School’s out — or almost out — for summer. And a lot of primary, high school, and college students are about to have a little more times on their hands.
If you or your child is one of those students, we’ve got some martial arts-based suggestions to help you fill those long summer days.
Day camps with a martial arts focus are a great choice for younger students. They provide an outlet for socialization, physical activity, community building, problem solving, and other mental and physical skill development for kids. And they offer a reliable source of childcare during work hours for parents.
Your exact options in terms of age range, location, length, and style will depend on where you are, but in general most martial arts day camps are available for ages 5-12. Some will go up as high as 17. They’re usually run by local martial arts schools, but some community centers in some cities offer their own programs. The average length for martial arts day camps is in the 1-2 week range. Popular disciplines for this type of training include Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But there are also general training programs available for beginners or kids who aren’t sure what specific type of martial art they’re interested in yet.
Big children who feel like they’re missing out on the summer camp experience could always build their own makeshift version by dedicating a week or two of their summer vacation to daytime classes at their favorite martial arts gym.
If you don’t have the time or the funds — or the interest — to devote to a whole training camp, that doesn’t mean that you or your child has to give up on summer martial arts adventure entirely. Many martial arts gyms offer discounted or free trial sessions. Signing up for one is a great way to spend a summer day. If you have a number of different options in your area, you could even make a project of it and try a class or two at each of them.
If something clicks, you could have the start of an exciting new martial arts journey on your hands. If not, you’ve still got a fun mini-adventure for the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” file.
Summer vacation is a great time for children of all ages to reconnect with old friends and make new memories with more recent additions to your social life. So why not consider inviting a friend to you or your child’s gym for a class — or seeing if you can tag along with them? Or even tagging along with your kid for a class or two.
Learning something new with the support of someone you know and trust is an educational experience and a bonding experience. So is introducing someone you care about to something you love. Plus, they’re both a lot of fun.
For less formal social opportunities, you could also set up some mats in a backyard or a park and hold an open mat or practice session for a few people. For more information on how to hold the best outdoor martial arts training sessions, click here.
If you or your child doesn’t have access to summertime martial arts training — or you’re looking for a change of pace — alternate physical activities are also a great option for summer vacation. Some gyms offer training hours for younger exercisers during the day. Many cities also offer community programming for everything from swimming lessons, to sports day camps, to children’s categories at road races.
You can do a cross-training program that’s specifically designed to complement your martial arts training goals, or you can try something entirely different. Both options have the potential to help you or your child develop new experiences, knowledge, skills, and physical abilities that can contribute to even better results on the mats and in the ring.
Speaking of putting together a number of different types of training together and enjoying the results, if you have the time, resources, and the motivation, you could turn a portion of your summer vacation into a mini version of the type of training camps that professional fighters do. Sign up for a local tournament — or a tournament being held somewhere you’re able to travel to — and put together a program to prepare for it. This training program can include everything from martial arts lessons and sparring to cross-training. You can even include a meditation or visualization component.
Just don’t forget to include rest days. Recovery is an important part of any training program. And down time to have fun and relax is an important part of any summer vacation!