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Looking forward to getting back into the dojo

IT looks like the way back to dojo training will be through outdoor non contact training in the first instance. We are currently waiting for our venues - Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh and North Berwick Sports Centre - to confirm they have space for us to train outside.
When we get back to training outdoors, we will be wearing trainers, with gis under fleeces, tracksuits or hoodies as it will still be cold. The hope is that we can start adult training outdoors at some point in April. Most of our classes on weekday evenings are going to stay on Zoom, because it will take a while for evenings to get light enough to think about outdoor training.

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We’re back to face to face training in East Lothian!

It's been a long long time since March 2020 when we suspended training to comply with lockdown restrictions. With East Lothian's move into Tier Two, we can get back into our dojos at both the North Berwick Sports Centre and QMU in Musselburgh.

The first class back is with Sensei Steve Fraser at North Berwick on Monday 30 November, with Sensei Stewart returning to teach at QMU in Musselburgh on Thursday 3rd December.

Members should have received an emall from Sensei Bert Stewart with details.

It's not quite back to business to usual. Contact is still forbidden for people over the age of 12 and we will be observing social distancing.

In case you didn't get the email - here's what it said:

Classes will resume on Thursday 3rd December 2020 at Musselburgh and Monday 30th November 2020 at North Berwick.

Musselburgh classes will take place at Queen Margaret University (room 0051 – rehearsal studio): Under 11s 7:00-7:35pm and 12 and overs 7:55-8:30pm on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.

North Berwick, will be at North Berwick Sports Centre, Under 11s 7:00-8:00pm and 12-and-over 8:00-9:00pm Monday.

Classes will feel and operate very differently from before so please read the following details very careful.  Due to space restrictions and social distancing requirements we are introducing a new online booking system for both Musselburgh and a separate one for North Berwick please apply for a place using this form and I will be in touch to let you know if you have been successful. In the confirmation email I will send you a link to a symptom checker form which each student MUST fill in on the day of the class and must be filled in at least two hours before the start of the class. This is a Scottish Government requirement and I am not permitted to allow anyone to enter a class without this.

Social distancing is not required for children aged 11-years and under, however 2m distancing will need to be adhered to for those aged 12 and above which will limit the number of students who can be accommodated in the room we have been allocated.  If there is a high demand, priority will be given to those who have subscribed to the online classes and on an attendance basis.

Some of the changes we anticipate being necessary will be that changing rooms and toilet facilities may remain closed, please therefore come ready to train and already changed. Please use hand sanitiser provided and avoid physical contact with other students/ parents. Training will resume on a non-contact basis and therefore there will be no use of shared equipment. When booking a class please do so on the basis that you intend to use the place otherwise someone else may lose out as a result.  We are required to leave windows open throughout the session so you may wish to wear a white t shirt under your gi as the weather gets colder. On entering the building you must wear face coverings and only remove them in the training room. Because of a requirement to leave 20 minutes between each class for cleaning, classes will necessarily be shorter at Musselburgh than before.

There will be no option to pay in cash going forward. Payment will remain monthly in advance as per the JKA East Lothian page, we will be in touch shortly regarding a revised payment structure.

Thank you for your ongoing support for the dojos and I look forward to resuming in-person classes.

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Covid 19 – latest update

Sign of a "finish line ahead"

Sensei Bert has been in touch with all students by email to give you the latest information on the re-opening of JKA North Berwick and JKA Musselburgh. Dalgety Bay has already re-opened!

Dear students and parents,

Thank you all for your ongoing support and attendance at our Zoom classes. Plans for reopening of the North Berwick and Musselburgh dojos are now in the planning stage and we are waiting confirmation from the centres on potential dates when we can begin physical classes once again. I know how much everyone will be looking forward to getting back to physical training once again and we are hopeful that will be very soon but until we receive dates we will continue with the Zoom classes. We will be back in touch as soon as we can with detailed information on how classes will work going forward. Physical distancing measures will remain in place and will necessarily change how we operate. We are in discussions with the centres as to their covid-compliant requirements and our own procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible. Some of the changes we anticipate include changing rooms remaining closed, you therefore may need to come ready to train and already changed, use of hand sanister before and exiting class and that training will resume on a non-contact basis and with no use of shared equipment. 

We are also working on introducing a new online booking system to ensure we both comply with new capacity limits and ensure everyone who wants to train will be able to do so. We will also be introducing a new payment structure for contactless payment via standing order only, details will be forwarded to you in due course. There will be no option to pay in cash going forward and standing order payment must be put in place before attendance at any classes will be possible.

Thank you for you ongoing support for the dojos and I look forward to resuming in-person classes soon.


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Latest Covid Update

We're putting the finishing touches to a range of measues to allow us to re-open dojos safely.

Senseis Stewart, Osborne and Fraser have all completed the Sportscotland Covid 19 Officer training to ensure we're doing all we can to get ready for the return of face to face training.

We will need to make some changes. These will include:

  • new payment arrangements to end cash handling in favour of less frequent processes, such as asking you to take out a standing order for a block of lessons over a time period
  • new class times to permit cleaning to take place in between classes
  • working out the best mix of Zoom classes and face to face classes to help ensure you get a high quality teaching experience while keeping as safe as we can.
children kumite
Controlled basic kumite

Assuming no sudden change, children under the age of 12 are able to start indoor contact sport from 31 August, with people of all ages able to take part in contact sport from 14 September. This is taken from the Scottish Government guidance and is endorsed by our governing body, the SKGB.

This is going to be a period of trial and error, informed by advice from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Karate Governing Body, so please bear with us as we find a way forward. Keep checking back on this website, or and if you use Facebook, we also post information there. If there's anything you're unsure of, please get in touch.

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Return to Face to Face Training

Covid-19 image

Now the government has confirmed gyms can re-open, we're getting ready to return to face to face training! It's been a long five months but we're almost there. We're putting the final touches to the re-opening plan for the Dalgety Bay dojo, with the first night expected to be Wednesday 2nd September. For North Berwick, it looks like the return is likely to be a couple of weeks later, as the Sports Centre is not planning to reopen until 14th September, and we're still waiting for the Queen Margaret University to confirm their plans.

Numbers will have to be limited to ensure we can maintain the 2m social distancing rules, and kumite drills with partners won't be possible, but it will be brilliant to get the spirit back of training with others.

White belt class
Face to face training!

At present, we're looking to give priority for these limited spaces to people who have continued to train over the summer through Zoom classes. The most likely outcome is that we'll set up a way for you to apply for a space on a class through something like a Google spreadsheet, and we'll confirm by email a couple of days before if you've been successful in getting one. We'll keep you up to date.

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Covid-19 update

tiger cubs having fun

We now have a date to work towards in terms of getting our dojos back open for you to train in. 14 September is the date the Scottish Government gave on 30 July for getting gyms re-opened. We think gyms are a good match for dojos and so that's what we look out for when listening to the briefings.

Meanwhile we hope you're managing to get motivated and training on your own or within your family groups. Remember there is a wealth of information available to you in your membership folders or in the JKA Karate East Lothian website. Searching "JKA" on Youtube will bring up some of the younger instructors from the honbu dojo in Tokyo as well some of the older masters. As karate is refined all the time, just be careful with your search queries and be aware that there are many styles of karate out there! This is especially important if you are looking for katas - ensure you find an up to date version otherwise you will struggle a wee bit when you get back into the dojo - and you'll stand out for the wrong reasons! Keep strong, keep training ...Of course we are still providing training sessions online, there's still time to join the Zoom classes if you want to try and take the rust of the last few weeks off!

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Launch of new shop

At JKA Karate East Lothian, we've been keeping on with training while we self-isolate. At the same time, we're preparing for the long haul, and the joyous day we can see each other again in our two dojos in the east and west of the county. Part of this has finally been getting the time to develop our range of club merchandise, and to get it online for you all to see.

Our new online store is at the stage now where it's ready to be perused by a wider audience.

The shop can be found at Shop. At present, we're taking a measured approach and so we can't take credit cards or PayPal yet. Our favoured payment method is online bank transfer. So if you fancy a new Gi, looking for kumite mitts or a new kitbag, visit the store, please! If you spot any problems or mistakes while you're there, please let us know by email. It's not going to be perfect, so any help you can give us would be brilliant and just like in our karate training, we'll work at continually improving as we go.

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COVID 19 Precautions – all dojos closed

JKA Karate East Lothian cares about its members and their families. That's why we've taken the difficult decision to close all our dojos for an indefinite period.

In doing this, we're also following the example of the Japan Karate Association in Japan, who have also closed all dojos.

We want you to keep training, to keep practising what you've learned, and to keep motivated. We will all need the mental strength we've developed through our study of this martial art to keep focussed, keep doing the right thing, and keep ourselves and our families healthy.

Even people who have only been training for a short while have been given the tools to keep training in the smallest of spaces. Training can be undertaken from a standing position. Punching from a standing position is good training for everyone from a white belt to the most advanced in our clubs (albeit the most advanced will have a greater understanding of just how complex something which seems simple is if we are to liberate the maximum impact from our bodies.)

When you add lunges from a standing position into a stance position, be that front stance, back stance or side straddle stance, you will start to see that it is possible to train even in the smallest of spaces. Sensei Bert Stewart and Sensei Stephen Fraser are working on offering online classes to keep you motivated - rather than a broadcast on Facebook, where your technique can't be checked by an instructor, and you can nip off for a biscuit un-noticed, we are going to trial private one on one lessons through Skype in the first instance.

Look out for further information on this new service once we complete the necessary testing to ensure you get a good experience.

Before that, though, remember your training, remember your focus and cultivate the spirit of perseverance. Karate training isn't easy.

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JKA Musselburgh enters new chapter with relocation to Queen Margaret University gym

Our long-established dojo in Musselburgh is on the move. We're leaving Stoneyhill Community Centre to head up the hill to the Queen Margaret University campus, with the first classes due to take place at our new location in late July.

Stoneyhill has been our home in Musselburgh for 22 years, and will have seen thousands of karateka train in the first floor gym over that time. Our departure is precipitated by the centre's closure and it will be with sadness that we leave it behind, and excitement as we consider the advantages of relocating to a busy university campus close to Musselburgh railway station.

We're having a special last training session at Stoneyhill on Thursday 20 June 2019 at 7pm for karateka past and present. The session will be to mark the end of an era, and the start of another! There will be a four week period between the closure on 20 June and the opening of the new dojo at QMU on Thursday 18th July, 7pm to 8pm. During this time our dojo in North Berwick will be remaining open throughout the holidays, so people will be more than welcome at the sports centre in North Berwick if you like to keep sharp over the summer. The North Berwick nights are Monday and Wednesday at 7pm at the town's sports centre, with training led by Sensei Paola Burrows, 4th Dan JKA.