Kaka’i Karate instructor: online Karate lessons inadequate replacement for regular practice

Kirkuk, 2020 – Majid Kaka’i and his daughter Avesta have been training at home for 8 months – photo: Muhammad Almas

Muhammad Almas - Kirkuk

Wearing his training suit and black belt, everything is the same as regular classes for Majid except that his students are October not lined in front of him, but watching their instructor’s moves on a screen.

39-year-old Majid Flamarz Kaka’i stands before a camera and shows his students how to make the movements through the internet.

Sometimes the video connection hampers or is cut off due to the bad internet service in Kirkuk province, leaving his students disappointed.

Majid has been giving online Karate lessons for eight months now due to the pandemic lockdown. But it still remains very different from regular classes.

The lockdown “has been a big problem, especially for Karate training

The lockdown “has been a big problem, especially for Karate training, which requires direct training in a hall,” said Majid.

Majid belongs to the Kaka’i community in Daquq, but currently resides in Kirkuk City.

“Our training hall is closed, which has had a very negative impact on me and my students.”

Majid didn’t stand idle and right from the beginning of the lockdown started giving his students Karate lessons online.

Among the measures taken by the Iraqi government against the spread of the COVID-19 was closing down all sport halls.

majid kakaiy (5)
Kirkuk, October 2020 – a training hall at the Khak sport club – photo: Muhammad Almas

Majid has been practicing Karate for 32 years. Giving online lessons was a new experience for him. “[Online] training is not the same as in our hall, but it’s better than nothing.”

Majid is a trainer at a sports club called Khak and has a black belt. He has more than 100 students in different levels.

“Many of my students have taken part in the online training.”

What worries Majid, who previously participated in several local and international tournaments, missing the opportunity to participate in the tournaments due to pandemic, which most of his students dream about.

His own eldest daughter is among his students whom the pandemic prevented from realizing their dreams.

Avesta Majid (13), told KirkukNow: “I have been practicing Karate since I was 10, I have a brown belt. I had high hopes, but the Coronavirus took it all away.”

Although she has been training with her father at home, this did not make up for the opportunities she missed.

I had been preparing to participate in the Kurdistan Girls' Karate Championship a long time

"I had been preparing to participate in the Kurdistan Girls' Karate Championship a long time, in order to get a better place, but the Coronavirus stopped everything and the championship was cancelled."

“We have been practicing several hours a day. Other students would often join online.”

She says she is training harder nowadays in order to compensate for the lost time and gain the black belt.

Sozan Wasmi (34), Majid's wife, has been supportive in their daughter’s Karate practice at home. “I have been encouraging my daughter a lot. We have adjusted our home environment for the sport so that they don’t get discouraged due to the lockdown and the closure of the sports halls.”

Sozan says that she too has been practicing Karate with her husband and daughter from time to time.

After eight months, the difficult times for Majid finally passed as the Iraqi government allowed the reopening of sports halls and public places, provided that they adhere to preventive measures and follow health instructions.

But Majid and his students still have to make up for the times they missed and at the same time keep a distance from one another during training.

we have missed a lot, we have a short time and many tasks

"The students lag behind for some training lessons, we have missed a lot, we have a short time and many tasks. While following the health instructions, we will try to complete the preparations for the upcoming tournaments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region,” said Majid.

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