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Richard Wilkinson

Why Compete at Tournaments

I LOVE tournaments.  It was a VERY important part of my training.  Some of my most valuable lessons, that I teach to your children, were learned from participating in tournaments.

Lessons from participation....

How to win in patterns -

In the beginning, I was just in the ring.  I wasn't paying attention to anything.  I was watching the other competitors but was not aware of what I was supposed to be watching.  This went on for a LONG time.  I was told to watch and pay attention and I did.  Needless to say, I had only moderate success at winning.  When I start studying under my 2nd instructor, he taught me what to pay attention to.  He said, ' Watch the participants and watch the score that they are given.  Every judge has a preference and will score based on that bias.  Some judges like stances and kicks...Others like power and presence (the way you enter the ring and the way your uniform looks)....and some like the way your pattern flows.  In order to win consistently, you have to pay attention to what they give a higher score to and change your pattern to suit."  This taught me, specifically, what to do in order to increase my chances of winning a first place trophy.

I made sure, through training, that I could match what the top competitors did and I could adapt to what the winners were doing.  My instructor came up with a phrase, 'Do What The Winners Do'.  This philosophy has served me well over the years.  It's a philosophy that I pass on to every child I teach.  If we focus on what is considered excellent, then we will be excellent.  If we focus on what works and what gives us the success or the result that we want, then we will acheive what we want.  

Success is what we want for all our children.  Part of the formula for success is to 'Do What The Winners Do'.  If your way isn't giving you what you want, change your 'Way'....be open minded and have the ability to change and adapt. Listen to your parents teachers and coaches to help identify a better 'way'. If you think about it, that mindset is what is necessary to survive a self defense situation.  

In order to acheive the success you want consistently, you will have to go to MANY tournaments.  Tournaments are an opportunity to study how to acheive success over time.  It's just a metaphor...a tool to get the point across.

That is how you win in patterns.  Everyone can do it....some will have to work on it more than others...but it is possible.  

The life skills of pattern competition:  Focus on what the best is, adapt/change to the circumstances, train harder so that your body can handle those adaptations that are required to win consistently, Do what the winners do, If your way doesn't get you want you want, listen to your teachers, coaches and parents to find a better way.

How to win in Sparring-

Sparring is different beast all together.  I love sparriing in part because of the emotional control it gives you.  Here is a short list of what students 'feel' when they compete in sparring:

1.  Fear

2. Everyone is watching me

3. what if I lose? will people be disappointed in me?

4. He/she is better than me.  They may have seen a competitor hit someone hard and the person that was hit hard starts to cry.

5. What if I cry?

6. what if I get hurt?

Those are just a few of the possibilities of what goes through someone's mind.  There are many more....too many to list.

Sparring at a competiton provides an opportunity to control those emotions and develop the focus necessary to complete the task at hand...which is to win the match.  

Some competitors focus on things that don't move them closer to the goal of winning because they are focused on the wrong thing.  For example:  The mindset of ' I just want to survive for 2 minutes without getting hurt' will only provide survival for two minutes without getting hurt...hehehe.  If the focus can be shifted to winning the match (the task at hand), then the student will focus on that which moves him/her forward towards a goal.  Again, that is a mindset that we all want for our children. ( FOCUS on the task)

In order to eliminate the emotions and negative thinking.... the coaches, teachers and parents get to step in and provide focus on what is important.  It is a fact that 'Kids don't listen'....but they DO listen when they are in an emotional state.  Tournaments provide that emotional state and gives us (teachers, parents and coaches) an opportunity to make a suggestion that is beneficial and becomes a 'Frame of Reference'.

A 'Frame of Reference' is based on a situation or experience that someone has lived through.   In those moments or experiences that are NEW, humans develop beleifs or thoughts about what that experience MEANS.  Once the meaning has been established, it becomes a reference point in the person's life.  So, when they are faced with similar circumstances or situations those 'referenced' beleifs or thoughts pop back in there head.  As a coach, I want program beneficial thoughts or beleifs in student's mind so that when they are faced with difficult obstacles, they have a 'frame of reference' that will move them in a positive direction.  Sparring, especially in competition,  is the perfect tool for establishing 'Frames of Reference'.  

Class room sparring is relaxed and there really is no pressure.  Students tend to not listen as well in the classroom.  In a competition, they are emotional and will listen when we say things like ' Keep you hands up' or 'Side Kick'....those are the moments that a 'frame of reference' is created in the student's mind.

Life Skills taught a sparring competition - Emotional control, Focus on the task at hand, listen to your parents, teachers and coaches and pay attention.

I think it was Vince Lombardi that said, ' Winning isn't everything.  It's the only thing'.  What that means to me is....When a student wins, we are all there to celebrate.  When a student loses, We have an opportunity to be a coach, parent or teacher by providing feedback on how to perform better and the student is open to our suggestions......which means....they win.  There is no such thing as losing, if you learn from the experience.  

So, sign up for the tournament!  It gives us an opportunity to have many teachable moments as parents and as coaches.

See You Soon!

Scott Wilkinson

July 30, 2013