf’s order, they weren’t sure how to proceed, Audrey Weber said.
“It was completely new to us,” she said.
Now, they are offering classes via Zoom, a video conferencing service that can be accessed via smartphones, tablets and computers.
Students can tune in at home when the Webers go live, or they can watch a recorded version.
Weber and several instructors are shooting the videos at the Pine Township facility four days a week, and it’s been working out well.
“Everybody seems extremely supportive,” Weber said.
She said the instructors are encouraging students to have their family members join in at home, making it a fun way to keep active.
“We’ve seen a lot of moms and dads jump in,” she said.
It’s kind of tricky to guide students remotely, and Weber has to keep a close eye on the equipment to make sure it’s working properly. The school set up a large television screen so it can see the students from head to toe, and added some lighting and a microphone.
And those who aren’t part of the academy can find more information on the Facebook page, or contact the Webers to view a video to see if they’re interested in signing up for classes.
Weber said she and Christian feel it’s important to continue offering classes, and to keep the students engaged.
“A lot of these people are stuck in their homes,” she said.
Because the video classes have been well received, Weber said the academy may continue to offer them when things return to normal.
“We’ve had a lot of people thanking us,” she said.