The pandemic hit small businesses hard. But with dedication and ingenuity — plus the right technology — Manna’s Martial Arts in San Diego remains open for students.
As COVID-19 restrictions tighten again in many places, a dialogue with Manna’s Martial Arts in San Diego comes to mind. Earlier this year they shared how they are keeping students engaged and their business open through virtual instruction. In their own words:
“We maintained over 90% of our student population during shelter-in-place. All because we were able to offer a distance learning solution quickly, the trust the community has in our business, and the power of Zoom and DTEN,” says Brian Manna, owner and Senior Grandmaster about his eponymous company.
“Prior to the shelter in place order, we knew something was coming and started to see our class sizes diminish,” he continues. “We immediately started to look for feasible ways to keep our student population engaged in our programs. We needed to find a system that would work: video, microphone, sound – you know, lights, camera, action. And we needed to be up and running immediately.”
Researching the best solution for their small business was delegated to Senior Master Instructor Chris Brandt. His due diligence included extensive networking and benchmarking — all conducted in just two days. One vendor he talked with, a local AV company, suggested a system integrating multiple components with almost a five-figure price tag.
“We saw what we were going to be spending on a system. DTEN D7 had everything all-in-one and the price was less than half,” Chris shares.
From there, implementation was swift. After a few practice sessions to modify instruction for video conferencing, the team was ready — and so were the students. “We had 200 students in the first two days of online instruction,” Brian shares.
Janet Manna, the company’s Vice President and also a Senior Master Instructor, adds, “With DTEN and Zoom, we can actually have every student front and center. And because of the size of the panel, we actually see their movements all at the same time.”
Brian amplifies the point, “One of the comments we’ve gotten from our students, parents and people who have participated in a class is the DTEN sound quality and the video quality is something that they did not expect.”
More recently the Manna’s team has put the built-in DTEN interactive whiteboard to use, as Chris notes, “We’ve started utilizing the whiteboard feature: drawing, setting examples, giving grids, showing different diagrams. In one class, we drew a diagram and immediately emailed it to all the students. The ability to do that in one touch was pretty nice.”