taekwondo tournaments... give yourself a challenge!

On this page we talk about

  • preparing for your taekwondo tournaments
  • coping with the stress of tkd competition day
  • what it feels like when it's your turn to spar
  • and what you might learn about yourself in a taekwondo sparring competition

preparing for taekwondo tournaments- 'train hard fight easy'

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A taekwondo sparring tournament is an energy drain like nothing else!

You might be able to do a two hour sparring class no problem But when you get in the ring in a competition...

...your energy drains out of you and your legs feel like lead after half a minute!

Why's that?...

...adrenaline! Your body's fight-flight response to stress. It makes your heart pound, it makes you kick hard, and it drains your energy reserves.

You will cope much better with the stress of a taekwondo sparring competition if you are fit. We've got some great taekwondo fitness boosting ideas head here.

And on the day... make sure you pack the right gear. Here's some some advice on choosing and packing your taekwondo gear bag.

For taekwondo sparring tournaments you must be the right weight. And your weight is your responsibility. If you fail the weigh-in you won't be able to fight.

Monitor your weight over the 2-3 weeks leading up to the competition. You know what foods you need to cut out if you need to lose a pound or 2!

Do not leave it till the last minute then starve yourself to make a weigh-in. You'll have no energy left for the fight!

there's lots of hanging around at taekwondo tournaments

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On the day...be prepared to hang around...for hours!

Taekwondo tournaments rarely start on time. And the new taekwondo sparring rules mean that bouts often last longer than they used to.

You need to find a way to rest physically and mentally while you are waiting for your fight. Here's our tricks

  • Read a book or an listen to your i-pod and zone out. Or find a quiet corner, lie down on your hogu, cover yourself up and have a sleep.
  • Conserve your physical energy. Don't wander round too much or kick targets. Keep warm- wrap up well if it's cold. Don't eat high sugar foods and drinks. Stick to complex carbohydrates and protein. Drink lots of water.
  • Conserve your mental energy. Try not to think about your bout- try to chill out and think about something else. And don't look at the draw - leave that to your coach.

and when it's finally your turn to fight

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We're not going to lie to you...

...walking out onto the sparring ring in taekwondo tournaments is terrifying! Especially if it's your first taekwondo competition.

Your heart is pounding and your legs feel like they can hardly hold you up... let alone kick.

Remember though...that everyone feels this way...even experienced fighters.

The challenge for you is to go past your fear and perform with everything you have. To do this you have to dig deep and to find the indomitable spirit in you.

So... when the referee asks you to step back in to fighting stance...

...key-hup with all the passion and confidence you can find. We know you don't feel confident... but fake it!

Often we find we are in a bubble during the fight. The noise of the crowd becomes a background blur. And all we can see is our opponent in front of us.

Your best friend out there is your coach. It can be hard to hear them but try to listen to them if you can. They will see what you can't.

And other than that the best advice we can give you... is try to enjoy your bout. Try to relax if you can and calm your mind.

If you lose a few points... so what? Force yourself to stay calm and focused and work out how you're going to get them back.

and afterwards... it's time for reflection

You might feel quite shaky after your fight. This is because you have drained your energy reserves and you have little left.

When you get a chance have a sit down on your own with a cup of tea and give yourself 5 minutes.

Did you win?
Did you lose?
Does it matter?
What does matter?
Winning is great - but is it everything?
Did you do the very best you can?
Did you manage to conquer you fears?
Did you manage to control your anger?
And your ego?

Have you grown as a martial artist?

Taekwondo tournaments have a way of giving you the answers.

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