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A step closer to a safe return to judo

The school has informed us today a return to training is possible from after October half term, subject to us submitting a Covid risk assessment and our requirements being possible with their cleaning schedules.

We are planning a low key return with ONE session only on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This is to safeguard club finances whilst we gauge interest and appetite for a return to judo.

We are still in Phase 1 of the BJA’s agreed Return to Judo plan – details are available here https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/covid-19/a-safe-return-to-judo/. Please make sure you are familiar with the requirements on you as a player / parent.

Key points to note at present:

  1. BJA membership must be up to date – no licence, no training!
  2. Covid declarations will be required for each session attended
  3. Attendance must be pre-booked – numbers will be limited to allow for social distance (3 square metres per player). Insufficient numbers means sessions will be cancelled. Booking will open a week in advance and close 48 hours before.

More details will follow as details are firmed up.

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Outdoor training comes to an end

Outdoor fitness training has now finished for this year.

We have been running these sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings since lockdown restrictions were eased. Thank you to all those who have supported.

With the evenings now drawing in, it is not viable to continue with these sessions.

If there is interest, a weekend session may be possible – please let us now.

In the meantime, we await a decision from the school as to whether they are resuming hiring facilities to external groups.

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Still no clear date for recommencement of indoor training

We still have no clear idea as to when we can resume indoor training.

The Government has given the go ahead for indoor training from 25 July, however despite repeated attempts to solicit a response from the school, we do not know if we can recommence any type of indoor activity when school reopens on Thursday 3 September.

We are provisionally working towards a possible return on Tuesday 8 September, however this is as always dependent on

  1. Approval from school
  2. Classes being financially viable with any social distancing requirements that remain

We will keep on endeavouring to get a response from the school. Please check back over the summer for latest updates.

In the meantime, outdoor sessions will continue to be held. Thank you to those who have attended, and parents who have joined in!

There are a lot of you who we haven’t seen – please do contact us if you wish to join in a session to make sure we comply with coach/player group size restrictions.

In the meantime, have a good, safe and healthy summer, and we hope to see you in September.

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A step closer to a return to Judo

It’s been an exciting week for Judo!

The country’s elite athletes were able to commence outdoor training as a group.

The government announced that indoor sports facilities could reopen from 25 July.

The BJA issued the following statement:

We welcome the Government’s announcement today concerning the opening of indoor sporting facilities.

This is a very important step on the journey to returning to the sport we love. We await the full, detailed guidelines from the Government that will enable us to update our existing plans. Once we have this we will communicate with clubs and members to start the process of a safe return to judo.   Please note this announcement does not mark a return to full-contact judo, but will allow clubs to re-open and start that process. Once our guidelines are finalised, clubs will need to complete and return the Club Declaration Form to British Judo before opening for indoor sessions. For all documentation regarding a return to judo, head over to our Covid-19 Information Microsite by clicking here.

As 25 July falls in the school holidays, any return to indoor sessions for us will not be until September at the earliest.

Any return then will be dependent on

  • The school giving permission for external groups to use the hall
  • Class sizes with any social distancing requirements being financially viable in view of hall hire costs.

In the meantime, outdoor training sessions will continue every Tuesday and Thursday evening, weather permitting.

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A safe return to Judo

As you may be aware, British Judo hosted a webinar over the weekend in conjunction with the launch of their guidance as to what a Safe Return to Judo could look like.

We are processing this document to see what it means for us, one take away point already is that on return to the dojo all players must have a current licence/membership. This should be a given anyway, but players will be asked to confirm and this will be checked. Players will be asked to confirm they are Covid free on return to the dojo.

As already mentioned, any initial return to the dojo is almost certainly going to be non-contact, with contact only allowed between members of the same household.

At present, we do not have a date from Government as to when our sport/martial art can recommence.

If and when this is announced, any return will be further dependent on the school giving us permission to return AND class sizes being financially viable with any social distancing requirements that remain in place. Distancing requirements for indoor sports are likely to be higher than they are for more mundane activities such as shopping, due to impracticalities of wearing a mask when training, and more powerful exhalation of air during exercise.

We are cautiously working towards a return in September, but this is definitely not a fixed date.

In the mean time, outdoor training sessions will continue as previously advertised. When the use of outdoor gyms is sanctioned again, we will consider a change of venue, but until then all details remain the same.

To mitigate the impacts of us on reduced class sizes, please support us via Portsmouth Lottery and Easyfundraising!

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It’s getting nearer…

The Government this morning announced a drop in the coronavirus alert level from 4 to 3. This is likely to result in some further easing of restrictions over the next few weeks.

We understand that British Judo is close to publishing its own guidelines for Phase One of a return to training. We suspect that this is likely to follow a Judo Fit type model – randori and shiai will remain impossible under social distancing guidelines.

We are cautiously optimistic that in theory at list, we may be able to make some start of return in September. However, this must be economically viable for us if there are restrictions on class sizes due to distancing requirements, and is dependent on the school allowing external groups to use its facilities.

In the meantime, we will continue with our recently established outdoor training programme.

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Possibility of outdoor fitness training sessions

The easing of some restrictions associated with prevention of the spread of coronavirus means that outdoor training becomes a possibility. Latest Government guidance (Cabinet Office, 2020) is

From Monday 1 June, you can exercise or play sport in groups of up to six people from other households, but should only do so where it is possible to maintain a 2 metre gap from those you do not live with.

People who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in separate groups of no more than six and must be 2 metres apart at all times. While groups could practice ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. You can also play doubles tennis with people from outside of your household as long as you remain 2 metres apart as far as possible. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.

And if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

This would mean that 5 players could meet with one coach. Larger groups would have to split into smaller groups with sufficient distancing between them.

Is there interest in participating in any such session? These would be similar to the sessions we have run in previous summers, held at Hilsea Creek or possibly Drayton Park as the Creek has become a popular walking spot.

Please use the comments field below to let us know.

Indoor training sessions (especially full contact judo) remain unlikely for non-elite athletes for some time – guidance published by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport make clear the restraints and conditions that will have to be worked with within elite sport.

Cabinet Office. (2020, June 1). Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

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All 2020 Hampshire Judo events cancelled

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Hampshire Judo have cancelled all planned events for 2020, it was announced yesterday.

Despite some easing of restrictions for outdoor meetings, social distancing requirements remain in place. The coronavirus alert level remains at 4, meaning that indoor events and training for non-elite athletes (especially in contact sports) remain prohibited.

It is hoped that a normal competition programme can be resumed for 2021.

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When can we start training again?

We have been asked the above question a couple of times.

Our thoughts below:

At the moment, all we can do is quote the BJA’s statement (British Judo Association, 2020) published on 13th May:

Following the Government’s latest updates on the current situation, whilst it is clear that certain elements of the lockdown are being relaxed, British Judo still finds itself in an unpredictable scenario whereby we do not know when we can return to our beloved Dojos up and down the country.

It is clear that we cannot return just yet.

It is possible that within a “contained” environment elite athletes may soon be able to return to training and certain sporting events take place behind closed doors. Indeed, a Government document was published 13th May detailing how this could happen. As the BBC reported (Scott, 2020), initial phases will be for contact free training.

The next phase will involve some “social clustering” within training, with athletes able to engage in contact such as “close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, equipment sharing”.

However, the protocols for this stage have not yet been finalised and will need government approval.

It will be interesting to see how this translates to reality – the March 2020 sumo tournament was held behind closed doors with precautions in place, but the May event has been cancelled following Japan’s extension of their state of emergency (AFP, 2020). The sumo community is currently mourning the loss of one of their rikishi due to Covid-19 (BBC, 2020). The UFC recently ran a tournament behind closed doors; however the New York Times reported there were numerous breaches of the protocols it had established in order to make it a safe tournament (Draper, 2020).

We must remain guided by our national association (British Judo Association, 2020):

…we are working hard behind the scenes preparing a detailed strategy and plan that will enable us to return quickly when that time comes. We are working with the Government to ensure that alongside other sports, we are returning to action in a safe and appropriate way as soon as we are able to. Please bear with us whilst we finalise this plan and please note that any premature return to sport will mean that you are notinsured.

For the sake of our sport, it is vital that you wait until the British Judo Association has endorsed the return.

The BJA recognises that how we come back may need to be a phased approach and judo itself may need to change all the time that social distancing remains the norm. They are seeking members’ input into how judo could return, at the web address referenced below.

We cannot see the club returning to the mats before the autumn term. Even if the Government and BJA do sanctioned a return to training, there may still be restrictions imposed by the school over external lettings and any additional cleaning regimes within the school may impact on the hours available to us.

There may be a possibility to run some outdoor fitness sessions (if you aren’t already sick of Joe Wicks style PE…) over the summer. The risks of transmitting the virus outdoors are reduced compared to indoors, and the children and any adults joining in are not as in close contact as they would be practising judo. Social distancing would be easier to enforce. But again we need to be guided by the BJA and the Government.

At the moment really it is still very much a case of wait and see.

Please keep yourselves and others around you safe, and if you haven’t already done so, please consider supporting the club through one of our fundraising initiatives – this will enable us to come back stronger when the time does finally come.

Works Cited

AFP, 2020. Virus forces cancellation of Japan sumo tournament. [Online]
Available at: https://news.yahoo.com/virus-forces-cancellation-japan-sumo-tournament-105537620–spt.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20vbmV3cy9zZWFyY2g_cT1KYXBhbmVzZStTdW1vJnFwdnQ9amFwYW5lc2Urc3VtbyZGT1JNPUVXUkU&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADrurkG4wkg
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

BBC, 2020. Coronavirus: Japanese sumo wrestler dies at 28. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52644424
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

British Judo Association, 2020. Input into British Judo’s relaunch strategy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/british-judo-relaunch-strategy-input/
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

Draper, K., 2020. U.F.C.’s Coronavirus Plan Is Careful. Its Enforcement Has Been Spotty. [Online]
Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/sports/coronavirus-ufc.html
[Accessed 14 May 2020].

Scott, L., 2020. Elite athletes given government guidance on safe return to training during coronavirus. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/52652893?fbclid=IwAR3IFG-PodDEo3zT7bi4OGnzkWC7TpTpeeSPtPO2u2KM9qKjHAzmeEWtsEw
[Accessed 13 May 2020].

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Club to remain closed

We hope that you are all keeping well and staying safe.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced today that UK lockdown measures will continue for at least another three weeks.

Consequently the club remains closed, until at least mid-May.

If like us you are missing your Judo fix, do check out over 300 hours worth of free videos – both coaching and competition – that Fighting Films have made available at www.superstarjudo.com.

If you are looking for simple interventions to support your physical and mental health, we recommend Feel Better in 5 by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, which you can purchase from Amazon.

Looking forward to seeing you all again,

Tony, Kev, Jill and Craig

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