This past Sunday, three Metamora Martial Artists competed in Rockford at the North American Grand Nationals.
Zoe Durand competed in forms. Faith Robertson competed in forms and sparring. I competed in forms, as well. None of us placed in those divisions.
I did, however, place 2nd in weapons as a result of performing Soken Bo San.
This tournament was tough. On the trip home, I thought about why, and I came up with three reasons. One, this tournament featured creative forms mixed in with traditional forms. Two, many divisions contained anywhere from 6-12 people, so in order to place, the competitors really had to work. And three, the competitors were polished in each division.
I knew placing wasn’t going to be easy for any of us. So instead of focusing on “winning vs. losing,” like I’ve heard so many teachers and parents do at these events (I overhead one parent/instructor tell his son/student to get out there and compete, but in a phrasing not suitable for this blog), I had the students focus on making it a learning experience. I wanted them to see how focused their competitors performed, with various levels of intention, and how to pick out grace, power and speed.
Master Ben Pedrick, who promoted the event, did a great job of keeping everyone going that day. He buzzed around throughout the venue, and was usually nearby when judges needed a confirmation or when some other issue came up. He and his school, Star Martial Arts Studios, deserve a big hand for running an expedient and fair event.
Winning and losing does not matter to me. What matters is that our group learned some valuable lessons about competition. And in that sense, we all won.