IBJJF Pan 2020: Gym Leaders Should Push For Post-Event Quarantines
COVID-19 has forced much of the world to grind to a halt. The martial arts industry is impacted just as much as others. The IBJJF, perhaps the largest promoter of grappling tournaments, held one of its most important events this past weekend – the Pan-Ams. While much of the grappling community was excited to get back to competition, now that the event is over gym leaders should ask those that participated to do the right thing, and that is quarantine for two weeks.
We are living amid a global pandemic. Cases and deaths continue to rise in the United States. Regardless of what a person may believe about the viability and danger of the illness, it is still having an impact in communities around the world. Many states are still not allowing mass gatherings like that seen in Orlando for this event. The danger of contracting COVID-19 and unknowingly infecting others is still a real concern that some seem to be ignoring. Gym leaders cannot ignore the danger the is still prevalent at this time.
Competition is a driver for many people that participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While that is exciting, no one can ignore the facts of the current times. Cases in Florida are continuing to rise. Multiple outlets are reporting that there are thousands of new cases being reported each day in the state. The Pan-Ams welcomed competitors from all over to participate, win medals and go back to their communities. While event organizers did not openly allow a spectating crowd, following popular practitioners across social media clearly shows that many people were there to enjoy the event. Coupled with the multiple images and videos of people not wearing masks even if they were not in active competition or prep should raise an eyebrow to how serious precautions were being taken. Many within the BJJ and martial arts community have downplayed the severity of COVID-19. An event such as this does not help the situation.
Gym leaders should take charge and ask those that traveled to and participated to quarantine for two weeks before returning to the mats. This is the best step that available to keep practitioners safe from those that may not be asymptomatic. It is not fair to your “teammates” to put them in danger of getting sick because you took the opportunity to go compete. It is hard to expect competitors to follow this idea, so gym leaders should make the decision easy for them and ask them to remain away from the gym for a set period.
Just like the rest of the country, BJJ is not out of the water when it comes to COVID-19. It is difficult to sit at home and see people training and competing while your gym is still closed. But just because we are over the pandemic, that does not mean the pandemic is over. It’s best for gym leaders to truly lead after a major event like the Pan-Ams and the other grappling events still running and that means asking competitors to stay away for long enough to show that they are in the clear. For themselves, the business, and others on the mats.