Cancelled seminars and closed academies, World Champion Lucas Leite talks COVID & Small Business
The affects of COVID-19 and Small Businesses are profound. Empty dinning halls and crowded drive thrus for takeout. Closed Jiu Jitsu Academies and zoom classes behind a computer screen. We recently had a chance to catch up with our long time friend and Half Guard Master Professor Lucas Leite. Lucas had been in the processing of building his Competition Team not only with his US based students and affiliates, but also with the new up and coming Black Belts, The Luna Brothers and several rising athletes from Brazil. Lucas had been transitioning from a World Champion Competitor to a Coach and mentor building the future stable of champions.
All of that came to a halt in March 2020, Lucas had been scheduled to conduct a seminar spanning across the Globe when the seminar cancellations started to pour in. Like many gym owners world wide, Lucas was forced to close his two Academies located in La Habra, CA and Upland, CA. Lucas’ Academy new Academy in Upland, CA has a very special meaning for Lucas, this would be owned solely by him without a business partner. The freshly installed mats where just settling in when Lucas had to close his doors.
“Its been a lot of stress and worry,” says Lucas. Lucas understands that in Jiu Jitsu there is no such thing as social distancing and zoom classes can only keep people engaged for so long. Battling with membership cancellations and tuition freezes, Lucas recently began to offer free private lessons for his students in order to keep them engaged and provide the best service as possible. The uncertainty is the worst part of this whole process. Lucas does his best to maintain a positive mental attitude. His devotion to his students and love for the sport is what drives him. The talk about a new normal does not sit well with not only Lucas, but with many others alike, at its most human level, we as a community love close contact, we love gatherings, concerts, games and tournaments, says Lucas.. Maybe a new normal for now?
Lucas would like to thank his good friends and students, his growing competition team and his affiliates for their unwavering support during this difficult time. Lucas, like many others are managing and navigating this new set of normal, where there are still many unknowns. But one thing is for sure, “we are in this together,” says Lucas.