As the COVID19 pandemic continues to create uncertainty and problems throughout the world, we all have to adjust to the new reality in all areas of our life – school, work, personal lives. Self-defense is no different.
Self-defense now includes not only protecting yourself against violence, but also against infection. Avoid touching your face. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Avoid going out for anything other than absolute essentials such as buying food or medicine. If you must go out then wear gloves and an N95 mask. After returning home, dispose of the gloves and mask or wipe them down with chlorine (Clorox wipes are good for this), wash your clothes, and wash your hands with soap and water. Taking a shower and washing your whole body is even better.
Because of the stay-at-home order intended to prevent the spread of COVID19, your training must also be adjusted. Practicing at your local dojo or at the park with your regular instructor is no longer possible as long as the stay-at-home order is in place. However, if you have some empty space at home there are plenty of things you can do to keep your martial skills sharp. You can practice forms or kata. You can practice blocks, bobbing and weaving, strikes, and kicks by shadowboxing. I also recommend getting a heavy punching bag, a BOB (body opponent bag), or a Versys BOB (available online from Century Martial Arts) to practice striking techniques. My personal favorite is the Versys BOB as you can practice low kicks and groin strikes in addition to upper body strikes.
If you have a private instructor, your lessons will need to go online. You will both need computers with videoconferencing software (e.g. Skype, Zoom, and so on – my personal favorite is Zoom). After your instructor demonstrates a technique, you can practice it while your instructor gives feedback and critiques your performance.
Basic conditioning also needs to be adjusted in light of the stay-at-home order. Going to the gym to lift weights is no longer an option. If you have a home gym such as a Bowflex, that is great. Otherwise, buying a pullup tower is a good option. You can do pushups, situps, and air squats with no equipment at all, just some empty floor space. The pullup tower will enable you to add pullups and bar dips to your strength-training routine, making for a complete full-body strength workout.
With the free time you have staying at home, also get into the habit of practicing visualization. Simply find a quiet place where you can sit in a relaxed posture. Spend a few minutes with deep breathing and meditation to clear your mind, then imagine yourself performing various techniques perfectly. I like to imagine myself being attacked by multiple bad guys and fighting them off.
Through these challenging times of COVID19, keep an optimistic spirit and always keep improving yourself in every way that you can – physically, mentally, morally, spiritually. Train hard, fight easy.