Excuse Me, Have You Seen My Dojo?

Most people have been adversely affected by COVID-19 over the past six to eight months. Either their finances or their jobs have been affected, people unable to pay their mortgages or rental fees, not to mention the poor souls who have contracted the virus and those who have unfortunately succumbed to it. Some areas of Canada have been doing fine, with the virus practically non-existent. Other areas haven’t been so lucky (like Ontario and Quebec).

But some of the smaller things can have a big impact on a person’s day-to-day life as well. For myself, one of the biggest losses I’ve suffered throughout the pandemic is the closing of the karate school I frequent. Although fortunate and grateful that my job, finances and home have not been affected and that no one in my family has contracted COVID-19, Tuesdays and Thursdays bring about a reminder that not only do I no longer have a dojo to train in, but the world is a long way from returning to normal.

Riding on the coat tails of yesterday’s post, the colder weather has had a profound effect on my level of motivation. Every joint in my body has started to ache every morning, thanks to 32 years of intensive training that’s caused wear and tear on almost everything. My feet are cold due to lack of circulation, thanks to Type-1 Diabetes. My sleep has always been horrible, but it’s all the worse now, with the fact that the sun doesn’t rise for almost an hour AFTER my alarm goes off.

All in all, the cold weather and pandemic have had a profound effect on my level of fitness and motivation. It’s already starting to be too cold for extended bicycle rides, even if I could sneak in a short one here and there in the afternoons. And with the renovation of our basement starting in a couple of weeks, we’ve started to move most of our belongings from the basement to the garage, thereby taking away my little “at home dojo” that I recently wrote about. I’ve also started to indulge in morning naps when my 1-year old takes his (my 5-year old is gone to school), which is a terrible habit to get into as my body has come to expect it. It’s gonna suck when I go back to regular work!

Can I train at home? Absolutely. DO I train at home? Most certainly. But there’s a lot to be said for training in the dojo environment. Not only to you get to feed off everyone’s else energy and motivation, thereby increasing your own, there’s a camaraderie that one gets to enjoy that can’t be found elsewhere. Unlike working out in a gym or by yourself, social interaction within the dojo is basically a requirement. Although not impossible, it’s quite difficult to train for an entire class without interacting with at least a few of your classmates.

The selfish side of me is disgruntled at the fact my dojo has remained closed throughout all of this. Considering the dojo runs on the school schedule and schools have let in, and the few students we have ensures a better chance at social distancing and lower percentage of contracting the virus than most classroom settings currently have, in some ways it makes little sense. The sensible side of me understands that a karate school is a far cry from being a “necessary service,” and that it would be an unnecessary risk to allow classes to resume.

There are some sources that have expressed that the world may factually never completely return to normal and that social distancing practices will become the new standard. If this is so, perhaps the dojo will never reopen. That would truly be heart-breaking, as it could mean the severe decline of modern martial arts and the possibilities that some arts may be lost. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I need to find my own motivation and continue to forge ahead, feeling that small twinge of loss every week when Tuesdays and Thursdays roll around. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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