Everyone knows when it is tournament time for our studios. The practice rings are set up in every studio, inviting everyone to be brave enough to step in the ring. Students start standing up in front of the class to demonstrate their skills while *gulp* everyone else is watching, waiting to applaud. A sense of team spirit surfaces as the demo team polishes its routine and each school rallies to be the one that brings home the tournament cup. A lot of preparation goes into this competition that, frankly, doesn’t matter.
It seems odd that while discussing a tournament that one might be inclined to indicate that competitions don’t matter — but hear us out!
Upon reflection, we must accept that the outcome of most of the competitions that we have entered into in our lives — be they 2nd-grade little league games, middle school science fairs, or high school track meets — has had no impact on our lives. How would your life be different if you had won/lost that little league game, science fair, or track meet? In all likelihood, it would not be any different at all.
We can hear some of you arguing already — “winning that game was a pivotal moment in my life,” or “my dream to work as an engineer started with that science fair….”
Let’s get down to the brass tacks. The life-directing experiences that come about from competitions lie not in the moment of victory or defeat, but in how you handled the months of preparation that led to that moment. Without those training grounds, we would be less than we are. You are stronger, faster, more able to take on life’s challenges by preparing to enter into the ring, not by winning or losing the game that happens there. The punchline is that the competitions themselves don’t matter.
Did you train with consistency? Did you reflect on how to improve your approach? Did you build strength and adaptability? Did you recover from your failures? Did you follow through until the key moment?
You see, it is through the process of preparing for competitions that don’t matter that we become ready to face the challenges that do matter. When Renshi Holly was in high school, she was on the swim team. Her record — whether it was good or bad — is lost in the mists of antiquity. However, a few years ago, before all of our sons knew how to swim, one of them fell in the deep end of the pool. With footwork born of countless sparring matches and a dive trained on that long forgotten swim team, she raced to save his life. That was a
This character-building is why we gather twice a year to participate in a tournament and why you should start training now for the next one. The tournament won’t matter, but how you prepare for it will.