By Master Allen Sarac
Why enter a karate tournament when you practice martial arts in school? Its not a beginner's question. Seasoned martial artists attend classes but pass on opportunities to attend a karate tournament.
About 6 months ago I was approached by a parent of a 9 year
old student; the conversation was an eye opener not only to the parent but to
the child as well. I would like to express in writing the benefits of entering a karate
tournament at either inner school competition or out of school competition.
overcome fear, even though this may sound scary. To commit a child or an
adult get out in front of other students and perform their skills require one
to go beyond their comfort level, to face an inner fear that most of us have in
our life. Some never learn to get past any fears, but not the martial artist.
Here, in a controlled environment, we're given a chance to learn to control ourselves from the stress or panic of getting in front of people.
Competing in tournaments eventually teaches us to overcome these fears and have the control of one’s own mind to become a discipline and more confident individual.
And we learn to overcome the fear of "being frozen in fear", such as allowing our skills to take over when we need it the most - to defend against an unknown attacker.
Testing your skill level by practicing karate in a classroom situation, can be fun as well as challenging.
In competing in Karate tournaments it allows us to see our self as others do. Sometimes we see ourselves in our mind doing better than what our bodies can do.
Competition allows us to perform under pressure and to be judged by teachers, as well as other students. We then get the help we need to improve our techniques and, more importantly, we see and understand how we perform. This helps us to accept the changes we need to make to spar or compete against others at our own age or rank.
This too, gives us a challenge to become better, stronger and to grow in our daily lives.
Goal setting and self challenging may be one of the best aspects of karate tournaments .
Challenging our self to become better, faster and stronger in the arts, to set a short term goals and take small steps toward our giant leap into becoming a Black Belt in every sense of the word.
Having short term goals like achieving higher rank or to become a competitor keeps us motivated, our minds sharp, and our confidence high, this in turn makes our self and our children become better adults in our community.
In summery, I have seen kids (as well as adults) with the lack of confidence when first starting the martial arts bloom into the most amazing people in our community.
Over the last 35 years of teaching in Las Vegas and the Henderson Nevada area I've made an important observation. The students who have competed in tournaments have grown faster than the average student who had not competed or challenged themselves.
One of the best benefits of owning multiple schools or having my students become owners of studios as part of this Song Moo Kwan family in Las Vegas and Henderson is coming together four times a year and bringing our students together so that they can compete against each other, with each other, and to witness the growth of their skill level.
We all see them overcome their comfort level and celebrate as they become better martial artist and citizens.
So to the parent of the 9 year old, I have seen your child grow and gain confidence over the last 6 months through classes, testing and tournaments.
Sometimes it may be a hassle to drive across town a few times a year to compete, but the benefits far outweigh it.
Some schools that only have students compete against their own students, lack the ability to have their students overcome their comfort zone when only competing with the same kids week after week.
So step back and take a good look at your son. You will see what I have seen over the last 6 months and be as amazed as I am!
And thank you for taking your time to bring him to my inner school tournaments... as one day when he is a grown man he will be thanking you for all you have done for him.
- Master Allen Sarac
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