Tag Archives: bjj and covid-19

What Will the Covid Vaccine Mean for BJJ Gyms?

Vaccines are starting to be distributed, hooray! I know some people are concerned about exactly what is in the vaccine, but frankly I think about some of the places where yI’ve trained, or competitions I’ve attended where people will walk barefoot into the bathroom… I’m not that worried about something that was created in a sterile, lab environment.

While it may seem like that is the end of the story, you just get your two shots and then you’re done, unfortunately I think it’s going to be a little more complicated than that. I know there is some concern that those who are vaccinated will be more likely to be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, which can put more vulnerable students at risk.

While the hope is that everyone is vaccinated by the end of the year, it’s January…. that’s a long time to not allow people to train, especially after the previous 9 months, and ESPECIALLY when there is a part of the population that has been vaccinated. I’m wondering then how gyms and academies will handle this: will they still require social distancing and masks? Will they separate classes based on those who have been vaccinated and those who have not? There are also some people out there who don’t want the vaccination- how are those people handled?

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no simple, easy answer for this. Some academies may go for a more complicated logistical approach, some may continue with social distancing and other pre-vaccine protocols. It’s going to vary for different gyms, and there’s really no “one size fits all” solution. It’s going to take some time and we’re just going to have to feel it out- I would say think about what you are comfortable with, and if that is something different than what your coach or instructor has in mind, tell them and hopefully you guys can work something out.

That’s all for now- have a great day everyone!

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Getting Back to Jiu Jitsu: It Takes Courage and Grit

I logically understood the courage it took to get back to jiu jitsu after taking some time off, but when we were able to train, I fully appreciated the guts it takes for someone to get back to jiu jitsu.

Almost every time someone comes back from jiu jitsu it’s because they took some time off to focus on their family or career, or (unfortunately) to deal with some sort of injury or other personal issue. After some time the siren song of jiu jitsu gets them back into the gym, which is great. It is a little however like trying to go through a choreographed dance after years of not practicing it: you’ll remember bits and pieces, but you’ll feel clumsy and your timing is off. Still, people still take all of this and make an effort to persevere.

Over the summer gyms were open to some extend and we were able to attend classes, and man it was rough: feeling out of shape for jiu jitsu, clumsy, the frustration of knowing that you understand how to do something, that you used to do it all the time but your body will not cooperate. And that’s hard for a lot of people- we like to be good at things, and we especially hate when we used to be good at something and now we’re not.

We’re back to a full lockdown now for the time being, but when gyms open back up, I have to say it will take a lot of courage and grit for people to come back. We will, it will suck, and then it will get better. Keep this experience in mind the next time someone comes back to jiu jitsu after all of this covid craziness is over: it’s going to suck for them, but it took a lot of courage for them to get back to the gym and it will continue to take some grit for them to keep continuing, and that should be respected.

That’s all I have for now- have a great day everyone!

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Will BJJ Survive Covid?

It’s a valid question: we’ve seen or heard about a lot of schools shutting down due to Covid restrictions, so it’s a concern and fear for a lot of people. Some may see this as a moot point, since vaccines are on their way, but considering the spacing of the vaccines and overall availability, the sport could take a hit over the next few months as cases rise.

We have to keep in mind that this was a martial art and sport that started in garages, and also it’s a sport full of stubborn people. As long as there are at lease two people with a desire to roll on the ground in some fancy thick pajamas, jiu jitsu will survive. At worst in some areas it may need to be paused in some areas, or there could be a shake up in terms of available academies where one can train. This is also a sport though that for some time was practiced in garages. While IBJJF has added a level of legitimacy to academies, that’s really more of a concern for people that want to compete in their tournaments. For a very large portion of the jiu jitsu population, most just want to train without dreams of making it to an IBJJF podium. In that case, a lot of these schools can basically go “underground” while we try to rebuild as the vaccine becomes more available.

lt’s a stressful time to be sure, especially for a lot of small school owners as they are unsure about their future. As a whole though, I think jiu jitsu in general will weather the pandemic and we will be back to trying to choke the living daylights out of one another at some point.

Have a great day everyone!

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Hello Lockdown, My Old Friend…

Well, here in Philadelphia we had a good run of relaxed restrictions when it came to gatherings, going to the gym, etc. Unfortunately due to a stark climb in cases over the past few weeks, starting this Friday we will be back to more severe restrictions- which includes a ban on indoor gyms.

Whomp, whomp.

As I mentioned before, this is a complicated issue when it comes to whether or not it’s the right call: on the one hand, it’s an effective way to slow the spread of the virus, ensuring those who are more vulnerable to contracting and dying from it are kept safe. On the other hand, I know that jiu jitsu and physical activity can be a comfort for many in uncertain times, and is seen as a form of therapy for some, such as military vets who suffer from PTSD. Also, there were some studies that suggested those in poor health were more likely to die from the virus, and so it would make sense to continue with physical activity to avoid that. And, not to mention that a lot of small gym owners will have to shut their doors with no guarantee that they will open again. In a perfect world there would be enough funding and maybe even some rent freezes to support these gyms as they weather this lockdown, along with supplementary services for those who have been dealing with anxiety and other issues with jiu jitsu- not exactly how this has all played out but as I said, perfect world scenario.

The ban is supposed to start this Friday and go through January 1st, 2021: hopefully the city will see a drop in cases over the next 6 weeks and we can try to reopen again. In the meantime I might try to put a gi on my dog and work on how to deal with a super squirmy opponent….

Have a great day everyone!

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For Those Getting Back to Training: Be Kind to Yourself

So, I’m not sure what it’s like at the moment in your city, state or country, but for some of us particularly on the East Coast, restrictions are slowly starting to lift and we are getting back to some semblance of training. Yay!

I and several other people have made jokes about going back to the gym and training and basically destroying our bodies. While that to some extent will be true for everyone that had to take some time off, we should also remember to be kind to our bodies: we collectively spent months either attempting to compensate for our lack of jiu jitsu through a variety of other activities in our own homes or with some version of social distancing, or simply not working out but rather taking care of our families and loved ones, or even yet trying to navigate unemployment and other hardships that were brought on by the virus.

For those who can go back to training at this time, great! Please sure to do so as responsibly as possible: I imagine your academy has come up with some safety protocol to keep everyone as safe as possible. Another thing is to make sure to be kind to yourself. As I mentioned we spent this time either trying to compensate for not doing jiu jitsu, or outright not doing anything workout related at all (and for good reason): and as we say, the one thing that’s going to make you better at jiu jitsu, is more jiu jitsu. And as tempting as it is to go whole hog, and try to do “all the things(!!)”, that’s just a recipe for disaster, and may keep you on the side lines for a while as you recover from some injury due to over-enthusiasm.

It can be difficult to be sure, but practice a little self restraint, give yourself some time to ease back into jiu jitsu and I’m sure that you’ll be back to your old schedule in no time.

That’s it for now: have a great day everyone!

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Life in the Times of No Jiu Jitsu

So in our little corner of the world (by that meaning Philadelphia County), gyms are still not allowed to open. More western parts of the state have begun to reopen, including allowing jiu jitsu gyms to resume operations, but the original “green phase” (the state organized their phases of restriction in color categories: red, yellow and green) start date for Philadelphia was originally July 6th has been postponed to August 1st.

It’s definitely been trying, if I’m being totally honest: I’m lucky enough to have a job at this point, one that hasn’t been furloughed, one where I can work from home and even one that was lucky enough to receive the small business funding needed to keep our payroll going. On the flip side of that I have also been working anything between 10 to 12 hour days to keep operations going when others on our staff had reduced hours or shifting responsibilities to keep the business going.

That being said, and maybe some of you are in the same position which is pretty much the only reason I’m saying it, to share in commiseration: life without jiu jitsu leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of us use jiu jitsu as a means of stress relief, of active meditation, a means to pull ourselves into the here and now, which gives us an opportunity to approach a problem with a fresh perspective. While some of these things can also be achieved with yoga, meditation, a run, there’s also the sense of community that you miss when you aren’t able to see the people that you roll around on the floor with as you attempt to choke one another.

As awful as it may sound though I still think it’s a necessary measure: we all have had our teammates sweat on us, and while we seem to be at a place where we have some grasp on the virus and what it does, it feels like new information is being released practically every other day so there’s still a LOT we don’t know. We need to work together to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, even if it means wearing a mask in public and even for the time being not doing jiu jitsu in an area ripe for an outbreak.

I sincerely hope we’ll be able to hold the August 1st start of Philadelphia’s green phase. I can’t totally recall how that is evaluated, but there needs to be a continuing downward trend in cases, with x amount of cases per x amount of people in the area.

Anyway, I hope you and yours are keeping safe, and have a good day everyone.

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Getting Acclimated to the New (Tenporary) Normal…

It’s been kind of a wild ride the past couple of weeks- everything has been shut down, people trying to figure out how to keep drilling with themselves or with their partner.

I do really appreciate and admire the ingenuity of the jiu jitsu community: so many people are posting the ways they are looking to improvise and adapt to this new reality. It’s also heartwarming to know that so many people are encouraging others to stay home- which sounds strange, but it’s great to see that there are so many people looking to flatten the curve and protecting one another. Granted, there are some that aren’t so altruistic…. but I’m choosing not to focus on those people.

What are some changes you have made to your life in this new, temporary normal? Are you running more? Have you made a grappling dummy friend? Or multiple (seriously, I saw someone online had made several grappling dummies. Hey, whatever gets you through this).

Let me know- otherwise stay safe and have a good day!

 

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Jiu Jitsu in a Time of Quarantine

It’s a strange time to be alive, to be sure. As the number of confirmed cases continue to climb, many jiu jitsu¬†academies have closed their doors in the past few weeks in order to slow the spread of covid-19.

First and foremost everyone, just stay home. While this virus may not be the death of you, it certainly could be for someone who is over the age of 60, or is possibly immunocompromised, either due to genetics, some auto immune disease, or as by product of something else, like chemo patients who are fighting off cancer.

So what to do? Well as I mentioned before, Bernardo Faria has been offering a free video for people to sign up for, and a number of other more popular jiu jitsu practitioners have been offering the same. Additionally, a number of academies have been offering online virtual classes, and have been going through online classes/solo drilling sessions to keep everyone’s skills as sharp as they can be in this time. A quick look on social media will also show you the myriad of creative ways people are trying to drill and keep themselves active if you’re looking for

Also, there are a lot of dogs and cats out there who look like they should be at least one or two striped white belts by the time this is all over.

This is truly a strange time for all of us- I know it’s frustrating to have to stay inside, but it’s helping to slow down the virus and protect those in our community who otherwise vulnerable and cannot afford to get sick.

That’s all for now folks- stay safe and make the most of today!

 

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What To Do When Your Academy (Temporarily) Shuts Down

A lot of academies are shutting down for a couple of weeks as covid-19, or the coronavirus makes its way through the states. If you aren’t sure about the benefits of social distancing, there’s a great article with illustrations as to the benefits of social distancing. Will it stop the virus? No. Will it stagger the rate of infections and not overload our healthcare system? Absolutely.

So what to do if your academy is closed? Well believe it or not there are a number of resources still available for you. A number of academies are holding Facebook live sessions with their students (ours included), there are some people out there who are posting solo drills- I know the Ribeiro association is posting some solo drills with Gymnastica Natural, and even Bernardo Faria is offering a free video instructionals on his site.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, just visit bjjfanatics.com and use the code FARIAFREE to pick up a free instructional from him.

Otherwise, make sure you are staying active- if you are able to go outside and stay away from crowds/groups of people, by all means do so. If you can’t for some reason or another, I would suggest checking out those videos, and still attempt to do some bodyweight exercises (if you don’t have a home gym or weights at home) and don’t let the quarantine force you to slow down or hang out on the couch for two weeks. It will make it all the more difficult to get back to jiu jitsu- it’ll be like when you get back from Christmas vacation, but kind of worse in a way, because the weather’s going to be warmer and you won’t be able to hide the flub you acquired during these two weeks. Uncomfortable, but true.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great day everyone!

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