Why competition and challenges are important, and putting them in the right context



We’ve talked in depth about how adventure can encourage our students to explore, learn about life and develop. we’ve looked into the comfort zone and how fear is a process we can overcome. In this Chapter we will look into how Competition has become somewhat of a taboo word in society but how vital it really is to the development of a Black Belt Character in young people, we will look at how Success and Failure all form important learning experiences for young people.


In today’s world competition is often discouraged in schools, I believe this is because it is taken out of context and Failure is therefore seen as a damaging component of the learning environment. I suggest the opposite is in fact true.


I believe that students who learn to compete in a healthy, positive way are more likely to contribute to community as they will have developed important skills in leadership and will be far more likely to support their peers or teammates, helping them through difficult times.


Adult life is pretty tough, do you agree?

It’s packed full of ups and downs, stress, disappointment, joy, elation and hard work. Taking competition out of the syllabus for young people deprives them of fantastic life lessons. Because of the diversity of adult life; learning what it’s like to succeed and what it’s like to fail are both equally important. Learning what can go right or wrong and arming students with the tools to overcome adversity will help them in their adult years.


It’s certainly true that for many students competing in sport or academically is not a motivation and the thought of competing against their peers can completely demotivate them and put them off a subject or a class.


I believe that with careful management of “competition” this can be overcome.


A successful programme that grows a young person and develops their character will cater for their unique needs. On one hand a professional Character building programme will cater for the student who wishes to pursue elite level competition which requires them to compete against their peers and others in the community, nationally or even internationally.


On the other hand, such a programme should provide a structure for developing a competitive spirit in students who want to avoid competing against peers. This can be achieved through competing with oneself, ie: personal bests, individual goals where a student is developing themselves to improve against a previous version of themselves.


So, in short a professional Character Development Programme should cater for those wishing to compete with their peers to be at the top of the game, while also providing the tools for personal development, to compete with oneself to achieve personal goals. Eradicating the concept of competition, purely to avoid disappointment is damaging.


Martial Arts focuses on the individual. It’s a powerful tool for personal development. Within Martial Arts a student can set and achieve competitive goals to better themselves without the influence of peers, while being supported by a Community and nurturing the feeling of being “part of a team”.

It’s a powerful and unique concept, something I have found rarely exists, or is certainly hard to find outside of martial arts communities.


Discovering your child’s motivation, Your Why, Your Drive


To truly overcome challenges and help guide students in developing a strong mindset, we must discover their motivation. An important tool for discovering your child’s motivation is to talk with them and improve the channels for communication.


I think a lot of teachers and parents find discovering their students or child’s motivation difficult, not due to a generation gap but a communication gap.


First ask what your student/child likes about a sport/club/class. Try to discover how they feel when they are participating in each aspect of the sport or class. How do they feel when each aspect goes well?


The answers will be so different for each person. As you discover the self motivating factors, looking at the answers do you find a pattern? Is there a clear reason? Often, a strong motivating factor is appreciation or recognition.  Keeping these in mind, ask how they feel when things go wrong and try to discover the best way to overcome these negative feelings.


As a coach or mentor it’s so important to understand the root of the students motivation or drive, their Why. With this information it’s far easier to motivate and help them through difficult, challenging times.


In our next blog we are going to talk about how we at The Warrior Academy run our competitions to be a powerful tool to develop community and confidence!




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We have developed a world-class character development programme and pride ourselves on our ability to bring communities together through martial arts. We exist to inspire young people to seek challenge and adventure, teaching them that they can make a global impact and lead a positive change in the world.
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