One context you will be familiar with for Taekwon-Do is gradings. Another is tournaments. The Pee Wee Tournament Series is for kids aged 12 and under and a great "first tournament" for kids new to tournaments. These events are extremely well run and held at Valley Rd School, Pukekohe.
Here are some tips to make the most out of your experience!
1. Enter All The Events
Pee Wee Tournaments give kids experience competing in the Taekwon-Do competition disciplines in a friendly, safe and fun environment. For just $20 your child can enter all the events - making it a great opportunity to give all the competition disciplines a go. The events available to enter are:
Patterns are the traditional forms that we learn in Taekwon-Do such as saju jirugi, saju makgi, Chon-Ji, Dan-Gun and Do-San. At the Pee Wee Tournament, the pattern is optional, which means that competitors may choose which pattern they perform providing it is not above their rank level. They will be called up in twos and each round a winner will be decided who then will face off against the other winners until places are determined. If a child does not yet know any patterns, at this tournament they will be judged on some of their basic techniques (e.g. punches).
The power punch event is the children's version of power breaking. A pad is dangled in front of each competitor, and released at the moment of impact. The pads that fly the furthest win and there are play offs until a winner is determined.
In children's special technique, they perform a flying high kick to a hit a pad held relative to the child's height. The pad is gradually raised higher to determine a winner. Some coaching to ensure that each child knows how to the perform the kick first is usually given.
Sparring at the Pee Wee Tournament is strictly no contact. Each competitor will have at least two bouts in a controlled environment, where they will be rewarded for the best technique. Techniques must adhere to the Taekwon-Do sparring rules of being aimed above the belt. Although sparring at a pee wee event is no contact, all competitors must have their own mouth guard.
2. Bring A Friend
Encourage a friend to register for the tournament as well and car pool to the event together.
3. Come Prepared
The night before, make sure you have everything packed and ready - your $20 tournament fee, a clean uniform, your belt, a mouth guard, some snacks to eat, a bottle (or two) of water and a jacket to put on over the top of your dobok in case it gets cold.
4. Arrive on Time
Make sure you arrive well on time for the event. This will give you time to find the venue, find parking, locate friends and fellow club members and begin to feel comfortable in the environment. When you do arrive, note the ring marshals and officials who usually wear special coloured t-shirts at these events - they will be able to help you with where you need to be and when.
5. Be a Cheerleader
Support and encourage your child and the other children competing at the tournament! It helps make the tournament more enjoyable if everyone works together encouraging each other.
These events are entirely run by volunteers who give up their time to put on a fun day and tournament for you and your child. Consider registering as an official to help run the event - not only does this help the event run quickly and smoothly, but you will get to meet a lot of great people! No qualifications or Taekwon-do experience are necessary to be a ring marshal, time keeper and general helper. An umpiring qualification is required to be a centre referee or corner referee - look out for the next ITKD run umpiring course to learn how to perform each of these roles.
The ITKD tournament rules state that each Taekwon-Do club must contribute at least one official per 10 members competing at each tournament. This ensures that there are enough officials to run the tournament and a fair representation of officials from the competing clubs. If your child regularly competes at tournaments, please consider contributing to their next event as an official.
7. Have Fun!
Above all, make sure you have some fun!
Whether you think you can or can't, you're right.
- Henry Ford
What you say when you talk to yourself is shown to have a big impact on all areas of your life. The Henry Ford quote above sums up the idea that your thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy - and the body of research on athletic performance is showing that by being mindful of what you think while you train, you can give your training and performance a shot in the arm.
For martial arts training, the main types of self talk are instructional and motivational.
Instructional self talk is what you tell yourself when you're learning and developing a new skill or technique - especially ones where you need to develop accuracy. Short phrases act as cues to guide you through the steps you need to perform.
In practical terms, if you're working on low forearm blocks you might remind yourself "cross", "elbow bent" or "fist to hip" before each movement; if you are working on walking stances you might string together some words such as "front knee bent, back leg straight"; or you might come up with a short phrase that guides you through the process such as "knee bent ... feet nearly together ... up ... down" when you are working on your walking stance sine wave.
Motivational self talk is (as the name suggests) what you tell yourself to keep you motivated, on task, stay positive and face challenges head on using short positive phrases such as "let's go", "I know I can do it", "let's try that again".
How to Increase the Benefit of Self Talk
Make sure your phrases are positive - for example, try "aim high" rather than "don't miss". In fact purge your self talk vocabulary of words such has "can't", "should" and "don't"!
Practice your self talk. Make a conscious effort to decide what you want to say to yourself in training and spend time working out which phrases and words click with you. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another.
And remember ... don't tell yourself anything during training that you wouldn't tell a friend! Recruit yourself as an ally in your training using positive self talk strategies and watch your frustration dissolve and your performance improve.
In this article we look at how you can harness the power of positive AND negative thinking in your training goals. This is called "mental contrasting", a technique coined by motivation psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen that brings together your long term goals with your short term realities.
We're used to hearing if you want to achieve something "just think positive" and you'll be there in no time. But the problem with positive thinking on its own is that while it bolsters up your confidence of success, it does not prepare you for the obstacles you will encounter on the way.
That's where 'negative thinking' is helpful in being realistic about the obstacles and temptations you will meet on the path to your goal and preparing yourself to overcome difficulties.
In an example of how mental contrasting works, Oettingen studied a group of obese women enrolled in a weight loss program and asked the women what they thought about their chances of success in losing the weight. Unsurprisingly, the women who thought that they would succeed lost a lot more weight than those who thought they would fail. But she also asked the women their expectations for what the weight loss process would be like. The women who thought they would have a hard time not giving into temptation to eat junk foods lost an average of 46 pounds MORE than the women who thought it would be easy.
Applying mental contrasting to our example goal of "having a better side piercing kick" from our previous article in this series: you will need a positive attitude to your chances of success and believe that you can do it, AND ALSO be aware of obstacles in the way which could include time to practice, other commitments, etc.
The key to making mental contrasting work is that both sides need to work together:
- positive thinking about your ability to succeed and chances for success
- realistic thinking about the difficulties you could face.
When you have positive thinking without realism your overconfidence and big picture thinking may blind you to the reality of the detail, and when you have realistic thinking without positivity the thought of the possible obstacles can weigh you down.
But when you have the two together, you have a superior combination of confidence AND preparedness which will help to lead you toward success.
Most people have goals but aren't so good at reaching them. Maybe you want to get fitter, have a better side piercing kick and improve your patterns for a tournament. All of these goals are 'big picture' that are motivating (if it's something you truly want to do) but lack the detail to propel you into action. If you stop there, your goal will remain a lovely thought with little progress.
If you want to take action and really achieve your goal, you need to continue on from goal setting to goal planning. In goal planning you work out the actions you will need to take to achieve your goal in specific detail, breaking them into smaller goals.
Let's look at the "have a better side piercing kick" goal. We've identified the big picture goal - now what will it take to get there?
We could say practice, but that isn't specific enough. If you include more detail about when, where and how, and write it down, you will improve your chances of follow through by over 50%.
So, practice on Mondays and Wednesdays is better, but practice for 20 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays in the backyard at 7am is even better still.
To satisfy the 'how', make up a training plan of exactly how many repetitions of different exercises to improve your side piercing kick you will do so that your practice session is meaningful.
And of course you can ask your instructor for help in setting up a training plan too.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
As with any activity, Taekwon-Do requires a mixture of mental and physical skills.
In this article series, TKD Tools for Success, we explore some of the mental skills that will help you to take your martial art to the next level this year. These skills will help you in Taekwon-Do and in life.
Progress in any endeavour owes much to your mindset: the beliefs and attitudes which drive your thoughts and actions.
Your mindset has a big impact on how you train, how much effort you put in, and how much you improve.
Compare these statements:
Do you believe your physical ability is fixed and there is nothing you can do to change your natural ability? ... or do you believe that your natural ability can grow as you learn?
Would you rather 'look good' at Taekwon-Do? ... or 'get better' at Taekwon-Do?
Do you give up if you don't get something the first time? ... or do you keep trying and get better over time?
Are you afraid of making a mistake and 'looking stupid' in class? ... or do you see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and get better?
Would you rather stick with what you know so you 'look good'? ... or do you love a challenge, even if it means you don't get everything right?
Do you feel threatened when your classmates succeed? ... or do you feel inspired by their success?
Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential would consider the orange text to be a 'fixed' mindset and the blue text a 'growth' mindset.
Which of the two mindsets do mostly identify with now?
And which one do you think will help you improve in Taekwon-Do the most?
The good news is that you can CHANGE your mindset with practice. You can catch the thoughts that limit your potential and exchange them for thoughts that will help you to grow and exceed your limits. It will take time, but your new mindset will gradually replace the old one.
And of course you can apply this to anything as well as to Taekwon-Do!
Bibliography & Further Reading
Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, Carol Dweck, 2012
Warrior Taekwon-Do instructor and member Miss Roisin Giles will be defending her 1st dan individual patterns title at the upcoming ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships. We asked her some questions to find out more about the event, how she was selected and is preparing, and what advice she has for students interested in competing at a higher level in the future.
What is the World Championships and when and where is it being held?
The ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships is the most prestigious ITF Taekwon-Do competition in the world. It's held biannually, with the best athletes from each country around the world coming together to compete in various events such as sparring, patterns, specialty, power, pre-arranged sparring, and team events. The next World Championships is May 26th-31st this year, in Venice, Italy.
How do you get to be in the New Zealand World Championships team?
To make the World Champs team you must first trial to get one of two spots per division. 'Trialing' involves attending multiple training camps and training sessions across several months, before attending a final trial date where the selection committee chooses two athletes per division, from multiple talented candidates. I have been selected to represent New Zealand in individual 1st dan patterns, team patterns, and team power breaking.
You've been to a World Champs before - how does that change how you feel about this one?
It's definitely useful to have previous World Champs experience. This time around I know more accurately what to expect, so I can better mentally prepare myself. However, every World Champs is different, and you need to be prepared for anything and everything. Having performed well at the last World Champs I definitely feel more pressure this time round, but I like to remind myself I'm going to a completely new competition, where nothing is certain and anything is possible. I'm excited for a new experience, and to achieve new, independent goals. While my experience definitely helps, I'm still just as nervous!
How have you been preparing for the event?
I train twice a week with the New Zealand team and twice a week with our club. On top of that I do my own individual training each day, to work specifically on my events and weaknesses. Last week I traveled down to Wellington to train with one of my old coaches, and I plan on heading back to see him in April to work on some specific areas.
What are you most looking forward to?
The atmosphere of World Champs is amazing. There is so much going on that it can be a little overwhelming, but also breathtaking and an unforgettable experience. I'm most looking forward not only to the feelings I'll get from my own achievements, but also to succeed with my team, and to see members in my NZ team who have been working so hard achieve their goals. It's honestly an amazing thing to have your emotions and joy magnified so much by your team around you, who you've trained with for so long and have shared in all your successes and struggles.
What are you least looking forward to?
The craziness of the venue, the long days, and of course the nerves are always tough, but they're definitely out weighed by the benefits. Most difficult is whenever something doesn't go someones way; it is always tough to see your teammates not succeed, so hopefully everyone wins gold! :)
What advice would you give Taekwon-Do students interested in competing at a higher level?
Just start wherever you are now - start entering the local tournaments, and work your way up to Regionals and Nationals. Look into the different competition events to see which ones you're most interested in, and talk to your coaches about specific training in those areas. Once you're training and competing, keep a diary of your progress, so you can track it long term. Most importantly, set goals for yourself, that you want to achieve in your training in 6 months, or at your next competition, or when you're a black belt, and create a plan to get there.
Anyone can compete at a high level as long as they have discipline and the drive to work hard and self improve. Start putting the good habits and hard work into practice now, and you're be unstoppable by the time you're a blue belt, then you can go to the World Cup!
[Ed. Note: The ITF World Cup is an open international event for blue belts and above held on alternate years to the World Championships. The ITF World Championships is for black belts only and there are limited spots on the team].
What expenses are involved to get to the World Championships?
As we're a non funded sport in New Zealand, each athlete pays their own way. To get to the competition in Italy involves paying for 8 training camps, training gear and uniforms, flights, accommodation, entry fees, and training fees, totaling around $7000.
Tell us more about your upcoming fundraisers.
I like running fundraisers where I get to do something with my friends, family and community, where everyone benefits and has a great time!
First up we have a movie night fundraiser hosted at Warrior Training Zone coming up on Friday the 27th of March, starting 6:30pm playing Frozen then 21 Jump Street. This is to fundraise for myself and Miss Jacky Geurts, who is also on the New Zealand team. There will be movies, beanbags, lollies, popcorn, face painting and laughter! Presale tickets are $10 each and include free popcorn. This open to anyone to come along to (you don't have to be a Warrior Taekwon-Do member or even involved in Taekwon-Do)! You can book your tickets here: http://moviefundraiser.weebly.com/
I'm also organising a fun competition for all Warrior Taekwon-Do members, from peewees to adults, to gain experience in sparring, patterns, specialty, and power, in a fun and friendly environment. The competition is on Sunday 12th of April from 8:30am, and the entry fee is $20. Entry is either by filling out the online entry form or in class.
We sometimes have people ask:
“I was so nervous when I first started Taekwon-Do! I’d never been into sports, had become very unfit sitting 8 hours a day in an office and didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up. But everyone was so friendly and my fitness level gradually lifted. I had such a sense of achievement every time I gained a new skill and made lots of new friends. I love the personal challenge, the fitness benefits, the strong moral culture and the sense of community."
We are running a three-week beginner’s course for adults, where you’ll learn all the basics and have an awesome time training with two of the most highly respected instructors in New Zealand. Spaces are limited, so if you want to give Taekwon-Do a try with no strings attached make sure you apply today.
Are you wondering whether you're fit enough, flexible enough or co-ordinated enough to begin training? The good news is that there is no expectation to be any of those things when you first start - everyone starts from where they are at and you'll notice your overall fitness improving as you train. We have beginners starting all the time and our friendly instructors and great community are very welcoming and happy to help you. Every single member of our club knows what it’s like to be a brand new beginner as they have all been there when they first started too!
TWO: Training Options for the Whole Family
Warrior Taekwon-Do has lots of classes available for all ages from 3+ and we have lots of families who train together! We even have a popular class on Saturdays especially for parents training with their children. Many of our families have remarked that it is great to be able to do an activity together as a family.
THREE: Lots of Training Times and Days Available
Our Ellerslie-based full time training facility has regular classes Monday-Thursday and special classes and training options Friday-Sunday. Come and experience training in our fully matted, fully equipped professional dojang! We also have satellite clubs at Three Kings for kids in the area, and at Diocesan School for Girls in Epsom for students of the school.
FOUR: No Special Equipment Required
All you need to bring to training is a bottle of water! Beginners are not required to own a dobok (training uniform) – you are welcome to train in casual training clothes. There is the option to purchase a uniform if you wish, however they are not compulsory unless attending an official Taekwon-Do event (such as a grading).
FIVE: Trial First for Free
You're very welcome to attend a free trial session with no obligation first to see if it's for you. Simply fill in a form requesting a free trial, give us a call or pop into our centre at 198 Marua Rd during opening hours to talk with our Centre Manager.
It's that easy! Ready to give it a go?
Diocesan old girl Kavita Jaduram recently became a double gold medallist at the ITF Oceania Taekwon-Do Championships hosted by the Cook Islands in July. Competing against a field of athletes from New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands, Miss Jaduram won gold medals in 1st degree black belt patterns (traditional forms) and 1st degree black belt special technique (spectacular high flying kicks), and a silver medal in team patterns.
Miss Jaduram is also the instructor of the growing Diocesan school-based Taekwon-Do club, Warrior Taekwon-Do – Dio, which meets on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons at Diocesan school.
"Camp Awesome" - An Interview With Mrs Sonya Robinson About The Upcoming Auckland North Regional Kids Camp
How are you involved in the camp?
I’m organising it this year, with assistance from Mrs Shirley Pygott. The Auckland North Regional Kids Camp is in its 5th year and I have been heavily involved in several of those camps (having instigated the camp as Auckland North Regional Director in 2009).
Where and when is the camp being held?
It’s being held at Mangawhai Heads at the Campbell Park Christian Camp from 10-12 October. The camp has really great facilities – each cabin even has its own bathroom! We’ll be able to have fun and train in any weather as it's lovely outside, but there is also a hall and a lounge if the weather turns in.
What can kids expect?
The camp has a really awesome atmosphere with cabins working together as teams and lots of cool prizes throughout the camp. There will be lots of games and fun and four VERY special guest instructors who are experts in their fields and are sure to inspire the kids in their training. Much more than that I can’t say as there are some awesome surprises planned that we don’t want to spoil!!
What’s the food going to be like?
There will be a LOT of food – the camp is really well catered and we make sure everyone is well nourished and hydrated all through the day. We’re also able to cater for any special dietary requirements (which you need to put on your application form).
What have some of the highlights been from previous years?
The concert on the Saturday night is always amazing – it’s incredible what some of the kids come up with! It’s also just awesome seeing the kids getting to meet other kids from the region, making new friends and having a great time together.
Who can come to the camp?
This camp is so much fun for kids aged 5-14 years of age. Under 8’s need to come with a parent or guardian. There is also a “day stay” option on the Saturday which suits some younger kids, whose parents can come in and drop them off in the morning and collect them later in the day.
Why should kids register for the camp?
They will just have so much fun! They will learn a lot about Taekwon-Do, get inspired, learn a lot about themselves and have a fun time at the same time. They get to meet so many great people and experience instruction from some really respected Taekwon-Do practitioners while having an absolute ball. I’m involved again this year because it’s just so good and I always have heaps of fun myself!
Keen to register for the camp? Spaces are limited and the camp almost always sells out! Make sure you get your application form and payment in to the organisers by Friday 26 September (sooner if you want to secure your spot). All the details you need are on the form below.