Taekwondo is a fantastic martial art. In many aspects, there is beauty, technique, strength, mental preparation, combat, and much more! Each person finds something different in Taekwondo that they love. Some love the forms, some love breaking boards, others just wish to spar all day long. Regardless of who you are, though, there is something within ATA (American Taekwondo Association) that can unite us all: Taekwondo tournaments!
Taekwondo tournaments are fantastic for everyone, and I highly encourage everyone to get to the next tournament. But why go? Perhaps you’re not a very competitive individual, or you don’t really care for sparring. Can a tournament really offer you something worthwhile? Absolutely!
A tournament is a great place for anyone involved in Taekwondo to have fun and enjoy the day. There is so much to see and partake in! Forms, sparring, weapon forms, weapon sparring, and XMA (Extreme Martial Arts) forms all bring a bevy of interests. There are plenty of people who attend for only one or two of those aforementioned competitions. Some just love to spar, others really want to show off their weapon. All have a great time. And even then, there’s more than just loving something in Taekwondo.
Are you preparing for an upcoming testing? A tournament is the perfect place to test-drive what you can do. Take your form to a tournament and see how you perform. Nothing will help your form more than performing it in front of individuals and judges. It’s a safe environment, no one will criticize you, and you can discover where you are. Are you testing with a weapon form? Sign up at a tournament and see how you do! The mistakes you make at a tournament are fantastic learning opportunities and help you iron out any issues so that when it comes time to perform for a stripe or at a testing, you’re ready to go with confidence. Want to really take your education higher? Have someone video you! Watch the video and make those adjustments.
But pushing yourself isn’t the only reason. At Taekwondo tournaments, you’ll get the opportunity to see how others perform the same form, how they spar, and what the other schools are teaching. This is a great chance to grow your exposure to ATA Taekwondo! You may find yourself surprised at the differences, and you may see something that another individual does well. Moreover, it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet others within ATA and make new friends. Get to know the Masters of our region, talk with Chief Master Thor, and marvel at the skill of other high-ranking participants. Have you been there to see the demo teams perform? Prepare to be amazed! ATA Taekwondo isn’t just your dojahng. There is a massive ATA World! Getting involved and familiarizing yourself with that world will really add value to your experience in the dojahng.
Then again, perhaps you’re like me and you just love to compete. Taekwondo tournaments are the ultimate place to really get that feeling. You may not have really noticed, but there is a difference between sparring within your own school and sparring at a tournament. Within your school, you’re sparring with fellow classmates and friends. This is a perfect opportunity to experiment with different combos and generally have fun. When you get to a tournament, you can really put your brain into high gear and apply what you’ve learned! It’s very different sparring against others you do not know (and thus haven’t memorized their habits!). Whether you love sparring or forms, if you’re a competitor, you should be at every tournament.
Taekwondo Tournaments are how we, as martial artists, can come together as a whole. It allows us to interact, share stories, laugh, and have fun. We get to cheer on our friends and support them, meet new friends, revel in the amazement of back flips and bring home trophies! Taekwondo Tournaments are where we get to apply what we’ve learned, grow as students, and encourage ourselves to push harder. And remember ATA’s saying: “To compete is to win.” If you’re in a ring and competing, you’re already a winner. You’re coming away with friendships, knowledge, stories, and a fun time. How is that not winning?! And I promise, if you go to a tournament in the Denver, Colorado area, I’ll be there and I’ll do everything I can to cheer you on. So the next time a tournament comes up on the calendar, sign up! And if you’re injured, come out anyways and cheer us all on.
Have you ever been to taekwondo tournaments? If not, what’s stopping you?