MARTIAL arts students are counting down the days until they can finally get back in action together.

Evade Cheshire Martial Arts in Middlewich will reopen for outdoor classes on Monday, March 29, as per the Government’s easing down of restrictions from the fourth coronavirus national lockdown.

It has been a difficult time for the club, as with all sports, but there have been some positive outcomes as well.

Instructor Martin McDonnell, 31, from Middlewich, said: “This situation has provided us with some exciting opportunities.

“We’ve been stocking up on new equipment for our return and as a result of our hard work, a couple of martial arts equipment brands have sent us some bits that will benefit all our members when we reopen

“We’ve also taken this time to start recording some videos of training footage and coaching tips that will be available for people to download to help them train at home.

“We’ve also been asked to keep the Zoom classes running when ‘normality’ resumes, which we are more than happy to do!

“I’m so grateful to our members and to my staff. With everyone’s hard work we have actually been receiving enquiries for when we reopen and are building up a small waiting list.”

Initially, the return to action is outdoors and McDonnell explained how it will work at Evade Cheshire Martial Arts.

“From the 12th of April, with everything being well, we should be allowed back indoors for ‘standard’ classes – with a road map to normal training following indoor, socially distanced training.

“Outdoor classes will be socially distanced and include circuit training, strength and conditioning, mobility work and shadow boxing/ fresh air striking.

“We break these down into age appropriate classes - little ninjas for 4 to 6 year olds, cadets for 7 to 13 year olds and 14+ for adults – so there’s no cross training between age groups (for safety) and it allows us more space by breaking the classes up.

“We have a strict sanitisation process for training, with an instructional video pinned to the top of our Facebook page

“And any equipment we might use is sanitised before, during and after classes.”

Some training has continued from home during the lockdown thanks to the virtual video app, Zoom.

“We’ve been running our kickboxing classes via Zoom which has been great for keeping members active, but has provided its own challenges,” said McDonnell.

“Without me being face to face it’s tough to correct smaller points such as positioning of feet, guard etc.

“Sadly our judo classes haven’t been able to run with all the restrictions too.

“We are so excited about being able to open that class back up as the government and the British Judo Association allow.

“The judo members have been great, sending messages of support and we love that they’re itching to get back to training.

“Our judo coach, Jared, is a fantastic coach and much loved by his students (and us!). More information on that class will come at a later date.”

He appreciates all the help that has been received to help keep the club ticking over the best it can.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the mums, dads, brothers and sisters who don’t train, but have been helping out in the Zoom classes by holding pads and cushions for the members.

“It’s such a small thing that really helps improve the quality of training and I love seeing the sport I have such a passion for bringing families together, in a way it may not have without lockdown.

“Thank you to all our members, their families and to the ECMA team for their continued dedication and hard work. We have built such a great community and we continue to grow and improve together.”