Martial Arts Monday: Why Do Tournaments?
In the lead-up to our Olney rank testing, I noticed that a student’s form had vastly improved over last time. I immediately complimented him on how sharp it looked.
His reply? “It’s because of the tournament.”
This incident reinforced to me how the value of tournaments goes far beyond trophies and medals. My instructor, when encouraging students not to stress out over competition, always said that the point of tournaments was to have fun. But, it’s more valuable than just a good time (though having fun is certainly a chief goal).
Tournaments stand as a valuable teaching tool. They serve to reinforce everything that goes on in class. Students gain confidence with the first-hand knowledge that what they’ve learned works outside of class, among strangers. In the case of this student, he learned how to make his own form better by observing who beat him. Plus, the tournament stoked the fire in him, making him want to improve.
I’ve never been a big fan of competing myself, but it’s hard to argue with these results. Taekwondo isn’t “only” a sport, but the sport part refines and reinvigorates the art itself.
Why do tournaments? To get BETTER!
Jr. Master Nathan W. Wheatley
5th Degree Black Belt
OlneyTKD.com / PrincetonTKD.com