Is competition good or bad? Yes!
Competition in the hands of someone bent on overpowering the “enemy” at all costs can certainly be bad.
Competition supervised by caring adults who see the opponent as a partner to push us further than we thought possible, is definitely good.
When we see competition as an opportunity to perform to our potential, rather than to defeat the opponent, it becomes a very important part of our training. When we keep in mind that our partner is there to help us grow and we are there to help our partner grow, it becomes a powerful learning experience for all.
Taking care of our partner
We emphasize in karate that we need to take care of our partner. One of our goals at Warriors of Grace is to help people learn to be more concerned about others than ourselves. And that’s why in class we learn to partner with people of varying sizes and abilities. But there is also learning to push as well as match your partner. You can feel good about helping someone else develop to their potential – which they wouldn’t have done without your pushing!
What else happens during competition?
There’s a funny thing that happens during shiai (karate tournaments). When we are put under stress, there is an opportunity to examine the feelings that arise from that stress.
The stress can be just having to perform in front of people. Or it can come from winning (yes! winning can be stressful!). Or is can come from losing. Or it might come from feeling unfairly judged. Let’s be honest about all of our humanity. Judging karate events have a large measure of subjectivity and therefore can feel unfair.
What do we do with those feelings? We are going to experience unfairness, and losing, and winning, throughout our lives. Karate presents an opportunity to process the emotions that are triggered.
We encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity. Plan on spending some time afterwards. Whether it’s talking with your child on the drive home, or journaling that evening, use the opportunity to examine feelings that came to the surface!
Be sure to show up and participate! Check the schedule to find out the day and time of your shiai!