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COVID-2020: Our Prediction on how Martial Art Gyms will Reopen

It is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has made a lasting impact on the world. Its haunting and notorious nature has not only destroyed blood vessels, lungs and families, but also small businesses like martial arts gyms.

Unlike a Supercuts or a McDonalds, there really isn’t a chain when it comes to martial arts gyms. While there are a small amount of big players, the majority of the industry is long-tail and highly fragmented meaning there are a lot of little businesses (e.g. nail salons) as opposed to being dominated by only a handful of big businesses (e.g. oil and airlines). With that, the martial arts community has been severely hit by COVID-19 and is arguably the hardest hit.

​During lockdown, other businesses are still able to bring in some revenue through delivery, curb-side pickup or online services. However, social distancing does not really work for martial arts. For arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is required for two people to be closely intertwined in body, tempo and psyche. Breathing is close, hands are gripping and sweat is dripping- a very anti-social distancing environment. So how will these martial arts gyms reopen once COVID-19 has died down? To open full blast would be reckless and could lead to another spike in cases and death. Instead, I predict gyms will operate like this as they slowly reopen.