A Beginner’s Guide To Martial Arts Training Vacations

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Everyone loves to go on holiday. However, a new trend has been emerging where holiday-goers throw some world-class training in the mix.

In recent years, the concept of “training vacations” has become increasingly popular. More and more people are heading to Southeast Asia to train at some of the world’s best gyms, as well as visit a new country and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Typically, a lot of new vacation-goers feel a little nervous stepping into a these training camps, and may have a few questions concerning their experience.

That is why we have put together this beginner’s guide to martial arts training vacations, including some very valuable input from Bali MMA head coach, Don Carlo-Clauss.

Keep An Open Mind

When attending these world-class training camps, the main concern should be enjoying yourself, all while picking up some new techniques.

“People always have lots of questions. My best advice is to keep an open mind, and focus on learning and having fun,” Carlo-Clauss says. “The best way to learn is to get in there and give it a try – so do not be shy or nervous.”

Be Respectful

Nobody likes a narcissist or someone who acts in a self-righteous manner. When going to these gyms, you are learning from friendly athletes and trainers who have succeeded at the highest level. Be respectful, kind, and courteous.

Do not walk into a gym like you are the best. Showing respect will go a long way.

Research The Gym And Country

It is always good to do a little bit of research on the gym you want to train at, as well as the country you will be visiting during your stay. Familiarize yourself with the gym’s offerings, the rules of the country, and the local hotspots.

Also, while many of these training facilities offer on-site accommodations, plenty of vacation-goers stay in nearby hotels. Nonetheless, learn as much as you can before embarking on your adventure.

“Definitely do your homework,” Carlo-Clauss says. “Try to learn about the area or country that you will be visiting, as well as the gym you will be training at. Where exactly is the gym located? Will you be staying on-site or in a hotel? If it’s at a hotel, how close is it? What is there to do in the immediate area? Training will consume three to five hours of your day, but there is still plenty of time to get out and explore, so bring a positive attitude, an open mind, and a sense of adventure.”

Enjoy The Local Culture

As Carlo-Clauss previously mentioned, training will not consume the entire day. So when you are not at the gym training, then take advantage of the vacation part of training vacation and explore the country. After all, it is called a training vacation for a reason.

Explore the city and learn about the local culture. Make new friends at the gym who can introduce you to new places and people.

Bring Plenty Of Clean Clothes

Since most of your time will be spent in humid environments where you would ideally be getting a good sweat on, it is absolutely crucial to bring clean clothes and appropriate attire. 

“People should bring plenty of clean clothes for both training and life outside the gym. Check the weather so you have appropriate attire for the climate and season,” Carlo-Clauss says. “Some camps will have equipment you can borrow, but it is usually pretty beat-up and nasty. I would definitely recommend bringing your own equipment, or pack light and buy new gear when you arrive. If you are a serious BJJ player, I would recommend bringing at least two gis so that you will always have a fresh one while the other is being washed.”

Also, you will not be living in a jungle, as some people may have that misconception. These gyms are based in towns or cities that have nearby stores that sell toiletries and medicine. There are also laundromats where you can get your clothes cleaned, which is essential for killing bacteria and smelling fresh. After all, nobody wants to partner up with the stinky person in the class.

Set Goals For Yourself

One of the most important things about training vacations is setting goals, both short and long term. It could be as simple as learning a new skill or dropping a few kilograms, to something more ambitious like competing in a bout.

“Goal setting is great, because it keeps you working towards something rather than just drifting randomly. It is important to be realistic about your goals as well. Set short term goals that are easily achieved, and these will act as rewards and reinforcement as you work toward your bigger and more challenging long term goals,” Carlos-Clauss says.

Don’t Be Nervous – Have Fun

Even after reading this article, most people would still feel a little intimidated when trying a training vacation for the first time. But remember, there is no reason to feel that way. These programs are geared towards all levels of holiday-goers. Besides, all of these world-class athletes and trainers want to work with you, just as much as you want to learn from them.

Carlo-Clauss, who tries to make everyone feel welcome at Bali MMA, says, “I think there is a common misconception about martial arts gyms in general, that we are all fight clubs, everyone is super aggressive and trying to kill each other all the time. In fact, we are quite the opposite. We cater to the novice or beginner athlete, and really enjoy sharing our knowledge and love for martial arts.”

“We have worked really hard to create a family atmosphere that is fun and supportive for everyone. We do train professional athletes and we do offer training for high-level athletes, but the bulk of our members are fitness and martial arts enthusiasts who are there to learn, get in shape, and have fun.”

Read more: How To Take Your BJJ To The Next Level

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