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Karate tournaments, does winning matter?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Karate tournaments, does winning matter?

Before I go into the benefits of martial arts tournaments. First lets look into what children actually do in tournaments and the most common types of events they can compete in. 

The iconic martial arts sports is what many refer to as 'Kumite' which is point karate. A very simple but great concept. The kids kids spar within the rules and the first to land a controlled punch or kick scores a point, and the child with the most points at the end of the round wins. Simple.


There are some people in the martial arts world that say point sparring is unrealistic because the action stops when a point is scored. I would simply say to them realistic compared to what? 


I believe if all a student does is only ever point sparring then yes they are not having a full martial arts education, which is why our curriculum includes, close quarter self defence, anti bullying  and self defence from the ground. This concept and philosophy is what makes what our students and instructors do quite unique. 


Another very popular martial arts sport is sport sword sparring. This is again a simple point sparring idea, the children have a safety swords and the first to score wins a point. When I first introduce sport sword 15 or more years ago I was not convinced of its value, but I soon realised that it was a good activity to enhance the foot work and timing skills of the students not to mention improving coordination. Plus it is extremely good fun. 


One of the best martial arts sports that someone can do is grappling. For most kids that compete, they simply score  when they pin their opponent or whensecure a control position. 

So far we have discussed events where you are essentially in some form of combat. This next category is all about performance and technique. 

The freestyle techniques category is not a new idea but it is new for our tournaments. The children that competed did very well, however once they realise that there is no restriction on what they can do then I am sure we will start seeing some amazingly creative techniques.


One of the most powerful learning experiences any one can have regardless of the endeavour they are working towards , is trying their best, then failing or not passing or not succeeding. Now if that individual realises that this is no different to when they first tried to ride a bike or swim, they will then try again. By trying again they will be starting to develop a powerful successful habit. 

Tournaments give the children the opportunity to have that experience.   Indeed martial arts classes give people that opportunity  regardless of  their age. 

Hopefully we communicate our philosophy that we of course want students to try their best and work hard to try to win and use their skills to do the best they can.

But ultimately it does not matter if they win or lose,

"Why, of course it matters?"I hear you say.


Ok, you have two children one kids quite athletic and a quick learner, the other is a slow learner and has poor coordination. They have both been training 6 months. Guess what? yes of course the sharp kid wins. But he probably quits within a year and the slow kid that lost his first match, loves martial arts and slowly but surely get better and better. He not only gets a black belt, but becomes a respected instructor. 


So if you win, that's fine but the problem is you learnt nothing, and if you lose yes it sucks, it sucks bad, I hate it. But you are not a baby you have the courage to keep going and  deep down you know you will get better. 


See you on the mats. 



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