One of the parents who was at the USA Nationals commented that the forms competition doesn’t seem to be about athleticism or skill level; it seems to be about smoothly rehearsed and performed movements, even if less dynamic and less powerful.
This observation is fairly accurate. If I had to cite one thing that *most* judges are looking for it is “No Mistakes”. It is almost impossible to win a division if you make even a minor mistake. A competitor can have the lowest stances, the highest kicks and the loudest kiai’s, but if they wobble or forget – even for a moment – a part of their form, they will not win. It is VERY difficult to not make any mistakes under pressure at a competition and for that reason, no mistakes is often the most important skill.
Part of preparing for, and competing in, a tournament is finding out where you are at with your form or sparring skills and what areas you need to work on. I anticipate many of our students will be even more successful at their next event now that they have seen what a tournament is like. For new competitors, it is hard to know how to prepare, because you don’t know what to expect. In the next competition class “the veterans” will understand and appreciate why I have them practice their form over and over and over facing all different directions.
I am very proud of how every single competitor from our school did. That said I think we can all do better, even our first place winners. I know some people were disappointed with how they performed or placed. That’s okay. It’s how we handle life’s disappointments that truly matters. Failure is an event, not a person. Successful competitors (and successful people in general), learn from their experiences and use the knowledge to better prepare for their next opportunity. From what I have seen in class this week, the experience gained at the tournament has had a positive impact on everyone’s effort and desire to succeed.