Before you’re ready. The End.
Okay, I’m still here, but I meant what I said: the best time to start competing in karate is AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
I signed up for my first competition ONE WEEK after I started karate. One week. The competition was 2 months out, and I was terrified. It was my very first time competing in a sport setting; I HATED being the center of attention; and I was a brand spanking new white belt newbie. I had no idea what to expect; I no idea what I was doing; and I would have much rather avoided the whole thing entirely.
I knew I had to do it.
I knew I had to face it.
The fact that I was that scared, THAT is exactly why I HAD to sign up.
I had to face my fear. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. I had to do this.
I also realized something important: as a white belt, expectations are extremely low. No one expects you to win. No one will be surprised if you fail. No one will judge you for it. So really, the beginning of your karate journey is the best time to start competing.
If you wait until you are a higher rank to compete, when do you start? The next rank up? Or the next? Or the next? Do you wait until you’ve achieved your 10th degree black belt in karate before stepping into a competition ring for the very first time?
The higher your rank when you first start competing, the better people expect you to be. And certainly, you could go into your first competition as a black belt and kick ass, but you could also fail miserably. The culture at a tournament is likely going to be very different from the culture at your dojo. You will have so many elements to get used to: the rules, the judges, opponents you have never met before, an audience of strangers, etc etc. Navigating all of that alone is going to feel overwhelming, nevermind performing your best for the very first time ever.
No, it’s MUCH better to start competing early on in your karate journey. When you have no idea what you’re doing, but are willing to learn. When you have no experience, but are eager to gain some. When no one expects you to succeed, but you are willing to get out there and show them what you’re capable of.
Maybe you WILL fail, but that’s okay, because you will learn SO much in the process.
But maybe you will kick ass and surprise everyone around you… including yourself.
Sign up for your first karate tournament at the FIRST opportunity. BEFORE you are ready. BEFORE you chicken out. Sign up RIGHT NOW. Today.
…Go on…. I’m waiting….
Check out some of my articles on performance and competition: