Slave Lake taekwondo gyms starting outdoor training

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On June 16, AB Taekwondo in Slave Lake will be offering outdoor taekwondo classes for all ages three days a week. It has been closed since mid-March because of COVID-19, but doing classes virtually. Some outdoor recreation is allowed under Phase I of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy.

Slave Lake has two taekwondo gyms. Northern Spirit Taekwondo is also considering doing outdoor classes, before it starts back up in the fall.

On May 18, Alberta Health Services released guidance for outdoor recreation of groups of 50 people or fewer. Within the group and travelling to the meeting people need to remain two metres (six feet) apart from people they do not live with. Equipment shouldn’t be shared. Activities shouldn’t include contact with other people. People with symptoms must not participate.

AB Taekwondo also recently received guidelines from a Canadian taekwondo association. The outdoor classes will follow both guidelines.

Before participating each person must sign a COVID-19 assessment.

“That is there ticket before joining the classes,” says co-owner Ava Briones.

Classes are by age. For the three to five-year-olds, the parents will have to participate in the class, as the staff aren’t allowed to touch the children.

The classes will be in the field by E.G. Wahlstrom School, which is near the AB Taekwondo gym. It is a large space, so each class can have up to 50 people including instructors.

“I think it is going to be fun,” says Briones.

Anyone who paid for classes which were cancelled in March can join the classes for free. There is also space for new students.

The six feet space between participants will be marked with cones. The class will include exercises, kicking, punching, and modified poomse (patterns). As this takes up more room, some participants will have to sit on the sidelines to maintain the physical distancing.

AB Taekwondo is also continuing with its online classes.

These classes have slowed down due to people camping, says Briones, but a few students, earned new belts by sending in a video.

Participants in the outdoor classes will need to wear active wear and running shoes. Indoor, taekwondo is done barefoot.

Belt testing will be the end of July. Details of how this will be done within the health restrictions will be finalized later.

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