What is a Tournament Experience?

As we look forward to this week’s Torchlight Tournament, I announced on Friday that my goal is to promote a Tournament Experience. But what does that mean? What are the benefits?

Tournaments set themselves apart from practice because there is an element of competition. Tournament competition is an opportunity to take your months or years of training and put it to the test. Competition tests your physical fitness, your technique, your stamina, your timing, your mental strength, and your determination in ways our regular training doesn’t.

They also create an environment for you to:

  • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
  • Challenge Yourself against Unfamiliar Opponents
  • Overcome Your Fears
  • Build Confidence
  • Build Camaraderie
  • Build Character
  • Get Motivated
  • Give Yourself a Short Term Goal
  • Have Fun!

Wrapped up into a few hours, is an opportunity for you to push yourself, struggle, overcome, succeed, fail, cheer, laugh, motivate, and learn. All in a single event! That’s a Tournament Experience! It’s so much more than just a bracket and a series of duels.

How You Can Have a Tournament Experience

No matter how long you’ve been fencing, you can have a Tournament Experience too. All it takes are three simple things that anyone can do and you will find that a tournament can be a real joy and you can walk away with something memorable.

Those three things are take it seriously, participate fully, and have a goal.

Take It Seriously

Taking a tournament seriously doesn’t mean you have to be Mr. Grumpy Gills. Rather, it means make it mean something to you. If you walk in with an attitude of laissez-faire (whatever happens, happens), then you’ll miss out on all the opportunities a tournament offers you. This is moment for you to push yourself and learn. Treat it like it’s important because it is. A Tournament can help you see how your hard work has paid off and what you might have to work on in the future.

Participate Fully

Throughout a tournament, there are lot of things to do other than just waiting for your turn to fight. If the only thing you do is wait, you’re missing out. Participating in a tournament means immersing yourself in the proceedings. Watch and study your opponents. Talk about each fight or take notes in your fencing journal. Cheer your friends on and encourage those who need it. Put everything you have into participating in the tournament, and you’ll get everything you can out of it.

Have a Goal

Win or lose, you can be successful in the Tournament. All it takes is setting a goal and working towards it. Setting a short-term goal for a tournament shifts your focus towards preparation in advance. As the tournament draws closer, you can focus in on what you need to do to meet your goal. Do you need to train a little more? Get some advice? Study and review what you know about the other fighters? This can put you in the mindset to take the tournament more seriously and participate more fully.

Plus, your goal can widen your perspective from just winning. What do you want to get out of the tournament? What will make you walk away feeling proud? Don’t just go into the tournament with goals that are out of your control. Focus on what YOU can do and work towards that.

A Tournament Experience is a unique experience because it really depends on each and every one of us. If we can come together and work towards having a tournament experience, we can all walk away with the memories of a wonderful and exciting event!