To Wear a Mask or Not.

I’m a front line health worker in a Country and a state that hasn’t been hit too badly by the Covid pandemic. Even before this I have been wearing surgical masks and protective equipment (PPE) for over twelve years now. I’m also a martial arts instructor.

I work with patients who are immune compromised and sometimes I wear a mask and PPE to protect them from me. Other times I’ll wear the equipment to protect myself and my family from them.

Two sides of the same coin.  Different cultures also can have different experiences.  My first trip to Japan over ten years ago I was interested in the people that wore masks on the train and I asked them why.  My first thought was they didn’t want to catch something, but the most common answer was that they themselves were a little sick (Flu) and they did not want to pass it on.  Being Japanese they also apologised.

Coming from an Australian perspective and reading some of the material coming out of the United States I find it interesting that people are refusing to wear a mask citing personal freedoms. I almost feel like quoting Star Trek and the needs of the many versus the needs of the one. Spock and Kirk.

This duality of thought is the very nature of Aikido practice. Sometimes my patients will refuse to wear a mask. They are having trouble breathing so I can understand and I’ll wear one for them. Protecting both myself and them. Other times my patients will demand that I wear a mask before entering a room. Sometimes patients cough and breathe in my face when I’m trying to help them and I wish I was wearing a mask and eye protection.

Mind and body.  Personal freedoms vs social good.  Two sides of the same coin.  If you stand that coin on it’s side and spin it really fast it becomes a sphere in perfect balance.