Taking The Summer Off?
It’s that time of the year again. School is out and summer is on us. Every year we have students take off for the summer for a variety of reasons. Some are out of town for the summer, some spend it at the beach, others are in camp all summer and some just take off. We even have students who leave the country for the summer.
Whatever your reason for taking off is, we want you to have your best summer and enjoy it. We want to encourage and recommend that students don’t take the summer “off” but we also recognize that many do.
So, what do I mean by that…
Every year we see students come back from taking the summer off and struggle in the beginning to get back into the swing of things. Some students might wait until halfway through or towards the end of September to get back into class. Many times, students and parents want to get their routines back in order when school starts. The beginning of the school year can get a little crazy.
Students that take the summer off generally fall into one of three groups…
The first group we will put all the students who take the summer off and don’t do any martial arts from July until September. I would say that this is most of the students who take off.
The second group are students who don’t officially take off for the summer. They have all good intension of coming to class but playing with friends, the pool, the beach, all the summer activities get in the way. Their attendance really suffers throughout the summer.
The third group are the students who take off for the summer or limit their attendance due to other activities but continue to practice at home. They don’t really have much of a drop off in their material or learning because they are staying active with practice at home. Unfortunately, these students are not the norm and usually rare.
So, does it really matter if you take off the summer or not? The real answer to that question is, “it depends”. Every student is different. Some students can miss the entire summer, not skip a beat and just jump right back in. Unfortunately, this is also not the norm. Most students will have a drop off with their training if they take the summer off and some more than others. The key is to minimize that as much as possible and help them get back on track. For many students this is crucial for them to be prepared for our October belt test.
If you are going to be away and cannot get to class this summer, it is important that you are practicing at home. 5-10 minutes 3 days a week will go a long way. Students who keep up with their practice outside of the school usually progress faster and are more prepared in class and on test days.
The next question that comes up with practice at home is, “what should I practice?” Anything that you practice at home is going to be helpful, but forms are usually the area that most people need to spend the extra time on. You are also not limited to needing a partner to practice forms. Self-defense is great but you need an attacker to practice. If you are practicing 3 days a week, you could spend one week practicing your new form two of the days and the other day practicing lower forms. The following week switch it. Two days lower forms and one day new forms. For advanced belts, one day of new forms, one day of lower forms and one day of weapons practice.
If you have a heavy bag at home, kick away! Feel free to practice your striking techniques at home as well. Don’t have a heavy bag? You can stuff an old pillowcase with old t-shirts and make a striking pad. If you make your practice time fun, you will be much more likely to keep at it!
We will make sure to continue to provide high quality instruction during class and make sure to do are part. Keep up with your practice and hard work. If everyone does their part, I know that you will be successful and reach all your goals.
Every day that you come to class, you are taking one step closer to Black Belt. Every day that you practice at home, you are taking one step closer to Black Belt. Every day let’s take that step closer.