Tournament JittersI started karate when I was seven years old and went to my first tournament a year later. I was really nervous because I didn't want to hurt anyone or get hurt myself. But after encouragement from my mum and my friends I pulled through and got 4th place in sparring.
by David Phillips-Jones
Achieving 4th place at that first tournament gave me a bit of confidence in my ability but I was still nervous about getting hurt. Shortly after that the club I was attending started to sell protective equipment. Once I had my arm pads and mouth guard my confidence increased and my fear of getting hurt decreased. I found I could focus on my technique instead of thinking about getting hurt.
As I have moved up in rank I have grown more comfortable with sparring. I now block and counter without even thinking about it. Practice, proper equipment and confidence in my ability have helped me overcome my nervousness, and to enjoy the art of karate.
Davids article was well done and these kind of fears are all part of our learning process. Even now I still get these types of fears. In fact I don't think that any of us are immune to them. I think that the main thing to remember is that through constant practice and effort these fears can be reduced and then they can be more easily dealt with.
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