5 Ways To Maintain Your Martial Arts Training Over The Holidays

0 Posted by - December 15, 2022 - Training, Wisdom
The years change, but the seasonal training challenges remain pretty similar.

’Tis the season for routine disruptions. And that includes martial arts training routines. Whether you’re celebrating or not, the last few weeks of December and the first week of January can be the most difficult time of year for anyone who wants to keep their training as consistent as possible. 

Instructors and training partners take time off. Classes wind down for the year. Gyms cut back on hours or close. And that’s before you even start to juggle your own schedule, work obligations, and social engagements. 

Now there’s no shame in taking some time off yourself during this busy period. Rest is a vital part of training, and we could all use some downtime these days. But if you’re someone who needs structure in your life, there are some steps you can take to keep your routine a little more routine. 

Here are 5 tips to help you keep up your martial arts training over the holiday season. 

1. Train with friends or family. 

If your regular training partners and coaches are either away or taking well-deserved time off during this season, why not see if there’s someone else around who might be willing to try something new during their holidays? They don’t even need to have the same martial arts background as you do. Or have any martial arts background at all. Trading notes and trying out different drills with someone who trains in a different style is a great way to cross-train and give you a new perspective. And teaching someone else what you know is one of the best ways to learn for yourself, too.

2. Try a solo workout. 

If you can’t find anyone else to train with—or you’d prefer to do your own thing—you can also try some solo training from the comfort of your own home, hotel room, or whenever else you happen to be staying. Solo workouts and drills are a great opportunity to focus on any issues that you might be having in your regular training at your own pace without the pressure of being in a group environment. They can also be an opportunity to have fun and revisit the techniques and drills you love the most, as a little treat. 

And if you’re not sure what kind of solo training you want to do, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you. Check out our solo training tag for more info. 

3. Organize an open mat.

Sometimes gyms and other venues have low cost or free room rentals during off hours, which could include the holiday season. If you can get some friends together, book a studio for a few hours, and source some mats, you could have all of the tools you need to build a low key and fun open training session. One of my favorite memories from my own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training was when a friend of mine booked a room at a local community center and hosted an open mat on New Years Day. A small group from a collection of local gyms got together, did some gentle rolling, picked each others’ brains, and started the year off on a really supportive and positive note. 

4. Do a little bit each day.

If you don’t have the time or energy for a whole training session, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no time or energy for training at all. You can break your workout into pieces and do a little bit at a time throughout the day. You don’t even need to have a set space to train in if you try this method. You can shadowbox in the kitchen. Do some sprawls in the living room. Try kata in your backyard or on a balcony. Add some warm-up drills to a winter walk. You can even do grappling and mobility drills in bed. Or throw some jigsaw mats on the floor if you want to work a slightly harder and more stable surface. Every little bit counts—and they can add up quickly. 

5. Don’t stress about it. 

If you find that you can’t even do a little bit for a day—or your whole holiday break—that’s not the end of the world, either. Like I said in the intro, rest is an extremely important component of any martial art or workout program. It’s also something that we often shortchange when we’re really excited about our training. A little extra forced downtime could be just what we need during an especially busy period. And if that’s not enough to convince you to tap out and relax for a little while, think of it this way: martial arts is all about facing new challenges, assessing your circumstances, and adapting to them. Which is exactly what you’ll be doing if you take an unexpected or unwanted break and then figure out how to get back into the swings of things next year.