Social distancing in the dojo

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Just like every sport, martial arts has been affected by COVID-19.

Local academies have changed the way they operate, but students have been able to continue their training.

Grogan’s Academy of Martial Arts in Edwardsville allows only half of the people at the studio, and you have to sign up for your classes on their app. In between classes, they wipe down all the equipment that they used. There is green tape on the floor to signify where to stand. The green tape is six feet apart and practices social distancing. They let you decide if you want to wear a mask while you participate.

Liberty students Frank Jesse, Colton Schlemer, Nanako Gates, and Owen Hicks attend Grogan’s.

“No, it was not hard (to maintain social distance),” said Frank Jesse.

Seventh-grader Nanako Gates said, “It is easy for me to maintain, but other kids don’t know how much six feet is.”

Owen Hicks said, “Yes and no, we just did the same thing but spread out when we were in the dojo.”

At Myung’s in Glen Carbon, they practice social distancing and encourage people to wear masks. When they do sparring and self-defense, they are at a distance of six feet.

Martial arts helps with skills, like self-defense and awareness that are valuable and useful for the rest of your life.

Each academy had to change their curriculum to fit new health and safety guidelines. At Grogan’s instead of sparring they now do shadow sparring. Shadow sparring is where you stand in front of a mirror and you pretend that you are fighting yourself. For self-defense at Grogans you have to pretend that you are being attacked by someone, or if you have a sibling, they are your partner. At Myung’s they still do self-defense just at a distance.

Mr. Myung said, “[It’s] very hard to exhale while doing martial arts. The asthma people don’t come here anymore because they have to exhale hard.”

The student’s outlook on martial arts has not changed much, Nanako, for example said, “I have gotten a lot better at a lot of things because I have been here more often.”

Grogan’s has been doing Zoom classes since March. Myung’s has not done any Zoom or online classes. Mr. Myung said, “No, we don’t do online classes because I believe in education first, and discipline and manners second.”