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Like almost every single sport club in the city, the Yellowknife Wado Kai Karate Club has had to play the waiting game.

When will their next class be? What will the future look like?

Will it get back to normal?

Things are getting back to some semblance of normal for the club as it will hold a practice back at Mildred Hall School tonight, the first one at its home venue since the pandemic began. The club was out at Somba K’e Park on May 12 for a one-off session.

While the venue is the same, what’s changed is the location: outdoors. Because phase one of the loosening of restrictions doesn’t allow for indoor gatherings inside gymnasiums as of yet, they will have to practice on the artificial turf in front of the school.

Patrick Clancy, the club’s sensei, said he’s hopeful the weather will be a bit kinder to him and his members since the last time they were outside earlier this month.

“The forecast called for 8 C and it ended up being minus-3,” he said. “I had some cold kids but they toughed it out.”

Victor Lumacad practises his upper blocks during warm-ups as part of an outdoor class held by the Yellowknife Wado Kai Karate Club at Somba K’e Park on May 12. The club is back to its regular schedule after being off for two months due to Covid-19.
Blair McBride/NNSL photo

This is the longest break in the club’s history, said Clancy, and he’s been giving his students some materials to study while they waited to get back to class.

“I sent them a supplementary kata (forms) to work on and the seniors will have to perform that once things get back,” he said. “There’s some general information, all sorts of material for them to study.”

Covid-19 has put a damper on more than just classes, added Clancy, as it forced the cancellation of a summit he and other senior members of the club were set to attend next month in Victoria.

“Our grand master was set to fly in from the Cayman Islands but we had to cancel our flights,” he said.

Plans for a clinic are now on hold until at least the late fall as well; there was a clinic planned next month with a focus on bunkai – analysis in Japanese – which is used in kata.

“It’s delayed all of our plans to host one,” said Clancy. “Wado Kai Canada needs at least six months notice before you can host and so we can’t do anything until November at the earliest now.”

Indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball can return in phase two and karate would be included in that. Phase two allows for groups of up to 25 people to be in an indoor space so long as proper disinfection controls are in place.

Clancy said he usually finishes up at Mildred Hall around mid-June, which is when phase two regulations could come into play at the earliest, but he does plan on having a summer program at the Multiplex.

“I do have a summer contract with the city at the DND Gymnasium so I’m hoping to have a two-month program there,” he said. “I have close to 25 for a normal class indoors, a bit less for the summer, but I’m hopeful we’ll be back up and running indoors by then.”

Even if the club gets back indoors, they will have to abide by distancing regulations and that means no close-contact exercises.

“It will have to be techniques only,” he said. “No sparring, no kumite, all kata right now.”

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James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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