Fighting from a distance: martial artists in a 1.5-meter society

How martial artists are combatting the pandemic, while finding new ways to keep themselves and others motivated.

With many martial artists struggling to find motivation with the current circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, finding the motivation to put on a pair of boxing of gloves to begin with can be tough.

In what has become a post-contact society for many countries around the world, martial artists are finding themselves struggling to remain motivated.

Whilst striking sports such as Muay Thai and kickboxing can be practiced from home with the use of equipment such as a heavy bag, many martial artists find themselves longing for the dojo and the unique competition it provides.

“It’s the best environment – you get better not only in kickboxing, but also stay motivated, and stay in touch with people” says Sander Hendriks, a lifelong martial artist and personal trainer currently based in Amsterdam. “Covid took all of that away,” says Sander, who admits that losing access to his usual training facilities has left him frustrated, sapping some of his motivation.

For Sander however, his time as a personal trainer has taught him some tricks to remain motivated despite the current circumstances.

“I change my at-home setup by moving my couch to the wall,’ says Sander, who explains that by changing his in-house environment, he creates a more inviting, gym-like atmosphere to train in, a piece of advice he frequently imparts on his clients.

Another way to stay motivated, Sander remarks, is to set smaller goals for oneself. These can be as simple as performing smaller sets of exercises throughout the day, such as completing some push-ups every hour. This ensures that, even on days where hard training isn’t an option, one can still remain active.

In other parts of the world, martial artists are facing similar struggles as a result of safety protocols aimed at combatting the spread of Covid-19.

“It’s hard finding the motivation, especially since I have nothing to work towards since there’s no fights going on at the moment,” says Jovan Lum, a semi-professional Muay Thai fighter and personal trainer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Jovan keeps himself motivated by focusing on constant self-improvement.

“Even though I can’t train and fight, I try to keep improving by watching professional fights and studying – kind of in the same way as going to school,” says Jovan, noting that even though he can’t emulate the same physical intensity he finds in the dojo, he can still work on keeping his “fight I.Q” as sharp as ever.

Sander Hendriks will be hosting a virtual training session for local Groningen martial arts club, Deltaserat on 4 February 2021!

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