Copied below is the original text for a contribution by David Yates to an article recently published in the Aikikai magazine. This was a view of the situation from organisations around the world during the virus outbreak.
The article is titled “The passage up to now since COVID outbreak: Activity Reports from oversea dojos“
In March 2020, the British Aikido Federation was practising as normal. We
had over 30 dojo training and we were all excited for our spring course with
Don Morgan shihan and Ian McClarence shihan in April 2020. And then
everything stopped. All dojo had to close as the British Government ordered
that only people in vital jobs could go to work and no sporting activity
could take place to try to stop the spread of COVID 19. Very few people had
ever heard of COVID so it was a big shock for everybody but we did as we
were told and closed dojo and stopped training. It was very hard!!
After a few months we were allowed to open but only for individual training
and weapons work and everyone had to wear a mask. This was a
very difficult time as well because people wanted to get back to training
but we all knew we could not for the safety of all our members. Ever since
then we have been between no training and individual training and it is very
frustrating. In the UK we have been very fortunate because the COVID
vaccination programme has gone very well, starting in December 2020 and now
over 80% of adults have been vaccinated at least once, so we hope that from
Monday 19 July 2021 all restrictions will be removed and we can again enjoy
the company of our fellow aikidoka on the tatami!!
For us, we want to resume training and get our BAF members back to the dojo.
We will need to make sure people feel safe and we must try to recruit more
people to train in the Aikikai way but we recognise that people will be
nervous about coming back, so as the committee of the BAF, we must do
everything we can to reassure our members and get them back to the tatami.
Sadly, COVID will not go away but in the UK we must keep people positive
about aikido training, we must be safe and we must understand people may be
unsure of retuning. We will do our best to get our numbers up and resume
full time training.