Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I am waiting for word from the Governor and Parish President, but it looks like Phase I of the reopening plan will begin in Louisiana on or about May 1.  This involves reopening businesses, groups and schools that will have less than 10 people gathered.  Phase II, which should be 14 days later if all goes well in Phase I, will allow for groups of up to 50 people.  Phase III will be business as usual.  We should fit into Phase II, so my current assumption is that we should be able to re-open the dojo by Friday, May 15, if all goes well.  

This is a best case scenario, but fits with my assumptions regarding reopening.  I will await the final word from governmental officials, but if these expectations are accurate, then:

  1. Dues will again be suspended for May (we lost half of March from the closure, so the half of May we can train will make up for that time -- otherwise, we will prorate the dues for the first month back accordingly); 
  2. Expect training to resume on May 15 and increase your at home training to try to regain your “karate shape” and conditioning;
  3. I, along with input from the other black belts and the instructors in Lafayette, will evaluate where the students are upon returning in order to determine when we will have our next test.  Obviously we are missing the test that should have been this Saturday and our next test is scheduled for August 8, so we need to determine if all or some of the students should test between now and then to keep everyone on track.

I am sorry for all these modifications, but I am sure that most all clubs are in the same situation.  We will do what Karateka do in difficult situations, we will adapt to changing circumstances.  

On a personal note, I know that many of you have had changes in employment status given these closures and the plunge of oil prices, which may or may not be temporary.  I can empathize because this has directly affected me and my family.  Given this, there have been remarkable few parents and students who have contacted me regarding their status as members of the club.  I very much appreciate your patience and your continued support of the school and your student’s participation in our Karate organization.  

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On a sad note, one of the senior JKA instructors died yesterday of complication from COVID-19.  Sensei Teruyuki Okazaki (June 22, 1931 – April 21, 2020) was a tenth degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, as well as the founder and chief instructor of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). Along with Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama, Okazaki helped found the JKA's instructor training program and our chief instructor, Sensei Takayuki Mikami, was the first graduate.  Sensei Okazaki was a great influence on my Karate and life and I encourage you all to research the life of this important figure in modern Karate.  His life greatly mirrors the advent of modern Karate in the United States.

On a final note, I really miss you all and learning from my students.  I have been working out at home and have been doing virtual classes online and on zoom daily to stay in shape and to get new class ideas.  I hope you all are still training too.  If you have, it will show when we conduct our evaluations.  If you haven’t, you still probably have a few weeks to catch back up.  I look forward to seeing you all very soon.


Sensei Scott

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