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Martial Arts Burn Out

When most of us begin to study the martial we often find the thrill of training far exceeds our expectations. But, what happens after many months or even years of training? How can we maintain the desire and exuberance we once had? How do you maintain momentum in an activity that requires a commitment for a lifetime to truly find its benefits?

Martial arts burn out is the flip side of the enthusiasm often shown by the beginner. Burn out robs many promising martial artists of the lifetime benefits from martial arts training. Often they quit because they no longer feel the fire they felt earlier in their training. How do you avoid burn out? How do you rekindle that once burning desire?

One solution is to take a break. Why not? You take breaks from school, vacations from work, and a hiatus on your favorite hobbies? Why? Whether it's in the work world or in school, most people take a vacation, which becomes a time to recharge the batteries, get a fresh perspective, and a chance to return to training with renewed vigor.

Note, I said "return to training." When I train my professional and MMA athletes in speed-strength and competitive training, I require them to take a two week break every 8-12 weeks of training based on intensity. The body simply cannot go on forever getting torn down without giving it some time to recover. Too many people push themselves hard in the martial arts, only to take a break and never return – they simply burn out, actually, their flame dies.

A month off can become a year or more; soon they've lost the conditioning, the technique, rhythm, speed, and timing, and forgotten the patterns they spent years learning and developing.

How do you avoid this? It's simple. When you take your martial arts vacation set a date that you will resume training. Dr. Tindall sets cycling dates for his athletes and, like a day planner or calendar, you simply follow the instructions.

Time off to prevent this burn out is preset. You know the dates you end and resume your activity; be it a vacation of two weeks, a month, or all summer. For competitive martial artists the breaks are more frequent due to intense training whereas for the general practitioner breaks are less frequent. However, you can multitask and use these breaks to plan in other activities for yourself, vacations with the family, or to catch up on other things you’ve wanted to do. Let your mind dwell on other things completely until your restart date.

The secret of taking a martial arts vacation is much like a work or school vacation - set a time limit in advance so that you don't lose your focus. Write down a date on a calendar to resume training and stick to it. Let yourself relax. When the restart date is reached get back into training with vigor. For the first week tread lightly to get your muscles and mind back in shape. During the second week gradually increase your intensity back to normal and during the third week resume full speed/training activities.

Do not make excuses or delay – your date to stop and start was preset based on your training goals and regimen. Stick to the plan and you’ll always achieve your goals. Doing this will make your martial arts vacation serve its intended purpose - letting you recharge and getting your mind off of it.

The martial arts are a true gift that only reveals itself over a lifetime. Remember, the dojo will always be there and there is always one student – you! So, take the time to prevent martial arts burnout. Take a break once in awhile. You’ll be stronger mentally and physically for the long haul.

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