Jun 292020

To all Joint Aikikai Council members,

I know how difficult the last few months have been, not only for your aikido training, but for life in general.  The coronavirus pandemic has been involved in many deaths in the UK and all around the world and deepest sympathies must go to all those people affected by it.

Although we are seeing the beginnings of recovery from this tragic period, I suspect it will be some time before we get back to aikido training as we knew it just a few short months ago.  I know that many of you have kept up your individual practise and recently, weapons training in small groups has become a possibility.  I’m sure that all of the individual organisations have encouraged you to do so and that you will keep it up.  We must keep the correct mindset and spirit that will see us, eventually, get back to training together and in the way we have done for many years.

I know all seminars have been cancelled in the immediate future and that we are having to find new and innovative ways of remaining in touch and training.  We all miss the contact with our fellow aikidoka but this will pass and when it does we must resume our training with all the enthusiasm we had before and equally as importantly, try to encourage others to come along and try this wonderful art of ours so they can have the same enjoyment that we have all had for so many years.

Hombu dojo has gradually reintroduced training as a result of the easing of the lockdown and restrictions imposed in Japan and I hope we are not too far behind. 

Understandably, we have had very few JAC members renewing their membership and insurance since lockdown began but please remember that, unless you have current insurance, you are not covered for any aikido related activities.

Q & As with regard to insurance for online / weapons training:

Q: Are online classes covered for liability, in case someone has an accident or injury while at home?Any advice from the insurers on how classes or practice must change to mitigate the risk of virus?Are we covered for liability in case a member believes they contract the virus from the club?

A: In respect of online classesCoaches/instructors can coach/instruct remotely, including uploading general videos, on the basis that:The coach/instructor should be suitably qualified to instruct on the activityThe activity being suitable to be undertaken in someone’s homeThe coach reminds participants to check their surroundings are clear and to keep any pets of distractions away during exerciseThe coach should specify at the start of any video that this is general guidance and anyone doing the exercise should be aware of their own capabilities and only do what they are comfortable to do or seek medical advice if in any doubtThe coach should remind participants to stay hydrated.The coach/instructor should be mindful with regard to the use of copyrighted music/materialIf our client is coaching vulnerable adults or anyone under 18 there are potential safeguarding points we need to considerGain written consent from parents and explain what the purpose of the training is, when it will be done, on what platform etc.Use an online-share platform – that way the coach will not necessarily need access to the children’s contact details and only use it for the purpose of the training.Do not make contact with athletes outside of the training unless with parental consent.Ensure that you and the athletes wear appropriate clothing at all times.

Q: What cover we have if we practice the weapons side of the art in a non-contact way (indoors or outdoors) with 6 people. Are we insured?
What, are the expectations of Hiscox in how we interact?

A: You will have to follow government guidelines in respect of a maximum of 6 people outdoors keeping the 2 metre distance.Your risk assessments will also have to be updated in respect of Covid 19.

Q: With the opportunity to practice in small groups of 6 people 2 meters apart outside this means that we may not be in the location of our dojos. Would this be an issue?

A: As government guidelines state it can be outside however in respect of the policy there is no issue as long as risk assessments have been updated and the new locations have been assessed for safety.

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