5 Benefits of Continuing Martial Arts Training Over the Summer
Summer holidays are a dream come true for kids, but less so for parents. As much as we love spending more time with our children, bored, under-stimulated kids can end up trying our patience. One solution to help kids stay active during the summer is to enroll them in summer programs or sports, however, some parents feel conflicted about over-scheduling their children during the summer months.
For kids in competitive sports, it’s very beneficial to train year round. We understand the desire to give kids a break from their normal activities, but maintaining their training schedule will help them excel in their sport and school in the long run in several ways.
Keeps students motivated and socially active in a structured environment
Students that continue training over the summer will have an easier transition in the fall when school resumes. They will have spent the summer making goals for themselves and pushing their limits to accomplish them. This ambition and work ethic will carry over to their academic career and they will begin the school year feeling focused, motivated and driven.
For younger children that haven’t started elementary school, martial arts classes gives them experience with student-teacher interactions and learning in a group environment. Karate also gives them the opportunity to socialize and interact with others within a structured class setting.
Allows students to keep learning and increase their attention span
You can train your brain like you can train your muscles: through practice and repetition. During the school year, students are constantly training their memory, analytical thinking and attention. In September, students that did not do mentally stimulating activities over the summer months will experience brain fatigue similar to the muscle fatigue athletes experience after a break in training. It will feel difficult to pay attention during class and their brains can feel sluggish.
With summer training, a student will be continually learning new techniques, memorizing kata and engaging in physical activity which is proven to benefit brain health.
Without structured activities, students can lose out on the peer interaction and positive reinforcement they experience in school. Continued training allows students to work hard to develop their skills and physical conditioning in an objective, observable way. Students will see their efforts yield results while having their classmates and Sensei encourage them. This environment will help students begin the next school year with increased self-confidence, and the knowledge that they can achieve their goals through hard work.
Keeps belt progress on track
A two month break in training may not seem like a long time, but for a karate student looking to reach the next belt rank, it can cause a huge delay in their progress. Taking the whole summer off will lead to decreased cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and muscle memory. When training resumes, students can feel discouraged when they see they’ve fallen behind which can impact their self-confidence. It can take anywhere between 4-8 weeks for students to work themselves back up to the level they were at before the summer, so it’s easy to see how summer break can slow a student’s belt progression.
Prepares students for tournaments early in the season
Tournament season for the open martial arts circuit begins early in the school year. For the 2019 - 2020 season, the first tournaments will take place in October, which doesn’t give students a lot of time to prepare. Tournaments are an opportunity for all martial artists to test their skills against their peers from all over Southern Alberta, and every competitor is there to do the absolute best they can.
As mentioned in the previous point, it takes several weeks to get back to pre-summer condition after taking two months off training. If you’re planning on participating in fall tournaments, summer training is essential because it’s not ideal to compete when you’re still building up to your previous skill level.
Summer training isn’t mandatory and shouldn’t feel like an obligation or chore. If you enjoy training at your dojo, it should just be like working out and hanging out with friends. Spending your summer with classmates that share your focus, determination and passion for martial arts will help you start the next school year mentally and physically ready to tackle any academic and athletic challenges you might face.