Okay, so you’re at the site, your stuff is set up, armor’s looking good. You feel good physically and you’re confident about how your fighting has been lately. Now what? Now we wander into the more esoteric aspects of mental preparedness. Some of this may sound like corny Zen drivel, so take it for what it’s worth.
Leading up to, and right before, the Tourney there are many practical steps that can be taken to relieve stress and help you to relax. Remember, all preparation leads up to the one instant that you throw the shot. Every other consideration is a distraction. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to anyone and have to chant a mantra all morning before stepping onto the field. Focus is important, but don’t start the fight before you get in the list.
The specific type of physical training you select will vary according to what you think you need to work on most. But, I would say this: Workouts are not a substitute for practice sparring, and sparring is not a substitute for actual tourney experience. The craftsman who spends all his time sharpening his tools but never puts them to work, will not produce anything but a tidy workshop and some metal filings.
This Crown Tournament will mark my Thirty-Third Anniversary as a fighter in the Society. The day I authorized was the day before I witnessed my first Crown Tourney. I fought in my first one year later. Since then, I can count the ones I have missed on my two hands and still hold a beer mug.
Many of you who have fought in several crown tournaments may find some of it a little obvious. Indeed, there is some general advice on training and fighting that might be of use to someone who has never fought, and never intends to fight, in Crown. As always, these are just things that I have found to be sound principles that worked for me. My only credential is having made it to twelve Crown Finals and victory in seven throughout these years.