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In the ever-evolving, over-saturated landscape of social media, you never know what is going to capture people’s attention. Recently, a reel we posted on Facebook did just that, getting an impressive 1.6 million plays. The reel featured Deshi Jacob practicing blocking drills during our 4 and 5-year-old kids karate class. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you should be able to watch the reel!

A Peek into the Reel

At Nishime Martial Arts, we take Karate training seriously, even for our youngest students. It is important to us that our students of all ages learn actual Karate skills. The repetition needed to turn something into muscle memory can get frustrating sometimes so we make training fun by using skill-based challenges.

The reel, just 12 seconds long, captures Deshi using a pool noodle to attack a circle of our littlest karateka with an overhead strike. The object of the drill is to use a head block to stop the noodle from hitting your head. The penalty for missing is two push-ups.

The drill works on several skills at the same time. First, it helps students learn the movement of raising their arms to block an overhead attack. Second, it helps improve reaction time. At first, they are warned that an attack is coming but as they master the skill, they have to react without a warning. Third, it teaches children to wait their turn patiently. They have to keep their place in the circle and be focused for when it’s their turn to block. And finally, if they miss, they get a little added body-weight strength training from the push-ups.

Why This Reel Went Viral

In short, who knows?

Was it because a group of such young children showed discipline and focus while still having fun?

Was it the laughter from the children?

Was it the cuteness of little kids attempting to use karate technique?

All we know is that we posted it on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, we got our first comment from a troll – someone who felt obligated to critique the push-up technique of 4 and 5 year old white belts. An hour later, we got a similar comment so we started paying closer attention to the comments and how many people were watching.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, the numbers of shares and plays kept going up. Usually, our videos will get a few hundred plays. Suddenly, this one was getting a few thousand. Then tens of thousands. All the way up to 1.6 million. It was crazy.

And then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. Whew.

What We Learned

Not much, really. We posted a couple of other reels afterward, including another fun drill we do at the end of class with young children. We saw a bump in views, probably from people who were interested enough from the first video to like our page and watch other things we’ve done. But no crazy amount of engagement.

And that’s perfectly ok.

While it’s fun when a lot of people show interest in something you’ve created, there are really only two reasons we post content on social media. First, because we’re proud of our students and their accomplishments and we want to share things they’ve done that are cute, impressive or interesting with their families and their friends. Second, because when people are researching our business, they will often check social media to get a feel for what kind of school we are.