Life is pretty shit right now. Every time you turn on the news you’re bombarded with non-stop coverage of the upcoming presidential election and how the world is on fire and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. With Covid-19 cases skyrocketing and hope of a vaccine arriving anytime soon dwindling, many of us have resigned to the fact that we will either have to stop training for an extended period or decide to take a risk and train. I personally have decided that I will train, but it wasn’t an easy decision and it was based on a lot of research. I think if you’re going to train you need to educate yourself and not take advice from someone financially invested in you coming back to the gym.
Life for a gym owner is hard right now and I understand that. Bills are piling up and governments aren’t supporting gyms, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Covid-19 is real and despite what Facebook memes tell you, young people are having serious cases.
Over the past few weeks I have spoken to a number people who have tested positive and a few had no symptoms at all which is great, but I also met someone who ended up on a ventilator and told me that he had to come to terms with the fact that he was probably going to die. The man on the ventilator wasn’t 80, he was in his 40s and in good shape, which I’m guessing is probably similar to a lot of people who are reading this article or training BJJ in general.
Recently a Covid denying fitness influencer died at the age of 33 and he is not alone, there have been many young people who have died from the virus and many more who have passed the virus on to vulnerable family members. Many have speculated the influencer died because he reportedly also used steroids, but I have some bad news for grapplers, the chances of someone being on steroids and training at your gym is probably a lot higher than you realise.
A jiu jitsu coach is not a doctor, a philosopher, an epidemiologist or a statistician, he is just a regular person like you and I. Having a black belt in one tiny area of life is not transferable and while they may be well meaning, it is up to you to decide what is safe for you and your family. While your coach might say its safe and post Covid denying memes on Instagram, you need to acknowledge that your coach’s financial stability is based on you showing up and his priority is always going to be on his business rather than your health.
Jiu jitsu coaches laugh about how unqualified blue and purple belts are to teach classes, but see nothing wrong with “debunking” the severity of a virus that has killed over a million people and been shown to be serious by the vast majority of scientists and doctors in the world.
I’m not saying don’t train, I think that’s a personal choice that should be based on your own research. Your decision to return to the mats shouldn’t be based on a black belt with a financial interest in you returning.
Would you ask your doctor for half guard advice?