Wow! What a year 2020 has been - and for all the wrong reasons!
At the turn of the year, we were feeling extremely confident that 2020 would be the best year yet for both of Prestwich and Oldham clubs. We were going to move Oldham into it’s ‘forever home’ and Prestwich would continue to grow and have its next batch of Black Belts.
And then along came the coronavirus.
That said we have still achieved a great deal this year:
The Oldham club still moved into its ‘forever home’ - lockdown gave us the perfect opportunity to sort out the centre, so off we went & did it!
We have had lots of comings & goings. Some of the new students that joined when we were not on lockdown have since drifted away and some of our students that we had at the start of the year have also lost their way. However, the students that stayed with us have grown in both skills and confidence and the Instructor team are looking forward to what next year will bring for them. Some of you will be testing for your Black Belts, some will be testing for 2nd Dan and others will be looking to move into the senior Green & Red Belt classes. Whilst student numbers have halved since before the lockdown, those that have stayed with us have seen the benefits of their continued training both on Zoom, online and in person. We are hopeful that we can settle into some semblance of normality in the first half of 2021. If you can be this good with such a disrupted year, then goodness knows what next year will be like for you all.
There are big plans for next year for the Family Martial Arts group clubs, including a number of seminars and events (check out the lists here & here ), plus a continued expansion of the number of clubs and days of operation. So if you fancy being an Instructor in the future there is no better time to get onto the Instructor Training courses. We have seen our first batch of potential Instructors join the programme and you should hopefully see some of them start to take on teaching responsibilities at both centres. We will be expanding the Instructor teams at both Oldham & Prestwich so get in touch if you want that to be you...
In terms of student progression, we now have an additional 11 Black Belts with a further two to to test in early January, as they were isolating when the Test happened. Good luck to Mrs Byrne and Ciaran at your forthcoming test and congratulations to the following who achieved the rank of Cho Dan:
Mrs Carol Plummer
Mr Bernie Bowers
Ms Catherine Nightingale
Mrs Anna Avanessian
Mr Louie Avanessian
Mr Dovi Rose
Mr Uriel Brodie
Mr Salim Kurrimboccus
Ms Maryam Kurrimboccus
Ms Sarah Kurrimboccus
Mr Luqmaan Kurrimboccus
Not only did lockdown force us to start teaching via Zoom, but it also accelerated the move online of many of our administrative operations. It also made us streamline what we did and how we did it. You now have an online booking system, an online application form, an online payment system for monthly tuition, in addition to the online Graduation Form we at North Manchester have always had. We have also led the way at North Manchester with much of the family martial arts group now online too. Our website has been expanded following feedback from yourselves and we now have a new group website for students. This complements the YouTube channel and the Facebook page & Facebook group
In a normal year, we would hope to be telling you things such as the winners of the club awards, which club who won the inter club competition, whether we had any champions from those competitions, etc. This year, alas, I can bring you know no such news. However everyone is safe, everyone is pretty much well and we're ready to hit the ground in 2021 at full speed. Next year’s events can be found on the website so get them in your diaries now!
We implemented a (pretty smooth) timetable change for the last couple of months of the year and we now have a revised timetable for 2021. This will put the classes back up to a full hour, which I know many of you we're asking about. It also means we will have more classes for Black Belts now that we have greater numbers, as well as a greater range of times for the various different levels of student. It will require your support and help as the classes will now be back to back-to-back every night.
Next year will no doubt contain an awful lot of change too, but I don't think it will be the same pace as this year; nor will this be the same volume of it. We will continue to be flexible and adapt to the changing circumstances, always with an eye to improving things and making things better for you the student. So don't forget to speak up if you have any great ideas.
We have a lot of ground to make up next year, so carry on on inviting your friends, family & neighbours/work colleagues to join you in our great classes - and when those people do join up, make sure that you claim your free Graduation or money off in the pro shop.
So it just remains for me to say, stay safe over the Christmas period, be sensible about who you mix with & how you mix with them and we will see you on January 4th for the next instalment in our exciting story.