The ‘new normal’ - it's a phrase we’re hearing quite a lot just lately, especially from politicians and people in the news. I've even found myself using it, although mainly with tongue firmly in cheek.
We don't yet know what the ‘new normal’ will look like for our club when we do finally reopen for physical classes. For instance, will we keep providing an element of what we do online? More than likely, we will initially carry on with some of the measures we instituted before lockdown - smaller class sizes, reduced physical contact, allocation of pads to a person at the beginning of the lesson, additional hand washing and sanitising equipment, etc. If we're not told then we will work it out ourselves over the next month or so, so let us know what you think we should be doing?
What does the ‘new normal’ mean for you? Well, if you have small or younger children and still have a job, then you are probably frantically running around trying to homeschool, to earn a living and to run a household - all the same time as trying to keep up with your martial arts training.
We don't have small or young children - our teenagers are able to look after themselves and usually able not to get into near death situations on an hourly basis - and my wife has continued busily working from home, so what this is meant for me is a surplus of time.
My days are no longer filled with the minutiae of running a martial arts club - admin, leafleting, talking to customers, marketing the club to schools & other organisations, working with the other instructors or cleaning the Do Jang. Before lockdown, we were about to sign a lease on a long term home for the Oldham branch of the club, so that also took up plenty of time. We also don't teach as much as we used to as the load for the main online zoom classes is shared amongst the full-time instructor team and some of the part-time instructors. The call for 121s has been consistent but fairly small - mainly from senior Gup grades - so that hasn’t picked up any of the slack either.
My wife is trying to fill some this time with additional jobs around the house but with many shops closed it's difficult to get hold of supplies to build the extensive new decking area she's decided she wants.
So I have been cooking again. It's something I'm not able to do a lot of normally with work being in the evenings, but I have rediscovered my joy of baking bread and I've tried to cook as many vegan/vegetarian/low meat recipes as possible. I'm hoping it's a habit that will stick - maybe it will be part of my ‘new normal’?
I've also been doing quite a lot of stretching. I've been struggling a little bit of sciatica in recent years, which a chiropractor and a masseur have not been able to shift. However, my daily stretching using an app that I found has seemed to ease the pain and is helping to free up my old aching joints. This will definitely be part of my ‘new normal’.
Finally I've been doing a lot of thinking - I know, right! We’ve been working through how to get Oldham back up & running, back to where it was before the coronavirus and into a new permanent home. I’ve also been thinking as well about what I want Prestwich to look and feel like in the brave new world - I have been pleasantly surprised by the attitude of some students & disappointed by others. I want to harness this new found leadership attitude. Lockdown has also sent some of our students have scarpered for the hills and some, of course, having an able to carry on due to financial reasons, but it does mean that those students who have stayed with us are the most committed and we hope to build on that commitment in the coming months. We want to repay the faith of these committed students and so a lot of thinking time is spent working out how we can do this with additional support, extra tuition, freebies, 121s, etc for those students. You name it, we’re considering it, but if you have any great ideas, get them in the mix.
With my background I know that time spent planning is time well spent, so I shall relax, stretch consider the future so that the next 12 months is amazing. That will be my ‘new short term normal’ as we create your ‘new long term normal’.
Stay safe, keep your distance & we’ll see you all soon.