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Martial arts training continues despite COVID-19 pandemic

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The door to Coffrins ATA Martial Arts has been locked since the start of Governor JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order.

Corey and Elisha Coffrin opened the Twin Cities business more than 10 years ago and now have locations in Bloomington and Normal.

"How we were going to still deliver a much needed resource for parents, kids, adults, all of our student body to keep them on track?" said Elisha Coffrin, owner of Coffrins ATA Martial Arts.

After networking with other martial art owners across the nation, the Coffrin's chose to go with Zoom, something students and parents said gave them a sense of normally.

Jessica Cook asked one student how she's handled the change.

Jess: How many hours have you practiced?

"Well a lot. Too many to count," said Georganna Laacke, students at Coffrin's ATA Martial Arts.

For these students martial arts is more than roundhouse kicks.

"I used to get bullied a lot and now it makes me more confident in myself to believe I can be proactive and not let anybody get me really mad and stuff and I can just brush it off now," said Lana Crews, 9-year-old yellow belt.

"We really saw a decline in Lana, so her Grandfather and I thought this was something we could try. She's loves it. She's a totally different child. We got our Lana back," said Lori Klink, Lana's Grandma.

The Coffrin's serve more than 250 families.

"We are really dependent on Zoom right now because I mentioned being a special needs parent our kiddos are not quite socially advanced as kids their age, so still being able to make those social connections is really important for them," said Pam Shepard of Normal.

Many students and stuff are eager to get back to in-person training.

"It's a big hug. You can't replace that with a screen or a video chat," said black belt Grant Davison-Linton.

Everyone Jessica Cook spoke to said they felt part of a family that can't be broken by a pandemic.

"Before all this happened I don't think we realized how much our students need us, but on the other side we need them just as much," said Elisha Coffrin.

The Coffrin's have been able to avoid furloughs thanks to a PPP loan and an EIDL laon.

They plan to welcome everyone back to the studio as soon as they can.

The Coffrin's are offering a free trial class or a free private lesson, along with a free virtual summer camp.

For more information, click here.

Jessica Cook

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