“Psyching Out” Your Opponent in Taekwondo Competition

Tae Kwon Do Winning SystemsAt a local Taekwondo Competition last weekend. The competition wasn’t a very high standard, but it was good enough for experienced players to try stuff out and more or less get a good workout from it.

While watching a match, I overheard a Taekwondo player talking about how he was “looking at his next opponent” and how he was trying to “psych him out” – and it really made me laugh.

What this guy didn’t know was that the opponent he was trying to “psych out” was one of the athletes I work with.

Not only that, but the athlete I work with is quite experienced, not only on a National Level, but has been winning a few medals at International Opens in the past 15 months too. So there are no flies on him!

To make the situation even funnier, the guy who was doing the “psyching” was a Green Belt!

When I saw this, I couldn’t help laugh – and laugh a lot!

They were due to meet in the final, and I was really looking forward to it… Needless to say, the athlete I work with made light work of the Green Belt – reaching a 10 point difference in no time, which the organisers had set as a ceiling to win the match outright.

What this inexperienced player didn’t realise is that his Psychological Tactics just added to his defeat, not to his success. What he didn’t realise is that his very experienced opponent was on a totally different level, not only physically, but psychologically.

The Green Belt was too concerned with his opponent to take care of himself. He was too concerned with what he was thinking than doing something far more beneficial as visualising his success, or how he was going to attach or counter his opponent.

To say he got spanked is an understatement.

When I talked to my athlete after his match, he said something very magical to me, which summed up why he won easily, and why he’s going to continue to win even more. He said “You know what it is now. I just don’t care any more. I don’t care what they think of me!”

This totally summed up why he’s a success. He focuses on his game. He can only control himself. He can’t control his opponent or how he thinks. He can’t control the crowd, or what they say. He can only control himself and how he reacts.

This is what you need to do in your next competition. Focus on what you can do and what you have control over. Focus on you, and you being your best. This is all you can do in your life. Be your best, and strive to be better.

2 thoughts on ““Psyching Out” Your Opponent in Taekwondo Competition

  1. Ahura

    I disagree about that “you can only control yourself” thing. Psychology is one thing to consider when you’re fighting. For isntance, if your opponent is 2 or more points below you and there’s only 10 seconds left, he will most likely rush towards you, and knowing what your opponent is thinking can give you the upper hand in a fight. In this case, you can anticipate his moves. Taekwondo is all about reading your opponent’s moves and trying to anticipate them, and if you manage to do that, victory chances rise considerably.

    1. David Post author

      Hi Ahura,

      Firstly the focus of the article is about trying to “Psych People Out” and how it doesn’t work.

      Secondly, you can only Control yourself. You can “influence” others, but you can’t control them, unless you are using some method of force like a gun – which we don’t use in the sport!

      You don’t know everything that your opponent is thinking. You don’t know exactly what they’re going to do, you don’t know exactly what the referees are going to do – and you can’t control either of them..!

      You can “influence” them but you have no direct control over them. You can only control yourself, your thoughts and your movements.

      Yes, if you’re 2 points up with 10 seconds to go, the probability of your opponent rushing after you is very high. Does it happen all the time? No. Will every single opponent you are 2 points ahead at the end of the match rush at you? No.

      Experienced players will have a strategy to pull the points back that doesn’t involve rushing in. If they know you’re looking to close them down to kill time, they can feint, you move in, and they counter and score. But that’s a discussion for another day…

      You can only control yourself, what you think and what you do. When you believe you have Jedi “Mind Control Powers” over your opponent and are more focused on them over yourself – you’ve already lost!

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