Part 4-“Let’s Build Something Together!”
Attitude First Martial Arts Academy is the Valley’s leader in developing Strong, Confident and Healthy Youth. That goes regardless of age! Located in Northern Phoenix, AFMAA offers incredible training opportunities in American Kenpo and practical Self Defense. More importantly, members have a great resource to help them improve in all facets of their lives.
It has been frustrating the past couple of years to get a team going. We have been requested by several members to compete and we have attempted to form a competitive team but the enthusiasm seems to fizzle. Last February we ran an inter-school invitational tournament and invited some of the other local Martial Arts schools to attend. It was really encouraging to see a mat filled with 20 – 30 members all preparing for the event. Then after the event no one seemed to come.
There has been a recognition of “which came first the chicken or the egg” syndrome. Why train if we aren’t going to a tournament and for me, why go to a tournament if we haven’t trained? Without a doubt the experience of competing in invaluable and goes a long ways to preparing for the next. However, I can’t in good conscience send participants out there without the belief that they are ready to give their best.
Here’s part of the reason. I was a 15 year old orange belt for my first tournament. I drove by myself to Albuquerque, NM. Which I had never done. Found my way to the high school in a town I had absolutely no idea where to go (again this was way before GPS when we had to read maps. Yes, there were dinosaurs still roaming…) I got there, threw my uniform on and ran out to the ring. I didn’t have any equipment except groin protection and luckily a mouthpiece. When the head judge called me up, I walked into the ring with no etiquette, nothing. The head ref asked someone to loan me some equipment (punchers only, kickers weren’t yet required- but some were worn by others). I kind of freaked out as we didn’t wear these in my school. Just boxing gloves. Also, in class we weren’t allowed to make contact so you can imagine my surprise when I threw my first attack and was nailed by the other guy and he was awarded the point and I was clearly first- plus he made contact. I lashed out again pulling my shot and again got nailed-you guessed it, again he got the point.
I looked to the judge totally confused. The other participants were having a great laugh at my expense. Obviously, I was totally out of my element and unprepared. Needless to say, I left as soon as the event was over a little embarrassed and didn’t take the advantage to watch and learn. However, I knew I was going to return and the next time there was going to be a much different result.
I have had the luck to have much better experiences and the opportunity to learn from some great trainers. If there is one thing I believe- preparation is a fundamental absolute!!! However a team is not a team of one. I can’t make a team by myself, nor do I want to. I have had my experiences and now I feel it is important for our members (as well as our school) have new experiences to build with!
So to coin the slogan… “Let’s build something together!” I can’t do this alone. We have some very talented members that need to step up and be a part of the team.
We have set the following times aside to strictly work on the competitive aspect of our training:
Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
However, we are open to other times to train! Anytime the mat is open and on weekends!