So You Want to Win That Tournament, Do You?

by Kyo Sa Nim Victoria

Let me start with the speech I give  students in tournament class.

If you take a spelling test in school and get a C, you will pass the test and you will pass the course. If you do a C-level form, you will pass your exam to the next belt. However, if you want to win a large tournament, you not only have to get an A on the test, you have to win the spelling bee.

I encourage all of our students to compete in tournaments. It helps students see how their skills compare to others, both in Tang Soo Do and against other styles in Open tournaments.

I think tournaments are helpful, win or lose, but of course you don’t enter a tournament without the aim of winning. Depending on the size of the tournament, that could be more or less difficult.

Given some of the attitudes of some students in the Competition class, I think I need to amend my speech.

I watched one student do a form and told them where they needed improvement, they told me indignantly, “I took first place with that form in the last tournament.” 

So, my amendment:

If there are only two people in your division and you do a C-level form and the other competitor does a D-level form, you do take first place. This is no guarantee that you will take home a medal/trophy in the next tournament.

This is particularly true when it comes to the opens where there tends to be 10+ competitors in the youth divisions. So, here are my rules if you want to WIN a big tournament.

Attend Demo/Tournament class

Sat mornings. Tournaments happen at 9AM. If you can get up for a tournament, get up for the class.

Listen to the critique of the instructors and do what they say.  

Some students do, especially those who come each week. The majority seem to let critique, as my dad used to say, go in one ear and out the other.

One week, after the 1st round of forms, we each coached a student on problem parts of their form. I was not the only instructor who commented during the 2nd round that it seemed we hadn’t done any coaching.

If we say to check your stance with every move, check your stance with every move. If we say to add power, add power. We do know what we’re talking about. If you want to win tournaments, listen.

Do your homework.

I constantly suggest that students watch tv, or play video games, while in horse stance, back stance and/or front stance. It is obvious from the lack of good stances that students do not do this. Good stances alone can be the difference between winning and losing.

Pretend class is a tournament.

I’ve seen many students have excellent form when practicing for a tournament, but lazy stances and blocks in regular class. Not to mention, attitude. Remember, ATTITUDE is a small thing that makes a big difference! Work hard ALL the time, not just when you are being individually watched and you will automatically work hard for a tournament.