How To Maintain Your Martial Arts Training Over The Holidays

0 Posted by - December 13, 2023 - Uncategorized

Keeping up with your martial arts training over the holiday season can be a challenge. 

Travel, parties, family time, and all of the work that goes into preparing for those events — not to mention the stress that sometimes comes along with them — can all get in the way of keeping up a regular training routine. So can winter breaks in class schedules and reduced hours at the gym, whether you celebrate anything at this time of year or not. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time off from your martial arts training and enjoying some down time. Rest is an important part of any training program, after all! 

But if you’d prefer to keep up some kind of routine, we’ve got tips that will help you dedicate some time to your martial arts practice during a particularly hectic period. 

Here are five ways to keep your martial arts training on track during the holidays: 

Create A Short Bodyweight Routine 

You can also add some small equipment to your routine, like a medicine ball or strike shield, if you have the space.

Research and put together a short routine that you can do when you get up in the morning. Something that you can do no matter where you are or what else is on your agenda for the day. It doesn’t have to be long. As little as 5 to 10 minutes is enough to start with. It doesn’t have to be fancy, either. Start with a couple of basic warmup moves. Add a handful of shadowboxing, kata, or grappling drills that you do in class. Or sports-specific bodyweight strength and conditioning moves. Or a mix of the two, if you’d prefer. Finish up with some light stretching or mobility drills for the cool down.

Run through it once in the morning when you’re awake and alert enough to do some exercise and then go about your day. If you find more time to train later, that’s great. If not, you’re still keeping your mind and body active and maintaining a martial arts training routine. 

Check Out A Local Gym

If you’re travelling over the next couple of weeks, do a quick search to see what kind of training options are available where you’re going. Is there a martial arts gym that offers trial classes? If they haven’t closed for the season, see if you can drop in for a session or two. If the gym teaches your martial art, you can have the benefit of keeping up with your training while also getting to see it from a slightly different perspective. And gyms that teach different martial arts offer you a chance to try something new while keeping your body and mind sharp and ready to return to your discipline. 

And if there aren’t any martial arts gyms open nearby, see if there are any other fitness facilities around. Most gyms and community centers with dedicated fitness spaces have a room or area set aside for bodyweight and functional training. If times permits, you can use that space to put together a martial arts drills-based workout circuit.

And if you do decide to train while you travel, don’t forget to pack a small gear bag and a martial arts uniform or exercise apparel for the trip!

Cross Train

When it’s not possible to do any proper martial arts training where you are, you could always use this time to focus on more general fitness training. If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, treat it like the cross-training portion of a fight camp. If professional martial artists find value in doing workouts that involve other exercise methods, there’s a good chance that you can learn something from them, too.

These cross-training sessions can be as formal or informal as you’d like. You can get a day pass for a local gym and do full strength and conditioning sessions. If you really want to get fancy, you can even put together a sports-specific cross-training program filled with exercises that can directly benefit the work you’re doing in martial arts. Or you can relax, enjoy the downtime and take walks with your loved ones. You can even throw down some mats for a gentle stretching sessions with friends or family. 

Every little bit of physical activity you do adds up and helps to keep your mind and body in shape for your return to martial arts training proper. 

Organize An Open Mat

The period between the end of December and beginning of January is actually a great time for open mats. People who aren’t celebrating are looking for something to do. Some people who are celebrating are looking for a break from the hustle and bustle. When you combine that energy with everything winding down for the year, you tend to get a really cool vibe. It’s low pressure, unstructured martial arts training and sparring with cool people who really want to be there! Which is a pretty great gift for any martial arts enthusiast. 

If you have the space to host a small open mat of your own, you can invest in some jigsaw mats and invite your friends and training partners over. If you don’t, it’s worth checking out if any local gyms or community centers are renting out rooms. They’re often going for reasonable rates at this time of year. 

Hit The Books

If you don’t have the time, the energy, or the space to physically train, maybe you can carve out a small amount of time each day to keep your mind in fighting shape with martial arts educational resources. Read a book like Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: The Complete Edition or Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Expanded Edition on a flight or bus ride. Watch a couple of short instructional videos during your downtime. Or even have a conversation about your martial arts training with a curious friend or family member. 

Just like how every bit of physical activity keeps you in shape for your return to martial arts training in the new year, every little thing you do keep your mind primed for training adds up, too. 

For more tips on how to train your brain for martial arts, check out our blog “6 Ways To Learn More About Martial Arts.”