Ever since the lock-down began in mid-March, we've been open all this while. Yes, there was a time when the government did not allow any indoor sports. So, our physical dojo was closed but our online dojo was open.

And when outdoor exercise (with distancing) was allowed, playgrounds became our temporary dojo. Later when indoor training (with distancing) was permitted, we returned to our indoor dojo.

For a short while, when full-contact judo was permitted again, we were able to enjoy doing regular judo. We even saw a surprise surge in membership. Alas, full-contact judo didn't last very long and we soon found ourselves doing solo exercises in the playground again. And now, we're back to doing judo drills (with distancing) in the dojo.

It seems like we're in some kind of judo version of Groundhog Day with a never-ending loop of lock-downs, easing of lock-downs, and then lock-downs again. But through it all, we've never been closed.

We were very fortunate that during the first lock-down, we had some really loyal members who stayed with us, paid their fees, and kept the dojo alive.

Of course there were a few who dropped off. Perhaps they felt that if we can't offer real judo, they're not prepared to pay. That must have been the reason because a few of them came calling once regular judo was permitted again.

Our principle with regard to this is very straightforward. Players who leave can come back if they want to but since they had stopped paying membership fees, they were no longer members. As such they would have to pay registration fees once again. And, whatever legacy fees they had paid before would no longer apply. They would have to pay the new rates, which were higher because the cost of doing business had increased due to the CMCO restrictions.

A few of them asked if there was any way they could continue to pay the old rates and not have to pay registration fees. I said, can, but they would have to pay back all the months they had missed out on during the lock-down. That would keep their membership current.

Imagine if everybody was like them and stopped paying once the lock-down began. Our club would not be here today.  

But it's not surprising that they came back knocking.  No other judo club comes close to what we have to offer in terms of experience and expertise. And if you're a working adult, where else are you going to find as many adult training partners on the mat?

We work very hard to offer excellent training opportunities for our members. While other judo clubs around the country are scaling back on their activities during the lock-down, we've invested in new equipment so we could offer additional training programs.

Our members get to enjoy these benefits precisely because they choose to support the club through good and bad times. That's the privilege of membership.