Dealing With Social Isolation

Hello EMA Students and friends of the school,

We are all aware that this is an uncertain time that we are living in.  Of course the uncertainty is accompanied with an expected level of stress.  on top of it all, we are being forced to change our daily way of living and adjust everything about our lives via “social isolation”.

I am all for taking these precautions if it limits the spread of COVID 19 and allows us to return to our normal lives in the shortest amount of time possible.  This leads me to my original point – social isolation and how to cope.

Many of you know me only from class.  We all come together for a few hours of training and we part ways.  I know there is much more to each of my students than what I see in class.  I know my students are mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers..the list goes on with the roles we fill in various aspects of our lives.  Many know me as a “Martial Arts Instructor”.  I admit this IS a big part of my life.  It is not however, the only part of my life.

I am attempting to use this period of social isolation to enjoy other aspects of my life to get in touch with things I normally do not get to focus on as much as I’d like.  For one, I am at home with my 5 year old.  She has no school.  Many of my students with kids are in the same position.

I do not want her brain to melt away from too much TV.  I am using the time to literally home school her and help her learn productive life skills.  Every day we wake-up, I get her breakfast and then it’s gym time, which really means a Muay Thai workout, followed by pad work ha ha ha…She loves this hour of time with me.  It is nice for me to share something I know with her.  She is old enough to know what I do but still doesn’t fully understand.  In my office I have pictures from my previous fights.  She looks at them and asks “Daddy, why are you hitting him?” and my best response is “We are just playing Muay Thai” ha ha ha…Then it is art class, followed by lunch.  After lunch we did creative writing class and then finished the day with some “educational TV”  During her TV time, this is when I can get back to my training (I do not leave her alone, her mom takes over ha ha).

I have a running routine I did when I was taking fights.  It is always my barometer from what kind of shape I am in.  When I was fighting I could this run that was 10 laps around the block near my house that has a good variety of straight ground and hills.  I sprint up the hills at full speed.  After the 10 laps, I would do 10 hill sprints, followed by a workout routine just like we do in class.  At the start of the week I was at 5 laps and 5 hill sprints, today was up to 8 so my body is quickly responding to the old running routine I know so well from my fight days 😉  I will try for 10 and 10 tomorrow!

I always tell the students at Elite, “The best thing about Muay Thai training is that you do not need me…you do not need a partner…you can do all these exercises at home and you can shadow box combinations and techniques.”

This is especially true during a time of “social isolation”.  The same can also be said about Krav Maga training.  You can still practice the technique alone via “shadow Krav”.  This is similar to when I line the class up in front of the mirror and say “ok, do this with no partner.” and we practice a technique without a partner before trying with them. Both Krav and Muay Thai can be done without a partner.

The running is a great positive for my mental and physical health.  I highly recommend you all get some fresh air everyday.  Give yourselves at least 1 hour.  Go for a run.  It will make you feel rejuvenated and it relieves a lot of stress.  I always feel better after I do it.  It gives me time to clear my head and at the same time, I also reflect on things as I go lap by lap.  Today I through a lot about my school and about the students.  I already miss everyone and cannot wait to get back.  As I finish each lap, I get happy because I know each lap is one small step towards coming back to all of the students and keeping in the best shape I can ( I want to ensure I am still in top shape to lead classes when they resume).

I know this is a hard time for all of us.  Do what you can during this time of isolation to stay productive.  Keep both your mind and your body strong.  Do not just sit on the couch and watch the news about COVID 19 on a 24-7 news loop.  That doesn’t do anybody any good.  It just perpetuates fears and stress.  Keep yourself well informed, know  your facts and keep safe but do not overdue it on the news.  limit that to a few minutes a day to get a daily update…Try to make the best of a bad situation by focusing on things you always “wish you had more time for” – NOW you have that time.  Use it productively.

And please keep active and strong.  This will have an end.  We will have lots of great training and good times ahead.  There are belt tests to conduct, Muay Thai fights to be had, school parties, instructor certification courses and a 2020 Black belt test!  We have much to look forward to.  Stay focused on your goals and know that all the goals in training you have set for yourselves are still very much on the table.  Soon we will all be back together again and life will start to normalize.

Until that time, I will continue with my Daddy-daycare and outside time each day!

I look forward to seeing you all in class,

Dan Novak

Owner/Head Instructor

Elite Martial Arts Toronto