One of the things we karate instructors often talk with the students about, is what everyone likes to do. The kids always assume that my favorite pastime is martial arts, and are surprised to find that it’s actually running in the woods. (Karate comes a close 2nd and biking is right up there, too).
I dislike grown-up clothes, and big-kid shoes, so I’m lucky to work in a place where workout clothes and comfy shoes are the norm. And since everyone is sweaty by the end of class, nobody cares if I bike to work and start out sweaty.
Occasionally, though, I get to combine karate and playing in the woods…those are the best days. Every year at the karate picnic, I lead the teens and adults in a martial arts triathlon. We run in the woods, do karate drills in the woods, and then go for a swim. It’s my favorite event of the year.
There are athletic fields right behind our dojang, and behind that is a bit of woods, with a lake, and a couple of miles of trails. We run on the trails for boot camps, black belt tests, and demo team tryouts. This current black belt test involves a lot of time running and doing drills in the woods, which is much nicer than sitting inside in a uniform.
During the summer, we run theme weeks (water week, funky uniform week, hat week, etc.) and the kids really enjoy them. I have a hard time though, throwing water balloons at adults, and struggle to find a balance with my teen/adult classes this week. Had a great idea for this year’s water week. Monday morning, I took my teen/adult class out in the woods to the lake, and we had class IN the water.
The students who came to class were pretty enthusiastic, but a little wary at first, and one wanted to know if there were leeches in the lake (no idea). They asked about fish too, but I think we were noisy enough to scare away any fish in the area.
We did our whole class in the water, punching and kicking drills, forms, and self defense. Getting thrown in the water makes for a much softer landing than on the mat! By the end of class, everyone was trying to make each technique they did splash around as much water as possible. The response was pretty positive, and some who couldn’t make it have already asked when we can do it again…soon, I hope.
And then to top it off, I biked home, and my shoes were almost dry by the time I got there. Whether you hit the lake, the trails, or the road, do something. Go play outside!