The next regional tournament is right around the corner – February 2nd. If you are thinking of competing, the instructors at Oakmont Martial Arts have some advice.
School owner and chief instructor Karyn Graff, a fourth-degree Black Belt, offered some advice that sounded a lot like advice for testing. “Practice, practice, practice. Memorizing your form is not enough. It has to have the right hand and foot timing, good power, correct stances, and good rhythm,” said Mrs. Graff. “Just like the Karate Kid and adult testing at Redeemer Lutheran School, competitors need to feel confident doing their form in a different location.”
Cyndl Hale, second-degree Black Belt concurred, but cautioned against making last-minute corrections. “Don’t try to ‘fix’ your form right before the tournament, focus instead of presentation,” she said. “Be confidant, head up, focus, have good posture, and don’t forget to breathe!”
When you’re in the classroom, students can get used to “turn toward the blue wall,” and second-degree Black Belt Ben Griffiths agrees that it’s easy to get turned around. The solution? “When you get to the venue, practice your form going different ways,” he said.
But there’s more to preparing and participating in a tournament than practicing your form or getting better at your sparring technique. It’s important not to forget to nourish your body. “Make sure you get enough food beforehand,” said Mrs. Graff. “There aren’t always a lot of food options at tournaments, and you don’t want to be sparring while you’re starving!” If you aren’t enthusiastic about eating pizza, burgers, and junk food, bring your own snacks. Baggies of granola, sliced fruit, trail mix, nuts, peanut butter crackers, or cheese sticks are all high energy, nutritious foods that are very portable. And don’t forget to drink your water!
Don’t go into the ring cold, either. Without a formal warm-up, it’s easy to forget that part of preparation. “Stretch! The last thing you want to do is pull a muscle or hurt yourself,” said Mr. Griffiths. “Plus it makes for extra-high kicks.”
The other thing that’s easy to do is psyching yourself out. “Relax, it is only a tournament,” said Miss Hale. “Every time I’ve been at a competition I remember something I was told many years ago, ‘there is always somebody better. Even that person who seems to win everything will someday come up against someone better.’”
“If you are scared or intimidated a bit, remember,” Mr. Griffiths said, “the people in the ring are feeling the exact same thing.
Finally, enjoy the moment. “Have fun! Don’t worry about the results, the score, winning or losing,” said Mrs. Graff. “Just go out there, do your best, and leave the rest to the judges.”
Mr. Griffiths said, “Follow Mr. Weston’s advice with tourneys.” What is Mr. Weston’s advice & rules? Make new friends and have fun. Good luck!
‘INSTRUCTOR’S CORNER’ by Mary Sutton. Mary Sutton is the mother of two Oakmont Martial Arts students (Mary and Michael) a student herself, and a freelance writer. See more of her writing at www.MarySuttonAuthor.com.
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