How do you train in martial arts during a Coronavirus pandemic? BMAC has been running classes in the area for over 30 years so when the lockdown began the club had to find alternative ways to practise.
After a few weeks of video conference lessons which saw the club practise different sequences of moves, BMAC’s Virtual Lockdown Knockdown was born. We challenged ourselves to do at least 50,000 punches in 30 minutes to raise money for charity.
We chose three charities. Firstly, NHS Charities Together for the staff who as in the frontline of the virus. Our second choice was the Trussell Trust which runs a network of foodbanks across the UK including East Dunbartonshire. Our final charity was the Star Project based in Paisley which has provided support during the lockdown such as delivering food and medicine and organising online get-togethers to combat loneliness.
In addition to supporting these worthwhile causes, both John and Morag observed that doing this kept the spirit of BMAC alive and kicking (or, more appropriately, punching) during these unusual and difficult times.
On Tuesday 26th May, we gathered on our regular video conference and broadcast to the world via Twitch. In total 27 adult members, 6 juniors and a few possibly reluctant parents, had volunteered to punch like mad for half an hour.
30 minutes of straight punching might have got monotonous, so a few of us came up with sequences of punches and combinations to keep things interesting. Each sequence would be two minutes, with 15 of these in total making up the duration of the challenge. Each two-minute block was led by a member of the club and, as you can see from the photo of our video conference, it looked slightly chaotic. I thought it might be difficult to follow but it worked surprisingly well. It turns out we have a few budding Joe Wicks in the club.
We’ve all been missing the club, and Jamie captured the mood by saying that event really lifted his spirits, having greatly missed not being able to see, train and have fun with our group of friends has had an impact.
Of course, when there is no club it does have an impact on people’s fitness. Willie wondered if he would be able to manage 30 minutes of punching. Not only was the answer an emphatic “yes” but he also set one of the highest totals.
Martin H had only joined the club a few weeks before we were locked down and really enjoyed the challenge whilst noting the great spirit shown by all for some worthy causes
Iain K spotted something that I have noticed many times over the years. He was having a work-life balance challenge and was missing the club as a way to de-stress. Without that release, the lockdown was proving difficult. Getting a training session, even a virtual one, and a focus has been a help.
I could not agree more with Iain. The last three months have been hard going for so many of us. The training sessions and video conferences have been a teasing glimpse of normality and a reminder that better times lie ahead. In the current climate, that has been invaluable.
More than one person commented that they are proud to be part of the club and Iain made an interesting observation that the club is such a diverse group yet we all come together in a strong supportive way, look out for club members and do our best to help others. I am sorry, I have got something in my eye…
So that was BMAC’s Virtual Lockdown Knockdown. At the end of the 30 minutes, there were plenty of smiles and surprisingly sweaty club members. It felt almost like a regular class! Even better, the 50,000 punch target was smashed. In the end, the club managed an incredible 130,142 punches and thus far has raised over £1700 for our charities. A massive BMAC thankyou to everyone that has supported us.
It was an absolute blast and just about as close as you could get to a regular club session whilst training in isolation. We keep our collective fingers crossed that we will be able to return to regular training sometime soon but in the meantime, we will keep the virtual sessions going. After all, virtual training is better than no training.
The last word goes to Hugh: “It was really good to get together as a group although only virtually. We have all missed each other’s company as BMAC is a particularly social group as well as keen martial artists. Being able to do this for a good cause made the occasion doubly special. We are all so happy glad that we were able to beat our punching and fundraising targets”
The BMAC blog began in 2013 to chart one member's journey to black belt.