Training In the Time of COVID-19 Pt. 5
So here in the United States, in a lot of places, there are now plans to re-open businesses over the next few weeks or so and phasing out the strict stay-at-home orders that are in place.
My county in the Kansas City metro area is opening in phases, with the first phase starting on Monday. We have a few weeks to go before things like martial arts can start back up again, but it's not that far away now.
Like a lot of martial arts instructors, we're trying to figure out what we're going to do and how we're going to return to live training.
As much as I want to get back on the mat, I'm sorta taking this slow.
For one, our classes are hosted by other people. I'm pretty sure we can get the Meetup up and running pretty quickly, but the classes at Elite Dragon are still to be determined. So we're kind of restricted by what THEIR plans are.
Second, we do have drills where we don't have to get very close to each other but we are quickly reaching a point where we're running out of that material. It's been a problem of what to teach during virtual training, and while we can maintain social distancing with some drills (like sinawali played at long range), eventually, we're going to have to get in close because that's what martial arts IS.
Third, we want to make sure we have plenty of things in place to help keep things as clean as possible. That includes rules such as not training while you're feeling at all under the weather as well as considering if we need to ask folks to wear masks (which frankly, is a little difficult, but could be done). We haven't worked all those out yet.
Four, we learned a lot with virtual training and are seeing a place for it in what we do. The logistics/cost/schedule of this is still being worked out but it's showing a lot of promise (and given we teach out of our basement, the commute is awesome).
As an aside, I am STILL not convinced video training is as good as in-person training, but having it as something to help supplement training until you get together in person is fine. After seven weeks of doing it, I am convinced that if you do distance learning in the martial arts, it has to be individuals/very small groups via a tool that allows two-way communication (there's tons of them out there relatively cheap or free) and ideally, recorded sessions for students to reference later.
BUT the virtual sessions have actually had us pick up some non-local students we didn't have before, which is kinda cool. We'd like to keep them engaged and training, so we definitely have to figure this distance thing out.
Finally, we have some folks we teach or train with who are at elevated risk, including myself (kidney disease), so we have to take that into account, and figure out how we keep them as safe as we can.
Yup, we have a lot of decisions to make, and it's not all within our control.
I've said before that Mr. Chick and I are extraordinarily lucky and privileged during this crisis, and that is still the case. We both have jobs and are secure in our place to live and putting food on the table. Our area was not as devastated by sickness/deaths due to COVID-19 as a lot of other places, and we are very grateful for that. None of our loved ones got sick, and I only personally know one person (thousands of miles away) who got sick (and is recovering).
It's kind of nice that we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of this thing (for now). Even if we have to maintain social distancing, I am very much looking forward to seeing students and training partners in person again!
Is your area going to open up to martial arts training soon? If so, what are your plans? Are you going to return to training, or wait a while? Let us know in the comments!