My instructor was lecturing me about the importance of our Taekwondo sparring drills. I enjoyed the drills just as much as everyone else in the dojo, but I was not sure where my instructor was going with this particular lecture. Her large, attentive eyes made contact with mine as they always do. She was just a little shorter than me (and I’m short), but she was an experienced black belt with a lot of skill in Taekwondo. I always enjoyed listening to her lectures, especially when she was speaking to only me.
She continued to tell me about her first competition and how she felt a little anxious about how the competition would go. She was nervous because she was not sure about what exactly went on during the competitions, but was soon taught that we can never be sure about what would take place and where it would take place.
On the street, in a hallway, in a parking garage – it could be anywhere by anyone – should we get attacked. We should think of our competitions as just that. It is entering the unknown, and we should use that fear to focus our abilities on training with our Taekwondo sparring drills.
I began to understand what she was talking to me about when she mentioned the word technique. In any martial arts, technique is vital to learning the martial art, as well as winning more competitions. “We learn technique through practice, starting slow and eventually being able to memorize those movements with our bodies.
True technique comes with practice and routine,” she continued. I remember just starting out in Taekwondo and getting each movement just so in a slow manner.
Eventually, I was able to do any beginner’s move and combination with just the word of my instructor. I saw where she was heading with this particular lecture. I knew I needed to train hard for this first competition of mine. Practicing our sparring drills was a great way to do so.
My instructor had a great way of creating plans for each individual student to follow through for practice for any competition. She gave me mine, and my drill partner – a large man with a black belt proudly tied to his waist. I thought she had mistaken who my drilling partner should be because this man was very experienced and much larger than I. However, drilling with an experienced partner would be good for me. I could learn a lot from him, and sparring with him would be the best way to get ready for my competition. My sparring strategies were to be practicing again what I had learned since I began, but this time I would be sparring, not just practicing alone or with pads.
My favorite sparring drills were working on powering my kicks, and working on my speed. These techniques are vital in Taekwondo. You must have power and speed to succeed. My instructor had also given me a few combinations to practice regularly with my sparring partner and alone. I had to memorize these combinations in order to bring them to the competition with me. Throughout the next few weeks, I worked on power, speed, timing, combinations, fake-outs, and maintaining my energy. Without my instructor and assigned sparring partner, I could not have won my very first competition.
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