No contact training for the time being. That might change soon though.

It's been about three weeks now since we began training in the dojo again. Before that, we did some basic training outdoors, in parks and playgrounds.

Everybody prefers training at the dojo. We have a nice mat area and there's lots of useful equipment around. There's also a sense that it's our judo home.

According to media reports, the government is looking into allowing contact sports to resume so we're all hoping it will happen sooner rather than later. Initially, we thought we'd have to wait until September before we could do proper judo again but now, perhaps we might not have to wait quite that long. If we can resume with judo in August, I think a lot of us will be happy campers.

No-contact training is not enjoyable for judokas. After all, judo is a grappling sport. But having that restriction has had its benefits too. When you face constraints, you get creative. And we have been creative.

Our use of sticks, in particular, is an interesting innovation that has allowed our players to really learn good footwork for many techniques. So far, we've worked on kouchi-gari, kosoto-gari and osoto-gari, and our players have developed quite good footwork for those techniques. Currently, we are working on the footwork for tai-otoshi and it's coming along well.

Because we can't do randori, a big chunk of our usual training routine is missing. To fill up that vacuum, we've introduced a lot of circuit training exercises including the use of Penalty Boxes for plyometric-based drills. These have been well-received by our players.

The Covid-19 crisis has been a real challenge for judo clubs around the world to deal with. I personally know of at least one club (overseas) that's closed down. I've heard about others that have closed down too.

We are lucky to have survived, thanks to the support of our loyal members. Like all clubs, we have lost members. A few dropped out once the lockdown was imposed. But the majority stayed with us. And for that, we are very grateful.

A judo club is only as good as its members. You can have the best dojo, with the best equipment, in the best location, but if you don't have keen and dedicated members, you don't have a judo club.

Every sports club, fitness gym, yoga studio, dance studio, etc must have their own strategies for how to do business in the new normal, where consumer sentiment is low and where people are still scared of contracting the virus.

We don't expect much membership growth and we are not counting on it at all. Instead, our focus will be on our current members. We have to make sure their needs are well taken care of and that they are happy with the programs we have devised for them. That's our strategy going forward.