As you’ve heard, the Niagara Kendo Club has resumed indoor practices. So, what do these look like now that we’re in the era of Covid-19?
They’re a little different, but not all that much. Here’s what’s going on.
Our new training location at St. John’s Anglican Church is nice. High ceilings (although watch out for those light fixtures), a large space (36 feet wide by 64 feet long), with ceiling fans, lots of light, and windows that open. We open the windows during our training sessions to get more air circulation. It’s a hardwood floor, but not a sprung one. Still, it’s a great space and we’re happy to be there.
Low Covid-19 Numbers
We’re fortunate in Niagara that the overall Covid-19 numbers are low. Niagara is averaging 6.7 new cases per day. It’s not zero, but it’s not very high either. Students have been told not to come if they’re feeling unwell in any way.
I can sum up the differences in a few words: Masks, distancing, and cleaning.
We’ve just taken in a number of new students and of course, everyone else has been off Kendo for months, so we’re just working on basics, conditioning, and the Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon Waza Keiko-ho.
This means we’re doing a lot of suriashi and suburi drills up and down and around the dojo. We don’t have a ton of students so it’s easy to keep people physically distanced. We wear masks during all drills so in theory that cuts down how much saliva is getting into the air and onto the floor.
We haven’t done Keiko indoors yet, but when we do, we will ensure all players have the plastic eye shields, plastic mouth shields, and are masked underneath all that. We’ll also limit kiai and strongly discourage tsubazeriai. It might actually make for better Keiko that way 🙂
In exchange for lower rent, the church has asked us to clean the dojo. We’re happy to do so, as our first experience with the floor being cleaned by church staff demonstrated the shortcomings of cleaning a hardwood floor with a mop and bucket. That method puts a lot of water on the floor which isn’t good for hardwood flooring. In my opinion, a mop and bucket also doesn’t clean very well unless the water is changed out frequently. It almost never is. We have taken a slightly different approach to cleaning the floor.
Before we do the wet clean, we do a dust using a microfiber dust broom. I purchased four flip brooms from Canadian Tire because one side is used dry and the other used wet, which serves our needs well. I purchased a Ryobi vaporizer from Home Depot. It’s meant for herbicides and pesticides that are around the same density as water and says it can cover 1000 square feet in a minute. We are using Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO) as the cleaning and disinfecting solution. SAO kills other viruses and bacteria with a one-minute dwell time. (For those who want to see the details, see https://ca.tersano.com/pages/covid-info.) We spray this onto the floor, leave for a minute, then go over it with the microfiber broom again. This method allows us to clean the floor in under 10 minutes and we do it before and after class.
I would like to note that the CKF says in their Covid-19 Protocol document that “Dojo floors and washrooms must be sanitized daily.” Many websites that suggest using vinegar to sanitize hardwood flooring. Vinegar is NOT an approved disinfectant and there are no studies that demonstrate it kills Covid-19. There are lab studies that show vinegar is effective against some bacteria, killing nasties like tuberculosis, but it takes 30 minutes to do so. Many commercial disinfecting solutions are too harsh for hardwood flooring and will damage the finish. Others are designed to be applied with a mop and bucket which brings us back to the “swishing dirty water around the floor” approach to cleaning that I think leaves much to be desired. From what I’ve read, SAO is safe for hardwood floors and does a good job killing bacteria and viruses. Just don’t leave puddles of it on your dojo floor as too much liquid is bad for hardwood floors no matter what it is.
We also use SAO to clean the high-touch areas of the dojo. In our case, that means the window-ledges, a countertop, door handles, and stair railings. We also use an alcohol-based sanitizer for people to use after they’ve signed the attendance sheet. We have access to a washroom but nobody has used it yet so we haven’t cleaned it. We do not have access to changerooms at the church so participants come in uniform or in workout clothing.
So far, so good, but we’ll keep updating our site and social media as the situation evolves.
If you’re interested in coming out for classes, please contact us and come on out!