1st June 2020 – Update
It has now been two months since the last update. The reason for this radio silence is that in general, nothing much changed in terms of what sports clubs have been allowed to do. It is only within the last week or so that there has been any movement about martial arts clubs getting back into the swing of things.
When do we start back?
We are not yet able to return to regular group classes indoors at LJMU.
However, there is some scope for small groups of up to 6 people meeting together outdoors to do some socially-distanced training together. I do not yet have a plan for this, but I am thinking about how best to implement something!
Is private tuition available again?
Yes, yes it is! If you would like to book some private tuition, in my garden, then this is now permitted again. Please get in touch with me directly if you would like to arrange something.
Can newcomers join in?
In group sessions: not yet, sorry. We don’t have any access to club equipment as that has been locked in our training venue for the last few months, so we don’t have swords or masks to lend (not that lending masks would be a great idea right now anyway).
For private tuition: I can probably accommodate newcomers for private tuition, as it will be outdoors and easier to keep safe. We can go through some of the basic movements to give you an introduction, ready for when the group sessions can reopen at some point in the future.
Is there some way to support the club at this time?
If you are willing to pay your attendance fees via the monthly payments, then you can continue to support the club this way. Furthermore, for every five sessions you miss, I will give you a session of private tuition free of charge once we are allowed to do things like this again. (Please note that, as above, private tuition is available again if you would like to visit my garden. if you would like to redeem these sessions, just get in touch!)
There is a donations page on the website so that you can contribute a little something to the club if you are able and willing to do so. I am so incredibly grateful to each and every person who has donated to the club. Thank you.
Finally, if you would like to purchase access to some video training lessons, we have a course about historical flourishes for the longsword, and a course about warming up and technical exercises with the longsword. These will help you with your solo practice until the club can reopen.
31st March 2020 – Update
Since it has been a couple of weeks since the last update, I thought it is time to check in with another update, to make sure that all the information is as correct as possible.
When do we start back?
Since we have another two weeks of lockdown before the government revisits the idea, I would suggest that we are unlikely to start back inside the next three or four weeks. I expect that it might be most feasible to look at May as a potential starting back date.
Is private tuition still available?
At this time, no, since the government has been quite clear that is really wants everyone to stay at home, and has prohibited both indoor and outdoor sports.
Is there some way to support the club at this time?
If you are willing to pay your attendance fees via the monthly payments, then you can continue to support the club this way. Furthermore, for every five sessions you miss, I will give you a session of private tuition free of charge once we are allowed to do things like this again.
I have also set up a donations page on the website so that you can contribute a little something to the club if you are able and willing to do so. Some people have been asking if this would be possible, so here it is!
To each of you who have been so kind and generous with your support over the last few weeks, you have my sincere thanks. The financial support really has made a difference.
16th March 2020 – Update
The venue managers at LJMU have been in touch to say that:
As of Tuesday 17th March all booking on IM Marsh have to be suspended. The length of the suspension of our facility hire service is at the moment not clear, and will be subject to severity of the ongoing C-19 national outbreak.
This now supersedes our previous policy of remaining open, since we no longer have a venue in which to remain open. My apologies for swift about-face with the policy, but our hands are tied in this matter.
When do we start back up?
Right now, I don’t know. Sorry!
What about the dussack event on Sunday the 22nd?
Since we don’t have a venue in which to hold it, I’m afraid we need to cancel it. I will be in touch with everyone who has placed a booking already to offer either a straight refund or to keep the booking on file for the next event that we are able to run.
What about if we pay monthly?
Good question. Since we don’t know if this is just going to be a two-week closure or a two-month closure or what, I will not be offended if you choose to cancel your monthly bill so that the next payment doesn’t come out. You will then be more than welcome to start it again when we reopen!
If you are in a position to be able to afford it, keeping your monthly payment open will be beneficial for the club and the Academy of Historical Arts. As a small, local business, we do have ongoing bills and overheads to pay, and any support during this time will be incredibly helpful since we won’t have our usual income available. We are not at risk of going out of business quickly, don’t worry, but I will be very grateful for any financial support you are able to offer the club during this time.
Please remember that if you pay monthly, you are entitled to a private lesson free of charge once you have missed five sessions since beginning your monthly payments. If you would like to redeem this, then please get in touch, and I will be more than happy to make good on that part of the agreement!
Is private tuition still an option?
Yes it is. I am quite happy to give private tuition during this time, as per the private tuition details on our website. If you would like to get in touch about this, please drop me a message through the website or through Facebook, and let’s discuss it.
Is there anything I can do to practise at home?
I will be trying to put up some new resources (written and video) over the next few weeks, so that you have something you can do on Wednesday evenings.
Other than that, please take a look at my website KeithFarrell.net and look at some of the HEMA lesson videos I have there, or read your way through my written articles, of which the following about solo drills may be most helpful right now:
- Five solo practice drills: longsword
- Five solo practice drills: Scottish broadsword
- Meyer’s four openings drill (aka Meyer’s square)
You could also settle down with some fairly serious reading material on paper, purchased through our club’s online shop.
When will all this be updated?
I will update this information as soon as there is anything new to say.
14th March 2020 – original policy
The current government advice about the coronavirus is that:
- sports clubs and venues should stay open and continue running activities with small class sizes, and to make sure everything is as clean as possible;
- you should feel able to continue attending sports clubs and activities without worrying too much UNLESS you are suffering symptoms (in which case stay at home), and make sure everything is as clean as possible.
Therefore, we are remaining open, although our activities will be undergoing some temporary changes in our efforts to make the club as safe and healthy as possible during this time.
If you are feeling unwell and have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (fever, high temperature, itchy eyes, coughing, shortness of breath), then please stay at home and begin self-isolation.
If you are feeling well and come to a session, and begin to develop symptoms during the session, please speak to the instructor immediately.
If you or someone you live with or see regularly is immuno-compromised in any way, or has underlying health problems (especially respiratory issues), or have regular contact with the elderly or other immuno-compromised or vulnerable people, please stay at home. We’ll miss you, but please don’t take the risk.
When you arrive at the LJMU venue, they have requested that you use the hand sanitiser dispensers as you enter and exit each building. The LJMU venue is remaining open as normal and they will inform us if this changes.
Temporary changes to the activity
We encourage regulars with your own equipment to bring it to each session, and to keep it clean in between sessions!
At this time we will not be accepting any new students who have not already attended a session. We hope that we can open up attendance again soon, once the worst of the coronavirus situation has passed.
Sessions will focus largely on non-contact exercises (since not everyone will have masks), although participants with their own protective equipment may be allowed to make contact.
Participants who need to borrow loaner gear may borrow swords, but masks and gloves will no longer be provided due to the difficulty at this time in keeping them sufficiently sterile. Masks and gloves can be purchased from our shop if you would like to equip yourself to be able to continue training with contact.
You will need to wear gloves (of any sort, even cheap gardening gloves will be fine) when handling any club equipment (sweaty hands are going to make it rather difficult to keep club swords sufficiently clean).
Please see this as an opportunity to work on improving your form, structure, and other important parts of your practice. Non-contact sessions are still immensely valuable, and the instructors and advanced students have the skills they do because of the number of useful repetitions they have done over the years – solo drills and exercises to improve form and structure are an important part of this kind of training!
Public Health England – what you need to know (updated daily):
Government publication – Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection: