As an instructor, I have been notified by email, phone, voice mail and face-to-face when a student is taking a break in training. There have been instances when a student just stops coming to class. I will only find out later, when I run into them in the grocery store or at the mall, they are taking a break. The conversation sounds something like this....
Student: I need to take a break for a few months due to.....soccer, baseball, swimming, vacation, school work, job changes, scheduling conflicts etc. Me: I am sorry to hear that you are taking a break but I understand. You will be missed in the dojo. If you have a free night, please feel free to come to class if you get a chance. Student: I will definitely be back in a few months. I smile and wish them the best. From my experience, after the "take a break" conversation, I know there is about a 50% chance the student will return. The time set aside for karate training quickly gets absorbed into other activities or projects. One black belt who took a longer break than he expected was surprised how difficult it was to get back into training. He was concerned about forgetting material and feeling out of shape.
Last night, I had the same conversation from a different perspective. I called my tai chi instructor and told him I needed to take a break until December. I put my gym membership on hold due to work responsibilities. The conversation was the same except I was the student. It was a new perspective. As an instructor, it is never an easy conversation to hear. As a student, it was a tough phone call to make.
I do not want to be part of the 50% who does not return to training. I am planning ahead and making a list of ways to manage break in my tai chi training.
1. Keep in contact with your instructor and the other students. 2. Stop by for a class...even if it is once a month. 3. Practice on your own so you don't forget the material. 4. Keep reading and studying. 5. Set a date for your return. Don't leave it open ended. 6. Invite your training partners for an informal workout. 7. I invited my tai chi instructor to teach a guest session at our dojo.
Have you ever taken a break in training? How did you stay involved/interested? Did you return? Any ideas to add to the list?