Local Tae Kwon Do center cautiously reopens for sparring

Ray’s Tae Kwon Do Center in Miami Springs recently reintroduced full contact sparring back into their classes.

After the pandemic started last March, Ray’s went fully online with Master Instructor Ray Rodriguez teaching students over Zoom. COVID-19 restrictions and heavy rains flooding the gym stalled the return to in-person instruction for months, but Ray’s is now holding limited capacity classes.

However, some former students have decided not to return due to COVID-19 concerns. In order to enter the gym, everyone must wear a mask at all times, sanitize their hands and have their temperature checked.

Rodriguez said he wants people to know that his gym is operating cautiously and with the student’s health as the priority.

“I need the parents and the public to think and to know that this is going to be very safe for them, very good and I’m hoping to get a lot of the old students back,” said Rodriguez.

Instructors and students have celebrated the return of full contact sparring.

Student Jose Giralt said: “Sparring allows me to test what I’ve learned in class, and it really puts your skills to the test when you have to go up against another person that has been studying along your side. It’s really fun and really intense it helps you develop as a fighter.”

Ray’s Tae Kwon Do Center will be holding sparring sessions every Thursday at seven p.m.

Julio Mendez is a senior at Florida International University, majoring in Communications with a minor in Criminal Justice. His interests are politics and sports, mainly basketball and MMA.