I am about to enter my first competition. I was wondering if there are any exercises that you would recommend doing to prepare for a competition or if there are any kicks that you would recommend?
As to preparing for a tournament, train the same as usual, just harder and more of it. Spar as much as possible using tournament rules so you will not make any mistakes at the tournament. Try to spar people with whom you do not normally spar. Try visiting and sparring at other schools within your association so you will get to know how your possible opponents fight.
For pattern competition, practice performing the pattern exactly as you want to perform it in the tournament. In competition, you will perform as you have practiced. While training, if you just go through the motions of the pattern, then, without extreme concentration, this is the way you will perform the pattern at the tournament. When you finish performing a pattern properly, you should be winded. You are acting out a fighting sequence so you should be performing the pattern as if you were fighting for your life and putting everything into it.
When preparing for a big test at school, if you have studied long and hard and know the material, then all the questions will seem easy. The same is true for a tournament, if you train hard and prepare for it, it will be easy. You may not win, but it will only be because the opponent was better at that moment, not because you were not doing your best.
The basics for winning at a tournament are:
- Don’t do anything to draw warnings and get disqualified.
- Stay with basic kicks and punches. Don’t try get fancy, you are not sparring to impress, you are sparring to get points.
- Attack! Attack! Attack! You don’t score points for blocking your opponent’s attacks, so don’t worry about them. If you attack continuously, the opponent will not have an opportunity to attack you. The opponent may score a point with a technique here and there, but you will be racking up points everywhere. Depending on your conditioning, you may not be able to attack continuously, so, while resting, then you may block and counterattack.
- The head is difficult to hit so concentrate on body targets.
- Stay away from punchers and kick from long range; crowd kickers and punch from short range.
- Single attacks seldom score, so use combinations with a mixture of kicks and punches.
- Relax and stay loose; if you are tense you cannot act or react quickly but you will tire quickly.
- Put on your fighting persona, get serious, and kiai a lot. You are not there to harm the opponent but you are there to beat the opponent.
Good luck in your competition. It is always fun to pit your skills against others.