CLASSES are back underway at Pollets Martial Arts Bathurst's George Street complex as relaxed COVID-19 restrictions have brought members together once more.
The dojo's members had been doing what they could to stay connected online, through classes and sessions, but after several months away from group activities this week has been a great moment.
Head instructor Ian Pollet said the return to group work is a great feeling, and he knows there are many other similar positive stories for clubs around the Central West who put in the hard work to help return to a sense of normality quicker.
"The community in Bathurst, Orange and the Central West are working towards that goal of being productive again," he said.
"I feel that over the next couple of months people will be getting their feet back on the ground because recently it's been a scary time for everyone.
"I suppose the kids haven't minded having this long holiday but financially it hasn't been great for the parents, so things are positive looking forward and I think as a community we're going to do very well."
The dojo had experience with running online classes in 2020 and while some adapted well to the experience again, Pollet said in-person sessions are welcomed by everyone.
"Some people were very active and others found the communication a little difficult. There were a lot of people who were thankful to be able to keep exercises going while they couldn't do things normally," he said.
"That was great feedback for us. We're excited to be active in the community again. It doesn't matter who the person in the community is, it's been hard on everyone. Now we're looking to the future and not taking a step back."
Higher level competitors will be very keen to get their tournament fix after the back half of 2021 saw the calendar disrupted greatly.
The ISKA CCP Australian Open was due to take place this weekend when the original tournament calendar was released by COVID-19 forced its cancellation.
However, there's still competitions for Bathurst members to look forward to heading into the new year.
Pollet said several students will also be looking to organise title fights over the coming months as opportunities begin to open back up for people to move between regions in New South Wales and the rest of the nation.
"We're probably looking at February for our next competitions," he said.
"We're possibly looking at three of our members getting ready for a championship belt. In February we'll be running the Central West's ISKA Championships as well.
"We're getting our feet on the ground to see what we're capable of doing.
"We'll look at running that tournament as usual in Bathurst, and a lot of people in the Central West train hard for that one.
"We have to remain positive. We can't look back on what's happened. We have to remain focused on the future."
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