Distance and Timing
This is another essential part of your competition training. In the club work on your distance and timing by keeping just out of reach of your opponent, then attacking and counter-attacking at opportune moments. Learn to read your opponents quickly, if your opponent seems to be a leggy kicker fight inside, if he/she seems slow fight outside etc. Try out strategies within your school, then employ them at tournaments ensuring you note their success rates for future events. Every fighter has a weakness; you just have to figure it out!
On the day of competition you should have confidence in yourself and your techniques. Tell yourself how hard you've trained, that you’re well prepared for all eventualities and that it will be no problem. Remember if you don't know your opponents then the old saying 'when ignorance is mutual, confidence is king' comes into play. When you step into the ring keep telling yourself that it’s going to be easy, that you’re fit, prepared and that beating this opponent will be no problem. Never let yourself look under confident as this will boost your opponent’s confidence.
The psyche-out of your opponents could play a major roll in winning or losing. People psyche people out in different ways; it’s not always about starring your opponent down just prior to the fight. Ask different club mates how they do it. Different types of people can be psyched out in different ways, some can't at all. Don't bother trying to stare them out unless you’re positive it won't psyche you out and have the reverse effect. Never let them ruffle you or wind you up as this could be part of their psyche on you. There’s so many different ways it would take this whole article to list them all, but one way is to limit what you show before you fight and simply show a few of your fastest and strongest techniques, perhaps a rock solid turning kick at a focus pad for example, do this full power and full speed, just for the show! Don’t worry about practising your poorer techniques, after all, if they arnt that good by now, a few more kicks before an event won’t change much and will show a weakness to your opponent.
Do What You Know
Forget that triple jumping spinning kick that you've been working on. Leave the flash techniques until you are positive you are miles ahead. Stick to basic kicks and they will come out fast and natural. Always try to score, as too many fakes and dummy kicks waste precious energy.
Attack or Defence
Counter-attacking is a lot harder than people realise. Its better in most cases to attack as continuously as possible. If you’re the one attacking, your opponent will find it very hard to get their attacks in. If your feeling tired don't just run around the ring trying to avoid contact, but rather attack in short, fast spurts, blitzing your opponent with four or five techniques then moving out of range.
Though I still compete these days, I do so more for the fun of it than in any serious way. For the majority, the sport side is not the be all and end all of training in Taekwon-do, so don’t get disheartened if all doesn’t go well as I know of students that never won a thing as a coloured belt, then, following their black belt they excelled. Some students are driven by the crowds and adrenaline at tournaments, this makes them perform better than usual, for others it the opposite and a competition should be used to build on that internal strength, it not always about winning and losing.
Top Tips for Successful Competition
by Stuart Anslow