Thought I'd share my two cents on competitions today:

In truth, I am not in favour of forcing people to compete to progress through the ranks. That being said, competitions can bring a lot to your development as a martial artist and as a person.

Some say that win or lose, you learn as much from a 5 minute round as you would from 3 months of training. Speaking from personal experience, competing has helped me deepen my understanding of the martial arts I practice. I do recommend competing at least occasionally, for several reasons, a few being:

  • Learn to perform and apply your skills under pressure. Basically, both you and your opponent are there to win, no one wants to lose and just that raises the intensity and level of your performance. Performing in front of a crowd or strangers as well as friends, is also a big part of the learning experience. You learn to remain calm, to keep your composure and also to trust that your training will not fail you.
  • Get exposed to people from different styles and backgrounds of martial arts. When you've been training for a while, you start knowing and predicting what your training partners will do. You find yourself in the same situations all the time and although you're improving and becoming an expert at these specific situations it is good to get exposed to different things. Novelty is good. Novelty expands your knowledge and competition will bring that to you.
  • Focused training.When you are getting ready for a competition you usually spend time sharpening the skills and techniques you will use in your game plan. You also spend some time improving on your weaknesses. This focused training skyrockets your progress.
  • At the end of the day, it is a personal decision. Competing is not for everyone and some of us are satisfied with just going to class and training with friends, and that's totally fine too.

    Others learn a lot and get fulfillment from helping others to get ready for tournaments. I personally enjoy that.

    I am supportive of a student's wish to compete as long as it is approached with the right mindset: that you're doing it to learn and improve, not because you have something to prove. You're approaching it from a position of humility: you understand you can lose but you're there to do your best regardless of the outcome. Of course the goal is to win the fight, and that's awesome, but that glory dies quickly.

    The best of the best do it for personal growth - not to establish dominance.

    My goal is to beat the hell out of the last Kenny Florian I fought. - Kenny Florian (The Fighter's Mind - Inside the Mental Game) .

    Renshi Melhem Wehbe

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