Martial Arts Training…for Two (Guest Writer: Sarah Wurdeman)

Pregnant Martial Artist
When I became pregnant in December 2018, it never occurred to me to quit martial arts. Why would I quit? I’ve been doing martial arts straight since the summer of 2013 with very few breaks. Pregnancy wasn’t about to change that!

But there were times during my pregnancy where I took breaks. In January, when I was reeling from the nausea of the first trimester and my energy was so low it was all I could do to go to work, I took a break. I wasn’t alone- the weather was bitterly cold and few of my fellow martial artists attended class. I returned in February and by March was working hard toward earning my 3rd Dan in Haidong Gumdo. My biggest concern while training was feeling short of breath. To cope, I kept my inhaler close at all times and took short rests if needed. Still, I was feeling healthy and fit, although my uniform became a bit snug! I even competed in a tournament in Brookings, SD, when I was five months pregnant.

At the beginning of May, when I was six months pregnant, I tested for and earned my 3rd Dan rank. It was one of the highlights of my life. I was very proud of how I performed. After the testing was over, I reflected that my 2nd Dan testing had been more difficult. Perhaps because of my pregnancy, I was more cognizant of taking care of myself than I had been before.

After testing, I continued to train until the summer when my husband and I both decided to take a break from martial arts because of other things going on in our lives. It was one of the busiest summers of my life.

Since having my baby, I’ve only been back to class once. Continuing to train while having a newborn in the house is far more challenging than training while pregnant! But I fully intend to return to class by the end of the year. I’d say “when life settles down” but that’s a myth adults tell ourselves. Truly, life will never settle down. If you want to accomplish something, you just have to dedicate the time to it. Discipline, perseverance, and a keen ability to juggle the demands of life will get me back on the mat soon!

Are You Working?

How hard are you working toward you goals?

Are you still interested in those goals?

Are you able to push through the “daily grind” to keep working for your goals?

Is it time to change things up? Pursue new goals?

Currently, my school doesn’t have “kid’s classes” as I know that I don’t have the temperament to teach them. This means that I have very few younglings in class. Since they’re expected to keep up in the standard curriculum, it can be tough for them to keep up. This is even harder when the youngling doesn’t truly have an interest in training. Yes, parents set goals for their younglings.

This type of instance has prompted me to present the idea to a youngling that training should be viewed in the same manner as schoolwork. They may not like the subject but they need to work for the grade. Do the work the best you can and continue to seek attention in a positive manner.

Family kicking together

Dad with 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter

Then, there are the handful on younglings that I do have. They may not recognize that they have goals (other than completing the curriculum requirements) but they attend regularly and work hard. These students are enjoying the learning.

The setting of goals is different in young adults and older. They rarely do anything without a reason. Something as simple as planning a group outing for a fun night with friends is a simple illustration of setting a goal. It also includes finding things that challenge them. Their personal growth and development has value to them. The tangent opportunity of helping them learn skills that carry over into their professional lives doesn’t hurt either.

Throughout all of this, it is completely up to the student to make certain the work gets done and done correctly. The efforts may require time outside of classes. Those not willing to make the effort do not move forward. During class, the teacher should be able to see the student’s effort toward achieving goals. Now, this is limited to their martial arts goals but, still, it is a good indicator as to their desire to accomplish things in life.

No matter where you are in life, make sure that you are showing up to train/work and put in the effort! It is all yours to do. I’ll often check with students as testing approaches. One of the questions I regularly ask is “Who’s test is this?” It is all theirs! I’ve done those tests quite a while ago and have my own to continue working toward.