Monday, June 2, 2014

Is Taking a Break a Good Idea?

You’ve been very disciplined, attending classes every week, and with the summer months approaching you want to take a well-deserved break. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Let’s compare this decision with other scenarios.

You’ve been dieting for a year and have dropped 20 pounds, You’ve reached the inevitable plateau where your progress seems to slow down. Why not take a break for three months and just eat whatever you want without thinking about it. ARE YOU NUTS? You will gain back everything you’ve worked so hard to lose, and probably a bonus fiver as well.

After a fitful Spring your lawn is coming in nicely. The shrubs have taken root, the weeds are gone, and the yard looks like a golf course. So, let’s just let it go for three months. SERIOUSLY? Your grass will look like a dying wheat field, and the infestation of critters will keep animal control busy for a week. It will take years to get your lawn back.

I get it, and so does anyone else that has studied a martial art. You want some time. So take it, but not by stopping cold turkey. If you’ve been attending three classes a week (my personal recommendation), then cut back to two, or even just one. But don’t stop.

Remember Newton’s First Law of Motion - a body at rest tends to stay at rest, or words to that effect. I’m not sure Sir Isaac ever studied Karate, but he sure knew a thing about motivation, though I think he called it inertia. Once you stop attending classes, the body will begin to lose tone, your reflexes will diminish, and that which had become instinctive will atrophy into mere memory .. and then fade.

You can cut back (for a while), but “taking a break” is code for “I’m bored.” Find out what is really at the heart of your issue. Maybe you need to change focus from fighting skills to forms, or from techniques to conditioning. Change up, shift your focus, you can even cut back a little, but don’t quit as you'll be initiating a disatisfaction cycle that never really ends well.

1 comment:


    "Okinawan Master" here reporting on the outcome of another karate-trained MMA fighter, now competing in the big time, the UFC.

    Alex Chambers. A very intelligent, dedicated thirty-something woman MMA competitor with a history of karate in her youth.

    I love karate fighters in MMA dearly, so it hurt when she lost to Rose Namajunas (conventional MMA firecracker) in the semi-finals; AND to Aisling Daley (preliminary card) @ the TUF Finals. Both by Submission.

    As Okinawan Master, I have something to say about Alex's fighting strategy. Seems she had abandoned karate and has been for the past 20 years practicing Muay Thai, the MMA style of choice by many....

    Recently this year, Alex took the position that see wants to fight with karate because it gives (you) one "timing" that MMA opponents can't handle. I saw the bigger problem was that Alex's striking wilted against her tough opponents, exposing her to takedowns.

    My feeling, as Okinawan Master, is that Alex didn't lose her matches by choosing Muay Thai over karate. Where Alex failed was that she succumbed to the MMA mindset that one can go out and practice some karate exercises & acquire Lyoto Machida's 'mystical' timing ability.

    What's more significant is Alex's critical thinking error is exactly how the MMA community attempts to embrace traditional karate. A conglomeration of physical postures & techniques.

    Traditional karate is a discipline where critical foundational skills must be practically mastered. As M. Meredith instructs, its a forging process. Putting karate on hold for 20 years and attempting to regain black-belt level fighting skills in months is the 'cut & paste' MMA approach.

    Traditional karate is both a treadmill &an incline to a mental platform for fighting. If you stop or jump off, you either go downhill or fall down before your realize effective, functional skill.

    Cut & Paste doesn't cut it in traditional karate. Alex Chambers learned that lesson @ TUF 20, x2.


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