Socially-distanced training

"Sensei, thank you for the lesson. Feels good to be back at the dojo." This was the message I received yesterday from one of my junior players who has been away from training for a while due to the lockdown, which has affected her business.

"I had a rough week and I'm damn glad I came for training today," said one of my senior members on Friday after we did an advanced technical session which ended with some movement exercises.

"The classes are good for getting a workout but they're also important for the social aspect. During lockdown we don't get to go out and meet other people so judo is a way for us to see some friendly faces," said another one of my junior players.

These are all real, heartfelt comments from my players who find great value in having a judo club they can call their own.

For those of us who come from a competition background, the natural tendency when you first open a judo club is to gear it towards competition training, with the belief that the core value of the club is to offer such training.

While there is no denying that competition training is an immensely valuable offering, there has to be more to a judo club than that. This is something I've learned in recent year.

A judo club also has to be a place where people can come for recreational training, fitness workouts, and socializing with other judo enthusiasts. It should be a refuge from the tedium of everyday working life.

Ultimately, judo has to be something that provides some joy in people's lives. To the extent that KL Judo is able to offer that, I'm delighted.

Every time we have a good session and I see happy faces among the members, I feel we have fulfilled our role in providing something of great value to people, especially in the tough and challenging times we live in.