The KUGB National Championships is this Saturday 3rd May at the National Indoor Arena (NIA), Birmingham. Across the Country hundreds of Karateka have been working hard in the Dojo, increasing their training regime to prepare themselves for this competition under the guidance and watchful eyes of their Senseis. With only a few days to go what can you now do to complete your preparations for the Championship?
In recent weeks we have talked in the Dojo about some of the key things you need to do to prepare. At this late stage, points like checking your Licence is up to date, ordering Entry tickets, making sure you have the correct Gi/protective equipment should have all been done.
So, here are some basic things that you could do to help with your performance and the enjoyment of the day.
- At the time of writing there are still two Training Sessions this week for you to attend please use these to continue to practice and improve your Kata and Kumite Techniques.
- The day before the Competition prepare and pack your ‘Competition Bag’. Make sure you have everything you need. Gi (washed & ironed), Over gi or track suit top, protective equipment (gum shields, groin guards, chest guards), Belt, Licence, trainers/martial art shoes (to protect your feet when you are not competing) and towel/toiletries. In addition, and particularly if you have a medical condition, make sure you have your own medical supplies, you may wish to include items like plasters, heat packs, etc.
- Food and Drink for the competition. On Friday (the day before) you need to make sure that you eat good balanced meals throughout the day. Furthermore, you need to have thought and prepared what you need to eat and drink during the competition day. Make educated choices and select foods that will give you plenty of energy. The suggestion is to prepare this the night before and keep what needs to be kept cold, refrigerated to pack just before you leave (leave yourself a note if necessary). If you are planning to add to your food/drink supplies during the day, whilst at the NIA, take some money and enough change for vending machines. When you pack your food and drink make sure that containers do not leak. Then either keep this bag separately from your Gi Bag or ensure it is sealed in plastic bags, etc. Competitors have arrived in the past to find that their Gi is no longer white!
- Plan your journey, know how to get to the venue and leave yourself with plenty of time for traffic etc., planning to arrive at least half an hour before the competition start time. This rule applies whether you are driving from Chelmsford that morning or have traveled the night before – there are examples of both where Competitors have arrived late and missed out on an event!
- The night before the competition make sure that you set the alarm clock and get a good nights sleep. This will help you to perform to your best the next day.
- The morning of the competition make sure you start off with a good breakfast to see you through the day. The timing of different events are often not certain and you should not compete on a full stomach. During the event if you need to eat you should eat only a light snack. Once the eliminations are complete there will be an interval when you can eat but if you are through to the finals you will need to consider the best foods and amount to eat to maximize your performance.
- Once you arrive at the NIA change into your Gi and then check in with Sensei Jane.
Next check your name on the Entry sheets posted on the walls inside the Competition Area and make a mental note of which sheet number you may be on.
- Stretch and Warm up. Briefly, do a light practice and if you get a chance do some Kata and Kumite techniques to help you familiarize yourself with the competition match area. Get a feel for the mats, the grip required, the match area boundaries, etc
- When the Competition formally starts listen carefully for your Category Event and Area number. Arrive at your area with plenty of time, taking everything you will need, and remove trainers/over Gi ready to start.
- Win or lose – excellent etiquette and behaviour are fundamental to Karate. Therefore before, during and after the match you should respect your fellow competitors, opponents and the Referees/Judges. This includes bowing and shaking your opponents hand at the end of the match.
- If you do win report into the Control desk on your area to give your name so it is correctly recorded for the next round. If you lose, stay on your area until all the matches are complete and the Referee closes the event.
- Take time to watch other competitors. This is a National Championships and there are many experienced International competitors competing who you may learn something from –both performance, attitude and etiquette.
Keep hydrated – make sure that you drink fluids during the day. When you go to compete you should take your water bottle with you so if you are thirsty in between rounds you can have a small drink.
- We go as a Club and as a Team to the Nationals so please actively support and encourage your team members.
- Throughout the day please remember you are representing Chelmsford SKC so whether you are competing, watching or in the general area you must behave in a respectful and courteous manner at all times. No running about.
- Finally, to do your best at a competition, to perform well and enjoy the day you need to choose and maintain a positive attitude. This process starts as soon as you put your name down to enter.
- You need to maintain balance and perspective when entering a competition and view this as an opportunity to test your skills against other opponents as part of a longer-term pursuit of excellence.
- Karate develops self-confidence and you need to utilize and maintain this during any difficult challenges.
- Senseis and Coaches will reinforce the need for a strong positive mental attitude as you build up to a competition. Particularly on the day, they will help you to overcome any emotions and focus your concentration on the event you are performing in at that moment in time.
- As an individual and Karateka you need to listen, learn, develop and master a positive mental attitude to compete successfully. This includes “self talk’ – thinking clearly to yourself to regulate your thoughts, emotions and behaviour to maximize your performance.
Photo: KUGB National Championship 2013 - Adult Team Kata Champions - Chelmsford SKC
This list is not exhaustive and there may well be other things you want to include or expand upon to make sure you are prepared.
Over time and with experience you may well develop a checklist of your own to follow as you build up to the Championship. The main point is to prepare both physically and mentally and to have done as many things as possible to allow you on the day to concentrate on producing your best performance.
Good Luck and see you on Saturday