Monday, July 14, 2014

Christie's Karate Newbie Tip of the Week: Seek Experience

Writing Contributor: Christie McGowan
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**Past Posts on Karate Tips:

My first martial arts competition—board breaking!
-Summer 2014 HapKiDo Tournament-
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Tip #5: Theories are wonderful to have, but experience is also needed.

My friends know me as many things. If I bring it up, they remember that I tried getting into music school on the violin. That audition and its outcome changed my life forever. As the intensity of that auditorium increased from everyone’s angst, the goal of the fellow competitors never changed. Every musician that day was competing for him/herself. There were no groups, and no one cheering or wishing others luck. So many strings were at stake that day.

Since that audition, I have not experienced anything that serious until I arrived to my first martial arts competition. As soon as I walked through the gym doors, black belts were tumbling and running around to hopefully earn their new black belts. The day also consisted of injuries and constant yelling from children and adults, while they broke boards and sparred for points. The whole day was in constant motion.

For the last few weeks, I had been studying and taking notes on manners, bowing styles, and board breaking techniques. However, the moment I arrived to the competition scene, I found myself panicking because of anticipation, and asking questions to my Loganville HapKiDo peers in fear that I would forget something.

Thankfully, the day progressed. Although I almost tried competing under age thirteen, and looked confused half the time, I found a way to rid the nerves. This was a breaking point for me because when I get nervous, I hyperventilate and my entire body becomes tense. So after my nerves went away, I felt I could conquer the world. I credit my success in my board breaking performance to the following reasons. First, I had brought a friend to the competition, and she kept me distracted. I then tried meditating and found that oxygen and water worked like anesthesia. Lastly, there was support from instructors and peers from Choe’s HapKiDo in Loganville. Most importantly, on top of turning practice into experience, the event gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other better. Seeing peers, parents, and instructors bonding with each other confirms a healthy environment at the Dojang.

People have favorite days, and I know that my first martial arts competition is one of them.

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