How do you know you're ready for competition?
Posted: September 26, 2017
MYMA students have a lot of great opportunties for competition coming up! This weekend, our school is hosting an in-school class C tournament. Next month, the ATA Fall Nationals tournament is coming to the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, and, of course, MYMA is hosting the Space Coast Rumble Class B Tournament in Melbourne, FL on December 9!
If this is your first tournament, how do you know if you're ready to compete?
The short answer is: You're not ready, and you should begin anyway.
In any under-taking - whether it's a new job, a new school, a test, or a Martial Arts competition - you have to get used to the format of the event. What are the rules? Who are you working with? Where do you go if you have a question? On some level - you can't have all the answers before you get started.
Which is why we recommend going to your first tournament to figure out what's going on.
Tip 1: Go to an in school or Class B tournament for your first competition.
These events are smaller than Class A tournaments or National events, so it's a great opportunity to get the feel of competition
Tip 2: Set goals that are within your control
Some competitors set a goal to win 1st place in all the events they compete in. In fact, it might be safe to say that this what MOST competitors set out to do. However, these decisions are subjective depending on your judges. I've seen competitors place in all their events or take home one first place medal and leave disappointed because they didn't win EVERYTHING. I think it's important to appreciate and honor ANY medal or recognition you receive.
Other competitors set goals like, "I want to do my best." This is a great aspiration, but is not specific.
So, before you compete be sure to ask yourself: How will you know you did your best?
For your first tournament, you might want to set a goal like, "I want to remember my form."
Other good intermediate goals that will help increase your likelihood of getting those first place medals might be:
"I want all my kicks to be above my belt."
After a particularly dry run in sparring, I set a goal to score a point in a sparring match. Or maybe you've learned a new sparring technique or strategy, so you can set a goal to use that strategy or move in sparring.
Once when I had a leg injury and I knew that my kicks would probably not score very well, I set a goal that I wanted my score for my blocks and strikes in my form to be on par with the other competitors. I knew I probably wouldn't win, but I could do well in that aspect of competition.
When you set personal goals that you can achieve regardless of whether or not you win or lose your competition, winning is up to you - not your judges!
Tip 3: Give yourself many paths to victory
For Fall Nationals or our Melbourne Tournament, you may want to plan an excursion to the Brevard Zoo, Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, Disney, Universal or another one of our World Class Attractions. When you plan a trip out of town to a tournament, make sure to visit a family member or friend that you don't often get to see. Or, if you can take advantage of an extra training opportunity then you can leave the competition a better Martial Artist and get tools to do better next time. Also, ATA Tournaments are a great opportunity to make new friends from around the Florida, the United States and even other countries! Make a point to introduce yourself to someone new! This way, whenever you go to an ATA Event, you'll have many paths to victory!