“Dear students and parents,
In light of the situation with the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, I am committed to running our academy in a manner that conforms to our states health guidance. Key features of guidance call for physical separation of at least 6 feet and gatherings limited to 10 people for sensitive populations. At face value, it appears near impossible to learn a martial art/sport that requires close physical proximity between students. However, I am convinced that I can structure an effective program where students are learning in a way that conforms with guidance, is socially responsible and…well…fun. So in response to this situation, we are debuting a new no contact and social distancing BJJ program.
If you are scanning this letter, note that we have a new but temporary class schedule posted on our website. Class days have not changed and are mostly around the same time, but there are minor changes.
Features and protective measures of our new social distancing and no contact BJJ program:
- I will limit the class size to 10 students. Given our current enrollment/attendance in our kids and juniors programs, I do not anticipate being full in any class. If it is a problem, I will add more classes and adapt our schedule. Our adults attendance is higher, so we will have slightly shorter classes of only 1 hour with more classes per day. These measures are effective immediately.
- The mat will be divided into a checkerboard grid and each student will have their own space of about 120 square feet to ensure proper physical distancing. In all programs, we will begin with solo exercises such as burpees, push-ups, in place hip escapes, sit outs, bridges, break-falls ect. Members will report to a square upon arriving. This is effective beginning on the PM classes on Monday, March 16th.
- We have purchased grappling dummies for the entire academy. I will instruct the technique/drill using my own dummy, and the students will replicate. While some movements are more difficult with grappling dummies, others are better and allow for more repetition. The younger the student, the more true this is. The juniors class is going to master some of the basic submissions on them! The grappling dummies are easily sanitized after each use. Our first batch arrives tomorrow with more coming mid week.
- For kids and adults we will be incorporating video analysis in absence of sparring. I will show high level Jiu-Jitsu matches and break down the strategy and techniques. We will also be covering IBJJF rules in greater detail and some lessons will be exclusively devoted to greater understanding of the rules. At the high level, they are remarkably subtle.
- Parents and spectators will wait in their vehicle to limit the number of people in the room at any one time. Parents will be able to minor the class on our live stream. Wifi may be available on request. For kids, I will send the students out one at a time at the end of class once I see your car and make eye contact.
- Each class will be live-streamed. For the juniors and kids, this will just be a static wide shot with audio simply so parents can supervise the class. We can read your comments in class on the big screen! For our adults class, we have been putting on produced live streams and will continue to do so. This allows people who can not make it to class/feel uncomfortable/work with sensitive populations to still partake in the class. The greater Jiu-Jitsu community has also been tuning in and it has been a nice outlet for people all around the world.
- We have purchased two medical grade air purification systems. Since viruses are 0.1 micron in size and HEPA can only filter to 0.3 microns, more advanced purification was needed. These units effectively purify the air down to 0.003 microns and are running at only 80% of the rated room capacity allowing more rapid cycling of the air. Our primary defense is physical separation between students and limiting class size, but this is an additional protective measure. Best case is that they arrive on Tuesday.
- We will perform a common sense health screening prior to each class. Any student showing signs of any illness will not be permitted to attend. This is independent of the commonly reported symptoms of Coronavirus. This includes coughing, runny nose, sneezing, congestion, fever ect. Unfortunately, especially for the younger students, this might mean they are not permitted to attend class that day. It is an especially uncomfortable situation for me to say “no” to what may indeed be a only allergy. Please don’t be upset as I have the responsibility of all the students and greater community in my hands. If you (adults) or your child (for kids/juniors) has any symptoms or has an allergy cough/sneeze, please remain home.
- The academy has already been undergoing a rather extensive cleaning prior to each class this week. We will continue to sanitize all surfaces, chairs, handles ect to the extent you have been seeing (and smelling!) the past week. Hand sanitizer prior to class is required and is provided.
- Buffer time in between classes. This is to ensure no contact between the classes as people are coming and going and allows for time to clean grappling dummies and other surfaces. Our new schedule is viewable in the “schedule” section of our website. I am making updates to the site to reflect the latest information after this email is sent out.
On a more personal note, the current situation is very threatening to our viability as a business. Our industry was hit particularly hard due to the nature of our sport and we have not been spared. We have received a tremendous amount of “on holds” and cancellations in an extremely short period of time. Its financial shock value is large. In only the time it took to write this email, I received a non trivial number of these emails. This is completely understandable and reasonable given the situation. While I resolve to not allow this to happen and have taken as many steps as possible to reduce the likelihood of this outcome, there is a possibility that there will be no academy to come back to after a temporary hold. If your financial situation allows for the continued support of our academy it goes a long way in getting us through the difficult times ahead.