Forms competitions are held on regional, national and international levels. Pretty much anyone can learn martial art forms with the right level of dedication and good instruction. However truly mastering these forms and impressing the judges enough to stand out and win a trophy is an art. Check out the following tips for making sure you come out a winner at the next event! These can basically be broken down into 3 categories:
Of course judging is supposed to be based on technique and execution of your martial art form. But this is not the only factor that can sway the judge’s mind. Still learn your form inside and out. Practice it backwards, forwards and in every direction possible as well as in different locations so that you will be totally comfortable at the competition in new surroundings. Make sure you get your instructors individual attention and guidance of performing each technique to perfection, especially the stances.
Sorry to say it, but as with anything in life your looks will probably influence the judges to some extent even if they shouldn’t be swayed by that. This doesn’t mean you need to look like a Barbie or Ken doll, though looking your best will definitely help. But let’s face it, if you are grossly over weight and look like you haven’t tried to get in shape or have been attending classes regularly it will effect the judges at least subconsciously. Try a little harder to get in good shape coming up to competition time. Also make sure you have a competition style uniform and it is pristine, radiantly clean and pressed with crisp creases.
3. Attitude & Confidence
What you lack in the other categories you can make up for in attitude and confidence. Just like an actor, put yourself in the mindset of a champion martial artist. Deliver your Kihaps with confidence, loudly and fiercely like you want to scare the judge. Execute your techniques with force and intensity like you are battling for your life not just performing a routine. Acting confident can also help you should you make a mistake in your form sequence. Do not apologize or look lost, continue on the best you can with confidence and who knows maybe your judge will overlook it.
How to Master Martial Art Forms
Many martial art students practice forms as part of training. The perfection of forms is a requirement for moving up and graduating to the next rank and belt. Some martial art students may find this irritating, especially those whose passion is sparring and they do not see the sense in practicing a sequence of moves that they would never use in real combat in either the ring or the street.
However practicing forms is a great form of exercise. Practicing form patterns for an hour properly with the right intensity is a full body work out, building muscle and providing conditioning. It will also develop muscle memory so that in the heat of battle the body is able to instinctively react and complete combinations of moves without the need to pause and think. So if you are going to do it, you might as well be the best, if you wish to compete you will also need to have your forms down perfectly.
Form Training Tips:
1. Break it down – Start by learning your form in sets of 5-10 moves per session, building a solid foundation to expand on.
2. Learn By Numbers – Learn every moves number in the pattern, this prevents you from getting lost or confused. Learn them backwards too.
3. Change Direction – It is useless to master your form in your dojo only facing one way, then be totally thrown off when going to compete. Practice your form at ever angle of your dojo and home so that surroundings don’t matter.
4. Blindfolded – In true martial arts fashion, practice your form blindfolded and ensure that you land back on your starting point without being able to see.
5. Reverse – Can you do it in reverse?
Power and Presence Necessary for Traditional Forms Competitors
Competition Form: Chon-ji
Traditional forms competitors don’t flip around doing Hollywood action movie type moves, so they need to show the judges they do have power and presence in the ring. A traditional competitor needs to take full advantage of their techniques, focus and intensity. This power and presence must be shown within the first moments after their name is announced and they enter the ring. The competitor should methodically make their approach to present themselves to the judges. By creating this presence the competitor will impress on the judge from the beginning that they are someone to watch.
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