How to Prepare For Large Tournaments
Today we are going to talk about some auxiliary tips that will help you prepare and possibly win combat sports tournaments, and even grappling tournaments as well. I, for one, primarily have kickboxing tournament experience. I may not be the best person to take advice from in the kickboxing world entirely, but I have been very successful in many tournaments. I've won several world and national championships myself.
However, I do not have amateur boxing experience, and I don’t think a lot of what I have to say here today is going to be beneficial for those planning to compete in boxing tournaments; mainly because they do not offer multiple division competitions. However, grappling tournaments like NAGA for example, allow you to compete in gi and no gi divisions. Kickboxing tournaments such as the WKA allow you to compete in multiple styles such as various forms kickboxing, and Muay Thai.
Whether you’re competing in stand up tournaments such as the WKAs, WAKOs, TBAs or grappling tournaments such as NAGA; there is one fundamental rule that generally sums up or solves most, if not all, of the problems I will be talking about in this video. That rule is: register for more than one division at least.
This is the most important rule when it comes to competing. This one rule literally covers everything that is important when it comes to preparing for regional, national and international competitions. I am not saying this for the sake of filling the pockets of promoters and tournament organizers and what not, although it is imperative to support the community with your own money, as well as invest in yourself for your future fighting career if you plan on having an extensive one.
When it comes to competing at the amateur level, the most important thing; other than winning obviously, is experience. In fact, experience is more important than winning itself. There is probably no greater teacher than experience. And competing in tournaments is the fastest way to gain experience. Fights in quantity is not the only form of experience that matters, but it does matter significantly. And the more times that you can step inside of the ring; or for that matter on the mat, the more you will get comfortable with yourself in the long run.
In addition, tournaments usually gather talents from long distances. You would be surprised as to how far a lot of competitors travel to large tournaments. As a matter of fact, if you’re watching this video you might even be one of those competitors that has competed in large tournaments and/or has traveled long distances to compete.
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And if you happen to lose in your division, you also have the opportunity to learn by looking at other fighters and see things that they are doing right to win in their respective divisions. Training with the intent to win multiple fights will also bring more out of you in training camp, as opposed to when you train for just one single belt. There is a chance that you can win a fight if you haven’t been training, and you were asked to replace an opponent at the last minute. But you won’t be able to get through a gauntlet of fighters if you are not in proper shape, even if you have superior skill.
Regardless of who you are or what level that you compete in; in any sport you’re still subjected to bad decisions here and there. And it is literally impossible not to see fighters groups or even entire gyms complain about bad decisions, or even sometimes good decisions at tournaments. But long story short: bogus decisions happen all the time. For example, at kickboxing tournaments, often you’ll have Muay Thai judges scoring the fight and they score much different than how they score Ring Sports in the West for whatever reason, and it doesn’t make much sense. But that often leads to bogus decisions at kickboxing tournaments.
However, if you happen to lose by a bogus decision, or even just lose because you weren’t quite on your game, or if you lose to a superior fighter; if you sign up for multiple divisions you have a good chance of not only getting your money’s worth of experience, but you also have a chance of winning in any different bracket that you aren’t eliminated in.
Competing in multiple divisions is also the most cost-effective way of getting the most out of a tournament. I can’t think of any organizations that don’t offer special packages for competing in multiple divisions. I’ve seen plenty of competitors sign up for one division and only ended up competing once, or even worse: not competing at all, even at large tournaments. I really would not suggest signing up to fight in a tournament when you have a chance of only fighting once.
We have to take in consideration the amount of travel and all the rest of the expenses that come with it, on top of all the waiting that you would have to do when competing in tournaments. You will be much better off competing in your local circuits on a single card, as opposed to only having a single fight in a tournament with no certainty of actually fighting.
Signing up for multiple divisions; especially in large tournaments that last a couple of days like National or World Championships, is the best way to keep focus. Now surely, if you end up having to fight multiple times within a tournament; there is a very high chance that you can get injured and even very worn out, but by competing more often you still have a psychological edge over those that didn’t compete as often as you did. And you’re also riding off of momentum.
As the saying goes: the mind will give out faster than the body. Mental sharpness is an invaluable resource and in the realm of competition, the mind will give out faster than the body. A game fighter that’s injured will always be more dangerous than a fighter that’s fresh and doesn’t want it as badly.
And the best way to train your mind to have that mental fortitude and that mental sharpness is through experience, which is why I suggest trying to compete as much as possible in tournaments by signing up for multiple divisions. Perhaps you don’t win on your first attempt at a tournament, but at the very least you can go back home with some notes on how to improve yourself.
Although this video did not necessarily emphasize certain techniques and training methods on how to prepare yourself for competitions and especially large tournaments; I hope this video is of service to you in a way that will help you both mentally and physically prepare for your upcoming fights. What I’ve said in this video might not directly apply to your specific situation, but from my own personal experience and dealing with other competitors, I was able to find a strong correlation of tips that certain competitors that win tournaments, usually follow.
You can check out the video version of this article and well as other fighter related videos on my YouTube channel – K1ng Kamara. Don’t forget to subscribe!