Distance learning’s nothing new for this Overland Park karate school

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — While schools and businesses grapple with technology to remain connected during the coronavirus pandemic, one dojo in Overland Park already has it mastered.

“We were very well prepared for distance learning. We’ve been doing online martial arts classes dating back to 2009,” said Jarrett Leiker at Amerikick Martial Arts.

Leiker said he first toyed with concept while he was teaching karate lessons and going to law school.

“And people would say, ‘I want to keep working with you, but I live in England,’ or ‘I want to keep working with you but I live in California,'” Leiker said. “And so we’ve been able to continue that training through various online courses.”

One of the recurring themes in Leiker’s instruction is “adapt and overcome,” a concept we’ve all had to confront during the quarantine.

“Yeah, maybe it’s your living room, maybe it’s your bedroom, maybe it’s your basement,” Leiker said. “But that’s what you have right now and nothing’s going to stop your progress every day, one percent better, no matter what.”

Leiker prefers to use Zoom for his distance learning sessions. The studio also offers traditional, in-person instruction — except for right now, obviously, because of the quarantine.

“I’m just really proud of all of our kids right now,” Leiker said. “Our attendance is through the roof. Everyone’s attending classes, even sometimes more because all they have to do is click the button to join.”

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