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The importance of karate tournaments

When I first started competing in sport karate, I was very young, and had bundles of energy. But along with all that excess energy came also the pressure to win. After a while, those positive emotions were soon drowned out by feelings of anxiety, stress and worst of all — fear.

Being in a karate tournament not only involves winning or losing, but also requires controlling these anxieties so that you can compete in the first place. A single fight becomes a demonstration of all those endless hours of hard work, all those countless years of training — all expressed in but a handful of minutes. 

Of course, entering a competition also means the risk of losing. In the beginning, when things weren’t going so well, I would often get upset — even angry. Angry that I’d let my teacher down, my supporters down, and most of all, that I’d let myself down. That fear never really went away.

After a while my relationship with karate gradually disappeared, and I soon gave up my training altogether. But during a particularly hard period in my life, I eventually decided to come back. Something was missing; something that had once helped me grow and develop.

This is when I discovered SKL London (who welcomed me in with open arms). Whilst rediscovering one of my greatest passions, I finally had an opportunity to pass on what I had learnt to a whole new group of people. Suddenly that fear and anxiety had all but melted away. What had been replaced instead, was a feeling of confidence and control. Because if you can’t control yourself, you will never be able to control your opponent.

In competition, losing means learning something new (as is also the case in life). It is an opportunity to discover my weaknesses and measure my progress. But not just in my ability to win a fight — but to assess my expertise in the art of control and focus (which is an integral part of karate as a whole).

Although the fears and anxieties will always come and go, at least now (through regular practice and competitions), I have finally gained the ability to control them (before they end up controlling me).

written by A. Puggioni, SKL student