Safety, Health, and COVID-19 Policies
Last update: September 8 2022
An old sensei of mine -- who earned his black belt in the full contact Kyokushin system, and was also a US Marine Corps veteran, so no softy -- once warned us against carelessness about injuries in our training, saying "Karate should build you up, not tear you down."
It is important that we challenge ourselves without causing long-term damage to our bodies. There's no point in learning self-defense against an attacker, if we then do as much damage to ourselves in class as an attacker would do on the street.
And we're recently been reminded that muscle, bone, and joint injuries aren't the only risks in martial arts training. Our training involves close contact with each other, which means a certain inherent risk of spreading colds, flu, and even covid.
With that in mind, we have put in place the following health and safety rules. Participants are expected to follow them at all times, and may be suspend or permanently removed from class for failure to abide by them.
As of Summer 2022, we are entering "the new normal" regarding our COVID-19 policies. We believe that the situation has stabilized, moving from pandemic to endemic; and that over the next few years, while there may be small improvements in vaccines and treatments, there are unlikely to be any large changes in the situation. It's time to adopt policies for the long term rather than to think of ourselves as being in a temporary emergency.
- YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY. Participation is at your own risk.
- You are responsible for the safety of your training partners. Pay full attention to what you are doing. Follow the instructions you are given. If you do not understand the instructions, ask rather than putting your partner or yourself at risk.
- Practice the techniques and drills your instructor has taught you. Do not attempt more advanced techniques and drills, for which you may not fully understand the risk.
- Free sparring (jiyu kumite) practice is restricted to students green belt and above, with additional safety rules including mandatory protective gear. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ALL OF YOUR GEAR, YOU DO NOT SPAR.
- If you come to class with a significant injury, or sustain an injury during class, you must inform your instructor. POSSIBLE CONCUSSIONS OR ANY SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS TO THE HEAD MUST BE REPORTED WITHOUT EXCEPTION, INCLUDING THOSE OCCURRING OUTSIDE OF CLASS.
- We will strive to work around any injury or training limitation, to allow you to benefit from training without aggravating an injury.
- IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME. In the "old days", it may have been seen as a sign of strength to push through illness and continue training. But we've learned that it's best to keep your germs to yourself. If you have a fever, or a persistent cough, sneezing, or runny nose not attributable to allergies, we'll miss you but please take a break, rest up, get healthy, and don't spread the germs.
- If you are "not sick but under the weather" or "might be coming down with something" or "it's probably just allergies", we ask that if you choose to train, you wear a face covering to reduce the potential risk of viral transmission. Disposable "surgical masks" are probably best for this, with a balance of protection while not obstructing breathing too much.
- You may always choose to wear a face covering in class for respiratory protection without question.
- If you have been ill, are coming off of a quarantine or isolation period, or have some other special situation, let us know, and we will temporarily exempt you from close partner work. However, in the long term, partner work is an expected part of training.