On June 15th we re-opened our martial arts schools and started resuming classes. We had protocols and procedures in place that adhered to a safe and clean training environment per our local guidelines. Then just 4 short weeks later it all stopped. Our county re-adjusted their guidelines for businesses revoking our previous green-light to hold indoor classes, we had less than a day to respond to our current situation!
Due to the success of our friends on the east coast, we decided to move our in-person classes to our local parks. Guess what? Between offering training in the park and continuing our Zoom classes online, our students were ready and willing to make the transition with us.
Here are seven quick tips and advice for starting your own training in the park if you have been forced to re-close. Please check with your park and recreation department, liability insurance carrier, county, and any other required agencies before making this change to ensure you’re following all required regulations and guidelines.
- Acquire permits ahead of time, don’t wait. In order to move your classes to your local park you need to reach out to the park administration as soon as possible. Check the rules and regulations for the park and make sure you follow them.
- Keep sanitizing. Even though you are outside, it’s important to keep things clean and wiped down in-between uses. Treat the park like your school and continue sanitation and social distancing regulations.
- Survey the area. Make sure you know where there are holes, uneven ground, and dangerous tree roots so they can be avoided when planning out space where your students will train.
- Shoes on. Given the nature of the environment and terrain, having students wear closed-toed athletic sneakers is the best option. Bare feet may be exposed to rocks, glass, or even bee stings!
- Stay hydrated. Have students bring water bottles and give them breaks during class to stay well hydrated.
- Stay cool. Select areas of the park with ample shade and away from direct sunlight. Also consider holding class in the cooler times of day, mornings and evenings.
- Make this an opportunity to get NEW STUDENTS! People are in the park and looking for things to keep them busy during the pandemic. Why not invite them to join your program? Have flyers ready with information, or setup a makeshift front desk with a popup tent and a table and see who wants to join in!
Pivoting to training at the park certainly has been a change, but we’ve found the more we can adapt, the more opportunities arise to continue teaching martial arts. Parks may not be a long term solution, but for now it keeps our students moving forward and active. In the meantime continue to expect the unexpected, it’s after all what makes us resilient.
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