Martial arts schools should be designated as essential. Here’s why. Please sign the petition to join this change.
The ability to learn and practice defending oneself is essential. Some people smirk at the thought of needing to regularly practice self-defense because they live a good life where any kind of physical assault against them is unlikely. But consider that the CDC reports that 1 in 4 American women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. You may not be a woman, so you may not feel this applies to you. Nevertheless, women are not a special part of the population; women are half of the population. If half of the population experiences such traumatic violence at a rate of 1 in 4, then millions of Americans will experience this kind of violence now and in the future. As an American citizen, that should bother you. Patterned violence in such numbers might be considered an epidemic.
Learning and practicing self-defense is also a way to train physically and psychologically. Whether in striking or grappling disciplines, combat sport training teaches you to push yourself mentally beyond your comfort zone. It will also condition your body to endure regular bouts of what feels like life-and-death struggle. Over time, you will learn to be calm in uncomfortable situations. Physically, coaches monitor the amount of difficulty applied to novice students and increase the level of difficulty according to the student’s time training and performance of newly acquired skills. This kind of supervised stair-stepping of intensity over time allows the student to adapt to the stresses of sparring harder and harder each class. This is training, not simply exercise. Such physical training is hard and requires an instructor, training partners, and mat space. These elements are essential.
There are more reasons why martial arts schools should be designated as essential. You can learn about more of those reasons here. However, none of these reasons dismiss the reality of the COVID-19 virus and how deadly it is for some in the population. At-risk people and those who have potentially been exposed should abide by appropriate self-quarantine procedures to ensure they are protecting themselves and others. And, as the response to the pandemic continues, mental and physical health must be a top-priority for everyone as we navigate this terrain. COVID-19 is deadly serious. And so is depression, suicide, intimate partner violence, and child abuse–all of which are up in the last months.
Whether you train in martial arts presently or not, you have the right to learn how to defend yourself and others. Preserve that right and sign the petition to have martial arts schools designated as essential businesses.