To a Martial artist the ability to push on, forge forwards and break through barriers is paramount. That is why when it came to the pandemic our number one commitment was to keep offering our students the best training options available throughout it.
And you have taken every opportunity offered, I am truly humbled that we still have 90% of our students still attending classes on a weekly basis! Your determination to not let the Pandemic slow you down and keep your focus on moving your Wing Chun forward is outstanding.
Here is a brief summary of our training since the pandemic -
As early as the first two weeks of the initial lock down we were the first local Wing Chun club to offer our students training remotely using the Zoom platform. We started out by testing it with adult students and then rapidly rolled it out to all of our student age groups across the range.
We then saw the opportunity and were again the first local Wing Chun club to get our students back training face to face in groups of five in the fresh air at St Georges Playing Fields and Alec Restaurants grounds in Brentwood. This was a real major breakthrough to keep students motivated and moving forwards. This is a period in the clubs history that I will forever have great memories of, seeing the smiling faces of students returning to classes and then again when refreshed and invigorated at the end of the classes was amazing and gave welcome relief from the oppression of that first lock down period.
It was during this time that we realised that using the BCHS site was not going to be possible for a long time, even once the the restrictions were starting to lift. We therefore started negotiations to rent a substantial space that we could prepare and kit out with equipment that would allow our older junior and adult students continue there training through the pandemic. It was quickly realised that the best way to do this was to make available as many Wing Chun Wooden Dummies and free standing punch bags as possible. This type of training equipment can be used for great contact work and to simulate partner training (as well as the traditional values of Wooden dummy training) but can be wiped down with alcohol wipes in-between each use making it COVID safe.
In the summer of 2020 training inside was once again permitted we opened many new classes in halls to accommodate the same students but with social distancing in place. We also opened and moved into our new space. With two fully matted training rooms and lots of new wipe clean equipment we were able to get classes moving again. We were also kitted out massively with no less than 7 wooden dummies to get our adult students training drills with contact again immediately. We trained there happily until December 2020 when the new restrictions and then lock down dictated that we return to Zoom classes. the training facility is waiting for us when we can hopefully return in March 2021.
We managed to push on and complete gradings for all of our Adult and Junior students during the Autumn of 2020 with the vast majority being completed face to face but the very last few being completed on Zoom. We learnt a lot from holding the Zoom gradings and that has prepared us for driving forwards with gradings in March 2021 regardless of the pandemic.
We are in a great position to maintain our training and it is a true testament to each and every one of our students that 90% of you have been able to push through and keep your training and skills moving forwards throughout the pandemic with us. This makes you all true Martial Artists, showing that adversity and barriers will not keep you or us from moving forwards together in 2021.
Sifu Darren Donovan