COVID has Montreal in a submission hold

How the pandemic has kept me from combat sports

  • Covid has delivered a knockout blow to combat sports enthusiasts. Photo Matthew Skelhorne

The pandemic was seemingly easing away as many restrictions were lifted over the course of the last few months. It’s hard to complain, given all the protocols that must be followed to ensure safety. Despite the constant progression, I remained unhappy that I couldn’t legitimately do what I love, which is the sport of combat, specifically the sport of jiu-jitsu.

I started practicing jiu-jitsu about four years ago. Ever since, I knew I would always be involved with it, whether training or watching it on TV. I stopped training for a few years, and, coincidentally, I returned the sport in February of 2020.

Perfect timing.

Beyond excited to restart, I attended about five classes in the first week and I fell in love again. Little did I know a wave of COVID-19 cases were on the verge of wiping out all the classes I wished to attend.

It was devastating. I was shocked—my coach was forced to shut down the gym until further notice. No jiu-jitsu for the foreseeable future.

On a positive note, I did manage to stay in shape. My younger brothers and I cleared the garage and created a home gym. We bought countless daycare mats at Wal-Mart and held our own jiu-jitsu sessions.

That said, people that are into the fighting will understand that it takes more athletes to actually get something out of a workout or class.

Theoretically, all summer was a struggle to train for the sport I love without many partners. I mean, there are only so many at-home workouts one can do before boredom starts to kick in.

Despite a few discreet gatherings, enough was enough. All of sudden, word spreads quicker than the virus itself that hubs of four people were allowed to train in mixed martial arts. Next thing you know, I was on the mats.

It felt great to lawfully be on the mats again. Sadly, many good things come to an end, and my reconnection with Jiu-Jitsu may take a second hit. The CBC announced that Montreal is heading back to “Code Orange,” meaning many precautions similar to the ones that were in place back in March may come back.

The pandemic has hit the fight community in ways we would have never imagined, and the fact that we were given our passion back just a few weeks ago is heartbreaking.

Our fingers are crossed on a desired outcome in terms of what will transpire within the next few weeks. It is understandable that our country is taking measures to limit possible transmission of the virus. Nevertheless, it does not take away the suffering the fighting community is going through.

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