By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi, originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
Have you or your child ever competed in a karate tournament? There are many great benefits to competing in a karate tournament. Here are our top 5 favorite reasons to try it out:
1. You’re done practicing. Now it’s time to play!
In team sports, you spend a lot of time sharpening your skills through drilling and training so that you can perform well when you play a game against another team.
It’s no different in martial arts, except that instead of playing a game, we compete in karate tournaments.
You’ve spent so much time during your karate classes practicing your kicks and punches, working on your flexibility, learning effective sparring combinations and strategies. Why not put that work to use and see how you do in a karate tournament?
2. Improve your skills by going against new competitors
Chances are, you’ve spent so much time sparring with your classmates that you already know all their strengths and weaknesses: this person has a powerful sidekick but a tendency to drop her hands, another person has a great blitz but all you have to do avoid it is change your angle.
You can only improve as much as the best person you compete against. That’s why competing in a karate tournament is so powerful. It exposes you to other martial artists you’ve never worked with before, which forces you to up your game.
3. Open your eyes to a whole world of martial arts
One of the most exciting aspects about going to a karate tournament is getting to watch performances from the best martial artists from around the region — or in the case of national tournaments, from around the country.
It can really open your eyes to the fact that karate is not just what goes on at your karate school — there’s a whole world of martial arts out there.
Plus, there’s a good chance that some of the competitors you see at the tournament will go on to star in movies and TV shows. For example, did you know that Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner was well-known on the karate tournament circuit long before he became a movie star? Check out this video of Taylor Lautner at age 11 doing an incredible bo staff routine!
4. You’ll bond with your classmates like never before
Even though martial arts is an individual sport, there is such a strong sense of teamwork among our Urban Martial Arts karate students. And something about the setting of a karate tournament enhances that sense of togetherness even more.
In past tournaments we’ve been to, anytime one student was sparring, the entire group would come out and cheer them on. If one of them got hurt, the entire group would rush to comfort and console that person.
It’s being able to experience those ups and downs together as a group that really makes you feel like you’re part of our family.
5. Whether you win or lose, it’ll make you stronger
There’s a famous quote by Gichin Funakoshi, who founded shotokan karate, that says: “The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
That sentiment extends to karate tournaments as well. While you should always go into a tournament with the goal of winning, you should understand that no matter what the eventual outcome, you will learn a great deal from the experience.
We’ve seen talented students who lost in the first round of their first tournament who were so humbled by the experience that they intensified their training and took their skill level even higher. We’ve also seen students initially wracked with self-doubt who walked away with trophies, which gave them the confidence boost they needed to keep improving.
Whether you decide to compete or come as a spectator, I hope you’ll join us at The 19th Annual 2010 Twin Towers Classic Karate Tournament on Saturday, August 21. It’ll be an experience you won’t forget.