Things are getting back to normal after several months of pandemic-forced closure at Stettler’s Dual Dragons TaeKwon-Do on Main Street.
“At the beginning of June we were able to open with restrictions,” said Dave Hargreaves, chief international instructor/owner of Dual Dragons TaeKwon-Do along with his wife Cindy Jensen.
Class sizes were limited, plus social distancing was in place along with regular sanitizing.
“The sanitization part was nothing new to us because we always deal with mats, hard surfaces and multiple people,” he explained. “Other than that, we are ready to go although the government has still mandated that we can only have a certain number of people in,” said Hargreaves, who has been involved with TaeKwon-do since 1990, and teaching since 1991.
“We are still at limited class sizes,” he said. “We are hoping by registration at the end of August that we will know how big the classes can be and how many people we can hold and those sorts of things.”
In terms of maintaining social distancing while teaching, Hargreaves said that it’s a matter of going back to how martial arts were traditionally taught.
“If you didn’t have anybody to practice with, you use what we call ‘forms’. So we’ve been digging into those a lot further, and it’s basically ‘single person practice’ with self-defence moves,” he explained, adding that it’s like memorizing a certain form and then translating it to a given situation.
As the pandemic went on, some curriculum was also available out of the governing body in Saskatoon.
“Other than that, it hasn’t changed much other than the physical contact that we can’t have,” he said, adding that one of the most challenging things with the pandemic has been the uncertainty that has been so prevalent as well.
But the summers are typically fairly quiet with less classes ongoing anyways.
“We shut down over the summers anyways and usually just have youth and adult classes going. So this is basically an extended summer for us,” he said. “But it does hit the pocketbook because you still have rent to pay plus utilities and staffing.”
Looking to the fall, Hargreaves said the studio essentially follows the regular school schedule so it will be good to know how things ultimately will shape up in September.
“On August 31st we will be good to go,” he said. “We usually have pre-registration at the twin arenas but we aren’t really sure if that’s going to be a go this year with the distancing. So we are just going to have registration at the end of August in our studio,” he said.
As for his own start with the studio, Hargreaves recalled that he felt that launching TaeKwon-Do programs would prove an excellent way to help expand physical activity options locally.
He had studied both karate and Judo earlier in life, but nothing quite fit as well as TaeKwon-Do.
Meanwhile, according to the web site, Dual Dragons TaeKwon-Do Schools offer programs for kids, teens and adults.
They all work toward developing greater discipline, concentration and self-respect.
“TaeKwon-Do is the modernized way of an old Korean art of self-defense or un-armed combat. It was first developed 1,300 years ago in Korea. TaeKwon-Do is the name of a Korean free-fighting, self-defense art that employs the bare hands (and feet) to repel an enemy.
“TaeKwon-Do, as well as being a martial art, is also recognized as one of the most effective methods for improving health, physical fitness, flexibility, balance and poise.”
Ultimately, Hargreaves has thoroughly enjoyed both introducing and guiding students along the path to understanding the intricacies of the ancient form of self-defence.
“There are so many advantages to doing something physical and of course I’m going to plug martial arts,” he said with a laugh. “It’s confidence-building, and I just love to see the changes in the students when I teach them, and see them grow through it,” he added.
“The hardest thing to do is to just walk through the door. I’ve seen people who say, ‘I don’t think I can do this’ and now they are multi black belts. It’s amazing to see.”
For more information, find Dual Dragons TaeKwon-Do on Facebook.