Why compete?

Written by on June 20, 2021

Why Compete?



Yes, some may say that the biggest reason to compete is to win a trophy.  Trophies and awards are certainly a part of all competitions, but here in ATA, we take a much bigger view to the competitive experience.


Nothing builds confidence faster than placing yourself in challenging, new situations over and over.  Every tournament is different:  different location, different judges, and different competitors.  And if you set a goal to build a “competition career,” even YOU become different because you grow older, wiser, stronger, and more skillful over time.


Parents of Karate Kids constantly refer to how their children take the life skills we teach and use them at home, at school, and everywhere.   Tournaments provide an ideal opportunity for your child to make friends and be a friend.  In fact, “making a friend” is one of the THREE big reasons for competing:  1: make a friend,  2: learn a lesson, and 3: have fun.  Also, learning how to deal with the stress of competition can teach your child how to win with grace and humility and how to lose with self control and respect.    That equals “poise under pressure” and when will that be a valuable life skill???——-Always!!!!






Rather than saying, “I will win 1st in sparring.” You can set small, incremental goals, like “I will score at least one point in sparring.”  Or “I will get at least two 6’s on my form.”   Or “I will compete in FIVE events on at the next regional tournament.”   Remember, goals need to be specific and measurable.  And tournaments give you lots of choices for goal setting.





Why Should Black Belts Compete?


it’s that simple.   Black belts spend more time at the same rank and in the same class than all other students.  Regular training is GREAT, especially for fitness.  If you go to class regularly, you are doing wonders for your body, you are relieving stress, you sleep better, and you slow down the aging process.

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

But because black belts do spend so much time at the same rank and in the same class, it is easy to come to think that that is all there is.   Fortunately, our black belt academy is NOT an independent study program.  Everyone is working within the same curriculum and under the supervision of an instructor.   Your instructor will always be pushing you out of your comfort zone.  That’s when growth happens –when you are uncomfortable.    Always remaining comfortable creates complacency and stagnation.


So black belts, register for the next tournament.   Set a measurable, specific goal.  Decide which of the SEVEN events you like the most.  Then talk to your instructor about how to prepare.  What training tip will you learn from another competitor on tournament day?  What new confidence will you discover at this competition? What error or mistake will you realize is the key to a big  change?  What new friends will you make?   You will never know the answers to those questions without going!  So do it!   Remember, Eternal GM H.U. Lee says, “to compete is to win!”   And that is true!

Why Should Tiny Tigers Compete?


The decision for a TINY TIGER to compete is easy.  WHY?  Simply because TINY TIGERS DO NOT ACTUALLY COMPETE!    That’s right!  There are NO 1st, 2nd, 3rd place awards in the TINY TIGER DIVISIONS.  Every child receives the same award.

Parents can simply register a TINY TIGER for a tournament and have no concerns over the “competitive nature” of these events because there is no competition.  (Children over the age of seven and all adults do indeed compete for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in tournaments.)  Although each tiger receives the same award, we do give individual praise and recognition for various skills, like “best black belt punch,”  “board breaking power,” “following directions”, “strongest front kick” and so on.


TINY TIGER divisions are limited to 8 students (in most events)  and are divided by RANK just like their classes are.

Our goal for TINY TIGERS and their parents is to learn these important points about ATA competition:

  1. The tournament experience builds confidence by doing new and different things and meeting new and different people.
  2. Even for TINY TIGERS, getting up to perform is exciting and fun which leads to feelings of pride and accomplishment.
  3. Tiny Tigers and their families can watch divisions of other age and rank groups compete and come to understand what’s in store for the future.
  4. You’ll find numerous examples of respect, self-control, and courtesy at tournaments.
  5. Encouraging your Tiny Tiger to celebrate everyone’s “win” builds sportsmanship and camaraderie.
  6. Helping a child as young as 3 get over fear and anxiety in new experiences is PRICELESS!

So make ATA competition a family affair!  Perhaps you will find that what you see in this picture is the real reason for competing and not the trophies.  See you at the next event.


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