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  • Writer's pictureGrace Dabir

Opinion: Starting Competitions At A Young Age

I've been doing martial arts since I was 4 years old, and competing since I was 8. Needless to say, i've been in this world for a while. Some people may think competition fosters an unhealthy environment, and toxicity. While that may be some people's experience, it has been the opposite for me. Competing has been one of the most positive aspects in my life. It has taught me so much about people, respect, and dignity. Competing only becomes toxic when you stop loving what you're doing. In my years doing competitions, i've had my fair share of wins and losses. One of the main things that you learn when competing is how to win graciously, but also how to lose graciously. Being humble is one of the most important qualities I think an athlete can have. Humility not only important for social development, but it's an important aspect of personal development as well. For example, when you win, it's important not to gloat, or not to brag to your other competitors. Not only will people not really like you- but you'll come across as rude, or obnoxious. It's okay to be happy, but don't rub it into other people's faces - especially if you just beat them. That's not very nice. Its also important to remain humble in loss as well. Nobody likes a sore loser. Nobody likes to see anyone throw a temper tantrum if they lose. If you lose, it's about picking yourself up, and trying harder the next time. Other athletes will probably agree with me when I say that even if you win 99 times, you'll only really think about the 1 time that you lost. Competing at a young age taught me how to deal with losing, as well as how to deal with victory. It also gave me a sense of discipline from a young age such as waking up early to practice, taking care of my body, and knowing how to balance my academic, and taekwondo life. Competing also brings together a sense of community. Being with people that understand, and appreciate your sport, your talent, and hard work is incredibly rewarding. Competing is also fun! It not only tells you what you need to improve upon, but it's a way to interact with others in your sport and helps build connections. Some of my best friends are people i've been competing with since day 1! Competition is not the "evil" thing that some people have made it out to be. It has so many positive aspects, and teaches you lessons that can be carried into your daily life.

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