Fwd: OUMA Newsletter – COVID-19

OUMA newsletter (COVID-19)

In this edition of the OUMA newsletter (COVID-19)

* COVID-19 OUMA Statement
* Government Financial Relief Programs
* Virtual Training
* Non-Contact Sports to Re-Open May 19th – But Not Martial Arts Clubs!

COVID-19 OUMA Statement

Dear Martial Arts Friends and Families,

First and foremost, I hope this message finds you and your family members safe, healthy and well.

To say we are experiencing unprecedented times in Martial Arts practice, life-style, awareness and culture would be accurate, but sorely insufficient in describing the impact the Global Pandemic has had on our community.  Many of our members are small business operators or not-for-profit organizations that have had significant impact to their financial viability.  In these difficult times, even not-for-profit organizations have to pay for rent on their locations, maintain insurance premiums, and plan for the future.

Not being able to operate or train in our martial arts clubs has impacted our livelihood, physical and mental well being and our cultural practices.  We all naturally want things to go back to normal as fast as possible.

I think it would be irresponsible of me to not consider that we will never return to ‘normal’.   Despite the rapid adaption we have made to adjust to the Pandemic World,  it will take much longer for our community to redefine what a normal state is.  It is the challenge of our community leaders to pave the way back to physical training in a safe and healthy environment, and to help our students and community members normalize with the changes in the martial arts world.  I challenge each of our leaders to consider ways to ensure the safe return of students in your martial art’s clubs, and their safe practice of activities.  We are here to help.

We have reached out to the Ontario Government, and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture to request guidelines specific for returning to martial arts practice and re-opening training facilities.  You can read the full letter here: https://ontario-uma.ca/advocacy-and-autonomy/covid-19-ministry-letter-asking-for-reopen-guidelines/

We will continue to advocate for our shared interests through out the global pandemic and keep you aware of any updates.


Randy Horton
Executive Director, Ontario Union of Martial Artists

Government Financial Relief Programs: 

If you are a club owner that has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, there may be financial assistance and other resources available to you.

The Canadian government has a number of plans that can provide assistance to Martial Arts Owners, Club Employees and related businesses. The main link for these resources is here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#businesses

Specifically, the Ministry of Culture, Heritage and Sport has…

…established a $500 million Emergency Support Fund as a temporary relief measure to help alleviate the financial pressures of cultural, heritage and sport organizations facing significant losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The link to the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Sport Emergency Fund is here: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/information-covid-19/emergency-support-fund.html

Virtual Training: 

Many of our clubs and members are practicing martial arts and posting videos online to facebook, youtube and other media outlets. There have been Kata challenges (Greg Magwood, Magwood’s Martial Arts) that allow for friendly competition based on media sharing, and real-time training through video conferencing as well: Albert Mady, Greg Magwood and Magwood’s Martial Arts, Snow Tiger’s Martial Arts Association and others in our community have adapted to the new reality, and will continue to grow and adapt as the ‘new normal’ defines itself.

The Ontario Karate Federation (OKF) has created a virtual competition to help engage their members.  The World Kobudo Federation has created an online virtual convention.  Other organizations, including my club: The SWM Budokan have posted video tutorials to our facebook page. Our club posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

The common message that I hear from the live instructors and the previously recorded videos is “Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Keep Training”

If you have stopped training because you aren’t able to visit your local martial arts club, I encourage you to seek out the numerous online training resources that can support your training in your own home.

We will make it through these uncertain times, and adapt our practice to appropriately to prevail.  Remember – if you don’t bend, you break!

Non-Contact Sports to Re-Open May 19th – But not Martial Arts Clubs!

In the May 14th, Ontario Government announcement for Phase 1 Pandemic Response Plan to re-open Ontario businesses, the Ontario government stated non-contact sports that can allow for social distancing, and organizations supporting individual sport training and competition could begin re-open with limited capacity starting May 19, 2020.   The full, official re-opening press release can be found here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-announces-additional-workplaces-that-can-reopen.html
Unfortunately the Phase 1 plan specifically excludes martial arts practice – even if it is non-contact and socially distanced. In the related material linked to the Phase 1 plan, it states:

High-contact sports are not allowed even if they are non-team. These include sports
where physical distancing cannot be practiced such as:
• Racquetball, squash, boxing, wrestling sports, martial arts, etc.

The related document can be found here: https://files.ontario.ca/mof-detailed-list-stage-1-openings-en-2020-05-14.pdf?_ga=2.245414412.941098144.1589552813-1394205104.1589552813

There are two issues with the current Phase 1 plan:

  1. Sports training and practice is stated to only be allowed to be conducted by an official Provincial Sport Organization. The Ontario government is not considering the majority of martial arts practitioners who are not part of the Provincial Sport Organization.
  2. All martial arts practices are being considered as high-contact. The government is not considering non-contact practice such as Kata, Forms, or individual practice lead by an instructor that can be satisfy social distancing.

The OUMA is reaching out to The Ministry to advocate for the awareness of the two issues and for the permission to for martial arts clubs to re-open based on safe practice guidelines similar to fitness clubs where no-impact and socially distanced practice can be conducted.

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