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Article #8 Training During Covid-19

Publication date: 28th November 2020

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A year ​can be a short time in our lives, a week can be a long time in politics, and in martial arts...even a few seconds can feel like an eternity.

Twelve months ago, no-one I knew could have predicted the world we are currently in. There have always been challenges, but we as a human race have rose to those challenges. However, there are many reasons why this current crisis is worse than anything we have faced. I say that with the greatest of respect to those who fought in wars, recent or long ago. Indeed, my grandfather fought in World War II for the British Army even though he was born in Southern Ireland. He was also called John, and I wonder what he would have made of this state of affairs.

The news and media outlets want us to live in fear. It is a long time since I paid any attention to the news. Honest reporting and critical journalism that fought to have the truth read out on television and radio has been replaced with presenters who are there to give you their opinion. 

This is not right. This is not news.

 

My aim with this article is to simply give you my view of things, and you are free to take that view and disagree with it. In contrast, the news outlets present their 'news' as incontrovertable fact.

 

It is my view that gyms and many other businesses - sole traders to SME's  have risen to the challenge admirably. They are probably cleaner and more hygienic than they have ever been, and yet they have been closed, reopened and closed again.  I myself was looking forward to resuming teaching in early December, but as the local area (and much of the country) has been placed into Tier 3, teaching is suspended for the time being. I cannot visit students, and they cannot visit me.

Is this madness? It is not for me to say. From a professional standpoint, I do believe that exercise is incredibly important - physical as well as mental. The mental health of the nation is being challenged like never before. Do 'the powers that be' understand this? Do they care? Based on their behaviour, the answer has to be a resounding no.

Anyone who trains with me or reads my books on the subject of martial arts know that I see our ability to fight effectively at the time of need as a by-product of the training. Of course you learn how to fight - that's what you are paying for. But personal training is so much more than that, and if any of you reading this have never had a one-to-one lesson with a professional martial arts instructor, it really is one of the best investments you can make with both your time and your money. Of course, standards will vary, so do your research.

When the first lockdown happened in March of this year, we were told it was intended to 'flatten the curve.' British people are know for keeping calm and carrying on, so under these restrictions, that is exactly what we did. I offered video teaching to those who wanted to avail themselves of it, and I could see an endgame, so I encouraged students to keep on with their diligent practise.

However, I remain aware that martial arts was not one of the top priorities for some students, though it certainly had its place. There would be family commitments and work projects. With everything turning to a home-office based solution, many students were working longer hours. The quality family time was strained because once you get used to being around each other, it is possible you start to get on each other's nerves. The first lockdown tested even the strongest of relationships, and indeed, many relationships were ended during lockdown, suggesting the perceived bond was not as strong as one particular party thought.

The important thing then, as it is now, is to make the best of an extremely challenging situation. Some people may not think they have any more mental energy to throw at 2020, and I understand and empathise with that view. 

Many self-employed people do not want any government 'help' - which they will end up paying for anyway. It's almost become an arena with which to cause division between public and private sector workers, along with the self employed.

I retain the view that the government's response to this crisis has been overblown. There was a case for strong measures back in March 2020, but not now. A government that has the temerity to allow us to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones? A putrid opposition that has no answers to the crisis themselves, and exists only to support the government's position when it suits them. 

 

If anyone has illusions about Parliament being there to serve the electorate, I take it you now view those said illusions as shattered?

 

I deal with real people. Students. Friends. Family. I do not post my views on scoial media as I do not want to get into the rights and wrongs of the matter. I also know there are things I do not know that the government and scientists are privy to.

That doesn't change the fact that I am right in many instances where they are wrong. Further, I would be happy to be challenged on my viewpoint, whereas the Government are blocking any challenge to their narrative, which unfortunately is being peddled out around the clock by the media.

As mentioned at the top of this article, we face challenges all the time. The reason we tend to overcome them is because we are strong, determined, focussed and resourceful. Have you noticed that when the boss is away from work you were actually more efficient? All one ever needed from a manager was guidance and support. As an adult you were employed so that you could then get on with the projects required for the betterment of the organisation.

When we vote in elections, we are employing our members of parliament. Given that your M.P. may have voted for the stringent measures that have affected a countless number of businesses, do make sure that you write to them and tell them clearly that if they continue to act in accordance with the government and not in the wishes of their constituents, inform them that you see no reason why they should get your vote at the next election. To those of you who believe that tired old trope 'well if you don't vote for us, the other lot will get in'....you know that over the recent crisis (Brexit) and the current one (Covid-19) there is no difference between the main two parties. In Scotland, the situation is even worse, but perhaps the lesson there is to not vote for a single issue party, because the SNP haven't got a handle on anything else.

 

As I wrote in my first book, martial arts was and is the answer. our training will continue, whether with me in a one to one or digital setting, or you will carve a new path for your martial arts journey. 

Martial arts training transcends anything our politicial masters would have you believe. It gives us focus, energy and the kind of mental strength these fat cats will never understand. A Health Secretary with no health background. A Sports Minster with no sporting prowess. These are the people affecting the mental and physical wellbeing of millions of people in this country. 

This, you already know, so I will end this article and let you get back to your training!

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