May 11, 2020
I am inquiring today on behalf of the Ontario Union of Martial Artists regarding guidelines for preparing to re-open martial arts clubs throughout Ontario. As you are aware, martial arts practice represents a significant cultural, sport, heritage, and business practice in Ontario. In the majority of cases these practices have been suspended (and rightly so) due to COVID-19 closures of martial arts and fitness clubs.
As the province begins to re-start its economy and we consider re-opening martial arts clubs in safe, protective fashion, it would be helpful to receive guidance from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture on best practices for the following segments of martial arts practice:
- Non contact training such as Karate or Kung-Fu forms where social distancing can be applied.
- Light contact training such as touch-sparring within a martial arts club. This would be under the framework of non-competition (i.e. not a tournament) and would include physical barriers, such as padded gloves and protective clothing to prevent skin-to-skin contact.
- Controlled contact training such as jujitsu or wrestling where the contact is sustained, has some skin-to-skin controlled contact.
As the Executive Director for the Ontario Union of Martial Artists, and representing interests of nearly 900 martial artists throughout Ontario, I would be keenly interested in participating in discussions on guidelines to protect martial arts instructors and their students. Any information on these topics would be greatly appreciated.
Ontario Union of Martial Artists