When most people enter martial arts tournaments, they think about winning trophies or representing their school. They fail to see the importance of tournaments as a way to grow as a martial artist. Some don’t even take them seriously. However, tournaments provide many benefits to martial artists.
For those who take it seriously, tournaments can make them train harder then ever before. It drives competitors to put in more time into training and to do exercises that they hate doing. Many will drill moves and defenses that they are not good at, getting rid of their weaknesses in the process. Martial artist bodies and minds are usually at their best around tournament time.
One of the under valued parts of these competitions, is that it gives competitors a chance to mingle. Talking to competitors while in the locker room or standing on the side lines, can lead to some really good tips and advice. They may not share any true secrets, but a little known fact or something that simply wasn’t known by a competitor, can prove useful. The best part about talking to competitors at these events, is that they are most likely serious martial artists or at least want to be.
Some martial arts events allow martial artists to compete against multiple fighting styles. This is good, since everyone’s fighting style is at least a little different. If there is ever a real reason for a martial arts student to defend their selves, the chances are he or she won’t know what’s coming. Having the experience of fighting against completely different styles from their own, will give them a little more know how.
The biggest benefit to a martial artist however, is that he or she can test their skills against others. They can pin points their weaknesses and find their strengths, which allows them to approve upon for the next event. Since most will never need these skills in real combat, a tournament allows them to gain experience in a controlled environment. Although martial artists should keep in mind there is still a big difference between a competition and a street fight. With any luck, this will be the closest they ever get to a real fight.
It can’t be denied that martial arts events such as tournaments are a valuable learning tool for students. They should be taken seriously to gain the full benefit. This is why every student should do at least one. Even if it’s a small one.