Samford student’s recognition delayed, continues volunteering


With COVID-19 causing some businesses to temporarily, or in some cases permanently, close, many are finding innovative ways to still reach their clients and customers. For Summit ATA Martial Arts, the answer was a Virtual Training Academy, where members and their families can still interact, learn and stay active during this time of social distancing.

Located at 2161 W. Andrew Johnson Hwy, Summit ATA has over 100 active members in training, ranging from ages four to 65 and over. The Virtual Training Academy started two weeks ago, just as schools were beginning to close, so that the students would still have a place to train.

“We decided that the best way to keep our students safe was to implement the virtual training instead of having people come in for training,” school owner Melynda Cordry said. “We had been setting our floor up where everyone was six-feet away from each other, but even with that and the extra cleaning, I knew that we needed to make sure that we were following the government’s guidelines to keep everyone as safe as we could.”

With the Virtual Training Academy, the school uses Zoom Meeting to conduct their taekwondo classes, allowing the instructors to watch the students train and provide feedback in real time. The classes meet every night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The school has been a huge success, and Cordry says that even some of the parents of the students are jumping in during these sessions, allowing families to train together. Cordry said that her classes so far have an 83 percent attendance rate.

“I hope to bump that number up even higher and get everyone involved,” Cordry said. “Everyone has responded really well to this. I am pushing our kids pretty hard and plan to challenge them a little bit so that they can achieve things they didn’t think they could do. And we are able to do things that we sometimes aren’t able to do during a regular class.”

Along with their regular students, the school is extending their classes to the rest of the community as well. The Academy announced that they will be offering free martial arts classes to anyone through their Virtual Training Academy. Those community classes will be offered twice a week. There is a 2 p.m. class for younger children ages four to six and a 2:30 p.m. class for adults. Those classes will meet every Tuesday and Thursday through April.

“It’s so important to exercise right now,” Cordry said. “Exercise helps us maintain our stress levels and keeps them down which in turn helps your health. We are trying really hard to make sure people are moving and achieve their goals and that they get in shape.”

Cordry says that the goal for doing this is to “come out of the pandemic stronger than ever and to show everyone that through adaptability and innovation, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.”

Those interested in the free classes can send a text, saying #free, to 423-254-0847 and will be contacted by someone from the school.

“This is my small business,” Cordry said. “If I had to shut down my services, then it could possibly spell the end of the business. So we are continuing to do what we can.”