Hello there, I hope you're all doing well and staying safe, still.
It’s fair to say it's been the most bizarre of times recently but hopefully we're getting through okay and starting to see a little bit of normality coming back into our daily lives.
I suppose like many people when covid-19 broke out and the restrictions and guidelines came into effect, my first thought was the safety of my family and friends and about adhering to the guidelines to stay safe.
After this initial shock and different kind of normal, my thoughts then drifted to the other things in my life if that I enjoy doing, and one of these was karate.
Like many other students within our club and karateka everywhere, going to the dojo regularly had become a way of life and was an excellent opportunity to socialise with friends and peers, channel my energies and get rid of the stresses of the day and also to try and push myself further through sparring, intense training drills and practicing kata.
I guess it ironic that sometimes you don't miss things quite so much until they're taken away from you, and I don't know what it felt like for everyone else, but this is what it felt like for me.
So, after the initial period of uncertainty we were lucky enough as a club to get together and be able to practice and put our Gi and belts back on, albeit within the restrictions of our own home, gardens and wherever else we could find a small space.
I don't know about you but just to be able to put your GI or your belt on is quite symbolic of what we practice and helps to immediately put myself into that mindset and ready for training.
Being able to do some training remotely meant that we could all stay in touch with each other which was very important during the period of isolation and also the chance for us to keep doing what we enjoy, albeit limited.
It's fair to say that I don't think I'm the only one who was worried that the police were going to be called when passers-by walked past my house and heard me & my daughter kiai-ing and jumping around like we were in a moshpit!
As lockdown restrictions were eased there was a lot of hard work behind the scenes by sensei’s and senior students in relation to thinking about and preparing for a way in which we could get back training at the dojo in a safe and appropriate manner, to make sure that we were getting back to doing what we love while staying safe and keep him each other safe.
To say there was a buzz around our first training session back at the dojo and subsequent ones would be an understatement. Whilst going back to the dojo and training differently (as in social distancing, sanitising, temperature checks and all the other things that have been assessed) was necessary, for me it was a very exciting time and to be honest, a bit of a relief.
The effort and spirit shown by the students and also our instructors (and even parents and carers coming along to the sessions) has been heart-warming and must have been very rewarding for our sensei’s knowing that whilst they undertake their roles free of charge and through generosity of spirit, they are matched by their students in commitment to do their very best.
As one of the more senior students it's also so great to see new students coming into the club and I feel it always gives the dojo a lift and a little extra buzz to have new people coming to our club, and I hope and I'm sure that they are feeling welcomed and supported.
One thing I am sure about is how happy I am and other students are to be back in the dojo and irrespective of what lies ahead in this very ‘unique’ time, the one thing I do know for certainty is that the commitments and spirit we have at our club is excellent and I'm absolutely made up for us all to be back.
Stay safe everyone and take care.