When Crisis Comes: Pivot or Else


To be honest, once the severity of the Coronavirus situation hit, we, like many, were nervous.

Now, this wasn’t a crazy panic like you’d see in a cartoon. I wasn’t running around screaming with my arms in the air or anything. But, my mind began to move quickly. 

This is where good martial arts training comes in. Because when your mind begins to move quickly, you immediately realize that you need to slow things down in order to survive/succeed. 

As each day went by, it became apparent that the state was going to shut our Tae Kwon-Do school down. Obviously, we were hoping each day that they wouldn’t need to but, eventually, it became inevitable.  

In those moments, good leaders will take their best minds and sit them down to start brainstorming. So, we immediately began to formulate a new way to handle things. And, in any good brainstorming session, the rule is: there are no good ideas, there are no bad ideas, there are just ideas. 

The one thing I told the team was that we were not going to go down. We didn’t just celebrate 25 years as a premier Tae Kwon-Do school only to watch it end in isolation.

We were determined to survive. We didn’t know how – yet. But, we were going to survive. 

So, we sat down and discussed ways that we could still hold classes, albeit virtually. 

Now, I would love to take credit for making this happen, but I can’t. My staff – more specifically my wife, Martica, and Mr. Tyler Maldonado – deserve the lion’s share of the credit. They are much more tech savvy than I am. I just told them what I needed to do, and they came up with about four or five options for how we could do it. 

Being the leader, I had to make the decision about which direction to go. So, we looked at various video conferencing platforms and Facebook, of all things, seemed like the best way to go. Not just because they had the ability to go live, but also the ability to archive every class, and allow us to divide and organize them into units. Effectively, it had the ability for us to create a library of classes. 

We added Zoom later on as an ancillary option solely because it allowed two-way capability. Simply put, I like to see my students!

In final analysis, it was kind of like sparring. When you’re sparring with someone, there’s no real plan. You sort of have a plan; a methodology for how you spar. But, no actual plan. 

Mike Tyson said it best: everybody has a plan. Until they get punched in the face 

When you actually get punched in the face, you reel back, pivot, and deflect until you regain your senses about you. Then, you continue. One of the main reasons we spar in the first place is to teach people that if you get punched in the face, you don’t have to go down. 

In a way, Coronavirus has punched everybody in the face. Some people went right down. Others pivoted, regrouped, and are surviving. 

I can’t speak much to how the martial arts world as a whole is taking everything. I have unfortunately seen many schools not doing well. Other schools are doing great. Others still have even begun copying what we’re doing, which is flattering and good for martial arts overall.

Ultimately, I don’t want to see any other schools go down. I want to see everyone reel back, pivot, regain their senses and continue.

As for us… retreat is not an option. 


Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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