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Shaolin Temple Quanfa Institute
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Written by Master Dao on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

How to Have a Great Training Space for Virtual Martial Arts and Qigong Classes

There is more to it than just simply choosing a room with space. Here are some tips we've gathered from experience of running Virtual Classes to help you select a room and space at home.


Image credit: https://www.coachmag.co.uk/home-exercises/7572/the-best-home-exercises-for-all-levels

Training Area Size

Is the best training space the biggest available area in your home? You may be surprised that the answer is: probably not!

If your space is too big and let’s say you are running around or doing front kicks back and forth, your instructor won’t be able to see you up close and therefore unable to give additional advice on your techniques.

On the other hand, if your space is too small, your instructor won’t be able to see your whole body and therefore also unable to give you additional advice.

Since many techniques have been adapted for Virtual Classes and designed to be in a small space, it’s better for you to do the same. The ideal size for Virtual Classes at STQI is 6x8’ of clear space although you can still do well with 6x6’ of cleared space. Master Dao only uses a space of 6x8’ to teach all his classes! You’ll also need some space for the webcam and computer/tablet setup.

What if you have multiple family household members training at the same time? Ideally you each have separate web cameras and in a different space in the house (instead of using a larger room). Otherwise in a small space you can take turns doing each drill when more space is needed.

Location

You’ll want to consider a solid floor if you are doing Shaolin Kung Fu, so a basement or a garage location would work well. If you are doing Shaolin Tai Chi or Qigong then any location would do.

Some other considerations include Internet connectivity if you are using wireless. The further you are away from the Wireless Router and the more walls and floors in between, the weaker your signal. You can pick up a Wireless Repeater to boost your signals or run an Ethernet cable to a computer for a strong connection.

Privacy

If you’re concerned about your privacy or perhaps you have a messy room that you are embarrassed for other people to see, first consider that no one really cares! Students will be focused on their training and who really has a perfect clean room all the time anyway?

On the other hand, having a clean background will reduce distractions and make it easier for your instructor to see you as you train. All you need to do is set up a green screen. You can buy a green cloth as big as 10x30’ for around $50-$60 CAD. Hang it up with clips or buy a backdrop stand for around $60. Then set up your software to recognize the green screen and you can replace your background with anything you like!

Flooring

Hardwood / ceramic / cement flooring, rubber mat (similar to our puzzle mats at the school), and carpet are all good flooring options.

Hardwood flooring provides a firm foundation but is a little harder on your knees and ankles when jumping and stomping. A rubber mat is a lot softer on your legs but causes more static in dry conditions and it might be hard to find a quality puzzle mat (our school mats were custom-made and imported from China!). Carpet is also soft but will wear down faster with heavier workouts.

A softer flooring will be easier on your head when doing headstands and other acrobatic exercises. On the other hand, a hard floor will make you stronger!

Whatever you choose, be sure to wear your Feiyue shoes as they will give you more gripping on the flooring surface you use and offer more protection.

Lighting

Make sure your room is brightly lit with ambient lighting. Don’t rely on windows because many classes are held in the evenings or when it’s dark outside.

Some webcams won’t work well in low-light, creating a lot of ‘image noise’, and have to do more video processing to brighten your video. This slows down your computer and may cause video stuttering and glitches.

Spot lighting from the ceiling will create dark shadows making it more difficult for your instructor to see details.

To make your room brighter you can change out your ceiling light bulbs with brighter LED bulbs, or change your ceiling fixture to one that supports more bulbs. Alternatively, you can get lighting that points upward to create a stronger ambient light.

If you want to be really fancy, you can get multiple continuous lights to shine on you and place them in a way to prevent harsh shadows.

Distractions

It’s best to find a room with less distractions or put the distractions away. For instance, if there are a lot of toys around then a child might keep looking at them and want to play with them!

Another thing to consider is to set up the webcam and display from a direction where there is less distraction.

Airflow and temperature

Find a place where the temperature can be regulated. If you’re planning to train in a garage, you’ll need a good space heater to warm it up an hour in advance.

Using a fan is a great way to ensure some airflow. Not only will it cool you, it will also circulate your training space to ensure you get fresher air.

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