By Professor Josh Skyer
We love summer and we love training in the summer: nothing beats a great martial arts class after a hot summer day: stepping into a clean, air-conditioned Dojo, putting on a clean uniform and letting the stress of the dog days disappear. Here are some black belt tips to keep your martial arts training intact during the summer months:
1. DON’T LET THE WARM WEATHER KNOCK YOU OFF TRACK – Progress comes with consistency. It’s tempting to let a day at the beach, or a long weekend distract you from your martial arts goals. Fight it! We talk about self-discipline; what that means for most adults is hitting the mute button on that little voice in your head telling you that it’s OK to skip class.
2. WEAR A CLEAN UNIFORM – This holds true regardless of season. This might mean getting a second or third gi, especially if you’re training more than twice a week. Of course, never wear a gi or thai boxing uniform that hasn’t been washed. This actually might be illegal in some states, and if it isn’t then it should be.
3. DON’T DROWN YOUR TRAINING PARTNER…BRING A TOWEL – Sweat management is a necessity during warmer weather. Bring a small towel to class and use it. Getting caught in a rainstorm on your way to class is not a big deal. Getting caught in a rainstorm while on the bottom of the mount IS!
4. ALWAYS WEAR A T-SHIRT OR RASHGUARD UNDER YOUR GI – It will add an extra sweat-absorbing layer. If you partner taps out because of a triangle you will most likely get a high five or “good job”. If your partner taps out because they are choking on your sweat or your chest hair you will not get a high five.
5. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE – Take a shower after class, every time. This is common sense for most people, but it bears repeating anyway. A really wise man once said that a good training partner showers after every class, but a great training partner showers before class.
6. HYDRATE – Drink water all day. Start first thing in the morning. Coffee, sports drinks, alcohol and soda all LEECH water from your body. It’s important to hydrate before, during, and after class. Also be extra careful about eating salty foods on training days, which can also draw water from the body.
7. BE A GOODFINDER – Yes, it’s hot out. Yes, there is traffic. Yes, you had to stand up on the train and didn’t get a seat. Yes, your boss is a mean person. Yes, your therapist likes to blame all your problems on your parents. But NO, you don’t have the right to complain in the dojo. Your training hall is supposed to be a positive place, a sanctuary. If you can’t say anything positive,don’t say anything at all. JUST TRAIN. If you don’t feel better after class, we’ll be happy to refund you your misery.
Have a sustainable practice! The martial arts is the best year-round activity there is for fitness, focus and self-improvement. Commit to the process of getting better by following these tips…and by encouraging others to do the same.
Train hard – there is no substitute!