RENO, Nev. (KOLO) This pandemic has forced West Coast Martial Arts Reno to move their classes online for the first time.
"On Monday the 16th our mayor gave the order that we needed to close," said owner Denice Challender-Slater. "We started video taping every bit of class and curriculum so that we could get it up for our students. And we were up and running by Wednesday night."
It's pretty important that they continue to train, with their black belt mastery test set for June 27th, something they have each trained years to achieve. It was supposed to be the largest test ever, with nearly a thousand students in attendance. Now it will be offered virtually.
"It was a really big disappointment for everybody, no doubt," said Great Grand Master Ernie Reyes Sr. of West Coast Martial Arts Association. "What do we think about it? We think about it as an opportunity or we think about it as a disappointment. Because to be tested in a moment like this in a black belt test, we're going to make martial arts history because it's never ever done before."
Reyes is doing something pretty rare too, trying to become a 10th degree black belt, the highest rank in the sport. And he's doing it at 73 years old while still battling prostate cancer. He says he finds strength in martial arts.
"It just gave me the fighting spirit to go on and keep on going and to never ever quit regardless of whatever," added Reyes,
"It benefits you, because it is going to improve your strength. It's going to teach you life lessons that will serve you the rest of your life. We talk about discipline, perseverance, indomitable spirit. All of these amazing gifts that martial arts has given us that is truly helping all of us rise up."
She is offering free community classes every Tuesday at 4pm at West Coast Martial Arts Reno
Meanwhile Reyes has also stayed busy, taking part in a virtual fundraiser that raises money to support health care workers and those on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can watch his video here Covid-19 fundraiser
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