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Context

I've recently decided to take a "break" from taekwondo after five years of training.

Due to stress from school (11th grade), I have been training less and less over the past five months, going from two lessons a week to maybe once a fortnight. I was an assistant instructor, and used to teach the younger students. I thought that it was irresponsible of me to be constantly absent from class and thus have decided to leave until I have freed up my schedule.

Actual question

Is it possible for me to stay "in shape" for at least three months without attending any training sessions? I can practice for maybe half an hour on most mornings, so any short routine recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

(AN: I really like this answer, but I'm looking for something more specific to ITF taekwondo and around 1st dan level).

  • +1 My dojang is closing during July and August, so I feel the same problem. – Daniel Reis Aug 11 '17 at 12:29
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There are a lot of reasons that can make you stop attending lessons for a couple of months, such as your Dojang is temporarily closing, or because you're travelling.

If you stop exercising completely it will probably ruin all your hard work in the previous months, so I find that finding a way to keep in shape is important.

First, the most important thing is commit yourself to a training schedule and set aside that time. If you're busy or travelling it is easy to miss that.

As for the training plan, you can start with a basic routine, and then modify it according to what you need to work more.

This example a 10 minute basic training covers the essentials:

  • warm up, push ups, sit ups;
  • basic kicking techniques;
  • stretching, cool down.

You can expand some of the basic training section to fit your weaknesses / development needs. For example:

  • add two or three more advanced ab exercises if your abdominals need work;
  • add some leg strength exercises if you you need to work your elevation for flying kicks;
  • add more stretching exercises at the end if you are working to improve your splits;
  • add more spinning kicks exercises, if you need to improve your technique there;
  • add step exercises if you need to improve your sparring footwork and speed;
  • etc.

Finally, try include forms in your training, so that you don't forget them and the movements become familiar and fluid. You will that that for your grade promotions. It is also a great addition to the first stages of your routine, just after warm up, or before the kicking drills.

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Firstly, speak to your instructor and explain the situation. They are more than likely going to be fine with your change in circumstance and one training session every now and then will help keep you on top of your technique.

Technique

  • Practice your patterns - paying particular attention to stances as these are the foundation of everything you do.
  • Basic techniques - do some basic techniques as you would in row work, sitting stance punch has all the ingredients of most strikes - ensure you are preparing the movement correctly, that you twist at the very end of the technique and that your feet are held in the correct position.

Sparring

  • Bag work - if you have access to a bag then keep practising combinations on it, if you don't have access to a bag (or a willing pad holder) then practising against thin air will suffice.
  • Movement - Skipping is a useful tool for this, the key is to keep bouncing on your toes and not staying in one place. Practice sharp steps forward, backwards and to the sides.

Remember that whilst training alone can be very beneficial, you are also prone to picking up bad habits (and practising them until they become hard to break). If you can make sessions (however infrequently) your instructor will be able to give guidance to avoid them. You will also lose a bit of sharpness in sparring and the rest of the class will have advanced in your absence, when you do make a full return be patient with yourself and don't expect to me top of the class that first lesson back - it does return quicker than you might think if you just stick with it.

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Yoga seems like a good practice when on hiatus. Two fold rationale: (1) Stress relief (2) Paying the extremities attention, more especially the hip sockets for the various kicks.

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  • Thanks for the reply :) I'll definitely look into it (stress relief would be really useful right now) – as4s4hetic Aug 23 '17 at 23:25

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