TOURNAMENTS, SPARRING, SELF DEFENSE
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOURNAMENTS AND THE POSITIVE ROLE THAT THEY CAN PLAY
Throughout the course of the year, more different workshops are offered both to club members & to the campus community including introductory courses, pilule & self-defense seminarsoffered directly to other organizations or private groups with such interests. These include Personal Protection, approved Safety in the Workplace, & many others.
Very separate from Real, Honest Preparations for the Protection of One’s Self from Harm, yet with it’s Own merit, are martial arts tournaments & competitions. Here at Black Mountain Spirit tournaments ARE NOT MANDATORY. Tournaments offer a great way to test months or years of hard training, or can be an event simply to enjoy. BUT – If you Are the kind of person that enjoys that type of competition, Tournaments also give us the opportunity to Safely test – or even to just Evaluate – our self-defense abilities agains unknown assailants who are trying Really hard to impress friends & family – so within the boundaries of safety & rules people get a sense of what it takes to at least Do What They’ve Been Taught To Do under Extremely Tense conditions. This does not mean that competitions Verify, or Replace REAL Self Defense Training, but it Does offer a reasonably objective ‘proof’ of where our preparations have brought us thus far in terms of dealing with the Fear & Anxiety of Conflict with ‘strangers who are Against ‘ us.
We typically attend two international tournaments a year, offering people an opportunity to share & express their arts with people from other parts of the United States & Other Countries. Besides visiting different cities in this fashion, the exposure to other systems & peoples from different locales is very exciting! (It’s also good to Always be one of the Winners!)
THE PURPOSE OF TOURNAMENT COMPETITION
It is now difficult, in modern societies, to gauge the actual effectiveness of martial arts, but among the most popular ways of doing so throughout the Americas is through sport martial arts tournaments, exhibitions, and competitions. The goal of open tournaments is to promote communication between different styles and to offer martial artists a venue for testing their skills against members of other styles in a safe and encouraging environment.
Competition in a martial arts tournament is comprised of forms/choreographed routines, point fighting, continuous sparring, team sparring, demonstrations and weaponry in an exciting range of categories for all ages and experience levels. These types of competitions usually pit practitioners of one or many traditions against each other in two areas of practice: forms and sparring.
The forms section involves the performance and interpretation of routines, either traditional or recently invented, both unarmed and armed, judged by a panel of master-level judges, who may or may not be of the same martial art. In the case of forms/kata/palgue/poomse etc, competition would be in technique demonstration, usually in the exhibition of forms or kata: dance-like routines that string together techniques, thus modeling a defense against one or more attackers. In forms competition, judges observe the competitor’s demonstration and award points for execution, excellence, and attitude, similar to competition in gymnastics.
SPARRING OR FREE-STYLE FIGHTING
The sparring section in sport martial arts usually involves a point-based system of light to medium-contact sparring in a marked-off area where both competitors are protected by foam padding; certain targets are prohibited, such as face and groin, and certain techniques may be also prohibited. In sparring, where you fight against another person, higher ranking designated officials are present & monitor the matches keeping everyone under strict rules to ensure safety. Points are awarded to competitors on the solid landing of one technique. Again, master-level judges start and stop the match, award points, and resolve disputes. After a set number of points are scored or when the time set for the match expires (for example, three minutes or five points), and elimination matches occur until there is only one winner. These matches may also be sorted by gender, weight class, level of expertise and even age.
In Our School, sparring for beginner to intermediate level martial artists in our school holds the goal of developing both the character of the practitioner as well as the mindful, appropriate, controlled use of bodily force.
Many arts offer competitions where you can compete for trophies, plaques, gold medals, money, or even just the respect of your peers – your fellow martial artists.
A SAFE WAY TO LEARN ABOUT UNSAFE THINGS
At Black Mountain Spirit, we firmly advocate making mistakes while learning how to fight. “Make them Here, on This side of the door, not on ‘that’s side of the door on The Streets”. Finding out what works, what kinds of situations make you feel less secure, what behaviors tend to throw your game off – these are the things that we work on during class. But, we all know each other, we feel comfortable – we know the other guy isn’t trying to hurt us. So how do we as closely as possible approximate fighting someone with a stronger desire than ourselves? Even with all of the drills and scenarios, how do we get that ‘I don’t care about you’ edge to come out of an opponent? Although not a true life-or-death struggle, fighting at tournaments is a Good way to deal with that issue. They give you medals, and trophies for your work, too! Whelp; For that hunk of metal or cheap piece of plastic People will Fight and ‘DIE’ to Win!!!! 😉 You both would like to feel the accomplishment of a First Place – it just feels good. It’s a significant symbol that there was something in you that was capable of Achievement that day, that against bad odds you can and did prevail. So Yeah, tournament fighting Is Good Fighting. And it serves as an Excellent means of evaluating yourself on several different levels, and provides tons of information for introspective analysis for you to continue in your personal development as a martial artist.
Compete! Achieve! Grow! Repeat! And meet a Lot of Great people along the way, and personally experience ALL of the Great Stories you’ll get to tell for a long, long time :):):):):)