THOUGHTS ON YOUTH MARTIAL ARTS COMPETITION

OUR YOUTH MARTIAL ARTS

I wanted to take a moment to give both the students and the parents an idea of what it will take for our students to enter martial arts competitively.  Understand that with competition comes failure as well as success.  Through competition students will naturally create opportunities for personal growth as they learn camaraderie, perseverance, and the ability to win or lose with dignity and honor.  As a school we are currently seeking positive groups with which to compete.  Our ultimate goal in competing is to give the youth (and adults that may be interested) a platform to test their skills and seek self improvement.  In the meantime we need to ensure our youth (and adults) are up to the challenge!

KNOWING THE GOAL OF COMPETITIVE MARTIAL ARTS

It is important to know what it means to  be a part of competition so here are some videos of various martial arts tournaments or demonstrations.  They are just examples of the level of the students that are out there and what we should (and do) expect from your children in our classes.

As with any training the students need to be aware of the stance quality of these students.  They repeat these forms over and over again and do the stance work to the best of their ability.  That is what makes them so good!  That attention to detail will the be center of our focus throughout 2014-2015!

Remember, when watching these videos these children are often the exception at studios and these videos show the best in their competitive field.  However, there is no reason that each and every youth student we have cannot be equal to if not better than these kids.  Many of the children we have are already at this level.  They just need that drive as well as a goal to reach (also the visual aid helps).

UNDERSTANDING THE COMPETITION VS. WHAT WE TEACH YOUR CHILD

As far as a Kung Fu style goes we are very, VERY combative.  In our classes your students are taught that what they are learning has true consequence and that it is to be trained with the expectation to use if a situation is life threatening.  Many other schools teach children with the expectation that they “perform” the forms rather than know what they are and what they mean.  That means the students perform them as more of a dance with lots of acrobatics.

It also means that they spend a lot more time training the forms.  Having branched out on our own the new curriculum students will give students more form consistency.  As parents, taking the time to ensure the students are here consistently is a very important piece of the puzzle.  Remember that our goal is for our youth students to look as SHARP as the competition (in fact sharper) but also have the power and knowledge behind what they train.  That will only happen if they are here for every available class.  Understand that this is still a long journey that will take a lot of time for everyone.  Especially many of the youth who have trained with less detail during their early progression.

The great news is they have all been increasing their quality of training!

ADDING THE COMBATANT’S EDGE

Many students who train for competition in martial arts focus and train for nothing else.  This would be like a gymnast who reaches the Olympics on their best event.  They are not “All Around” gymnasts and as such are not in the All Around competition.

At Seattle White Tiger Kung Fu we strive to ensure that the students can make a transition to our Adult classes.  Which means that your child will learn to be confident and proficient in all aspects of Kung Fu.  Striving for solid foundation in basic techniques while developing speed, accuracy, and power.  Consistency in their forms with detailed conformity.  We want to make martial artists that can perform their forms with the above referenced quality as well as the following ability to have tenacity in their training.

The types of competitions are available for youth students who are interested.  However, this type of application of techniques will be expected from every student.  It builds character and increases their self confidence.  They also learn a healthy respect for the amount a punch or kick hurts.

WHAT THE PARENTS CAN DO TO HELP THE MARTIAL ARTS COMPETETIVE SPIRIT

As parents, you play the largest role in your child’s success and confidence in martial arts.  Make sure that you are pushing them to be in class.  Even if they say they don’t want to go more often than not it is an insecurity.  If they miss classes due to personal reasons make a point to get them back on track and talk about the importance of consistency in their training.

If your child is struggling make sure that the focus is not on how well they do compared to others but how well they do when compared to a month ago.  A great tool for this is to video their first attempt at forms.  Then the next time they learn that form watch how much better they are and make a new video.  They will get to see their own progression.  This is an amazing way to keep them motivated and one that I certainly wished was available to me during my initial training.

Most of all.  Let them know you are proud of them as often as possible.  If they have a rough day in class or are not getting something right.  Remind them of a time in which you were very proud of them.  Point out something they did well.  Training mindset takes more than just the few hours each week that they are in our classes.  It also takes your support to make our goals of balanced, focused, confident and positive adults out of our youth martial artists come true.

In the end competition is a great way for many schools of many different styles to come together to make everyone better.  It is not about beating the other schools.  It is about beating ourselves.  Overcoming our own self doubt as well as striving to be better than we were yesterday.

“The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself.”  – Washington Allston

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