Why Competition is Good for Students

The fifteenth annual Gold Coast Classic Martial Arts Tournament takes place on Saturday May 12th at BCC Central campus in Davie

(see flyer). People from the continental United States, and foreign countries, will travel to South Florida to attend this prestigious event

Parents and students have sometimes asked why competition is useful. Like the grading tests, competitions give students the opportunity to perform, rather than just practice. Any student who is serious about developing self-defense skills and the confidence to perform them under the pressure of an attack should participate since it sharpens their skills and hardens their resolve as participants. It is highly recommended that all students compete at least once before they receive their Black Belt. Since the Gold Coast Classic is promoted by the University Karate Center it offers an ideal annual opportunity for our students.

Unlike a real fight, the sparring at a tournament is controlled and points are called. However, like a real fight, the competitors have to seriously contend for dominance using their martial arts skills. Tournament competition gives one the opportunity to face opponents whose techniques and tactics may be hitherto unfamiliar. This forces the student into a situation which will, hopefully, reveal what spontaneous responses and reactions (positive and negative) have been developed in training and give some measure of the likelihood that effective techniques will come out in an actual combat situation.

Weapons Forms and Empty Hand Forms (Kata) are also part of the tournament events in which a student may compete. Competition, when properly run, can improve all one’s skills. Just look at other sports. The famous on-court rivalry between tennis stars Chris Evert and Martina Navratanova helped both become better players.

I am a winner because of my enthusiasm for life,

my enjoyment of the present,

and my trust in the future


Why do children like to participate in sports?

In a recent survey when asked why they chose to participate in a sport children responded with the following answers:

It helps me learn early how to be disciplined and how to focus on a goal. It makes me feel good about myself. Everything else negative is out there in the world. It provides a foundation from which to draw on later in life. It provides positive direction.

Karate is a sport that can help children of different ability levels become all that they can be. It is a sport which encourages individual achievement while training with a group. Self–defense, personal growth and competition are included in the program so that each child can focus on the areas that are important to them. Since Martial Arts teaches balance

children who are shy can become more outgoing and those who are aggressive can learn to soften their attitude as appropriate.

Kick Drugs Out of America is a karate program for middle school kids that Walker Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris initiated several years ago in Texas because he believes that the Martial Arts helps children to develop the strength of body, mind and spirit necessary to be successful in life.




The foundation in life and in the martial arts

To hold in high esteem

To set a high value upon

To prize

To have regard for the rights of (self and others)

To refrain from interfering with

To consider worthy of high regard

Courtesy was once taught in our schools, religious institutions, homes and in special Manners Courses, called etiquette. Regard for the rights of others was a value that our society espoused and so we taught each generation to have respect for their elders, for people in authority, for life. That was then, this is now. I suppose that we could blame the infamous sixties for this rebelliousness towards all authority as the root cause of our current dilemma-no respect, but I suspect that the cause runs deeper.

It seems that in our dualistic way of approaching everything we think that all is good or bad, right or wrong, up or down, yes or no. So if certain elements of our society need to be changed, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, etc. then all needs to be changed: throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If children were once seen and not heard, they are now seen and heard all the time, often with no restraint offered from their adult guardians.

The other day here at the karate school a child who had just finished class was cavorting in the student waiting area when he bumped into the bulletin board hanging on the wall knocking the board and surrounding framed photos off the wall. Not only was the child not reprimanded by the guardian in charge, but the child was also not encouraged to apologize for his misadventure, and both adult and child proceeded to leave as if nothing had occurred.

It seems as if good manners have gone out of style. Civilized behavior, in adults as well as children, is the exception rather than the rule. Children are allowed to set the rules, even choosing their own bedtime, and adults are frequently expected to act as the facilitators to the child’s every whim.

In martial arts discipline and courtesy are both important principles. In order to learn the material properly the student must develop the discipline necessary to execute the techniques correctly, but he or she must also incorporate an attitude of “wa-no-michi”, Way of Peace, to become a complete martial artist.