Polaris Fellowship is returning to in person classes in June of 2021, and safety is our top concern. If you’ve ever read any of our book reviews or other posts, you’ll notice that safety is almost always mentioned in some capacity. Safety is very important to us. In resuming classes as the pandemic recedes (we hope), this is no different.
It has been 14 months since Polaris last held an in person class. We want to make sure we move back into in person classes safely and allow our students to adjust to class gradually.
The Social element
In addition to making sure our physical interactions meet COVID safety guidelines, it’s important to build our class and drill structure around easing back into seeing people in person.
Polaris is not only a martial arts school but a community. It is hard for some people to resume group activities after being isolated for the last year. Just because Polaris focuses on building community, does not alleviate these anxieties for our students.
Some of our students have been working in essential business during the pandemic. Many of them express that they are wary of other people not respecting their boundaries and safety, despite interacting with the public everyday.
Other students in our school have been working remotely, seeing very few people outside of their own household in the last year. Being so isolated has led to hesitation and anxiety when thinking about physically being with other people.
Easing in to In Person Classes
To ease into our in person classes, we’ve structured the first few nights with various drills.
For the first night our class we will focus on pell work and distance drill.
The pell work allows our students to check in on their form and power before moving into striking their classmates.
Though there is a physical drill element in our weekly remote classes, this means that it has been over a year since most of our students have done drill with another person. Many of our students do not have pells at home. Though the students have been practicing techniques, they’ve been limited by space and power they can put into shots.
We will also practice various distanced partner drills. Our distanced partner drills will include range keeping footwork drills, and call and response drills. These allow the student to engage with each other and the space in a way to build up to sparring.
At subsequent classes we will start with drills and work our way up to full speed and sparring.
This easing-in allows us to help our students mentally ease into class, while also giving a process to physically check in on the safety of their form.
Changing Safety regulation to fit the situation
Polaris fully intends to adjust it’s safety regulations over time.
To start out we will be wearing masks at class and avoiding short range sparring. This means knife fighting and grappling will have to wait a few months before we reintroduce them at class.
Though this is more than the CDC recommends for fully vaccinated people, we’re erring on the side of caution. Case numbers in Michigan have been high until recently. We want to give it a little more time to make sure it’s going to stay that way before we start close range sparring.
We’re excited to be moving back to in person classes and adjusting safely back into sparring.