The New Normal For Martial Arts Schools
The daily protocols and procedures of fitness businesses across the world—and more specifically, North America—has generally remained the same over the last century. However, the novel coronavirus outbreak of 2019 into 2020 will be the beginning of the end of those protocols. Gyms have bee the object of scrutiny for cleanliness for ages, and put a great deal of effort into keeping their facilities in top condition. But what other measures will be implemented for the foreseeable future?
Hand-washing At Martial Arts Schools
Many experts have promoted hand-washing as a simple, yet wildly effective, means to fighting the spread of COVID-19. The reason for this is because any type of soap has the natural make-up to kill viruses by literally tearing them apart. But, the question is, how often are we truly washing our hands when we're out of the house? This answer will vary from person to person, but there is a good chance that it is not as often as experts would hope we do.
According to the CDC, everyone should wash their hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Not just that, but the CDC also recommends extra hand-washing precautions during this pandemic, including after you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people—such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.— and before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
But it takes more than frequent hand-washing to kill the virus. We need to not just wash our hands, but wash them thoroughly: with warm, soapy water, and on the palms, thumbs, between the fingers and under the nails for at least 20 seconds. What is the best way to raise awareness for proper hand-washing methods for your team and your members?
Solution: Put up posters showing proper hand-washing technique in all washrooms. As well, make sure the posters are hanging up outside of washrooms, too. Frankly, we believe there is no such thing as too much promotion of health and hygiene during a global pandemic.
Social Distancing At Martial Arts Schools
Even if businesses and organizations are opening up shop to resume their services, one of the fundamental practices in preventing COVID-19 outbreaks will still be largely at play, and that is social distancing. These practices refer to standing at least two metres—for six feet—in public settings. This method to preventing infections works because it prevents people from inhaling the moist droplets that others expel when they cough, sneeze, or even just talk.
Now that fitness businesses are looking at reopening, what does this mean for you? There are a few questions you will want to ask yourself, including:
- How many square-feet is my facility?
- How many people can safely be in my facility at one time?
- Are there any limits in place from a governing occupational health & safety board I need to follow?
- Are there any face-to-face meeting areas in my facility that need to be sectioned off?
- Is there any way to create a remote working arrangement for anyone on my team?
Solution: The answers to these questions will help you better paint a COVID-19 reopening plan for you and your team. To start, put stickers on the ground in queuing areas and to section off recreation areas. Install plexi-glass at front desks to keep staff safe. Add hand sanitizer and disposal sanitizing wipes for equipment, and even just for members to use when they feel it's necessary.
Remote/Virtual Class Options At Martial Arts Schools
Finally, there's a possibility that you have already become quite familiar with teaching remote classes this year. The closing of virtually all fitness businesses across North America prompted owners and operators to pivot—and pivot quickly—to save their businesses. The most common option of come out of it was teaching virtual workout classes for members at home. By clearly announcing the schedule in advance, and making it frictionless for members to log on and join the workout, some businesses even gained new members during the economic lockdown.
Now that you can open your facility, you may think you're done with virtual classes, that they're in the rear-view mirror and long-gone. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. If you have had some success with teaching classes through video conferencing, why not incorporate it into your new business model?
There are a few good reasons to do this:
- It frees up space in your facility for other members who prefer going there for fitness
- It is an accessible way for many people to work out
- It allows you to expand your member base past what your facility is physically capable of
Solution: Create an extra class schedule for virtual classes, and make sure it is accessible in your facility, and online. Consider adding a new price tier for new members who want to only participate in virtual classes. As well, build on ways to make your workout videos engaging for your viewers.
What Does Our Future Hold?
Right now, predicting the future feels downright impossible. And, the truth is, it is: No one can say for sure what the next six months will look like for the fitness industry. The best that we can do right now is work together to pivot and find a solution that works for everyone, and promotes safety during these precarious times.
We know you have many questions about the future of your studio. That's why we're hosting a panel discussion on June 18 with four martial arts industry experts, who will be talking about the new normal of the martial arts landscape. We will be joined by:
- Frank Silverman, Executive Director, Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA)
- Master Ingrid Katzberg, Co-Owner & Head Instructor, Champions Martial Arts Academy
- Sensei Jason Wenneberg, Head Instructor, American Martial Arts Academy
- Grandmaster Tim Wakefield, Owner & Instructor, Shaolin Martial Arts Canada
Our panel will discuss the best industry practices for re-opening your martial arts school, providing the best customer experience, tips & tricks to retaining students and attracting new ones, and answers to your burning questions during a Q & A period.