Tic … Tock … in approximatively 24 hours you will be at the competition venue, ready to show your improvements to everyone. You’ve trained hard for this day for different reasons : to prove yourself and / or the others something, because you love to train hard, have dreams of joining the National Team, just test your improvements, or all of the above!
Should you be a Taolu or Sanda athlete (sometimes both), training your technical and physical abilities is not the only 2 things that will make you win. If you are serious about training, then you and your coach know how much what’s going on in your brain is also important. Wushu itself, as a Martial Art, prepares you mentally through training. That’s part of what makes it an Art, and not only a sport.
This mental preparation is a long process as well, and what will make the difference with other athletes is that you have to be focused for your competition goal, even the last day before performing / fighting. Being focused helps you train better, and also getting more confident. Avoiding unnecessary stress.
The Difference Between Taolu and Sanda Preparation
I would say that though mental state is equally important for both, Sanda preparation is more complicated. You will se below that both share the same principles, but often, fighters have another really important thing to think of before D-Day : their weight.
Weight is a burden for most fighters if not all of them. Especially the last weeks / days before the weigh-in, so this adds more things to be focused on before compete. But weight-loss tips will be the subject for another article.
Some coaches say “don’t do anything the day before your competition”. They are right in a way : don’t go play a soccer or basketball game or worse : skiing, a whole afternoon with your friends the day before. Besides the high risks of injury, you will lose a lot of energy. This should be common sense, but just in case.
Move ! Don’t stay the whole day before at home sitting on your sofa. Go and see friends, walk around, do some shopping, go for a light jogg if you need to lose a few grams before the weigh-in (depending on the competition and federation, the weigh-in might be the day before, or the day of the competition), or do some light shadow boxing. But don’t do sparring the day before !
If you are a Taolu athlete, you can work on your forms doing them slowly for 20 minutes to an hour maximum. Just work on the flow, the sensation, and the balance. That’s it. Nothing more. Especially do not jump ! You can do them at the venue on when warming up.
Just move like you would do on a normal day without hard training, and add some light, easy stretches. The goal is that your body and muscles don’t get too relaxed, and most importantly, that you don’t spend the day thinking every seconds about the competition. Change your mind by going out, and do super light training to gain confidence. That’s the key !
We suggest you do the light training is in the morning. Then in the afternoon, just go out and / or meet friends. Or do as your planning allows you, and if you are working the day before, especially if you’re sitting behind a desk all day, move during your lunch-break. Don’t wait for coming back home at 7pm to go and train. That’s too late and too close to the competition.
Whatever your planning is, stop training not later than noon, 3pm maximum. And get home early ! Don’t do a night out of course.
Get your stuff ready
Have your bag done at noon the day before. Not later. Put EVERYTHING you need in your bag, to feel confident and comfortable. I like to say that nothing isn’t essential for a competition. Anything can happen so better get ready for it. Below is the basic list you can print and use if you’ve got a goldfish memory like me :
Taolu Bag – Must Bring :
- Silks / Outfit
- Accessories if you have any (extra sword tassel / Broadsword silk, grips, …)
- Tools : pliers, scissors, tape
- For Optional athletes : Nandu (Degrees of difficulty) format form(s)
Sanda Bag – Must Bring :
- Gloves (red & blue / black)
- Red & blue / black Sanda gears
- Hand Wraps
- Protections : red & blue / black helmet and breastplate, shinguards, mouthguard,
- cup (for guys) / breast protection (for ladies)
- Thai massage oil if not forbidden
- Any relevant administrative documents
Both Taolu and Sanda – Must Bring :
- Tracksuit Jacket (to wear between each performance / fight – don’t get cold)
- Joint protection if needed (knee, ankles, …)
- Strapping bands if needed for your muscles
- Jump Rope if needed for warm up
- Registration documents & Doctor’s certificate (both might be brought by your coach – check with him)
- Healthy Snacks (dried fruits, nuts, bananas)
Very basic stuff but always good to be reminded : Except if you’re a fighter doing cutting before the weigh-in, you have to eat. Let’s say you’re a junk food athlete : stop junk food in general, and of course also the day before.
Eat normally, but nothing considered junk food. For fighters, what to eat and how to eat will depend on each individual weight goal. Some have no problems being at the right weight weeks before a competition, others still have weight to lose after the first weigh-in. Another article will discuss nutrition tips for Sanda fighters!
Basically, drink only water or tea (no sugar), if you like a coffee in the morning go for it (no sugar either).
Broadly speeking, avoid below types of food :
- Too oily / Fried
- Too glutinous
- Cold drinks
- Quick release sugars / Fast sugars after 2pm
Also we would recommend not to drink anything with caffeine or theine after lunch, so that your sleep won’t be impacted. Also don’t drink tons of water before sleeping to avoid getting up all night long.
Let’s be honest : you never sleep well the night before a competition. Even if you try not to sleep for 24 hours before (which is a bad idea), chances are you won’t sleep well ever and most importantly, feel very heavy for D-day.
Anyway, to stack all the odds in your favour, don’t get up later than 9am and avoid taking any naps the day before the competition.
Try to get to bed at least 7~8 hours before the time at witch you should get up. But don’t force yourself to sleep if you really don’t feel tired. You’ll just get more excited and have more troubles falling asleep.
Stop watching any screens at least one hour before going to bed. No phones, no TV, nothing. Read a book, discuss, meditate.
For Sanda fighters :
Lie down on your bed, close your eyes, and review the techniques and tactics you worked with your coach, in your mind. Do that like you see yourself fighting your opponent and applying all these techniques. Do not improvise the day before a competition! Your coach knows best because is sees everything from the outside. Do 3 rounds then stop and sleep.
For Taolu athletes :
Lie down on your bed, close your eyes, and review each of the forms you’re going to perform, in your mind. See yourself doing the full set without stopping or seeing something else.
This is quite tricky and hard to get on first try. Don’t hesitate to do that exercise often, as this will also definitely improve your forms in real life too. Especially if you have troubles relaxing, or got memory loss when performing.
Once all your forms are done, stop and sleep.
However, do not stress out if you can’t sleep well. Trust me no-one (or almost no-one) sleeps weel the day before a competition. Just relax, chill, again no smartphones or any screens, then just rest and hopefully sleep.
Here you are, as ready as possible for tomorrow! Jiayou !!!