How a top US martial arts school is leveraging Neat devices with Zoom Rooms to help students continue their journey to black belt status.
“Harmony. Unity. Community.” Central Park Taekwondo Academy’s motto
Central Park Taekwondo Academy (CPTKD Academy) is a martial arts school based in New York City and Delray Beach, Florida. With members in the United States and beyond, including kids aged from just two years old to adults of 80, CPTKD Academy teaches all Taekwondo belt levels. Like millions of other small businesses, CPTKD Academy was forced to close its doors in March 2020. Yet after only two weeks of deciding how best to proceed, the school swiftly reopened, switching to teaching students virtually via Zoom.
However, Master Teresa Throckmorton (Master T), Owner and Head Master Instructor at CPTKD Academy, soon found using her laptop to conduct lessons on Zoom too limiting. The audio often sounded muffled, and the camera angle wasn’t wide enough to capture everything going on in the room, especially when Master T tried to reach students in New York City from her Florida studio. Master T felt that she needed an enhanced experience that kicked things up to a whole new level. That’s when Master T heard about Neat Bar and Zoom Rooms.
“I’m driven to be at the top of everything I do. So, for Central Park Taekwondo Academy, I wanted us to stand out from other martial arts schools and what they were offering,” said Master T. “When a friend recommended that I try Neat Bar with Zoom Rooms, I was excited by the things I read it could do and ordered one. From the moment I started using Neat and Zoom together, I thought this is incredible.”
Enhanced live-stream training
Because Neat Bar has super sharp audio and video, Master T discovered she could live-stream her Zoom Rooms lessons and activities to her community of students, families and staff back in New York City better than ever. Similarly, they could connect with her, thanks to CPTKD Academy’s team there deploying our equally proficient 65-inch Zoom-in-one device, Neat Board, which was a more suitable option for them. Incorporating similar rich and detailed capabilities, but on a high-definition screen, everyone at CPTKD Academy New York City could see and hear Master T vividly up close and crystal clear for the first time since transitioning to virtual classes.
“For students who hadn’t seen Master T for six months, having her pop up on a big screen, like she’s right there in the room with them, was magical,” said Darryl Mayland, Office Manager at Central Park Taekwondo Academy in New York City. “She looked so real it was as if they could reach out and touch her.”
Closer active engagement
Neat Bar and Neat Board’s visual clarity enable Master T, the other instructors and students to see the whole of CPTKD Academy’s New York City and Florida studios, right back to the far walls. No matter how much anyone is throwing their arms up, jumping, spinning around and kicking while instructing or practicing, the sound never distorts, and the cameras don’t miss a move. Both devices have advanced technological features that automatically track each individual, intuitively zooming in and out to catch every bit of the action happening on the mats between the students and instructors, so essential in martial arts training.
“Taekwondo is such a physically hands-on sport that every detail counts. Being able to see exactly what the students are doing, from how they position their fingers, fists or feet, is so important,” said Master T. “Neat gives me the audio and visual clarity to help make my students black belts.”
Better black belt tests
Neat devices and Zoom Rooms have now become the centerpiece of CPTKD Academy’s black belt testing. As many of the students and their families have been a part of the school’s community for a long time, it often gets very emotional. We’re talking 8, 9, up to 10 years of dedicated discipline, training and support leading to a student’s black belt moment. So, to see Master T looking larger than life on Neat Board, and knowing she’s still very much in their lives, spurring them on, is immensely uplifting.
“After years of focus and training, despite all the uncertainty around the pandemic, students are still able to hold on to their dream of achieving black belt status because of Neat and Zoom,” said Darryl Mayland. “We get to record everything beautifully too and put together a whole package for the recipient and their families. Then they have something special to treasure forever.”
Increased service offering
In no way, shape or form can video ever replace the felt human presence of CPTKD Academy’s in-person training, which will always remain at the heart of its business. But what Neat devices and Zoom Rooms allow the school to do is keep its community connected beyond the pandemic, giving students and instructors the flexibility to train when they can’t make it to one of CPTKD Academy’s bricks and mortar premises. Considering that 75% of martial arts schools worldwide have permanently closed due to COVID-19, it’s a testament to CPTKD Academy’s resilience and leadership strength that it’s managing to remain fighting fit in these tough and turbulent times.
“I’m extremely grateful that Neat and Zoom have created something of this caliber to help Central Park Taekwondo Academy,” said Master T. “I want people to attend our school and enjoy the best Taekwondo experience imaginable. Having Neat and Zoom be able to provide my community with that takes me to the top of my game.”