At least for now, we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
At Elite Dragon and with the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, we're working on our opening plans and operating rules for students and parents/observers so we can get back on the mat.
Elite Dragon is within a community center, so the timing is dependent upon when it opens, and that's going to be a few weeks away. But our leadership is working on operating rules that make sense with the goal of getting our community back together again.
Luckily, Elite Dragon did not lose as many students as a lot of schools have during the crisis, mainly because we were very quick on getting classes back running virtually and there was already a very strong family atmosphere there to begin with.
Elite Dragon was hurt, but not killed. Super-grateful for that.
For the Kansas City Presas Arnis Meetup, we can meet in person immediately, if we want. We'll probably wait another week, because we're going to revamp the Meetup based on feedback we're getting from our members.
At the Meetup, we barely lost anyone, and we actually gained non-local participants! Friends around the country running virtual classes are reporting the same thing - that there's non-locals participating in their virtual sessions from all over the country.
Either way, I am only a few weeks away from actually seeing our students and training partners in person again!
Exciting times, indeed.
As for operating rules Presas Arnis, we're going to focus on non-contact drills (and yeah, this is one of those times that I'm very glad we do have forms - or anyos - to teach) and long-distance techniques. That means we can play sinawali (we play it at this level at long range) and we can do a lot of our standard drills, but we can't teach any locks or disarms or takedowns.
We'll probably shelve doing knife and empty hand work for a while, focusing in on sticks, and even doing some bangkaw - or staff - work.
We'll probably keep one virtual session going a week just to keep everyone connected no matter where they are for a while. We're working on a virtual session/in-person training plan for our out-of-town students, and we're working on maybe having a second in-person session at a different time/day of the week.
We also had some irons in the fire for a new formal class that we can start pursuing again, and I'm very much looking forward to getting that going.
For now, we have a trip planned to train in Texas in August, and unless things flare up again and make it impossible, we'll be making that trip (we'll be driving). Hopefully our missed Presas Arnis Camp in Texas in April will be rescheduled soon.
Things aren't going back to where they were. But we are getting closer to living a normal life again.
So what's your near martial arts future look like? Is your school reopening? What has been your experience in virtual classes? Let us know!