#1 Martial Arts Tournaments help you overcome your fears
One of the hallmarks of a mature martial artist is the ability to stay calm in a stressful (or even life-threatening) situation. Tournaments are a way to train for that in a non-life threatening manner. First, when you perform, you’ll likely have dozens of people watching. This is very different from the dojang at American Family Martial Arts. Performing in front of an audience teaches you to tune out distractions, stay focused under fire and builds your confidence. All of this adds up to an inner calm. This stress-free, focused mindset pays dividends in school, at work and in real-life self-defense situations.
Second, it takes courage to face down a new opponent in the ring. Your adrenaline spikes, you’ll feel the butterflies creep in and you may want to run the other direction. This is all good. Why? Because it teaches you how to master your emotions. Over time, you’ll enter the ring confident and ready for the challenge. Overcoming your fears is an important step in becoming a masterful martial artist. And of course, the more tournaments you attend, the more you’ll build these skills. Practice makes perfect.
Finally, understand this: One of the most important lessons of life is that you must break OUT of your comfort zone to grow, change and get better at anything you do. This is true in school, work, life and especially martial arts. Competing in tournaments helps you push past your limits, confront your fears, blast through your barriers and take your confidence to a whole new level.
#2 Karate Tournaments can act as mini-goals
If you’ve been doing karate at American Family Martial Arts, you’ll find that your motivation level can vary; it rises and falls over time. This is normal – and true of any sport. But when you mark your calendar with the date of a big tournament, suddenly everything changes. When you think ahead to that day, it forces you to work harder, serves as a powerful goal, and inspires you to do your best in every class. You’ll develop a razor-edged focus and find yourself investing more time in preparation for the tournament.
And when you finally arrive at your big day, you’ll feel a surge of pride because you accomplished so much, put so much hard work into your Tang Soo Do and can now cross another big goal off your list – no matter how you do.
#3 Karate Tournaments expose and refine your skills
If you’ve been sparring for a while, you’ve gone up against many of the same people at American Family Martial Arts over and over. As a result, you’ll find your sparring partners adapting to your style and anticipating your moves. For example, they’ll know which kicks you’re likely to throw, which attacks you’ll try and how you pace yourself. The same is true of you: over time you start to adapt to your partners’ rhythm and predict their timing. What’s the solution? Compete in tournaments. Tournaments widen your pool of competition dramatically. You face off against new opponents you’ve never sparred before. This helps sharpen your skill set and gives you a taste of what it’s like to defend yourself on the street when you don’t know what to expect.
Tournaments also act as benchmarks for accomplishment. How? Because you’re judged in every area. You’ll come home with measurable results – hard numbers – that tell the tale of your performance. You’ll know what worked and what didn’t. You’ll discover your strong points as well as things you need to improve. Nothing is better at revealing your skills and helping you improve than competing in tournaments. They’re a great way to learn and grow as a martial artist.
#4 You just might win a medal or trophy
Now here’s a big reason lots of students like to compete: All the accolades you receive. Nothing’s better than hearing a crowd cheer and clap after you nailed a perfect form or won a tough sparring match. Nothing, that is, except driving home with a medal around your shoulders or a trophy in your lap!
The exhilaration you’ll feel on that ride home is worth all the hard work and dedication it took to get to that tournament in the first place! Of course, a medal or trophy isn’t the goal. It’s the end result of hard work. And much later when you look at that trophy or medal again, it serves as a permanent reminder of your accomplishments. Not only that, but trophies and medals are fun to show off to your friends and a great way to spark a conversation (and maybe get a buddy to class!) Yes, when you look at that medal or trophy displayed proudly in your home, it can motivate you to accomplish even more! It’s a big confidence and self-esteem booster.
Show off, take pride in what you know, showcase your skills and have fun. Experience this feeling just once and I guarantee you’ll be back for more!
#5 The best reason: FUN!
At tournaments, you make new friends, bask in the glow of a big event, see others compete, and break out of your normal routine. It’s something to look forward to. As for me, it seems like I always end up meeting somebody new at a tournament. And it’s always fun to network with other martial artists I respect. I think you’ll agree that your deepest and most long-lasting friendships are ones built on a common interest – and Tang Soo Do is the best one in my opinion!
Master Michael Tullier, 6th degree black belt who attended a LOT of tournaments in his day!