D’Iberville dojo fights to keep in-person classes during pandemic

D’Iberville dojo fights to keep in-person classes during pandemic

D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - There are no online courses for this dojo. Okinawa Kenpo Martial Arts in D’Iberville prefers face-to-face interactions over digital screens any day of the week.

We spoke with Sensei Alfred Rivera to see the benefits of martial arts even during the pandemic.

“Karate is a fulfilling art for me because it makes me feel peaceful, it makes me stay in shape,” Rivera said. “Being able to have other people learn the art and make themselves better.”

While adapting to the new pandemic guidelines, Rivera has continued to help his students feel a part of something more than just a dojo.

“I love the discipline that comes with this dojo. It’s a chance to really grow as a human being instead of just trying to become good at a sport. It’s a family, you know. People come here and you become a better human at a place like this,” said student Caitlin Slife.

During a time when pandemic guidelines are always changing, students have one constant in their life thanks to the dojo.

“It allows me to be very relaxed, stress-free, but if I find myself really stressful, whatever the situation is, I just do a couple exercises, about a minute or so, and it kind of centers me again. Some people call it meditation in motion. Some of us call it medication in motion,” said student Albert Allegue.

When asked what motived Rivera to pursue martial arts, his answer was surprising.

“The ‘Kung Fu’ series was very inspired for me because it was this guy that he was so calm, he didn’t want to have any trouble, but when he needed to defend himself he was able to do it and he was always trying not to hurt people. I said I want to be like that guy,” he said.

Now with the pandemic affecting his classes, he still remains optimistic.

“Come visit us any time. Anybody can once and sit and watch our classes, there’s no charge for that. Ask as many questions as you like, and we hope you guys like what you see,” he said.

If you are interested in martial arts classes, you can find more information on the dojo’s website or Facebook page.

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