School is over and Summer is here! Schedules are hectic with camps and vacations and it is very easy to get so busy
with summer activities and vacations that we can fall behind on our karate classes. It happens. No worries. The key is this…
GET BACK TO CLASS!
Taking a break is no big deal. Actually it is a good idea. As long as it is a REAL break.
Here is what I mean…
A “break” is defined as a pause or temporary stop in activity. Notice the term temporary there!!!
This implies that after the break is over we return to what we were doing before the break. And this can be a very healthy thing for a few reasons.
1. It allows you to re-charge and come back to what you were doing with renewed energy, focus and determination.
2. We can take a step back and evaluate where we are so we can figure out where we are going with the goals we have set in our training.
3. Breaks allow our bodies to rest and recuperate to avoid injury.
These are all very important benefits. HOWEVER, we must be sure we are actually taking a break!
As I said before a break implies a “temporary pause” in activity. We always come back after the break. Otherwise we are not on a break we are quitting. And nothing ever gets accomplished by quitting.
So, how long should a break be? This really depends on the individual student and where we are in our training. In general here are my suggestions…
1. You can plan small breaks throughout the year. Skipping a class or two (not in the same week) every month or so or a week off every few months is a good rule of thumb.
2. If you are in the habit of coming more than 3 times per week you may consider taking a couple of two week breaks during the year.
3. If you have been training for several years…3 or more…a month break can be beneficial.
Here is the key to all of these…COME BACK!!!
The break has a definite start and a definite end!!!
As well the best time to do #2 or #3 is right after a belt promotion. That way you stay on track with your material. Breaks like these in the middle of a belt delays advancing to the next rank.
Keep something else in mind too. The longer we are away the easier it is to stay away. So to combat this keep up with your material with light practice at home. Run a few moves to stay fresh with recent material. Keep it short and moderate to light intensity. Just enough to keep your muscle memory sharp.
As well, let your instructor know about your break. Send a message with the DEFINITE start and end of the break. This shows that you have planned a true break and are not subject to the rise and fall of emotional whims. Nothing is more irritating than a student saying they are taking a break and when asked how long it will be the reply is, “I don’t know.”
When we take brief, planned breaks it helps us be more productive in our training and keeps us moving forward toward achieving our goals.
Take care and see you on the mat…