How does your child react to competition?
Why competition is important, putting “Challenging” in the right context
In this blog we will look into how Challenge has become somewhat of a taboo word in society but how vital it really is to the development of a Black Belt Character in young people, we will look at how Success and Failure all form important learning experiences for young people.
In today’s world competition is often discouraged in schools, I believe this is because it is taken out of context and Failure is therefore seen as a damaging component of the learning environment. I suggest the opposite is in fact true.
I believe that students who learn to compete in a healthy, positive way are more likely to contribute to community as they will have developed important skills in leadership and will be far more likely to support their peers or teammates, helping them through difficult times.
Adult life is tough, it’s packed full of ups and downs, stress, disappointment, joy, elation and hard work. Taking competition out of the syllabus for young people deprives them of fantastic life lessons. Because of the diversity of adult life learning what it’s like to succeed and what it’s like to fail are both equally important and learning what can go right or wrong and arming students with the tools to overcome adversity will help them in their adult years.
It’s certainly true that for many students competing in sport or academically is not a motivation and the thought of competing against their peers can completely demotivate them and put them off a subject or a class. I believe that with careful management of “competition” this can be overcome.
A successful programme that grows a young person and develops their character will cater for their unique needs. A professional Character building programme will cater for the student who wishes to pursue elite level competition which requires them to compete against their peers and others in the community, nationally or even internationally. Such a programme should also provide a structure for developing a competitive spirit in students who want to avoid competing against peers, and this can be achieved through competing with oneself, ie: personal bests, individual goals where a student is developing themselves to improve against a previous version of themselves.
So, in short a professional Character Development Programme should cater for those wishing to compete with their peers to be at the top of the game, while also providing the tools for personal development, to compete with oneself to achieve personal goals.
Martial Arts focuses on the individual. It’s a powerful tool for personal development. Within Martial Arts a student can set and achieve competitive goals to better themselves without the influence of peers, while being supported by a Community and nurturing the feeling of being “part of a team”.
Some excellent examples of personal goals/personal bests and individual competition within Warrior Academy classes are:
– Learning a new pattern or combination.
– Earning my next stripe or belt.
– Increasing the number of reps on a fitness exercise (Press-ups/squat jumps etc)
In Warrior Academy clubs we certainly cater for students who enjoy competing with others and seek to test their skills in a public/competitive environment and in order to help students we have created in house Warrior Academy competitions, specially designed to split students into smaller groups so they have a high chance of success, while still understanding the important lessons of Success, Failure and supporting their peers. This does an excellent job of bridging the gap between personal development and public competition.
For students who wish to go on to compete at the elite level, we invite students to National competitions to truly test their skills and mindset.
“Thanks for a fantastic competition today. You create this lovely family atmosphere where the children can try out in a really supportive environment. Joe sets himself very high standards and gets very frustrated with himself but his reaction today was much improved from the last one so this was great to see. Yet again you guys took very good care of him and noticed when he was struggling. He decided not to do the Ultimate Warrior because ,as he said, I am very happy with my performance and don’t want to spoil it by getting upset at the end!! I was really proud of his mature approach and he is now at home watching the videos I took and working out where he could improve.”
“Where he has come from over the last few years is amazing and that has been undoubtedly helped by the great work you guys have done with him and your patient and supportive ethos. I feel very lucky that we found Warrior Academy – it has given him a sporting framework which has really helped him develop and I was also really proud to see him coaching Harley in the weapons comp. today.”
– Rachael Faulkner
Support from parents is vital to the development of this kind of Black Belt spirit. PS: Joe is now going on to compete in the English Championships in January after 2 excellent Warrior competitions and a huge amount of dedication to perfecting his skills.
From a young age I was competing regularly in martial arts. My Dad would take me across the country, often driving 6 hours to compete. The fear and anticipation I felt was often so difficult to overcome. The disappointment of driving 6 hours, competing and loosing within the first minute and driving home was often so difficult to overcome, but the support from my Dad the whole time, who never seemed disappointed and instead passed on the life lesson of perseverance and using the loss as a stepping stone to overcome and improve weaknesses certainly helped develop my character. As I progressed I began competing more frequently and the fear and nerves began to subside, I was winning national competitions in several organisations every year and eventually as an adult went on to train and fight professionally, full contact in other martial arts around the world.
Martial Arts, taught professionally as part of a progressive character development programme, can be an excellent tool for developing a competitive spirit in young people which will guide them through difficult times and prepare them for adult life. Let’s ensure our students are not avoiding competition but instead let’s put competition, success and failure in the right context to help our students develop a strong Character.
For those competing at the weekend, always compete with a smile, always remember you are doing this for fun, always respect your opponent and always thank their trainer for the opportunity to compete with them immediately after the match, analyse your performance, seek to improve even after success and always be proud for stepping up.
Courage Earns Confidence :).