The Ten Rules of Form
Most competitors’ performances in martial arts tournaments are less than perfect. Part of the problem springs from inconsistencies in judging. At an open tournament, you might have five judges from five different martial arts disciplines. Even in closed tournaments, you’ll find a mixture of what judges look for in a form. Martial arts
Poor performance is often a lack of preparation and practice; but it can also result from not understanding the universal criteria that judges utilize in reviewing a competition form. This isn’t the student’s fault, usually. More often, it’s a misinterpretation of what is an excellent or even a passable form. Martial arts
The International Council on Martial Arts Education in the Official Forms of the World Tae Kwon Do Federation has published the Ten Rules of performing a competition form. Although they were published for Tae Kwon Do practitioners, these rules apply to all forms in all styles of martial arts.
Study and adapt these rules to your style and you’ll reach a higher level of performance in competition, and during class and home practice. Martial arts
1. You must memorize, memorize, memorize! (Practice your form at least a thousand times.) Martial arts
2. You must present a calm and courageous expression upon assuming the ready or attention stance. Martial arts
3. You must, when practicing, start slow, and then increase your speed until you reach the target speed. (Don’t perform too fast or too slow.) Martial arts
4. You must demonstrate spirit by yelling loudly when appropriate, and perform each movement energetically. Martial arts
5. You must focus your eyes on the imaginary target (not at your feet or hands or your mother in the audience). Martial arts
6. You must not turn without first looking where you are going.
7. You must maintain poise, balance, a good posture and level movement. Martial arts
8. You must relax between strikes, tensing only at the point of impact.
9. You must practice forms in different directions and at the prescribed rate of speed. Martial arts
10. You must return to ready stance calmly and peacefully.
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