Our school mantra, Pil-Sung, means “certain victory.” It’s a little ironic during a time like COVID-19 in which uncertainty seems to reign supreme. When the shutdown went into effect, we were faced with a challenge, and we had to adapt or disappear. Our belief that there is a victory to be had in every circumstance has helped carry us through one of the most trying times in the history of this school. I’m proud to proclaim that we aren’t simply surviving, we are emerging victorious, and are becoming even better because of the challenge.
I’m now happy to say that we are ready to re-open our doors. Here is what you can expect when you return to in-person training.
Entering the School
Before you come to the dojang, we ask that you do a self-check at home. Take your temperature, check to make sure you aren’t exhibiting symptoms, and if you are, please stay home.
When you arrive at the dojang, you will line up on marked x’s outside of the dojang and wait at a safe social distance. We will let everyone into the dojang one by one, do a quick temperature check, and ask a few quick health questions.
Once you get into the dojang, the locker rooms will be closed, so you will need to come already dressed and ready for training, including your mask or face covering. You will still need to bring a gym bag, but now it’s to put your shoes in. You will then place your gym bag in a designated area, go to a marked spot on the floor, have a seat, and wait for class to begin.
For now, parents will not be allowed into the lobby because I want to be able to keep as many students in the building as possible. Our occupancy will be limited for a while, and I would like to keep it that way for safety purposes. However, now that we are set up for it, parents will be able to watch class on their mobile devices because we will be live-streaming every class from now on in high definition!
We will also be streaming a Zoom class simultaneously. It may not be the same class that we’re doing live at the dojang, but we will have some cool stuff happening on the Zoom.
We have deep cleaned the dojang five times so far, even though the only people who have been in there have been me and the Zoom guys (our instructors).
We have been purchasing tons of PPE and sanitizer, and we even bought a new floor scrubber that sanitizes even better than our last one, which probably was good enough already.
There will be a sanitizing protocol in place for between classes. We made sure we built time into the schedule to accommodate that. All CDC and local government guidelines will be followed, so all high-contact surfaces and areas will be sanitized between every class, every time. All equipment that is used will be sanitized between classes as well.
We are going above and beyond when it comes to social distancing. Six feet is the recommended distance, but we’re making sure everyone will be at least ten feet apart. And even though at six feet masks aren’t required, we are going to require everyone to wear masks inside the dojang.
However, we are now able to do something I have always wanted to do. We have a large parking lot out back that is closed off, and we will now be using that to offer outdoor training.
We understand this has been a long process for everyone, and so when you return to class, we won’t be going at full clip. We want to ease everyone back into training. Unless you have been regularly participating in the virtual training with us, most students are going to return and need to shake off some cobwebs. We get that.
We don’t want anyone coming back, misremembering themselves as fierce Tae Kwon-Do warriors, and hurting themselves. So, we’re going to keep it low-key for a while, until we feel that people are ready.
For students who overdo it, we will have areas where they can take a seat, grab some water, catch their breath, and recover.
Safety is, as it has always been, our number one concern.
Training & Testing
We have sent links out to sign up for in-person classes. Please register as soon as possible to ensure your choice of classes.
For the time being, we will not be able to allow any contact-sparring. But, we understand the importance of sparring in terms of keeping your ring generalship, and your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities up. So, we have devised a way to do shadow-sparring with each other.
As far as getting rank and testing, we understand that under the COVID curriculum, the testing is not as strong as it should be. But that’s okay, because we are still committed to preparing you for black belt. We are reviewing the steps between now and then, though, to make adjustments as necessary.
Let me be clear: we will not be putting any sub-standard black belts or color belts into this world. We are going to take into account how this situation has affected people, and use that as the foundation for how we make them stronger. Because that’s what we do.
Our position in the martial arts world has always been that we’re going to do more for you in your training than any other school. And, we’re going to do it better than everybody else.
We don’t mean “more,” in the sense that we’re going to teach you several martial arts. We mean more as in we’re going to take what you need to know and give you more of it than any other school. And, we’re going to be better at doing it than any other school as well.
We have adopted that same attitude toward reopening the dojang. We know what’s important to our students and what we need to do to provide the best experience while keeping everyone safe. And, we’re doing it.
This whole situation forced us to rethink our approach to everything, and I think we are coming out of it with some really amazing ideas for the future of this dojang.
So no, things will not be the same. They’re going to be better.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!