Preparing for my First Real Tournament

Da Supa Freak

White Belt
Apr 5, 2009
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Auburn, WA, US
Hey, martialtalk...ers... (I guess that works :p),

I've been training in Karate for a few months and I have enrolled to enter my first real tournament coming up on May 2. I've gone through my first belt test to get to Yellow and my sensei held a mini-tournament for his us soon-to-test white belts right before then. So, I feel a little prepared on the nervousness issue (kata's always a problem when I get nervous...) However, I still would like to see what those here who are more experienced would have to give in advice, etc. on preparing for it; both physically and mentally. I'm not sure on the total number of participants, yet, but it's taking place at a major High School in the area and is affiliated with, so I think it's going to be pretty big.

I can't really think of specific questions to ask, but feel free to talk about lessons learned from your first tourneys. :D


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MTS Alumni
Apr 9, 2004
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Grand Prairie Texas
Just remember just do what you have been doing and everything will turn out great.....


Master Black Belt
Apr 5, 2008
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St. Louis, MO
I just had my first grappling tournament, but I think my experiences might be useful to you:

Film your performance, take notes, and work on your game.

Remember that at the end of the day, be happy that you stepped onto the mat and competed.

Celebrate the experience with some close gym/dojo buddies and start planning for the next tournament.

Have fun.


Blue Belt
Dec 9, 2008
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It's been a long time since I've competed in a tournament. But from my experience, I didn't get any sleep the night before. Not really sure why, as I wasn't nervous at that time. I wished that I had brought a couple of extra pens with me, as there were a lot of people singing up right then, and there. Pens would have been helpful for them. Pack a lunch. You'll be there for a long time. I was really nervous when it was time for my division, but when it was my turn, it all went away while I was in motion.
And lastly, I was able to talk with just about anyone there, and learn a couple of new moves.


Master Black Belt
Feb 27, 2009
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In my first tournament, I did my kata inside out and backwards, ending up almost in the judges' laps. Oops. :eek: But I survived, and so will you.

The most important thing to remember when doing kata in tournaments outside your school is that the judges don't necessarily know the kata you're doing (or at least your version of it). So if you make a mistake, don't flinch; just pretend that you meant to do it that way. If you don't let them know that you messed up by showing it with your facial expression or hesitation, they probably won't even notice the mistake.

The second most important thing: when in doubt, bow. Showing respect for the judges is crucial--don't turn your back on them; speak clearly and loudly (and make eye contact) when announcing yourself.

Are you sparring, also?

Good luck!


Yellow Belt
Mar 5, 2008
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I actually had my first tournament a few weeks ago. But I've been doing TKD for a year.
First advice; -Relax. You may be nervous, but just relax and you'll have some fun. If you're nervous, it also puts off your buddies and competitors. Just have fun. ^_^ But make sure when you are on the floor to do your form, you are serious. At least look serious for the judges.
-Locate the nearest bathroom! Tournaments are day long events. Sometimes you just gotta go!
-Bring luch.
-Ditto Stac3y Make sure you're loud and clear when your announce forms.
If you're sparring;
-DO NOT HESITATE! If you don't know the person, get to know them later.
-Make note of how big the ring is, what kind of flooring there is, etc. Note the diffrences between where you normally spar and where the tournament is. I normally spar on a mat, where there is no risk of slidding. My tournament was on carpet. On my instep and shin guard, there is fabric that goes underneath my foot, thanks to that, the first step I took in my first sparring match tournament made me slip and fall right on my butt. XD

Most important though, don't stress yourself. Make sure you have fun!

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