Kick away the homebound blues: local ATA school offers free online class

Two young students work with their peers online, as part of live video training with ATA West Chester Martial Arts.

EAST BRADFORD – By now, after weeks of staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for new ways both to pass the time, but also help with physical and mental wellness — and a local martial arts school has a special free option for community members.

A local Tae Kwon Do martial arts school — ATA Martial Arts West Chester, located on Downingtown Pike in Bradford Plaza — is expanding its offerings of online, live video classes to the public on Fridays during the ongoing crisis.

Because of the crisis, ATA West Chester had to close in-person classes and moved to an all-online class system for its more than 250 active member, ranging in ages from three to 60.

“We, like many other businesses both large and small, are feeling the impact of COVID-19 as we are having to completely change our business model and the way we teach and train our members,” said co-owners Marc and Maria Jouan. “Over the past weeks, we have been working hard to develop a Virtual Training Academy to provide training to our members even though we are no longer able to do so in person.”

With everyone largely staying at home, the online classes, using Zoom, have been a success, they said.

“We have had an excellent response to it so far and are moving to an online only training model until this crisis ends,” the Jouans said.

We are using Zoom meetings to provide martial arts classes with our qualified instructors, who are able to watch the students train and provide real time feedback to them.”

But in the process of moving to online classes, they discovered an interesting phenomenon: non-member parents and siblings started participating in the classes as well.

“A lot of our parents have jumped onboard and families are training together,” they said. “In addition to the martial arts classes, we have provided fitness training and private one on one training sessions to help keep our families active and connected.”

That, led to another idea in this time of crisis: open up the classes, one day a week to the general public to offer fitness and physical activity to help folks get through the crisis.

“With us being so successful with our student base,” the Jouans said. “We wanted to extend it to the rest of our local community. We will be offering free martial arts classes to the community through our Virtual Training Academy. This will give the kids and adults that have already been on quarantine, some much needed physical activity. The community classes will be offered FREE every Friday.”

They put the word out with the offer, and while sharing the deep concerns every small business owner has right now, wanted to be a positive force for the local community in this time of need.

“While many businesses out there are scared, as well they should be, we are determined to continue to provide value for our members and to continue to impact the lives of both our students, and the members of our community,” they wrote. “Our goal is to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever and to show everyone that through adaptability and innovation, there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.”

For information about how to participate, go to the school’s Website: , email: or call: 610.344.9370 .

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