We emphasize the importance of practicing in a way that may not always lead to perfection but more specifically lead to fluency in application. We want the kids to practice to the point where techniques become muscle memory and the mind & body are totally in sync. This includes sparring both in school and in tournaments. The following is a mat chat we shared with our kids to help them with the scariness of sparring and the importance of practicing.
“Imagine learning gymnastics and being up on a high beam or swinging around on the bar. Or even learning to dive into a pool…scary! Learning to ride a bike…scary. Learn to drive a car…all scary! But how do you get good at those things? You need to practice…right?! You can still get hurt practicing those things…right?! But if you are prepared and focused, you get better and better and better every single time.
Self-defense…or sparring…is exactly the same thing. We don’t WANT You to NEED to defend yourself. But the only way you practice…the only way you get your muscles to remember what to do…is to practice.
We will encourage you and prepare you for the match. Tournaments are the one way to practice defending yourself…on a mat, with judges, covered in pads. Where you can practice and apply what we teach against a stranger. Yes, you learn to spar here but eventually, you are going to predict what your classmates are going to do. So yes…the best way to prepare yourself is to practice in a controlled environment, where the judge can stop the match, reset…and practice again. THAT is why we want you to do tournaments. So we can practice and practice SO MUCH that your body and mind can fluently react swiftly and accurately.”