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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

Training in the Time of COVID-19 Pt. 4

The last class I held in person was the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

That week, we shifted to virtual classes, and it's been that way ever since.

Then this happened.

I am grateful that everyone around me has kept healthy and happy and whole. I don't know anyone personally who has died from the virus here in my part of the world, and only a few (and none locally) that have gotten sick.

As I've stated before, Mr. Chick and I are incredibly lucky and privileged to have jobs that have allowed us to work from home, that I have a home that's whole and safe and clean and well-stocked, no serious shortages of anything we need (or even like), and it's relatively simple and easy for us to maintain the lockdown.

I'm well aware that a lot of you reading this aren't so lucky.

Some of you have loved ones who have died.

Some of you have caught the virus and gotten sick yourselves (or maybe you tested positive and didn't get sick).

Most of you have been severely impacted by the shut-down in one way or another. You've lost your jobs or are on at least temporary furlough or doing your job is a lot harder than it used to be.

Maybe you're a small business owner and your doors have been ordered shut (and rent is due). Or maybe you're an essential business and the costs of doing business are overwhelming the income you're able to bring in.

Maybe loved ones are suffering and you can't do anything about it.

Some of you have gotten assistance from various programs, and some of you haven't (and won't by the time the money runs out).

Some of you need less-that-strictly-urgent medical attention and can't get it.

Some of you struggle with anxiety and depression and have lost access to things that have helped you cope with it.

Things are chaotic and scary and tough and we're all afraid and sensitive and worried about things big and small.

Things are particularly hard on the martial arts industry. Most martial arts studio owners aren't exactly rich. Many of us live month-to-month making payroll and rent and feeding our families, and we can't go months and months without income.

Kids are missing out on an activity that enriches and empowers them physically and mentally and emotionally. Adults are missing out on what might be their primary form of exercise and community and tribe.

Dojos are closing. Skills are degrading. Goals and milestones are being missed. Community is fracturing. Relationships are harder to maintain.

You might have let your training go on hiatus.

Don't. Don't quit now.

There's lots of great content is coming out online, in a volume that's unprecedented. Take a moment to at least look at and try things that you haven't considered before. Troubled times often inspire many of us to be creative in new ways, and we martial artists are no exception, and I bet some new and interesting things are going to come out of this period that we'll appreciate more a little later.

Yet again, I'm a very lucky and privileged person, because I have Mr. Chick to train with and a good space to train in at my home. You might not be as lucky as I am, but do what you can.

I urge you, reach out and participate in every virtual class you can. If you can swing it, keep paying your dojo dues so it'll be there when we get out of lockdown.

Be creative in home training.

Do exercises - there are a ton of home and body-weight exercises content out there, often for free.

Practice forms. Maybe do them in new and weird ways - what if you did it backwards, what if you did it with a weapon when it's usually empty-hand, what if you did it left-handed or mirrored to the way you normally do it?

Do skill drills that are applicable to what you do, and maybe try new ones you hadn't seen before you stumble across online.

Stay in touch with your teachers, your fellow classmates, your mentors, and your students.

Don't let our community wither and die, and don't let something that is very important to you go by the wayside because things are hard.

This won't last forever. And we'll be together again sooner than we think.

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