What constitutes competition?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by kempodisciple, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    There's a lot of talk on here about the importance/unimportance of competition, but I'm curious how everyone is defining competition. It sounds like a relatively simple answer, but depending on the purpose of competition can determine whether or not it's important. For clarification, when I mention competition here, I'm specifically asking about competition in the terms that it would be a beneficial or necessary part of training.

    For example: A UFC santioned fight is competition, I think we can all agree on that. So is a boxing match, or a WTF tournament, or a Naga competition. Some of those can be tournament styled, where you have to win to go on to the next match, others can be a one-set match. I could participate in an amateur boxing match once, and never fight again, regardless if I win or lose.

    That brings me to the first issue. If there is no pressure to win, does it count as competition? If I enter a match, with the same plan not to fight again whether or not I win, and if I'm just as happy losing as winning, I just wanted to say that I 'fought', does that count as a competition? To me, this would technically be a competition, but I don't see myself gaining anything special from it.

    The second point for me is: how much does your opponent matter in considering something a competition? If I compete in a state tournament in full contact karate or kickboxing, I'm 130 pounds, my opponent is 250, and he wins by virtue of being stronger/bigger than me. Does that still count as a competition for either of us? If I'm a black belt whos been training for 10 years, and enter a tournament with only white belts, who have never done that style, does that still count as a competition? What if there's a significant age difference-if someone decides to allow a 25 year old into a tournament with only 10 year olds, they're competing but would that count as a competition? To me, while these may fit the definition of competition in the general sense, I wouldn't gain the benefit of testing my stuff or being in that adrenaline environment, because beating on a 10 year old or someone that's never thrown a punch doesn't take a whole lot of skill.

    Next: In house competitions. If my local school holds a competition for just members of the school, does that count as a competition? It's against the people I spar with all the time, and I only need to be effective against them, not in general. But it could still have that pressure, especially if something rides on it (think the thread where a belt promotion depends on beating someone else from the school during the test).

    What about street fights. If I fought in the street against some random person, is that a competition? It's something where I would be actively trying to win, the other person could have any level of skill, train in any level of style without my knowledge, and there are consequences from the loss. If not, what is missing to make it a competition/gain the benefits from one?

    Finally: sparring matches. If I spar with someone, from a different style, and we both have every desire to win, does that count as a competition? What if it's a hard contact sparring match, where we both are going for a KO, versus a medium contact sparring match, where we have someone unofficially letting us know who is 'better' in the match?

    I guess my question is, what exactly are the benefits of a competition, and do they have to be in a specific 'competition' setting in order to count for it. And are there competitions/people who can compete but not gain that benefit at all?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. FriedRice

    FriedRice Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,291
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    san jose
    Competition has levels, and the highest level is MMA. The lowest level is probably doing kata for trophies, then tap sparring, etc. Being a real fighter, IMO, requires that you fight in timed rounds for KO so this would eliminate light contact and BJJ/grappling only. But then there are lots of what-ifs. Like if someone competes like 10x a year for years and years with hundreds of matches in BJJ vs. some guy who only fights once and lost in a Boxing match, then never fights again....then who's the real fighter? The BJJ guy will probably destroy this Boxer in a streetfight. Competition fighting is highest in prestige and usually, demonstration of skills.

    Streetfighting, in general, is usually trash. Some drunk *** gets in your face and you punch him in the nose and he quits & you walk away = 1-0 record. Whoopdeedoo. Getting in that 1st punch usually wins the street fight. If not then just throw 20+ haymakers each and see who's still standing after 30 seconds. Most people will over embellish their streetfighting experiences, esp. the SD crowd. In fighting gyms, you can't bull****. You talk big and many people will challenge you.

    There's also the Gym Warrior, which is the person who trains regularly and spars up to KO level but is not interested in competing. They can beat Pro fighters or lose to Amateurs, depends on the day, whatever.

    What sparring & competing at the KO power level does is it proves that you're not full of **** to yourself & others....and hiding behind your keyboard spewing bull****. People can talk about how bad*** they were 20 years ago in the ring (or lie about it when they never even fought), but that doesn't mean anything today when they'll get starched due to being scared of going hard as apart of regular training, for whatever reason(s)......like oohhhh I'm a Heart Surgeon and my hands are delicate instruments and I make $1 million/year....can't risk my fingers nor my brain cells...blah, blah....that's fine, so you fear getting hit in the face hard....b/c fear does come back and I see it in dudes who trained/fought 10 years ago, quit then come back....fat, low cardio, slow, etc.....their eyes are full of fear.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  3. FriedRice

    FriedRice Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,291
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    san jose
    3:50 "Bruce Lee said...in 1959, a dude who's been wrestling and boxing for 1 year, can beat a lifelong Martial Artist......"

    True or false?

     
  4. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,161
    Likes Received:
    2,613
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    Competition is a form of application. A way to know if it is application vs something else is to consider whether failing has a tangible, negative consequence. Another is whether there is a "do over."

    The greater the consequences for failure, the more intense the competition.

    One note, competition makes you better at what you are doing in competition.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Yokazuna514

    Yokazuna514 Green Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2018
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    81
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Competition is a test, nothing more, nothing less. The bigger and more challenging the test, the more truth you will find out about the time, energy and effort you are putting into your training. What are competitions good for ? It is a comparison of your skills, mindset and training compared to other folks entered who are pursing the same goals. Everyone training in MA should enter at least one competition, imho. It will not only give you an insight into who you are at that moment in time but it is a gut check to see if you are willing to put your personal safety (and ego) on the line just to know how you really stack up to the competition.
     
  6. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    14,838
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Pueblo West, CO
    So are you saying that you cannot compete in things like forms, or does loosing count as your "negative consequence?"
    I'm also not clear on what you mean by "do over" since, unless you're dead, you can pretty much always try again.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    What is the consequence for failure in competitions? The only one i can see is that you didnt win, but a lot of (most?) people are okay with that possibility before they enter the competition.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,712
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Saline
    If you don’t care about winning....then you aren’t competing. You are just participating.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    I'm not saying not caring about winning, but that they are okay with it. If you enter a competition, some part of you know you may lose, it's not a great feeling, but beyond that competition it won't have a great impact on your life.
    For instance, when I was fencing, there were certain schools and fencers where I knew I wasn't going to win against them. I would still try my hardest to win, and be frustrated when I lost, but beyond that day the consequence of losing wasn't all that large.
     
  10. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,712
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Saline
    I would say in those matches you accepted defeat before the match....therefore you weren’t competing against them...you were participating in the match with them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    14,838
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Pueblo West, CO
    There is a big difference between 'not caring' and being OK with losing.
    Two examples:
    I haven't done any tourney stuff in years, but when I did, I was OK with losing. That's called being a good sport. Or, in the lingo of today, not being a douche canoe.

    If the pairing is a big mismatch (last week I sparred with an 8th geup, simply because he was the only adult in a class that happened to be full of kids) then I probably don't care much about winning. Now, you can say that this is because I'm teaching, and that's a valid point. But I have done that (and seen others do that) in non-teaching settings as well. In my HEMA days, I can recall times when I was paired up with someone who had just started. If they came out with a single rapier, I'd come out with nothing but a dagger. Because what mattered wasn't winning, but having a good match.

    Sometimes winning really isn't all that important.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,712
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Saline
    Exactly....in those times you wasn't competing....you were participating.

    Agreed everyone has their own motivation behind what they do.
     
  13. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    6,335
    Likes Received:
    1,533
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    Winning doesn't mean that you have defeated your opponent. It can mean you have met some requirement that you set for yourself.

    For example, if you can

    - punch on my head within 20 punches,
    - take me down within 1 minute,

    you win. Otherwise you lose.

    If you win, it just means that your defense skill is OK and nothing else.
     
  14. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    I don't think I'm explaining it right. But I didn't accept defeat. I actively tried my hardest to win, and some times I won matches that I should not have won. My strategy with those matches (most matches actually) was never to win. For each point, my goal was to get 'one more point'. That's something that was possible no matter how much I was outclassed, and it's how I stayed competitive. But if, at the end of the match, I lost, I wasn't happy about , but it wasn't the end of the world. I would learn from it what I could change for next time (was I too late in my counterattacks to get the touch? Was my disengage too obvious/slow? Did I need to improve my fleche?) and focus on getting more points the next time around.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    6,335
    Likes Received:
    1,533
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
    There are 2 different kind of competitions.

    1. Test your door guarding skill - You don't want to lose.
    2. Test your new skill - You don't mind to lose in the beginning but you want to win at the end.

    Afraid to use your new skill because you want to keep a perfect fighting record can be the problem for most people.
     
  16. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    For me, the testing new skill was always during practice. A minimum of an hour of the daily practice each day was devoted to fencing each other, with occasional in-house tournaments. That gave me enough time to work on my skills that by the time I tried using something new in competition my assumption from the beginning was that it would work.
     
  17. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,712
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Saline
    Exactly, the goal was to win....that is competing.

    But it sounds like the goal was to win...to get the next point...which does what....move you closer to winning.

    You are just trying to win the next exchange....with enough exchange wins, you win the match. But your goal is still winning.

    You can still hate losing but be a good sport.

    Being a good sport doesnt mean you have to be ok with losing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,890
    Likes Received:
    945
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    Exactly. I was still competitive, and I was still wanting to win, but there was no actual long-term consequence from losing. And even if I dislike losing, I still accept beforehand that there's a chance I will lose.
     
  19. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,161
    Likes Received:
    2,613
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    I'm saying if you compete in forms you are applying forms in a context. If you mess up your form in the dojang there is no tangible repercussion. If you mess up in a competition you might lose.

    Its a simple idea . surely even you can understand it if you try. I even used small words for you.
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,161
    Likes Received:
    2,613
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    Loss of the competition. If you go into a competition with no intention of competing, you are undermining your development.
     

Share This Page