Friday, January 4, 2013

Importance of Traditional Martial Art Camps.

When most martial arts were formed the practitioners used to stay and train together. This would result in a minimum of 6 hours of training daily. With times changing and martial arts spreading all over the globe this practice was difficult to keep up with. There are still a number of martial arts schools like that in the world. Nowadays there are many classes where one can go and train for say 2 hours 3 times a week. It is these kind of classes that require a traditional camp system to forge the qualities of a martial artist into the students.

If one only goes to a class and trains for say 2 hours a class and 3 -4 times a week then they will learn to kick, punch, throw and lock but they will never become martial artists. A martial artist is not just a person who knows how to fight. Any street brawler can fight. A martial artist is a person who lives by the code of BUSHIDO and has developed control over his body, mind and spirit. 

When you are at a traditional camp for say 5 days or more your body, mind and spirit are challenged, broken and then forged into martial artists. The camp is a very challenging experience where all stay together and train together for 6- 10 hours a day daily. Care is taken so that the younger students do not get over exhausted. The students get disciplined, learn to manage with and resolve whatever situation they are made to face, work like a team, build confidence levels, develop strong will power and a tough mind and lots more. After the few days it is only the mind pushing the body to train more and the team work of all encouraging each other to push harder to complete the training. 

This can not be achieved within a regular class. Have seen many who train well break down at camp and many never come back to class to train ever again. It may seem hard but it is not so hard and with attending  more such camps the students further improve as wonderful martial artists. 

I have been blessed by wonderful instructors who have instilled the importance of camp into my training pattern right from a very young age. Have tried to do the same for my students and train them the authentic way. A camp takes a lot out of me as an instructor. A lot of my time, effort and nonstop alertness to check on any vital signs or symptoms from students on their exhaustion levels, a loss of income from the numerous classes and personal training clients and lots more. Still the joy of having a group of students with you training far surpasses all the monetary loss. However I do feel sad when I see a trend of students / parents of students not sending students to camp. In schools sometimes I get asked by parents - " what great things will they learn in 5 days?" " Why waste so much money for 5 days?". A camp cannot be easily explained in words it is an experience far beyond the physical realm. It is the building block that transforms a person and their outlook to life. If only a few students sign up for the camp it becomes difficult to pay for the bus and other ancillary requirements. When very few sign up for camp it  results in me having to shell out money from my pocket for the bus charges etc.  If this trend of students avoiding camps continues I would sadly be forced to close down the authentic form of Training Camps. 

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