Summertime Blues

“Never fight in flip-flops.” -Gary L. Gabelhouse

Throughout my years of martial arts training, I’ve noticed that attendance always seems to drop off in the summertime, in both the youth and adult classes. Some students have places to go, people to see, and things to do, and others just take the summer off, or train less often. Some of those who disappear are newer students who end up never coming back, so perhaps they were “New Year’s Resolution people” who just gave up.

In Nebraska, the winters are cold and the summers are hot, so it might be the heat that keeps some students away during the summer. My first eight years of training were at the dojo, which is not air-conditioned, and there were some really sweltering days. One time I competed in a judo tournament at the dojo in July, and it was brutal! I’ve even seen students pass out from heat exhaustion, and require the assistance of paramedics.

Canadian flip-flopThe worst heat-related experience I’ve personally had while doing martial arts happened outside of the dojo…literally, in the middle of the street, right outside! We were asked to do a demo during a Gay Pride street celebration, which took place in the intersection in front of the dojo. It was over a 100 degrees that day, and they put down mats, which baked in the midday sun for awhile before the demo began. As soon as the karate group stepped on the mats with our bare feet, it burned so badly that it felt like we were walking on the surface of the sun! However, we were disciplined martial artists, and we performed our kata without showing any signs that we were standing on a ring of fire!

After we finished the first kata, we admitted our discomfort to the crowd, and we stepped off the mat to put shoes on for the remainder of the demo. The only thing I had with me were flip-flops, and let me tell you, demonstrating karate while wearing flip-flops is no easy task! Thankfully, I had been taught how to grip with my toes, and it was the only thing that kept my shoes on, instead of them flying into the audience when I kicked!

Last summer when I was training at Lincoln BJJ Center, the AC wasn’t working properly, and it gets really steamy in there (even on cold days!), so there were times when I literally couldn’t breathe! This summer is proving to be a much more pleasant training environment at LBJJC, since we now have a fully functioning AC and fans. Yesterday was a super hot and humid day in Lincoln, and it was quite bearable during no-gi class at Lincoln BJJ, but at the same time over at the dojo, they cut my husband’s Aikijujitsu class short, because of the intense heat.

I suppose I’m a little spoiled now that we have AC where I train, but believe me, I still walk out of Lincoln BJJ totally soaked in sweat every time I go to class! When I get home, my family enjoys making smart-ass comments, such as “I didn’t know they had showers there!”, “Is it raining?”, or “Did you have fun at the pool?”,  and I typically answer with something like “I was working at the sweat shop.”

Even though overall attendance seems to dwindle in the summer months, there are always a core group of people who continue training through the hottest of days, just like they do during the other three seasons. I guess these boys and girls of summer are not just fair-weather students, like some others!

“Some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on.
Some feel the heat and decide that they can’t go on.” -Power Station

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