Having a routine can be a good thing and can help ensure that there’s some consistency and smoothness to one’s day. If I take myself as an example, I’m comforted by the familiarity of waking up, making my son’s lunch for school, grabbing some cold caffeine and preparing for my day at work. Routines also allow us to save valuable energy as developing some muscle memory almost allows one to operate on auto-pilot, first thing in the morning. If it weren’t for auto-pilot, I’d likely show up to work in pyjamas instead of a suit. But I digress…
As handy as routines can be, it’s also important to recognize that they can bring a certain level of complacency to one’s day. And as we all know, complacency can be harmful, especially if we frame it in regards to something like martial arts. being complacent and set in our routine can be harmful because it could leave you vulnerable in the event of a real-life combat situation. This is why it’s important to throw in something unexpected once in a while.
Breaking one’s routines is also extremely helpful in keeping you from becoming bored with your fitness. If you ALWAYS do the same batch of exercises, every time you work out, you’re more likely to get bored and not WANT to work out. This is especially true in karate, where doing the exact same warm-up for every class will have some of your students’ eyes glazing over in a pinch. By changing things up and incorporating different workouts, it keeps things dynamic and engaging and will help with retaining students.
In my younger years, we would occasionally train outside during the summer. It was a small change and pretty rare but it added a little something. On occasion, I would train while under water. Not my head, mind you… I’m rather fond of breathing. Once in a while, I would train with my bo staff next to a local fountain. All of these things added a touch of flavour to my overall training that kept things interesting and exciting. If all one does is show up to the dojo, train for that class and go home, over and over, chances are you’ll hit a slump and be far more likely to do that whole “temporarily quitting” thing. ☯️