by Deborah Maizels
It's the end of 2020. I am tired, worn, distracted, spent. My body and mind feel like I've been on a marathon overseas flight that took off in March and hasn't yet landed. Periodically a constant, low-pitched humming noise breaks into my awareness. Not jet engines. Only the drone of the current rules of engagement that repeat constantly in my brain: mask, distance, hand-sanitizer.
To ground myself, I work to remember all of 2020. Starting with the pre-pandemic time when we were training in the dojo, when we shared strong grips and throws, and when we were about to celebrate our 50th anniversary. I remember the excitement and focus as we prepared for our big celebration and then how quickly everything changed.
We've come a long way since those first days of lockdown. We've found ways to keep training, to keep the Dojo open even though the doors are shut. In fact in 2020, despite the pandemic, not only did we do a lot of keiko, but we also held 1 yondan, 3 sandan, 2 nidan, and 2 shodan exams plus 5 Adult kyu tests and 5 Kids' Class kyu tests!
And, in case you are wondering, we are still planning to hold our 50th anniversary celebration whenever doing so is again safe!
Below is a short, 21st-century Journal of a Plague Year.
January through February - Pre-Pandemic Normalcy
February/March: 50th Anniversary Preparation
Shelter in Place
April - June: Aikido during a Pandemic
July - Our First Pandemic Dan Exams
Hanging out after the tests. Socially-distanced. Masks On.
July to December: More training and more tests!
2020 draws to a close
As every year before it, 2020 ended on December 31st. We hoped the pandemic would end on the same day, but it has not.
I'm happy to report that our Dojo's spirit stays strong. We are blessed with a committed core of students who are dedicated to the art of Aikido.
We continue to maintain social distance, wear masks, and to train outdoors or virtually.
And we look forward to the time when we're back inside the Dojo throwing and falling on our beautiful mat.