Dear SKF Dojo member, student, parent and wider community,
In short, we return to our Dojo starting back classes this Wednesday 2nd December as per pre lockdown2 Covid secure controls. Our timetable will resume as it was at the start of November prior to lockdown2 and we will also keep zoom going. We can also continue to stay open regardless of the tier that we may be in / move to.
The tiers and the rules are continuing to be very confusing so please have confidence in us that we know exactly what guidelines and responsibilities we have to follow to keep everyone safe at our Dojo. As mentioned previously Jacey is part of our governing body (WAKO GB) Covid working groups so he is getting all information clearly first hand to make sure we abide by and operate legally and safely.
If you would like to see the full WAKO GB Covid policy document it can be found here.
The short of this document;
So what does this means for our sport? Well, the Prime Minister announced Grassroots sport back on to help the nation stay fit & healthy
– Gyms open & amateur sport back on in all areas
– Kids team sport open in all areas
– Some mitigations for high contact sports & adults sport indoors
Basically, we can still operate in all three tier levels, however there will be differences in what can be allowed at each of the three levels
In Tier 1 (Medium) – The rule of six is not applicable to how we run kickboxing classes. Clubs can run organised classes that are non-contact and socially distanced for both adults and under 18s.
In Tier 2 (High) – Under current WAKO GB covid secure guidelines clubs can run organised classes that are non-contact and socially distanced for both adults and under 18s.
In Tier 3 (Very High) – Adults may train on a solo basis only. This means no indoor adult organised group activity is allowed and people can only work out in isolation e.g. bag-work or weight training. Classes for under 18s may continue.
If you are interested in further information I have copied and pasted at the end of this email WAKO GB’s post explaining where we are with respect to getting back to pad work or sparring.
All student lesson assignments remains the same as it was at the start of November prior to lockdown2. Should you wish to change a day / lesson please let us know so we can check availability.
As mentioned we will keep lessons on Zoom and will share with you in the next couple of days the full timetable, codes etc.
It is a great week for us to get back to our Dojo as it is stripe week so we can rewards all the kids for their hard work on zoom. For those in classes at the start of this week we will roll into awarding those stripes next week. This weeks lesson plan is also bag work so make sure you bring some gloves or you can get them from our new online KickShop.
All per our COVID secure controls we still have to keep our reception closed, please no ‘gathering’ spectating classes outside our shutter door and respect the parking with our other neighbouring businesses.
Our Dojo will closed for our annual Christmas break (Last classes) Saturday 19th December. But we have a number of events planned to see out the year including our Winter Course and a Zoom Party & Quiz.
Thank you to all our members, parents and wider community for your continued support. These are especially challenging times but we remain stronger together.
Peace, respect, hope all is well and catch up soon
Jacey, Lauren, the Cashman girls and of course Bruce
Further information from WAKO GB;
I just wanted to take this opportunity to explain where we are with respect to getting back to pad work or sparring. Whilst the rule of six recognises that social distancing may be compromised during play, it expects sports to mitigate for this risk and document an action plan demonstrating its mitigations and how it plans to operate. This “plan” must then be submitted to government (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) for review by DCMS and if required, by Public Health England. This process is documented under the government’s return to recreational team sport framework.
The site lists all of the sports that have been approved to return and is why you will see grassroots sports such as football, rugby, basketball, gymnastics all back and not adhering to 2m social distancing during training or competitive play. Combat sports such as Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, Wrestling and ourselves are not yet approved.
Under the Governments framework, I submitted our Return to Kickboxing (RTK) guidance document at the beginning of October. We received the following reply:
“We know that sport and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health. Martial arts are able to resume on a non-contact basis so long as they are done in alignment with Government guidance on group sizes, social distancing and venues. The Government is in discussions with representatives from martial arts governing bodies about the steps required to restart contact safely” – DCMS, 6th October
We followed up with an amended version at the beginning of November in response to the introduction of three tiers in England and the 5 Tier system in Scotland. DCMS acknowledged the submission and replied with:
“Thank you for getting in touch. I have passed this onto the team – however, as you state, contact sports are still to be approved for return to play. We will continue to work with the sport to allow its return as soon as possible. Please continue to refer to gov.uk for the latest guidance” – DCMS, 9th November
It is a slow process and looking at England Boxing FAQ’s I can see that they had their meeting in July, submitted at the beginning of August and yet still not approved. I am firmly of the opinion that kickboxing can return safely and that the risks from pad work and sparring can be mitigated effectively by the protocols we have in place. I know this because our under 12’s in Scotland have been allowed to do contact since August and the introduction of the new 5 tier system introduced on the 2nd November now enables Scottish clubs to do contact with all under 18’s in tiers 3 and below.
Whilst I understand the logic that being indoors, face-to-face, under 2m with increased levels of respiration does increase the risk of transmission. I am also of the opinion that the risks involved are no greater than other indoor sports that have already been approved, basketball being a case in point.
The government have assured me they are “in discussions with representatives from martial arts governing bodies“, however it’s not clear what the status is or if any progress is being made. Since August I have made repeated requests for updates to DCMS but to no avail. Rest assured I am continually trying to push our case and with the publication of the winter plan I have now requested further clarification from DCMS on what the rule of six in Tier 1 means for kickboxing.
In addition to seeking clarification from DCMS I have now reached out to all Sports England recognised NGB’s that have striking as a part of their sporting discipline and therefore looked upon by the government as a “combat sport”. The letter (supported by our Return to Kickboxing Guidance document) summarises our experience of the pandemic so far and our interaction with the Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport. The purpose of this is to compare notes across the sector so as to get a clearer picture of what everyone understands the government strategy to be going forward. Whilst I have yet to get any responses, I am hoping we may get some good news or at the very least initiate a call for action from all the NGB’s currently impacted by this restriction on combat sports.
In the meantime it’s business as usual – non contact – 2m distancing.
Stay disciplined, stick to the guidelines, we will get there…
WAKO GB Lead Safeguarding Officer