The coronavirus pandemic has sparked much internal conflict regarding whether or not I — and many other jiu-jitsu practitioners — should continue training during this time.
While jiu-jitsu gyms around the country close and events are canceled, we’re prompted to make prudent decisions as to whether continuing to go out in public and to the gym is wise right now.
I had to consider the fact that more often than not, I am around my parents. Being that I am young and relatively healthy, perhaps I could continue to train and go about my daily routine without worry. I know that if I am careful and prioritize sanitation and my health, I would probably be able to fight off the coronavirus. That said, I am often home and around my parents and have to consider the possibility of subjecting them to germs they wouldn’t otherwise be subjected to.
It’s a tough decision to make because I firmly believe that staying active and exercising during this time is important. I also think that practicing jiu-jitsu and training with others is a good way to build up our immune systems. Not to mention, for many, jiu-jitsu is a social outlet and much more than just a workout.
While navigating life changes in response to the virus, I had to consider the potential consequences of exposing myself to the plethora of germs that inevitably reside in any BJJ gym. This past year, my mom discovered she has Hashimoto’s disease: a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid. While she is still navigating which medicine and dosage can best help her combat this, she has been experiencing chronic fatigue. She often doesn’t get enough sleep and has succumbed to dizzy spells and lack of energy. She has been adjusting to having Hashimotos’ and attempting to rebalance her hormone levels, but while doing this, her immune system is weakened, and she is more susceptible to catching illnesses.
Additionally, my dad has had asthma his whole life — a pre-existing condition that could complicate his recovery were he to contract a respiratory virus such as the coronavirus. While training has always been something I look forward to and utilize as an escape and a preferred method of exercise, I feel selfish continuing to train without considering the implications it could have on my parents and family members.
In a time where we are advised to maintain six feet of distance, and avoid even shaking hands, continuing to roll and exchange sweat with other individuals seems to be risky.
As much as I will miss training during this hiatus, I feel it’s the right thing to do for my family. If I can play a part in lessening their exposure and minimizing the number of germs that we invite into their home, I feel that I should do that.
I love jiu-jitsu, and training is important to me, but certainly not more important than my family’s health and well-being. I often reaffirm that jiu-jitsu will always be there, it has and will remain to be a constant in my life. Though these times are discouraging and disheartening, I feel I need to do my small part in lessening the spread of this virus.
There are ways to improve your jiu-jitsu from home, and continue to work towards achieving fitness- and health-related goals. While I take this break from training, I am taking the time to spend time with family, rest, and set goals for the rest of 2020. I am sure, like many, that when this passes (because it will,) I will be eager and ready to return to training.