Competition never gets old.  That’s the whole point isn’t it?  It’s about testing your skill and the point is to constantly reintroduce yourself to an entirely new set of challenges, even though they seem to be in the same type of setting.

I have to say that my first time competing was probably my most distracting experience. I didn’t realize there was dress code.  I am not a fan of dress codes or being told how to dress. I am just me and I like to be comfortable and if I am competing, the last thing I want to be concerned with is how I look.  Then there was the fact that I have my dad, who is my dad.  He is just dad to me, but people in martial arts see my dad a little differently, although he is dad to all of our martial arts family, it’s different for me than them, because I fart around my dad and he farts around me and we talk about the magnificence of bodily functions, the way you can only do with the people who are your blood family, because they are stuck with you of life, they made you, they can’t get rid of you.

Aside from being inappropriately attired (in a sloppy way, not slutty way) and having to wear my father’s outfit there was this incredibly strange distraction of people looking at me as though I was a circus act and it was uncomfortable.  I was just a kid about to compete in my first martial arts experience and it became weird experience of feeling more like an exhibit, than a competitor, but on the other hand, you are performing, so I had to just get over it.  Besides, I’m a female and raised in NYC, people are always looking at you for one reason or another.

Then the attention turned to dad, but I do remember dad being so happy and proud and I hadn’t even won anything.  It was the first time in my life where I ever heard my father bragging, so much so I had to pull mom aside and tell him that I didn’t like him telling everyone I was competing, because people ask really stupid questions like…

“Are you nervous?”

“You do know who your father is, does that make you nervous?”

“Wow, it’s so incredible that you are competing, do you feel pressure cause of who your dad is?”

“You’re so pretty, how is it that you’re competing in Martial Arts”

“Wow, are you gonna make your father proud?”

I was 16 and these are some of the many stupid questions I was asked.  As a kid I was always taught to be respectful and as an adult I’ve learned that people are just so stupid sometimes.

I have this a Tabula Rasa approach to competition, life and people where my approach is always from the Blankest of Slates and then people scribbled all over that slate with all kinds of weirdness.

Why would anyone approach a 16 year old kid with questions like these? Keep it short.  Keep it positive.  Or just leave me alone.  This goes for all of you who want to ask competitors silly ass questions before they compete.  When you feel your mind getting inquisitive, just shut up and be helpful by allowing the competition to focus.  Be helpful, but not distraction.  Stay in the background and work on your skills of empathy, where you sit quietly so you can sense what the competitor needs and silently approach them with a bottle of water or a towel or some healthy snacks.  DO NOT offer snacks when a person is in between bouts or just about to go up.

We have a couple guys competing tomorrow in Queens.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a Martial Arts Tournament and I just had all these memories flooding back to me and just thinking about how I can help my boys stay calm and focused, so if any of you come up to them tomorrow with silly things to say, I’m gonna be in Momma Chen mode and will be keeping watch.

On that note, Good Luck tomorrow.  Leave my boys alone, until after they have competed.

xoxo, tiff

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