Apollo Beach martial arts academy offers online classes, belt tests

It's been a disappointing time for kids who love their after-school activities. But, one martial arts academy in Apollo Beach has children reaching their goals virtually.

Victory Martial Arts Academy stayed open online through the coronavirus pandemic by offering classes and belt tests through Zoom. 

Owner Phil Penticost said he couldn't image shutting down completely, adding that it's just too important to his students right now. 

"It's something that is back to normal for them,” Penticost explained. “It's not the normal kind of day where they are stuck in the house maybe. They get to have something, even if it's just warming up, stretching out, hearing a friendly voice and knowing that they can continue on that journey. It doesn't matter what's happening.” 

On Thursday, Ruskin resident Olivia Simmons, 10, took a test online to earn her brown belt. It's something she's been working towards for six months. 

"I was sobbing when I realized I couldn't go to martial arts anymore, but then when I realized they were doing martial arts on Zoom I was so relieved," she said. 

Olivia passed her test and is now a brown belt.