Monday, 7 July 2014

Turning negatives into positives!

I competed in the JKA Kyushu Senior Karate-Do Championships this weekend. However, I was unable to perform well, actually I bombed out, as I was in too much pain from my recurring spinal injury. The bad timing of this recurring injury really is an understatement! On the morning of the tournament (and three days prior) I could barely walk, which now only happens every few years. Consequently, it was truly the worst performance of Unsu kata I have ever done in a tournament... My back was locked tight, my movements short (from the pain) and all muscles contracted (to self-protect / not over extend).

Why am I posting this? Well basically speaking, besides the suffering, I think it was a great experience! I guess, a kind of “trophy” in my Karate-Do life for “performing a kata so badly”… Yes, it was truly that bad! Nonetheless, and as just alluded to, I learned some great lessons! I'd like to share the three main ones with you today.

 Lesson One: When my back injury flares up don’t use Unsu (even if told to)! :-)

Lesson Two: I still won 3rd Place.., so, as I have always professed—since starting this site—(and somewhat contradicting `lesson one'/the first statement) “just do `whatever' when you enter competitions”. In this way, you develop as a martial artist `from competing' as opposed to the often short-lived gains of shiai.

Lesson Three: I have learned more about myself from this championship (a long term gain). Before, `performing such a bad Unsu would really disturb me’… Now, I can turn such an experience into a positive learning opportunity. What I am trying to say here is that "if you ever have a bad day, please `think of this post'"... Think of André Bertel bombing out with his Unsu. Smile, work around any problems and keep training! Always remember that Karate-Do is LIFETIME BUDO, and both failures and success are natural (and indeed, `imperative' for long-term development) 

I’d like to wrap up by saying that, “I thoroughly believe that, even if I was not suffering, I still would have gained third place in this tournament”.  Overall, there are no excuses in karate-do, only training and moving forward from the experience of this training. Osu, André.

© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto-ken. Japan (2014).

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