COVID-19: Martial Arts Club Recommended Re-Opening Guidelines

Ontario Union of Martial Artists COVID-19: Martial Arts Club Recommended Re-Opening Guidelines

Date: May 20, 2020

[MPP First Name Last Name]
[MPP Mailing Address]

Randy Horton
Executive Director,
The Ontario Union of Martial Artists
249 Main Street,
Glencoe, ON

Re: COVID-19 Re-Opening Guidelines for Martial Arts Organizations in Ontario

CC: Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries


Dear [MPP Salutation, First Name Last Name],

I am writing to you today to ask you to support your local martial arts community. Your community’s martial artists are family members, school teachers, health care workers, children and business owners. I ask that you consider the attached Martial Arts Club re-opening guidelines as a step in our provinces’s economic recovery plan.

The guidelines are for the first stage re-opening of Martial Arts Organizations that prioritize the safe return to martial arts as a cultural and community practice, and local economic contributor.

The Ontario Union of Martial Artists represents 30 Martial Arts Clubs throughout Ontario and nearly 900 Martial Artists. We are a smaller organization , but share common practives with all martial artists in almost every community, large or small, throughout Ontario.

  •  Our first priority is the health and safety of our community
  •  The guidelines are specific to martial arts practice, and modelled from the Ontario Public Health Association, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) resources, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, and the Ontario government’s guidelines.
  • The recommendations focus on social distancing, sanitation, facility and capacity controls as well as education, training for safe instruction and participation in non-contact martial arts.

Martial arts classes develop self-confidence, physical dexterity, well-being and promote mental health.  While youth and children are in martial arts summer camps, parents are able to return to work.  Martial arts can be practiced in socially distanced ways similar to gymnastics or fencing activities that are already approved in Phase 1 of Ontario’s economic recovery plan.

I urge you to please review the attached guidelines as a starting point to support our community.




Randy Horton.

Legal Notice:  The below checklist and resource guide is not a legal document and should not be considered as legal advice.  The OUMA accepts no responsibility for causes, effects or outcomes related to implementing any of the recommendations outlined.  This document is intended for information only.

The below check-list and guidelines are specific for Martial Arts Clubs to consider while planning the first stage to re-open.

The guidelines provide a framework that can be expanded upon as the Global Pandemic impact is reduced, and a return to full operation is possible.

The ability for Martial Arts Clubs to satisfy the guidelines should be considered when determining if they are able to open during a phased re-opening initiative or whether they are able to return to business all together.

Pre-Requisite Compliance Statement
The club owner has ensured the business operates in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations made under it.

Review the Ontario Government Website’s ‘Prevent Covid-19 In the Workplace’. page

Yes No
The club owner shall operate the business in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning, disinfecting and facility modifications.

Review Ontario’s Public Safety and Health Association’s Website ‘COVID-19 Precautions When Working as A Social and Community Services Worker ‘. page

Yes No
Section 1: Martial Arts Club Pre-Opening Requirements
Question Yes No NA Control Options/Actions
1.1: Have you reviewed the health requirements with the local authority regarding building capacity, social distancing, air ventilation etc.
  • Consider providing air intake and exhaust fans that pull aerosolized particulates downward and out of the training area
  • Visit Public Health Ontario for more information and reach out to local authorities for guidelines.
1.2: Have you limited the types of training that will be permitted in order to support social distancing and the safe practice of martial arts techniques?
  • Tape out areas on the training floor to define individual training spaces: 150 sqr ft/ student.
  • Restrict training to non-contact activities including empty-hand forms, weapon forms, kicking and striking without opponents, and other individual training activities
  • Allow for students to practice techniques against a heavy bag or other individual practice equipment and require students to sanitize the equipment after use.
  • No sparring or physically connected exercises for phase 1.
1.3: Has complete cleaning/disinfecting of all work surfaces been completed?
1.4: Are appropriate PPE readily available when instructors and students return?
  • Consider providing PPE to students and instructors.
  • Re-enforce no contact instruction until conditions permit it.
1.5: Are class times scheduled to allow for students to arrive and leave without collisions with students from other classes?
  • Consider scheduling arrival and departure times for classes to control traffic.
  • Identify one-way traffic flows for entering and exiting the training area.
1.6: Have you confirmed what students are returning and established a training schedule that supports capacity requirements of local health and safety authorities
  • Consider pre-registration for students
  • For the first class back – provide an orientation for students on the new policies and training guidelines
  • Provide frequent reminders on policies and post training guidelines in highly visible areas.
1.7: Have you established additional health and safety practices for children programs?
  • Consider further reducing class sized to support greater social distancing between children
  • Consider having multiple instructors in children’s classes to assist in maintaining health and safety measures
  • Ensure parents or guardians have signed off or verbally confirmed health screening questions for their children
Section 2: Martial Arts Club Pre-Opening Guidelines
Question Yes No NA Control Options/Actions
2.1: Will the facilities need to be modified to support public health protocols?
  • Consider installing hands-free sanitizers
  • You may be required to make renovations that support single occupancy change-rooms or hands-free access to washrooms
  • Visit Public Health Ontario to identify options
2.2: Is the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) established for the Martial Arts Organization?
  • Establish accountability and responsibility for health and safety decisions.
  • The club owner is ultimately responsible for establishing the JHSC
  • This could be included as part of senior belt requirements.
  • This may be a legal requirement.  Visit WSPS for more information and guidelines
2.3: Have the JHSC members completed a facility and training area inspection?
  • Encourage ongoing and frequent inspections.
  • Have a JHSC member sign and date when the last inspection was completed.
  • Keep inspection records available for review and presentation when required.
  • This may be a legal requirement.  Visit WSPS for more information and guidelines
  • Resources for establishing and maintaining a JHSC can be found on the PSHA Covid-19 Web Page
2.4: Are compliance training (Health and Safety) records up to date to ensure members of the JHSC are able to perform adequate inspections and recommendations?
  • Provide ongoing opportunities for JHSC members to obtain training.
  • Require a minimum number of committee members to be certified.
2.5: Are any new signage for instructors or students required?
  • Consider traffic flow and control signage for when people are entering or exiting the facilities.
  • Consider updating current signage or creating new signage in washrooms and change rooms to reflect the latest health and safety guidelines.
  • Provide students with highly visible reminders of training guidelines such as social-distancing, reduction of kiai (to reduce aerosolized particulates) and non-contact activities.
  • Downloadable signage can be found on the  PSHA Covid-19 Web Page
2.6: Will you require health screening for all visitors to the Martial Arts Club?
  • Consider verbal confirmations with every visitor prior to allowing them in the shared training area.
  • Potentially require visitors to sign-in and acknowledge their health status, provide sanitizer for visitors before and after they sign in.
  • Encourage all visitors to wear their own PPE.
2.7: Will business hours and training schedules need to be modified?
  • What is the impact of additional sanitation activities on class schedules?
  • Consider scheduling additional time before and after classes to support cleaning and sanitation practices.
  • Do not allow students to participate in ‘Soji’ or group cleaning exercises. Identify a dedicated person, provide them with training and allow for time for them to complete cleaning and sanitation activities.
Section 3: Occupational Health and Safety Requirements
Question Yes No NA Control Options/Actions
3.1: Has job appropriate and mandated Health and Safety training been completed or scheduled for returning instructors or staff?
3.2: Are mental health strategies implemented to assist students, instructors and staff adapt to the new processes?
  • Determine what strategies may be helpful by visiting WSPS
  • Support staff through appropriate training opportunities and document what training has been completed by instructors and staff.
  • Additional resources on this topic can be found on the PSHA Covid-19 Web Page
3.3: Do you have a plan in place if you suspect a staff member, instructor or student of being ill and possibly infectious?
  • Visit Public Health Ontario to identify options
  • Pre-screen students through verbal acknowledgement before entering the training area (ask screening questions).
  • Consider requiring all visitors (students, instructors and others) to sign-in and acknowledge their compliance with screening questions.
  • Additional resources on this topic can be found on the PSHA Covid-19 Web Page

This checklist has been modified from the Ontario Workplace Safety & Prevention Services checklist available from the WSPS Website.