Re-Starting Your Training After Time Away

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu Sparring

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu Sparring

Sometimes life has a way of interfering with your kung fu training at the school.  It can arise from a new job, school, injury, relocation, extended vacation, or something else that simply prevents consistent attendance.  Hopefully, it isn’t anything permanent and you can return at some point.  Hopefully, your kung fu meant enough to you to retain much of what you were taught and to come back and re-start your training.

There are a number of things to consider when re-starting.  First, as you probably imagine, you are likely not going to be in “kung fu” shape.  You may have exercised and kept your body strong, but unless you consistently trained on your own there will definitely be some sore muscles after your first class.  In fact, there will likely be some sore muscles for weeks following your first class back depending on how often you train, your rank, and what you remember.

A key to successful re-engagement is to gradually increase your workload over a period of weeks and months (not days) and to stay consistent.  Take one class a day 3-4 days a week.  If you are sore, push yourself to continue to train those 3-4 days (more days a week may likely be too much and less days a week too little.)  Your body is relearning the movements and regaining the strength, endurance, and flexibility needed to make them work correctly.  If you are not sore from 3-4 days a week, you may try to add on an additional class or two, but don’t push yourself too hard in a hurry to get back to where you left off.  You can increase your workload and start training 2 hours at a time or add another day or two to your training.  Pressing too hard and too fast can cause injuries or even burnout.  In time, if gradually done, you can easily be back to 2-3 classes a day, 4-5 days a week in a matter of months and your skill level will climb.

Second, as with any new student, you need to begin with and focus on the basics.  Spend a good deal of time working on basic stances to build leg strength as well as the forms to develop endurance, balance and coordination.  Do not be in a rush to regain every form and technique that was once yours.  All in good time.  Quality of movement is paramount so take it one technique, one form at a time starting from the earliest things you were taught.  Patience, consistency, humility, and effort is everything when getting back (and staying) with your training.

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