The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of us in a variety of ways. Families had to figure out how to turn parts of their homes into offices and classrooms so the rest could still be a place to relax and unwind. Healthcare workers had to work overtime caring for patients, whether infected with the virus or not. Large gatherings were discouraged, so any celebrations in 2020 had to be low-key with a limited guest list.
Some establishments were able to adapt, such as businesses moving their teams to their homes so they could work remotely, and restaurants allowing a limited number of diners to eat in or opening outdoor seating. Martial arts schools, too, were able to adapt, whether by holding outdoor classes, or using videos to teach, say, Aikido basics for beginners. Now, with more and more people getting vaccinated, more and more places are slowly opening up – with appropriate health protocols still in place, of course.
The pandemic isn’t over yet, though. So if you were considering learning a martial art like Aikido, how should you go about it?
Look at Health Protocols
First things first: you’ll want to sign up at a dojo that requires students and teachers alike to wear face masks, not to mention cleans surfaces like the floor and practice mats in between classes. If that same dojo limits class sizes so that there’s no crowding and offers online learning options, too, then it’s even more likely to be a good choice.
Some schools may even require all people to enter the building through only one entrance and leave by a single exit, for better monitoring. While this isn’t a must, it should have some bearing on your final choice.
Accept Any Changes to the Curriculum
If you’ve already signed up at a particular school and there have been some changes to the lessons to allow for certain protocols, do your best to not get upset and leave in search of another school. Changes such as weapons-only classes or shortened class times to allow for thorough cleaning in between sessions are for the health and safety of everyone involved.
If you really want to learn hand-to-hand techniques that don’t involve weapons, ask your school if they offer online classes for those. As you may have already guessed, you won’t have a partner to practice the techniques with, so it may take you longer to learn them.
If there’s anything to take away from having to learn Aikido during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with slowing down and relishing each moment. Aikido involves a physical connection with a practice partner that could be seen as intimate. Even without that partner, however, you’ll need to become more familiar with your own energy, eventually discovering new things and becoming more intimate with your being.
That’s not a bad trade-off, especially since that newfound intimacy with the self can help you move better and with more intention when you’re able to practice with a partner again.