APRIL 18 2021 UPDATE (Originally published August 5th, 2020): With the advances in vaccination I believe there is a role for ‘vaccinated training pods’ to exist in the BJJ landscape.
Essentially these are small groups of fully vaccinated people who are willing to accept the much smaller risk posed by training with other vaccinated people rather than training out in general population. This concept is discussed more extensively with Dr Nicholas Tyau in Episode 320 of The Strenuous Life Podcast.
The ‘training pod’ concept is one possible way to keep yourself and other people safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s clear that most coronavirus super-spreader events have certain commonalities, including
- Being indoors
- Being in close proximity
- Heavy breathing, loud talking, or singing
- Extended periods of contact
It’s incredibly unfortunate that BJJ checks all of these risk factor boxes; in fact it’s hard to think of a better scenario for one person to give this virus to a ton of people than the average jiu-jitsu class.
But you love jiu-jitsu. Yes, there are workarounds to get better at BJJ during coronavirus, but ultimately nothing beats rolling.
By training in a small pod of people that only train with each other AND commit to taking reasonable precautions (mask wearing, social distancing, etc.) when out in public you both 1) reduce your own chance of exposure, and 2) limit the number of other people who are going to get sick.
(Personally I think that keeping other people safe is an incredibly important moral responsibility that not enough people are thinking about during this pandemic.)
A couple of other CRITICAL points…
Training pods don’t apply if you live in a jurisdiction that’s currently has a giant spike of cases, or even if cases in your jurisdiction are on an upswing.
That’s why Dr Chris Moriarty put ‘single partner training’ (which is almost the same thing as a training pod) into phase 3 of his Opening Up Jiu-Jitsu protocols. Basically the number of cases (and/or the percentage of tests which are coming back positive) have to be going DOWN in your area for a couple of weeks before you even get to train with even just one person.
It sucks, but if local cases are going up then you don’t train.
Secondly, the utility of training pods is greatly limited if the other person(s) in the pod are themselves in multiple training pods, going to indoor social gatherings, or generally being stupid.
When you’re in a training pod you need to be monogamous with a small group of people and also try your very best to stay safe outside of training. So pick your partners very carefully – sites that are trying to match responsible people to train during the pandemic like Down to Roll might help.
I go into a lot of the What-Why-Who-When-Where details of training pods in episode 278 of my podcast (The Strenuous Life Podcast) which you can check out below…
How to Organise a BJJ Training Pod, Video Format
Here’s a list of what I covered during this chat…
0:47 – What is a Training Pod
1:08 – Why Are Training Pods a Good Idea Right Now, and Reasons for Hope
7:21 – How Many People Should Be In Your Pod and Who Do You Choose?
11:50 – When is a Training Pod Appropriate?
13:50 – Where Can Your Train with Your Pod?
How to Organise a BJJ Training Pod, Audio Format
The timing (but not the content) of what I cover is a little different in the audio version of this episode…
1:11 – What is a Training Pod
1:38 – Why Are Training Pods a Good Idea Right Now, and Reasons for Hope
7:51 – How Many People Should Be In Your Pod and Who Do You Choose?
12:20 – When is a Training Pod Appropriate?
14:20 – Where Can Your Train with Your Pod?
In this podcast I referenced a couple of articles on Graplearts.com. Here are the direct links…
Guidelines for Opening Up BJJ Academies During the Covid-19 Pandemic with Dr Chris Moriarty
The Cheapest Grappling Mat
Links to Subscribe to My Podcast
I’ve been working on my podcast for quite some time now.
Some episodes are rants and many are chats with BJJ people, but I’ve also interviewed everyone from Green Berets to Les ‘Survivorman’ Stroud.
- Click here for The Strenuous Life Podcast on Apple Podcasts
- Click here for The Strenuous Life Podcast on Google Podcasts
- Click here for The Strenuous Life Podcast on Spotify
- Click here for The Strenuous Life Podcast Stitcher
Take care my friends,