Remember that it is important that all students know and stay mindful of all of the safety precautions currently in place at the gym/Dojo. This is crucial to the safety of everyone and preventing a problem with COVID. This includes arriving for each class no earlier than 5 to 10 minutes prior to it’s start. After a temperature check, shoes must be carried to the ’fitness room’ and placed on one of the shoe racks. Next, sanitizer must be applied to hands and feet at the training room entry door, then students should proceed to a ‘social distancing’ spot in the room for their class, filling in the spaces farthest from the door first. Water bottles and spare masks can be placed at a back corner of their space. During the class masks must stay on and instructions should be followed carefully. Once the class is finished, students can gather their belongings and exit the training room in order, one at a time. Shoes should be put on near the exit door, then the student may proceed to the playground area and walk to the front of the building. Parents should be ready to receive their children at that time. At all times, please minimize congregating in the ‘fitness room’. With everyone staying vigilant about safety we can all keep our risks to a minimum and continue to practice the martial arts that we love. Thanks for your cooperation with this!
We’ve seen some difficult challenges over the last six months or so. Although there are different levels of severity in the way that people have been affected by the global pandemic, it’s probably safe to say that everyone has been affected in some way. Many of us have faced quarantines, problems with employment, financial hardships, lack of normal activities, reduction in services, new safety precautions everywhere, restricted travel, political turmoil and, of course...infection and illness.
One of the potential consequences of this is a wave of psychological damage both short and long term. Experts are assessing the impact of COVID19 and are noting a variety of effects ranging from anxiety and depression to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the short term, many people’s priorities have changed with a sense of being forced to exist in a survival mode taking over their thoughts and actions. People have been taken way outside of their ‘comfort zone’ leading to insecurity and stress. With big changes to our normal routines our identity and sense of who we are may be shaken. The combination of isolation and sheer boredom can clearly affect our state of mind in negative ways.
All of this can put us at risk for a variety of negative conducts and consequences such as overeating, substance abuse, episodes of rage, and even destructive behaviors. These can all create a compounding effect that will result in making things worse for ourselves and more difficult to get back to a happy and productive lifestyle.
In order to avoid imploding during these challenging times we must constantly move our thoughts from a negative stream that will trigger the ’fight-or-flight’ response to more positive thinking. Sometimes that means simply shutting down negative thoughts and feelings and calming ourselves. Another technique is to change our stream of thoughts to positive memories, future activities, or even the better aspects of our present situation. Plan some activities, take a class, learn a new language, PLAN A VACATION!
Dr. Shauna Springer of Psychology Today says that, during the pandemic “We must be relentlessly intentional and creative in: 1) Finding ways to be productive in new roles that tap existing strengths, 2) Continually connecting with each other using all modes available to us now, and 3) Doing business that will hold our economy stable through the crisis.”
Keeping busy in this way serves as an important distraction from the negativity of the situation. The feeling of accomplishment in new projects and goals can help us to feel good in challenging times. Physical activity and exercise is especially great in this way AND promotes overall health and happiness. Just the practice of planning our activities helps us to look more forward to a better time. Setting a routine for ourselves and sticking to it also puts more structure in our lives, creating a ‘comfort zone’ in uncomfortable situations.
In the long term, we should try to learn and grow from the challenges life throws at us. Experts refer to this as ‘Adversarial Growth’ or ‘Post Traumatic Growth.’ Most people are familiar with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and some situations are so severe that it can be extremely difficult for someone to return to a healthy frame of mind afterwards. However, some situations can be traumatic for us and we will bounce back or even grow from the experience. Some people become MORE motivated to do well or even thrive in spite of the hardships that life has given them. We need to learn to live by the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche “What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.”
According to a study at Penn. State, there can be five elements to Adversarial Growth:
¨ Improved relationships with others
¨ Identification of new possibilities in one’s life
¨ Increased personal strength
¨ Elevation in attitude and spirit
¨ Enhanced appreciation of life
These positive changes relate to the development of important qualities of character, such as diligence, generosity, love, purpose, and humility.
For most of us, life is hard. The only way for us to be successful and happy is to keep a positive outlook and continue to fight for our success and happiness. We must learn to turn negatives into positives. Over time, we can actually reprogram our brains to be more optimistic and productive...in spite of hardships. It’s up to us to see the opportunities we do have and make the best of them!
We are in the process of changing the service for our 'EasyPay' tuition program. Students enrolled this way will still be able to take advantage of this convenient and cost saving option with little or no effort required.
For students who use a credit card for this purpose, virtually nothing extra is needed, unless contacted directly by Sensei Connie. You will likely just see 'Square' listed as the new vendor for your payments. Students who use a checking or savings account for this will need to provide Debit Card or Credit Card info to continue taking advantage of this tuition option. This can be done either in person, over the phone, or via email. New information must be provided by October 31 for this purpose.
Please contact us if you have any questions on this, or if you need to provide new information. For students who are interested in taking advantage of EasyPay going forward, let us know and we will be happy to provide you with a form to get you set up. Remember that enrolling in EasyPay locks you tuition so that it cannot be increased as long as you remain enrolled with it.
On Tuesday, September 29th, Governor Baker announced that certain areas of Massachusetts with low COVID19 risks could move into Step 2 of Phase 3 in the commonwealth’s reopening plan. Consequently, ZenQuest will increase the maximum number of students of 10 per class. This will take effect on Monday, October 5th. For the time being we must continue to limit students to a maximum of three classes per week.
We ARE limited in the number of students allowed in each class and many of our classes are full or nearly full at this time. In order to accommodate current trends in attendance we have made some adjustments to the class schedule. These are as follows:
¨ We've added a class on Wednesday evenings for Jr. Tigers and Tigers students (ages 4-1/2 to 8-1/2) at 5:00 PM. The existing Saturday 'Tigers' children's Karate class is discontinued for the time being.
¨ We've also added a Pythons Jiu-jitsu class (ages 6-1/2 to 12-1/2) on Friday evenings at 4:15 PM.
¨ The existing Saturday 'Pythons' children's Jiu-jitsu class will shift from 9:15 AM to 9:00 AM and be held in the front room (rather than the back room.) For this, students should arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
¨ An additional Muay Thai class (ages 12 and up) has been added to Saturdays at 9:15 AM. We will still offer our 11:45 AM class as usual.
These changes took affect on Monday, September 21st. A complete schedule can be seen and printed from the website or picked-up at the front desk. Please contact us with any questions and let us know if you would like to change any class reservations.
The coronavirus situation has been difficult for everyone in different ways. For those who become infected, the consequences can range from asymptomatic and unaffected to very ill and devastated. Those of us who are not infected by the virus are faced with a variety of inconveniences. These are things like quarantines, wearing masks, restricted travel, or being unable to enjoy our favorite restaurant or sports events.
Aside from the somewhat obvious, there can be some more hidden effects for many of us as the situation drags on. Not the least of these are the way that the pandemic effects us mentally and emotionally. Many people are now having to deal with the consequences of a long period of reduced activities and socialization, boredom, and fear. All of this can leave us struggling with increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and even PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are also prone to something called COVID fatigue or ZOOM fatigue. This is the ‘burnout’ we can experience from the long term consequences related to the pandemic.
Now, more than ever, is a good time to commit to martial arts training. Practicing martial arts has all of the benefits of other fitness activities but tends to reduce our stress, anxiety, and depression more. There are several reasons for this. First, intense physical exercise stimulates body chemistry to make us healthier and happier. Punching, kicking, and throwing things also tends to purge stress by venting our frustrations and addressing the ’fight-or-flight’ instincts triggered under stress. But just as importantly, martial arts training typically includes a regular practice of focus, calmness and stability. Regular training in this mindful physical activity is designed to help us extend these crucial traits into every aspect of our lives.
All of these aspects of martial arts practice can have a synergistic effect and make a huge difference in how we process the world and react to the things that happen from day to day. Even as the crazy ‘rollercoaster’ of 2020 plays out, we can stay calm, focused and happy. We can avoid emotional crashes and the feeling of helplessness.
All of the classes at ZenQuest include mindful activity that will reduce stress and help students ‘stay up’ in their mental and emotional state. Even with the restrictions on training that are required at this time, classes are continuing to provide this essential training. In fact, some aspects of the current class modifications require a heightened sense of mindfulness and provide new perspective on a student’s chosen art.
So, as Sensei Toshio Higa used to say, “please continue” your training through this challenging time. If you’ve thought about training in the past but haven't actually started, do yourself a favor and consider doing so now. Learn to ‘stay up’ in your life!
With ‘back-to-school’ now upon us and the fall season around the corner, parents normally sort out their children’s activities for this time. But, this year brings uncharted territory and uncertainty for many parents and kids. With continuing concerns about the Coronavirus, many school systems are starting the year with some or all learning via remote learning. This is expected to possibly continue until there is a vaccine and/or cure for the virus and experts are predicting that this will likely take months.
With these remote learning or hybrid models children are faced with struggling with excess screen-time and greatly reduced activity levels. In view of this new reality, having kids get out for in-person activities in a very controlled environment will be more important than ever. With strict safety precautions in place, children CAN reap the benefits of physical activity and socialization.
ZenQuest is prepared to strike a balance between safety and activity for kids during this time. With social distancing, face coverings, temperature checks, limited class sizes and durations, controlled foot traffic, positive ventilation, extensive cleaning and sanitizing, and appropriate activities, we are confident that we can provide our children’s classes while also minimizing risks. We believe that kids can have some relief from the unique challenges they’re faced with in the coming months and are prepared to help. For a full listing of the safety measures being used at ZenQuest please visit our website at www.zenquestmac.com.
Please contact us ASAP if you plan on having your children attend classes during this time. Class reservations are on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Due to controlled class sizes there is limited space available in our children’s classes at this time. We are looking at adjustments to the schedule to accommodate as many students as possible. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns in this matter. As always thanks for your continuing understanding and support.
With limitations on class sizes and several classes full or nearly full at ZenQuest, we are looking at ways to accommodate as many students as possible. We’ve already made some adjustments to the class schedule and are planning on more of these based on current trends in enrollment. At present, the most space available is in our younger children’s Karate classes (Tigers, Jr. Tigers and Cranes) and Teen level Karate classes (Cobras.) There is also plenty of space in our “Martial Arts Strength’ or strength and conditioning classes.
Depending on how class attendance plays out over the next few weeks, we will add classes and possibly temporarily convert weaker classes to accommodate the overflow from others.
We are also considering a reconfiguration of the training space at ZenQuest for this purpose. For some time now, we have thought about converting the space in the ‘fitness room’ to additional mat space. Doing this now would allow us to increase the limits on some classes.
Stay tuned for these adjustments over the coming weeks.
With our first month of training in the books we’re happy to say that things are going well and attendance at ZenQuest is good under the circumstances. Classes have been modified and several safety measures are in place, but many students are training and learning again. In these uncertain and challenging times having the ability to enjoy some physical and mental exercise, and continue to train can be crucial to our overall health and well being.
As long as we follow intelligent strategies to minimize our risks, we can make that work. Our current safety measures include social distancing, temperature checks, face coverings, limited class sizes and durations, controlled foot traffic, positive ventilation, extensive cleaning and sanitizing, and activities appropriate to the situation. We also closely monitor the coronavirus cases in the area (which are extremely low), and require students feeling ill or returning to the area after travelling to refrain from attending classes until they are safe.
Each of our classes have been modified to fit the current situation. Each martial art offered presents unique challenges specific to the way it’s usually practiced. So, right now our Uechi-Ryu Karate classes consist of individual drills like calisthenics, hojo undo, kata practice, and ‘virtual’ two-person exercises. Our Jiu-jitsu classes consist of calisthenics and conditioning, various fundamental drills, and work with ‘grappling dummies’ including throws, escapes, positioning and submissions. For Muay Thai we are focusing on general conditioning, variations of shadow boxing, individual drills, and combinations on punching bags. We’re mostly doing ‘bodyweight exercises in our Strength & Conditioning classes, and our MMA trainings consist of roadwork and general conditioning.
Although it is a bit more challenging to train under these conditions, many people are content to train differently rather than not train at all. This requires a mental shift to accept a new type of training, in spite of possibly training a certain way for many years. Staying optimistic and focusing on the positive aspects of things is also key in making that work. Once we have a positive outlook and accept the new challenge, the rest is easy, and training and learning can continue.
In reality, there are many good things about training differently in your chosen martial art. Being more isolated in class provides the opportunity to focus more on the techniques and strategies of our art. Learning to perform well in ‘virtual’ partner drills, and working with targets or dummies allows us to explore the moves without concern about any risk to a partner. Even having to follow multiple safety measures requires us to be more mindful about how we’re doing things, which is one of the most important life skills that we can learn. In the end, being taken out of our ‘comfort zone’ and learning to adapt is amazing mental training.
As of now, we are waiting for the Governor’s office to provide more information and guidance on the duration of this initial phase and details on what follows. Of course, we will keep you up to date as more information becomes available. For now, we are just happy that we can continue to provide classes and see people enjoy the training that they love.
With the current restrictions we are required to follow, it is important that all students stay mindful of a few things to keep things running as smoothly as possible. First, knowing and following all of the safety precautions is crucial to the safety of everyone. This includes arriving for each class 5 to 10 minutes prior to it’s start. After a temperature check, shoes must be carried to the ’fitness room’ and placed on one of the shoe racks. Next, sanitizer must be applied to hands and feet at the training room entry door, then students should proceed to a ‘social distancing’ spot in the room for their class. Water bottles and spare masks can be placed at a corner of their space. Once the class is finished, students can gather their belongings and exit the training room in order to pick up their shoes. Shoes should be put on near the exit door, then the student may proceed to the playground area and walk to the front of the building. Parents should be ready to receive their children at that time.
Transactions for tuition or gear can be made in the front area, but making payments online or over the phone is preferred. Since, instructors are signing students in it is VERY important that students or parents pay close attention to when their tuition payments are due. In some cases reminders may be sent by email if needed since normal reminders are not available to students and parents at this time.
Since classes are currently limited in size it is also very important that students and parents keep their class reservations up to date. Many classes are at capacity at this time with waiting lists for other students to join. If a student can no longer attend a class that they had reserved, they should notify the instructors ASAP. Students who miss three classes in a row will be assumed to have made a schedule change and adjusted accordingly.
Please call 413-637-0656 or contact us via email at email@example.com with any questions or adjustments. Thanks!
With the return to our 'in-person' classes, we have adopted a routine of intense cleaning and disinfecting in the gym. Training room mats and surfaces are disinfected after each class. Similarly, common area floors and surfaces are cleaned on a regular basis. Positive ventilation and the use of a dehumidifier helps keep the environment fresh and dry, too.
Students are also required to keep their own gear clean and follow all safety precautions. Many of these are designed to keep the dojo as clean as possible.
In addition, a professional cleaning service is used at the beginning of each week. Our own Stephen Tremble of ’Priority Cleaning’ uses a fogger to disinfect the entire facility on top of all of the other cleaning rituals currently in place.
We appreciate everyone’s efforts in helping with the new cleaning routines. Please remember that bringing your own sanitizing wipes to use is very helpful, as these tend to be in short supply lately. As always, thanks for your support!