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!