Fall brings with it the promise of change, falling leaves, shorter days, and cooler weather.
But in these pandemic days, when change includes social distancing, home schooling and, mostly, inside activities, parents are searching for ways to get their children some exercise, outside or inside.
Kicks Karate, with a center in Potomac and nine other locations in Montgomery and Frederick counties, understands the need.
“You have to do something; kids need to exert themselves,” Lana Bussard, wife of Kicks Karate founder John Bussard and president of the company, said.
The company shut down in March when Governor Larry Hogan closed all nonessential businesses in Maryland. By mid-April they began offering Zoom classes.
“It was tricky teaching kids on Zoom,” Lana Bussard said.
By June they were allowed to resume in person classes.
“But people didn’t come,” Lana Bussard said. “So, we started outdoor classes too. People gradually came back.”
Lana Bussard said that she thinks the current enrollment at Kicks is about 60 percent of what it was in March before the shutdown. Of the 14 locations operating in March, 10 have reopened.
“We just didn’t open the other four,” Lana Bussard said. “There was a natural attrition of students and staff.
Employees at Kicks are careful about following the guidelines for social distancing and face masks.
“Most of our studios have two rooms,” Lana Bussard said. “We only book one and if more people [than expected] show up for a class we open the second room,” to allow more space between people.
Students are let in one by one, she said. They get a temperature check and are told to wash their hands, then they can enter the class.
Everyone wears face masks.
“Honestly, the kids are champions,” Lana Bussard said. “The kids all wear their masks and leave them on. They never complain.”
Kicks Karate was founded in 1994 by Master John Bussard (8th Degree Black Belt). Its mission is to help people of all ages develop important life skills, including self-confidence, self-discipline, self-defense, fitness, mental focus, emotional awareness, and more, according to the Kicks Karate website.
Classes are available for children as young as three years old and continue through teens into adult years.
“The majority of our adults are parents of our students,” Lana Bussard said.
To learn more about fall and winter classes at Kicks Karate, visit their website http://kickskarate.com/. Newcomers or those who think they would like to try karate can sign up for a free class.