Tips for tournament forms

Doing forms at your next tournament? Here are some tips to help you earn that top finish.

Practice without mirrors

Guess what? There won’t be any mirrors at your next tournament. That means the normal visual cues you are used to will not be there. In fact, it will be quite the opposite – lots of people, very noisy, and many distractions. Try your form in a room without mirrors. Get used to “flying blind”.

Practice on different surfaces

We have nice, soft mats in our dojans. Tournaments happen everywhere – arenas, stadiums, gyms, churches, and other places. Make sure you can sufficiently perform on a variety of surfaces. This is yet another difference that you should not let distract you from your goal.

Be ready in a short period of time

Depending on the tournament, you may or may not know well in advance about when you can expect to perform. In a lot of cases, you have very little notice before you are called up. So to stay ready, you should make sure you are continually stretching & warming up so that you can run through your form at a moment’s notice.

Get used to distractions

This is an obvious tip – tournaments are loud. Tournaments are chaotic. Often there are many rings active at once, and each ring may have a different competition going – forms, sparring, weapons, and more. When you do your form, focus on what you are doing. Zone everything else out.

Be loud

Along the same lines as the distractions – judges are distracted too. After all, they are people. If you are too soft-spoken in both your address to the judges & with your ki-haps, then you may risk a lower score. BE LOUD! Get noticed.

Practice facing different directions

This is 1 of my favorite drills when running through forms to see if students really know their forms. This drill also will help with tournament training. Each tournament is in a new, different environment. You will not be able to rely on the familiar landmarks & surroundings when doing the form. Get used to zoning that out as well & not relying on it.

If you make a mistake, keep going

This tip is true of open tournaments, which is most tournaments. An open tournament is a tournament open to all styles of martial arts. As a result, not all of your judges may know the form you are doing. This means that if you make a mistake, the judges may not know! So keep going! Act like you meant it.

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