It is common for students to take off for long stretches of time from the dojo during the summer.
Some go to camp, to grandma’s house, or long family vacations. Regardless of the reason, it is important to return to the dojo as soon as possible.
Unfortunately for many students, “out of sight” means “out of mind.” It can take several classes for the student to get their “groove” back.
Combined with being in a new grade in school, and in some cases a new school all together, can add to the challenge of resuming good karate training.
That is one reason why students should return as soon as possible and not wait until they have many new challenges at the same time. Instructors are always happy to see students return to class and are always willing to assist them to regain their previous form, and prepare them for new lessons.
It is imperative that students dedicate themselves to catching up. They all have “muscle memory” that can make it possible, but the finer aspects of kata often need refinement.
Of course, practicing while on vacation is the best way to ensure that catching up is as rapid as possible. It does not take long to practice what you have learned. Maybe 30 – 45 minutes once or twice a week will do it. Practicing on vacation can be great fun; it is common on Okinawa to practice on the beach! The sand offer resistance in stepping, and builds up leg strength and flexibility.
Any time devoted to practice is better than no time at all. In the end the student will be better able to “hit the ground running” when they return to the dojo.
Time away affects readiness for testing: calendar time is not the same as dojo time. It is also important that students don’t have unrealistic notions about testing. Depending on the test cycle the student might not have enough class hours or have the necessary command of the next level’s material to be tested. Don’t stress out!
The study of martial arts is not a race, but is a journey. Not all journeys begin and end at the same time.
Have fun during your summer breaks. Practice your karate when you can, but be sure to make time for it and practice it in interesting places.
Return to the dojo as soon as possible and most importantly enjoy the martial arts journey.