by Frank Silverman
As we prepare to enter 2021, we have an opportunity not only to look toward the future but also to reflect on the past. Nobody could have predicted how 2020 would turn out. It’s hard to believe that the pandemic has rolled over into the new year with us. In March, I had a conversation with my business partner Mike Metzger, and we agreed that COVID, although serious, would blow over soon. We figured it was a blip on the map of life with no real consequences. After a couple of weeks, life would be back to normal, we thought.
As we all know now, that prediction could not have been more wrong. We stopped in-person training and closed our schools in mid-March, then pivoted to virtual training. Not until June did we begin to allow students back into our schools. That’s when we quickly learned something that most other school owners likely discovered: Although we were ready to resume in-person training, our students were not so eager. They still wanted to learn, but they were content to do so from a screen. For months, our online participation soared above our in-class attendance.
As I type this column, things are very slowly getting back to normal. We used to teach as many as 600 online students daily. But the day I wrote this was a busy in-person day with 100 students at our school. Of course, we spread them out to help with social distancing, and classes are filling up. It’s not like it was before the pandemic, but it’s progress nevertheless.
The fabric of America has changed — if not forever, then at least for the rest of our lives. We will continue to hear debates on how bad the pandemic was, whether we should wear a mask, whether it’s safe to dine out and so on for years to come. No matter what we think about all this, we must remember that learning from the past is the key to a more successful future. Experts insist that COVID was a once-in-a-hundred-years event, but you never know. This time it was a pandemic; next time, it could be a natural disaster that derails our progress.
As we move into 2021, we need to look to the past and see how we can adjust to make this year, and all that follow, better. We should look at this in a businesslike manner, as well as from a spiritual perspective. Here are some other questions we should consider:
There are so many questions that need to be asked, about the past and the future, and there’s no time like the present to begin asking them. If you don’t like the answers you’re giving yourself — be honest! — now is the time to change them. At this year’s Martial Arts SuperShow, these are some of the questions we will help you address. I hope to see you all in Las Vegas in 2021.
To contact Frank Silverman, send an email to [email protected] Find him on Twitter and Facebook at @franksilverman.
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