IMO politics and religion have no place at family gatherings, this forum, and in martial arts classes. Some might find it odd that I even have to say this. But I have a very small group, and people's sentiments are not exactly secret these days. Worse, we live in times where divisions seem to grow deeper every day, And as much as the dojo, dojang, kwun, gym, ...or in my case these days, the garage and park, should be neutral ground where we can all come together, I'm finding it's not quite that simple. Here are a few examples of problems relating to the polarized world we live in that are adversely affecting my training.... 1. My instructor (out of state) and my local training partner are both so edgy about the current situation, that I have to walk on eggs whenever I'm working with them. As much as I steer clear of touchy subjects, my silence itself often indicts me as a person of a different perspective. And apparently that is a problem for them. ....Which then becomes a problem for my training! 2. I've heard through a third party that similar issues have caused a significant exodus of upper level students from our head school (in another state). This is also bad for me.... since to turn a popular phrase on it's head, "A falling tide drops all ships" ...and my ship (group) is affected too. 3. Locally, in my own tiny Escrima group (a separate organization), I've had my struggles. One particular student who was a huge asset just tested me to let me know that he is discontinuing for now ...apparently due to concerns about the whole Covid-19 thing and safety precautions like masks. At first I thought that he was concerned that (as was another student) that we were not taking enough precautions upon re-opening. --We work outside in the open air, maintain social distance, do a lot of forms and do paired striking drills with staffs, or sticks at larga mano (long range). And, even at that range, masks are strongly encouraged and hand sanitizer is available. Well, it turns out that his problem just the opposite. He's frustrated that I am "so uptight" about this whole "charade" and pushing these excessive safety measures. So he's done for now, but probably will continue doing jits and boxing with his other trainer who's less alarmist. So what with the recent Covid shut down, with cases still rising locally, and people's uncompromising attitudes, I'm finding really hard to keep our group going at all... ....or maybe it's just my deodorant? Honestly, I'm happy training with anybody who's friendly and wants to train. When did that become such a high bar to get over???