Without further ado, I present "Large Tournament Rules for a Successful Competition"
- Pick a spot to stash your gear so you can go elsewhere to warmup (or just move around a bit) without having to tote all your stuff along. Consider this your home base for the day.
- Locate the bathrooms early and try to keep home base as close to one as possible. It is inevitable that your efforts to stay hydrated will conclude with a mad dash to the restroom just as your event is announced. If you start near one, it will be easier to get to it, finish quickly and get where you need to be without working yourself into a panic.
- Find out if the event is run on a time table without assigned rings or on a flat "Women's 40 -49-yr-old kata in Ring 3 sometime after all the other events assigned in Ring 3 are done" schedule. It matters - especially when it comes to deciding when to warmup and when to eat.
- Bring food - especially if you are an adult black belt - because you will not compete until near the end of the entire tourney. The bagel and OJ you had for breakfast will be long gone by the time you need to warm-up for your competition.
- Know how to find the announcer in case the noise from the event makes him/her start sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher, because you will need to know if and when your event has been called.
- Do not stand up/walk around for the entire day as it drains your energy and can really zap your legs (which you won't realize until you are standing on said zapped legs trying to present your kata). Find a chair or a quiet spot near your home base and use it.
- As...umm...different as the glitter bos and kamas may look in musical and extreme form competitions, do try to keep your mouth closed while you are watching. You can learn something from the precision of their footwork and timing.
- People can and do warm up with their 6' bos almost anywhere - so be careful when you get near what looks to be a non-live ring so you don't get whacked in the shins or poked in the gut.
- Keep your phone or paper and a pen handy. You will run into at least a handful of folks your age who are out there doing what you do. Trust and believe you will strike up or get pulled into a conversation with at least one of them and you might even want to exchange cell numbers or look each other up on FaceBook. You might also forget their names as soon as you pack you gear bag into your car, so writing it down helps.
- Have fun. Easier said than done - especially when the butterflies start to flutter or the kumite gets a little heated, but worth it in the end. Think about it: if it isn't fun, what's the point?
These rules can apply to smaller tourney competition as well, I suppose. They all become important at different times during the course of the competition day, but the last one is my favorite. Feel free to add some if you'd like :-)