I reached a bit of a turning point in my training a couple of months ago, and have been away from formal martial arts instruction since. I took the break for a couple of reasons: first, to examine what I've learned so far and hopefully get a better idea of what I would like to learn in the future. Second, to explore other ways of working toward my fitness goals.
Re-examining what I've learned so far has been incredibly rewarding.
I've trained in around half a dozen martial arts over the years (probably not a good thing), and this period of reflection has allowed me to distill the motley collection of movements and forms I've learned down to the small number of motions, postures and principles that hopefully work best for my spirit and body shape. As a side effect, I feel more comfortable in my own skin now. I'll write more about that subset that works for me in a future post.
From a fitness perpective, it's been more of a mixed bag. Basically, making real time to train had been a challenge. When I do train, it's been a combination of cardio and weights. I've seen my strength go up, and aspects of my cardio get better. I've also seen my core strength drop, the amount of fat on me increase, and my flexibility get worse. Overall, I definitely felt more fit when I was training under an instructor. Also, it turns out that non-martial arts related excercise (or at least, gym training for training's sake) is really boring.
So will I go back? I'm still not sure. It'll probably be that or a team sport.