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monkeygirl
KF VIP

Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 3677
Location: Oregon
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:45 am    Post subject: Taking Your Training With You Reply with quote

In our ever busy lives, we often find ourselves at a loss for the time to do the things we want to do. Between time spent on the things we must do, the things we are forced to do (because there is often a difference) and those precious few hours of sleep every night, when can one find time for a simple activity of our choosing - say - martial arts training? We've already had an article about finding time, when there is no time to train, courtesy of KSN Doug.

So, in an attempt to avoid the superfluous, I will instead direct my advice to a more specific group: high school/college students. Yet more specifically, busy students. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with a more relaxed academic schedule... but there is a certain group of us for which complicated schedule juggling must be done just to maintain any skills we already have. Of course, everyone is different and I can't even come close to trying to write an article that will help every "busy" student. So, I'm going to relate my experiences to you and hope you can pick up some pointers. Whether you agree or disagree with what I have done, hopefully you'll gain some ideas on how to improve your own personal training.

I am a senior in a competitive private boarding school in Pennsylvania. Not only do I live at school 24/7, I'm also pretty involved in extracurricular activities and leadership positions. Being that I live away from home and there is no martial arts program at my school (other than the one run by my old instructor... see my previous article: Success Story Part 2: Different Perspective), I am not in formal training. I think my forums signature basically says it all:

Quote:
1st dan & Asst. Instructor TKD 2000-2003
Full-time high school student<--
KarateForums.com - Sensei

Just to give you an idea of what my schedule looks like, I'll give you a quick rundown of a typical week for me.

Monday:

6/6:30ish - 8:00 am: Getting up, ready, breakfast in the dining hall.
8:00 am - 4:00 pm: Classes.
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Gym time (we're required to go 4 times a week if we don't play a sport... and I don't).
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Squeeze in studying, get dressed up for semi-formal dinner.
6:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Dinner.
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: If there is no lecture, squeezing in studying.
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Prefect duty in the dorm (mostly study time).
11:00 pm - Midnight: Finish studying. Sometimes known to go to 2:00 am to finish big projects.

Tuesday:

6:00am - 7:00pm: Same schedule as Monday, but dinner isn't fancy tonight.
7:00 pm - Midnight: Study, get ready for bed.

Wednesday:

Morning schedule is the same as Monday.
8:00 am - 2:00 pm: Classes (half day!).
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Club activities.
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Might go to the gym, but usually use today for extra study time.
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Study, practice guitar.
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Dinner.
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Study.
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Guitar lesson.
10:00 pm - Midnight: Studying, getting ready for bed.

Thursday:

Same schedule as Tuesday, except for:
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: I'm on duty in the Writing Center and I usually don't get any homework done.

Friday:

Same schedule as Tuesday, except that I probably won't study as much and the night time will be spent socializing/attending school events (some of which are required).

Other things that aren't scheduled, but happen:

Phoning my parents and out-of-school friends, socializing, practicing guitar, working on college applications, etc. Plus, I have a challenging course load: AP English, AP Calculus, Honors Physics, Third-Year Spanish (when it's really my second year) and art courses. Every bit of spare time seems to be gobbled up. I have had to be creative in finding ways to keep the martial arts an important part of my life. Martial arts are a part of who I am and not just a hobby or sport that I practice now and then... I'd like to keep it that way. So how do I?

Well, there's that gym time from 4-5, four times a week. This is a pretty self-structured program, in which you can do basically anything you want to, as long as you can call it sufficient physical activity. Unfortunately, our gym doesn't really have the facilities for a martial artist. There used to be a 50 pound punching bag hanging in the weight room, but it was removed due to traffic and improper use. It's practically impossible to find a large enough space to perform kata indoors during inclement weather and winter. Outdoor spaces aren't very secluded due to fall and spring sports and it's difficult to focus on a resistance technique when several of your friends shout greetings at you as they pass by. As you can see, it's a challenging task to simply practice techniques once in awhile, let alone to allow my style to play as large of a role as it did when I trained and instructed in a dojo. Every now and then, the yoga or wrestling rooms are unoccupied, so I practice kata and techniques in there with only a few interruptions. If I'm not too busy on the weekends and the soil is warm and dry enough, I might spend a Sunday on an athletic field, barefoot and practicing... which doesn't count towards one of my four gym requirements.

These situations occur with such frustrating infrequency that I decided to take matters into my own hands. I know for a fact that I am not the only martial artist on campus. There are many students, from a range of styles, who are frustrated with the facilities. Last year, we tried to start an advanced martial arts club, which would basically be advanced martial artists from all styles sharing techniques in an open classroom. There was a lot of interest and it almost happened, but the school's administration was hesitant to form a second club, since they were already being approached by my old dojo to form the now current Tae Kwon Do club, which is basically for beginners only. A handful of new students attend, but it doesn't have much to offer for anyone who has already practiced TKD or isn't interested in the style. Still determined, I've met with some of the Athletics faculty about developing a martial arts room full of useful equipment, where students can train in private. Even that has hit some speed bumps as our original room was taken by the Lacrosse teams and our new room will have to be shared with the baseball team; hopefully not at the same time, considering the room is basically a makeshift indoor batting cage. It won't be perfect, but it will be better than nothing.

I have also been able to incorporate martial arts into my school life in other ways. Normally, I would try to keep my skills a secret, but thanks to a proud and vocal mother, that didn't happen. I'm basically the only outspoken martial artist on campus (aside from the wrestlers, of course). Since everyone already knew anyway, I figured I might as well have some fun with this publicity. Last February, I wrestled in our school's version of the Harry Potter "House Cup" competition. I pinned a girl 20 pounds heavier than me in 15 seconds, securing the first and fastest win for our team. I also gave a speech and self defense demonstration (thanks to a sturdy Second Dan friend) in front of the entire student body this fall, stressing the importance of self defense skills for college and life in general. This demonstration was enormously fun to do and I got quite a lot of positive feedback from students and faculty alike. Should a prudent opportunity arise in college, I would love to give another presentation. When possible, some students and I gather to share techniques and work out. Even when I can't practice techniques, I have coordinated an exercise and weight training routine that targets key muscle groups to improve speed, strength and flexibility. And of course, KarateForums.com has been instrumental in keeping my mind on task. As I continue to train on my own, I'm sure I will have questions which the forums will be only too willing to answer.

Even in the face of a challenging schedule and frustrating facilities, I have managed to be creative and find ways to keep the martial arts in my life. I say this not to brag or gloat, but to prove that it can be done. Hopefully, other busy students can start thinking about ways to keep training in their lives, whether privately or publicly.
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Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 27039
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission.
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italian_guy
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 Nov 2003
Posts: 1476
Location: Italy
Styles: Formerly in Goju ryu karate (Nidan) now in Wing chun with past experience also in krav Maga, Kickboxing, Tai chi chuan (yang) and JKD.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good article. You are keeping your training alive even if not in a formal way. Congratulation for your success in wrestling... this says a lot on your foundations on Martial arts. Even if you come from a mostly striking martial art you succeded very well in grappling.

Keep going and hope you find a way to get back also to formal training.
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kanku
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 07 Aug 2005
Posts: 35
Location: Pakistan
Styles: kyokushin

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice article i really enjoyed reading it
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y2_sub
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1201

Styles: Officially switched to boxing , formally kyokushin karate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Touchy
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Fish
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 05 Mar 2004
Posts: 342
Location: London UK
Styles: Wado Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting article - are you sure you're doing enough guitar practice!
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Fish
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 05 Mar 2004
Posts: 342
Location: London UK
Styles: Wado Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW that's sort of an English sense of humour thing.
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lapulid2
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Houston
Styles: Hapkido

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i can relate. although i have graduated from college now, my busy school schedule has manifested itself now in my work load for my career. one thing i do if i must sacrifice all or part of my training is stretch. stretch, stretch, stretch...dont let yourself stiffen up and lose range of motion. technique can be revisited and remembered in a matter of days but loosing flexibility can be a long and painful rebuilding effort. great stuff, great post!
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Menjo
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 1786
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was a great article, nice job, i know how you feel though!
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lapulid2
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Houston
Styles: Hapkido

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

also, think you cant find enough time for anything now, just wait till you fall in love jk. theres always time.
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