How do you feel before a karate competition or grading?

Stomach tense, heart beating fast, anxious anticipation of what’s about to happen?  Typically, the answer would be nerves or fear.

However, which other emotion shares the same bodily symptoms of pounding heart, sweaty palms, tense muscles, dry mouth and tight stomach?

The answer? Excitement!   The signs of excitement are almost identical to those of anxiety.

Psychologically our body reacts in the same way, it is only in our labeling of these feelings as “fear” or “excitement” that differentiates them in our mind and in turn how we may perform.

FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real
This above is true.  When you consider any fear, you may feel ahead of a karate competition, is solely based on what you think might happen.  It’s not real. It hasn’t happened.

The golfer Tiger Woods said: “The day I’m not nervous is the day I quit… That’s the greatest thing about it, just to feel that rush.” With words alone, he turned anxiety into excitement.

Published by the American Psychological Association, their study found that when people tell themselves to get excited, they perform better than they do when they tell themselves to calm down. “When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking of all the things that could go badly. When they’re excited, they’re thinking of all the things that could go well,” said study author Alison Wood Brooks, PhD.

You can be either one of two types of people:  One who sees what they want. The other who sees what is stopping them get what they want.

Next time, just try replacing with “I’m nervous” to “I’m excited”.  OK it won’t guarantee you will win or get an A grade (the physical preparation is paramount for that!) but it absolutely feels better to feel excitement rather than fear when you step up on the mat!  Don’t face the fear, just enjoy the excitement!


if you have always wanted to try karate & kickboxing but been too fearful, don’t be!
Be excited!  Book your free class with ECKA today