Dear Friends,
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well!

I am writing to share our current offerings and Covid safety protocols, including classes with (optional) increased contact during Phase 3.1 of our city’s re-opening starting Monday, October 12th.  Outdoor classes will be practiced with masks and live-streamed on Zoom.  Our offerings will include:

* NEW for Phase 3.1:  Outdoor Bokken (Sword) and Jo (Staff) classes (bokken and jo) for adults will now allow optional weapons contact five days a week.

* NEW for Phase 3.1:  For some classes, student pairs will hold opposite ends of a 5’ jo staff to work on Aikido techniques, exercises, principles, and connection together.

* NEW for Phase 3.1:  Outdoor Aikido for Children (and their parents) will now allow full contact for those in the same household, and contact via a 5′ foot jo staff between students from different households, three days a week. (Mondays for younger and newer students, Tuesdays for older and newer students, Wednesdays for more advanced current students.)  Also streamed live.

* Outdoor Tai Chi / Qigong for Adults (all levels) three days a week will remain socially distanced.  Also streamed live.

* Livestream-only classes (for children) are still being offered one day a week, on Thursdays.

Please see below for more details on the contact-optional classes for adults and children.

1) For the outdoor adult bokken/jo contact-optional classes:

  • Contact practice with sword and staff is optional for those who choose it; others can do solo practice at a safe distance from other students.
  • All students must wear masks at all times during practice.
  • Every student and instructor will have only one partner per class.  Careful records will be kept for contact tracing.
  • GEAR
  • Keiko gi/hakama are optional, we will still be doing ukemi (rolling) on the grass.
  • Please bring your own bokken and jo if you have one.
  • You may also borrow a bokken or jo from the dojo; I will have several on-hand to loan out, and students may keep them at home for home practice and bring them to each class until we are back in the dojo itself.

2) For the outdoor children’s contact-optional classes:

  • All students will wear masks at all times during practice.
  • Full contact is permitted between siblings and children and parents living in the same household.
  • Every student and instructor will have only one partner per class.  Careful records will be kept for contact tracing
  • We will use PVC pipes and jo staffs to allow physically-distanced contact between students from different households, as well as between students and instructors.
  • If a child tests positive for the virus, parents agree to let me know and to allow me to let others who were in class with that child recently know so they can get tested.
  • GEAR
  • Keiko gi are optional, we will still be doing ukemi (rolling) on the grass.
  • Shinai (bamboo swords/staffs) will be provided by the dojo for each class.

3) For all contact optional classes:

  • Temperature checks will be done by infrared thermometer for each student before the start of each class.
  • Hand-sanitizer will be provided by the dojo and we will all use it before and after each class.
  • All borrowed bokken and jo will be sprayed with hand sanitizer before and after use.
  • We will be using a new COVID-19 related waiver form for each student wishing to participate in contact practice with bokken and jo.
  • If you test positive for the virus, you agree to let me know and to allow me to let your partner and others who were in class with you recently know so they can get tested.
  • Please do not come to class if you are showing any possible COVID symptoms the day of the class.
  • All classes will be be held in City Park (location, based on weather, will be shared with current and new members via text the day of the class.)
  • Classes will be limited to 10 people (1 instructor plus 9 students), and must be pre-booked via our website, or by simply texting me at 504-644-7351 or emailing me at [email protected]
  • For out-of-town dojo members and those not comfortable coming to the park to practice, these classes will also be live-streamed, via Zoom.
  • To choose which classes are right for you or your child, please see our current full schedule of classes.

We will continue to adapt our practice contact levels to what phase we are in and look forward to returning to full contact in our indoor dojo space when the time is right.  I am in consultation with medical experts, local authorities, and colleagues, and I am also listening to all of you as well for what you feel comfortable with and what you would like to see our practice look like now.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email, text, or phone with any questions, suggestions, or requests you may have.

I am deeply inspired by the resilience, tenacity, and heart everyone is showing in our dojo community.  It is so heartening to see how people are keeping their practice going, in the park, on Zoom, and at home on their own.

Please stay safe and healthy, and see you at practice!

With gratitude and in this together,

Brian Levy

Chief Instructor
NOLA Aikido