The Art Of Recognition: Be Your Own Style to Stand Out!

As the current (2021) NASKA tournament season slows down and comes to a close, it's the perfect time to evaluate yourself as a performer. The time between now, and the first tournament in January 2022 is a crucial period that any serious sport karate competitor will use to study the highs and lows of their competition year (even if it was shorter this year). This is a time to set new goals, and to make new material for multiple performances next season.

As competitors train and put their new forms together, a common mistake made is to copy the trend of what is winning. I mean, in theory it makes sense; if something is working, why change it? Unfortunately, this is a common trap that competitors tend to fall into that doesn't help the sport prosper into its full potential. Don't conform to the norm! Instead, try to come up with original ideas that you have fun training. If you have fun when you are doing certain movements then when you perform you will also look like you are enjoying it. When a competitor is enjoying what they are doing they are more confident and because they are confident, they look more relaxed. This is crucial, especially for high caliber performances with a lot of difficult moves (and in the case of a weapons routine, difficult releases). The more relaxed you are, the better you will be able to pull off those tricks.

Another reason why competitors should stray away from doing moves that have already been done before is because they'll never be able to develop their own styles and have tricks or moves that they're known for if they're too busy doing moves that already exist. The fastest way to get recognized is to do combinations that haven't been seen before. This means combining different angles of strikes, spins, and switching up unique transitional moves. This also means not having a "cookie cutter" form layout.

As a competitor myself that has been competing since 2004, I have seen a lot of trends come and go. I have seen so many style changes throughout my time in the sport. The one thing I fear the most is that everyone will eventually blend in with one another and there will be no originality. There is a reason the "greats" from years ago are still talked about today. It's because they had performances that were unforgettable. Be unforgettable, and you do that by being original.

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