It finally came. The day we had all waited for. The studio has reopened for us to get back on the mat.
Now we can all take a deep sigh of relief… cautiously.
As we reopen and resume our martial arts training, what does it look like? Is it perfectly identical to the way it was before the pandemic: no restriction on distance, numbers of individuals in the space, or uniform requirements? Or are there modifications to your class: one partner per session, limited or no contact, constant applications of hand sanitizer and temperature checks?
Regardless of what our “new normal” looks like, we are all faced with the reality that combat sports and martial arts aren’t what they were six months ago. For some of us, this has been a hard transition.
How do we continue to do what we love when we can’t actually touch someone? No-touch takedowns sounds like a scene from a George Dillman instructional that got lost in your father’s attic (and for good reason).
For others, it has opened a few doors such as making us re-evaluate what is important.
Is the art itself the appealing factor, or is the camaraderie we share while training in it? During the down time, we may have found a way to increase our activity at home, like doing ten pushups, squats or shiko after every bathroom break.
As we resume, you have a few options.
If were you training to be the next IBJJF champion, or get into the Olympics, prior to the shutdown, get back on the path and stay the course. We will always have hurdles to jump, but we stay in the race. If you were getting ready to open your own dojo, now you have a fresh perspective of what’s in front of you. Take the necessary precautions and make it happen.
If those doors have now closed or your heart has changed about chasing them, you can always find a new path or a different goal. It might be to learn a new style (one you can do without a partner in case the virus comes back, just a thought). Or you share the principles you learned from your art with others through writing, podcasting, or vlogs. They have the potential to reach a larger audience and we can all learn from other perspectives.
Take this opportunity to change and grow. Epictetus once told one of his students to “Leave behind what is past. We must only begin.”
Today is a new journey, perhaps with a new destination. Don’t look back. Look ahead with gusto and get busy living.