Are tournaments necessary?

Are tournaments necessary?

I am asked often by parents and students alike, "Is tournament participation necessary?". My answer is always the same: "NO". While this may seem like an odd answer from a professional martial artist and Taekwondo America's Tournament Director, allow me to explain.

Tournaments aren't necessary if you wish to be an average martial artist. In today's society of participation trophies and "atta boys", our tournament experience provides so much more. Tournaments are a way to not only challenge yourself. They also provide an opportunity to compare your training with others' training. We encourage all ranks and ages to compete for this reason.

Tournaments are also a way to learn how to compete. I tell the story often of my tournament career. I was a mediocre competitor, always dissatisfied with my performance, until I learned that my finish at a tournament was a direct reflection of the intensity and frequency of my training. Once that lesson was learned, I began to excel at tournaments.

Tournaments also teach us something about our perseverance and indomitable spirit. We need to understand that we alone determine our "luck" at these events. Life lessons can be found in winning and losing.

Finally, tournaments are a motivating and fun event. Being part of a team and cheering each other on is worth the time spent at the tournament. Nothing brings me more joy than watching MY team come together in support of one another.

So, in closing, tournaments are not necessary. But, the rewards for children and adults are so far reaching, that tournaments are vital to your journey as a martial artist.

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