Competition is a funny thing. American society fosters competition everywhere. Children compete in school for test grades, opportunities, and spots on the sports teams. As they grow, they compete for popularity, friends, and attention. When they are young adults competition becomes more serious as they compete for SAT and ACT scores, spots in colleges, GPA points, and various things that will determine the direction of their future lives. Competition is everywhere.
I was lucky enough to grow up at the USA Karate dojo, where a positive experience of competition could be found at our tournaments. Karate tournaments are a unique way of learning to deal with the stresses of competition, while still showing compassion towards other competitors. When I was young I was competing with my friends, against my friends, and at times, with and against my family. I learned how to do my best, and try to win, while also rejoicing in the success of my friends and family. Having everyone from my dojo there to support and encourage me made the tournaments fun and enriching. I couldn’t be upset about getting second place when my best friend got first, because my own disappointment wasn’t of a greater magnitude than my excitement for her. We were a team. We were all a team; the fellow students, the parents who were scorekeeping, our coach making sure we all had what we needed, and our black belts who ran rings and helped us feel at home. Everyone played an important part in making the tournament a positive and healthy environment for competition.
I treasure my experiences competing with karate because they have helped me prepare for competitions in other aspects of my life. The commitment, focus and determination I learned from training before tournaments allowed me to be a better student at school, to compete for grades and opportunities. The example that my parents showed from competing with me and volunteering led me to volunteer throughout high school and college. Overall the positive lessons I learned from karate tournaments have transitioned into all aspects of my life, and benefitted me in countless ways.
This next weekend we will be taking some students to Walla Walla to compete and for some of them it is either their first tournament or their first tournament in a long time. There are others who are not attending for various reasons. I know going to tournaments can be very intimidating if it’s not something that you do on a regular basis, and to be honest with you, that’s just a part of competing and something that you get to face and conquer by going out there and doing your best.
The reason most of us are in karate, is because it’s fun. We go to tournaments because they’re fun, because we meet new people who are just as passionate about our art as we are, and we make new friendships that often last a lifetime. We go to tournaments because we are proud of what we do and what we’ve accomplished on a personal level and want to share our passion. We go to tournaments because they make us better martial artists and better people, and did I mention that they’re fun? The students and teachers at http://floridagenbukai.com share our philosophy on tournaments.
I’ve heard so many students say, when asked why they are apprehensive about going to tournaments, that they’re “afraid to lose” or “afraid to do bad”. This is all a matter of perspective. We love karate, it’s fun. Why does a tournament have to be anything but? Winning or losing should not be your main focus. Yes, it’s fun to win. I’ve won a lot in my karate “career” and I’ve also lost a lot. When I won, I didn’t learn half as much about myself as I did when I didn’t win. It’s the times when I’ve lost that made me want to go back to the dojo and train harder. I learned what I could do differently, I learned my strengths and weaknesses. As a result, I was able to get better.
What if those statements or thoughts could be changed to “I’m going to demonstrate my best karate”, “I’m here to have fun”? What if we eliminate the word afraid and the negativity/fear that accompanies the anxiety about winning or losing? Then going to a tournament doesn’t seem so scary, it now sounds like something we may want to try.
I encourage you to re-evaluate your perspective on any issue that you find you’re holding back from due to fear or anxiety. What if you just changed your lens with which you see the situation, and put a positive spin on your approach? I’m not saying lie to yourself, but be honest with yourself and harness your positive energy. I guarantee you’ll have many more fulfilling experiences and will learn a great deal about yourself and others. You just might have fun…
- Sensei Tony Sharrah
Principles , Code of Ethics and the Five Fold Path provide moral reminders for students of USA Karate Academy of Shoreline. While each member receives a complete copy of these affirmations and character building quotes and sayings in their new student “Welcome Packet” this post was requested by parents, and former students alike. As we welcome the New Year, it is a good time to reaffirm our beliefs in harmony within oneself, striving for personal development each and every day, and making a commitment to being a positive influence even in the most difficult situations. Happy New Year!
Friday, December 9, 2011 is the USA Karate Academy “Secret Sale” whereby the dojo will be open from 6pm – 10pm for holiday shopping. Special prices and packages will be offered. BBC members who order items on or before the Secret Sale will receive 25% off regular priced items regular members will receive 15% off regular prices under the same parameters.
Orders must be placed on or before the special shopping date and all purchases must be paid in full. (Restrictions may apply).
Why purchase items from the dojo when you can purchase similar equipment online and for lower prices? Most items used in the dojo are specifically recommended to meet the guidelines for safety as set forth in the AAU Karate handbook.
Since safety is of our utmost concern for students that train in our dojo, it is essential to wear the approved equipment when required. Your personal safety is far more valuable than the cost of a $3.00 mouthguard, an $8.00 groin protector, or a $76.00 helmet with faceshield. Hand pads are priced from $25.00 to $40.00 depending on the brand.
The dojo does not make much of a profit on the items sold yet, the small margin helps the dojo meet its’ general operating costs.
With great discounts being offered for your holiday shopping, now is a great time to invest in the safety of yourself or your treasured karate kid.
Traditional karate testing is intended to help a student learn something they did not know about themself, the lesson is priceless when the lesson is lived and learned. It is true; with a willing mind anything is possible! Inspiring demonstrations were observed yet, more importantly, confidence was born in the candidates who submitted themselves to the rigor of intense assessements and grading that demanded correct form, a positive attitude,and an intense fighting spirit, all under the microscope of a public demonstration among peers, family and community members, some known, some not. We at USA Karate Academy value the art of traditional karate-do and acknowledge and appreciate the families that treasure the same values.
Bring a buddy to the dojo and earn buddy bucks just for bringing a friend to try karate. Your buddy and you will practice warm ups, stretching and strengthening exercises, basic martial arts skills with a focus on self defense. Your buddy must not have been a buddy or member before. When your buddy joins USA Karate Academy, earn more buddy bucks as a thank you from us for referring your buddy. Share your enthusiasm of karate training.
Participants should wear something loose and comfortable, be prepared to sign a participation form before trying class, (18 and under buddies need a parent’s signature). Contact USA Karate Academy with questions or to notify us of your buddy’s intention to try karate classes. Our classes are appropriate for all ages with special focus on family values. See you in class!