ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Social distancing simply doesn’t make sense in the sport of jiu-jitsu, but when the coronavirus pandemic threatened Eddie Fyvie’s business, he was forced to embrace it if he wanted to survive. He explains that jiu-jitsu as a martial art that “teaches you how to adapt to any situation,” so when he was forced to close his doors, it opened his eyes.
“Just trying to see opportunities,” Fyvie said over a Zoom call. “Every good business that was ever started, started usually because there was a problem.”
The problem in this case: the inability to provide classes to his customers the way he’s used to. So he got creative. Since moving all of his classes online, he’s seen a thirst for the community he’s created at Eddie Fyvie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
“People are just dying to be interactive, and they love it,” he shared, explaining that the classes are heavily exercised-based with a focus on technique. Anywhere from 30 to 50 students tune into each Zoom class. He separated the adults from the kids, and is looking to launch an online program by the end of the week that could reach children nationwide.
“Parents, they need a break for an hour, a half hour. So we’re trying to put together a home program they can do easily,” said Fyvie. Once that program is completed, the kids would have the option to then begin attending the other live Zoom classes offered, which Fyvie plans to maintain once he can open his gyms again. If this initiative takes off, he could potentially see growth in the business beyond the Capital Region, making the best of a bad situation.
“We’ve been trying to be as creative as we can,” he said, “and it’s working out so far. People are enjoying it. They’re having a good time.”
Fyvie held a make-your-own-grappling-dummy contest for the kids, and has been conducting film study sessions, which he calls a “hit”.
“I had this idea. I was like, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be cool to have one of the people we’re watching actually do the breakdown of the fight?'” That spark led to fire. Last week, former UFC villain Chael Sonnen spent a half hour with about 100 members breaking down the fight he lost to Anderson Silva, one he had never re-watched until that moment.
“To see him go into this fight with all eyes on him and to hear what he’s going through in his mind and what he’s thinking, it was pretty incredible,” said Fyvie of the experience. He expects to hold other special events like that, including one with actor and jiu-jitsu black belt Scott Caan Wednesday night at 5 p.m.