Geo Martinez’s Gym Forced To Close By Police After Reopening Prematurely

Photo Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

Geovanny Martinez’s 10th Planet Oceanside gym was visited by the police and ordered to close their doors again after reopening their doors to small groups last week.

Martinez first shared what happened in an Instagram post showing multiple police cars outside the academy.

Martinez told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that the closure of another gym in the same complex (Metroflex Oceanside) and arrest of the owner seemed to attract the attention that led to his own gym’s situation with the police. “We’ve been pretty much closed like everyone else. This last week we started getting small groups to do small sessions… of about eight people. People are wearing masks, getting sanitized before they walk in, getting their temperature taken before they walk in, so we figure we’re following procedures.”

Martinez says that the gym continued to operate without incident for a few days, but following the shutdown of Metroflex, the increased police and media presence ultimately culminated in law enforcement coming to 10th Planet Oceanside. “I wasn’t there, but Liz Carmouche was there,” said Martinez. “They told her she had to shut down or they were going to arrest her, and none of us are trying to go to jail right now. Even though we think it’s all bullsh*t, we ended up just shutting down and not making it any worse than it was. But at the end of the day, it’s all bullsh*t that we’re not allowed to do small groups and other people are.”

Matinez continued, “We’re not having large groups gathering, we’re not doing something that might be super illegal, I guess. But they’re out here making us feel like criminals. I feel paranoid to have a jiu-jitsu class because I feel like law enforcement is gonna try to pull something on us and try to arrest us. And honestly, I’ve never been arrested — we all just focus and dedicate our lives to jiu-jitsu and martial arts. We don’t want to start any drama, we don’t want any attention to blow the situation up, but… when do you start standing up for what you really believe in? You really start thinking about the whole situation and how ridiculous the things are, and the rules are so blurry, you can’t tell what the hell’s right and what the hell’s wrong. Some people are telling us that we’re allowed to open as long as we follow procedures, some people think we shouldn’t be allowed to ever open again. It’s just mixed signals and it’s very confusing for us.”

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The San Diego County government website has listed the following businesses as being permitted to open:

  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores
  • Restaurants for take-out, delivery, or drive-through
  • Pharmacies
  • Banks
  • Laundromats
  • Hardware/home improvement stores
  • Airports and public transportation
  • Childcare

Open for curbside service:

  • Bookstores
  • Jewelry stores
  • Toy stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Home and furnishing stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Antique stores
  • Music stores
  • Florists

Additional openings were announced on May 12:

  • Office-based businesses (telework is still strongly encouraged)
  • Car washes
  • Pet grooming
  • Landscape gardening
  • Outdoor museums, open gallery spaces

Gyms, BJJ-based or otherwise, are currently not permitted to open in San Diego County.

Martinez says that while his academy was offering online classes and he isn’t concerned about the financial consequences of being closed, he believes that at-home workouts and online classes don’t offer the same benefits as in-person classes. “If you feel like you’re sick or compromised, just stay home, man. We want you to stay safe too, we don’t want you to get sick, so don’t get that twisted. It’s not just physical health that we have to focus on, we also have to focus on mental health. We feel a lot of people who come to BJJ, they like to express a lot of tension or a lot of anger or sadness that they have in their head by working out. It’s a good way to release some stress and a good way to focus on other things without focusing on the negative things. If you don’t train jiu-jitsu, it’s hard to explain what it does to you. People think it’s just a physical thing but it’s also a mental thing. People are struggling with their mental health and to me, that’s very important and it honestly upsets me. There’s people out there who rely on going to the gym to keep their mind healthy and keep their spirit strong, and they’re getting that taken away from them. They can’t do anything but stay at home alone with their own thoughts. Some people have a hard time doing that.”

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Martinez says that he is standing up for what he believes is right. “Even if we get a lot of sh*t from people, even if people disagree with us, it’s like, I’m sorry man, I don’t wanna hurt your feelings or disappoint everybody… I’m just gonna go with my gut feeling and going to go with what I feel is right. And if I’m hurting anybody along the way, I really do apologize. That’s not my intention. If anything, I’m trying to help people out. We hope they can understand where we’re coming from, and if not, I’m sorry, I can’t help you out.”

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