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Summer learning loss can affect martial artists too

swimming with dolphinsIt’s Summertime! I love summer. Summer is a time of much happiness and joy and most of my happiest childhood memories happened in the summer.  I was off from school. WooHoo! Summer is a time for swimming, fun with friends and family, BBQs, beach parties, trips to amusement parks, VACATION. After working hard all year, it was time for a break.  Ahhhh, relax.  Many educators dislike summer vacation because it is responsible for summer learning loss and much of what was learned during the school year is forgotten.  Most youth lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months (McLaughlin & Smink).

Summer learning loss can happen to martial artists too.

Many of us take some time away from training during the summer.  Perhaps we take a family vacation away somewhere or have company come visit us.  Some may just want a break.  Whatever the reason, you have not been in class as much as before.  Maybe you are just out for a week while you are away and maybe that week turns into two. The point is, summer is a time when attendance can slip.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind this summer

First of all, if you know you are going to be away from class please let your sifu know.  A simple phone call, text, or email are all acceptable.  You are family and if your sifu does not know you just went away on vacation, he starts to worry that something may be wrong.  Some of you may even get a phone call from sifu to check up on you.

Second, do not let the bliss of summer distract you from your goals.  Do not let those lazy summer days make you lazy. There is a time for relaxing…..it is called after class.

Third, if you ignore your marital arts training for one day, it will ignore you for two.  Meaning that if do not train for one day you actually lose two days of progress.  We have all heard the saying, “If you don’t use it you lose it.” Learning loss is real and it affects our training as well as kids on summer vacation. No matter where I am; at home, on vacation, at the park or at the beach, there is always some aspect of training that I can do.  What you want to do and how much training you want to do on vacation is up to you, but know there are things you can do while you are away on vacation. A few suggestions that come to mind are: Burpees, push-ups, stretching, Siu Nim Tao, or practice Kali patterns.

Fourth, remember that when you do come back to class after your vacation you are not at the same place as when you left. Do not be too hard on yourself if you find that you are not performing at your peak on your first day back. Remember number 3? On vacation you are not training as intensely as you do when you are in class.  Have patience with yourself.  You will get it back if you keep coming back to class and training.  Remember: Martial arts is a journey, not a sprint.

Do not let summer learning loss affect your training.

Get to class as often as you can and when you cannot make it, still find ways to train. Martial arts is not just something you do. It becomes a part of who you are and it becomes infused into everything you do.

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Jeanne started her martial arts training later in life and has been training at SMAA for over 10 years. She likes all aspects of the martial arts from the physical challenges to the spiritual pursuits of martial etiquette and virtue. She has a master degree in marketing and is currently working on her MBA.

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