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August 25, 2020

Back on the Mat: My Return to Jiu-Jitsu During the Pandemic

Jimmy Girot

Back on the Mat: My Return to Jiu-Jitsu During the Pandemic

From relocation and vacation to injury and illness, I’ve taken breaks from training for a variety of reasons. Add “global pandemic” to that list. 

My Return to Jiu-Jitsu During the Pandemic

My thoughts this year have wildly shifted week to week. COVID-19 is a fluid situation, and the lack of certainty around health, safety, economics, and daily life in general has been overwhelming at times. Easton Training Center is an important part of my life. And as strange as it may sound to people outside of the Easton community, not being able to train in-person really affected my health and wellness.

As part of my job, I’ve been lucky enough to meet with the CDC’s COVID-19 Task Force and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition to discuss safe reopenings in the fitness industry. I’ve also had the pleasure of attending and co-hosting webinars on adapting to COVID-19 in the martial arts industry with some of the world’s foremost thought-leaders. 

The purpose of telling you this isn’t to share my professional experience, it’s to share with you that Easton Training Center is truly world-class. From the quick pivots at the start of shutdown to safely reopening, Easton not only meets the standard, they raise it. 

With that as the backdrop, I wanted to highlight my return to jiu-jitsu at Easton Training Center during the pandemic and hopefully give you an idea of what to expect. 

The Process

Beyond the sign-up process, my return to jiu-jitsu started by arriving to the facility twenty minutes early. Upon arrival, wearing a mask of course, I was greeted by an Easton team member who gave me a health screening survey and checked my temperature. Once the survey and temperature were cleared, I traded my street shoes for sanitized flip flops I brought with me. I then got dressed as usual and put on the special mask given to me by Easton. As I was waiting for class to begin, I noticed an Easton team member sanitizing the mats. One of the main things I noticed was the small size of the class, and that is obviously intentional. Before the pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon to have 30+ students in my fundamentals class. This particular class was under 10 which allowed for way more space. Based on my conversations with public health leaders and medical experts, this is a huge factor in preventing the spread. 

Although it was difficult at times, I did manage to keep my mask on the entire class. After class was over, I washed my hands and face, changed clothes and shoes, and walked out with my mask on. Some of the most important steps might happen once you’re out Easton’s door though. I chose to immediately put all of my clothes and gi in the washer, sprayed my training bag with disinfectant, and took a shower.

The Future

There is inherent risk in every physical activity. 

After speaking with the highest ranking leaders assigned to this outbreak, it’s clear to me that the risk is different and frankly the risk is still unknown. Everyone’s situation is different, and I hope this doesn’t come across as promotional or tone-deaf. You have to make the responsible decision for you and your loved ones. When I choose to train jiu-jitsu during the pandemic, I am accepting the risk it may present. Despite all of this uncertainty, I was massively impressed by my first visit in four months, and I will most definitely be back soon.  

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