Got an email today I've been waiting a whole year for: one about an upcoming tournament. It is one of three tournaments I try to compete in each year and it kicks off the competitive season for me. I've circled the date on my the calendar, even --->.
Each year at this tournament, I get a little bit closer to the grand championship in sparring. Two years ago, I won my division but the "Executive Women" (that's the over-40 set, LOL) were not included in the grand championship round robin. Last year we were, but I kind of lost my head in the grand championship round when my opponent - the 18-year-old winner of the black belt women's under-35 division - dropped like a rock when I hit her in the gut. I'm talking fight stopped, me forced to kneel while the medics attended to her, the whole nine. That had never happened to me before - and my fight was pretty much done as a result because once the action resumed I was flat-footed and reactionary instead of staying aggressive and on my toes - my head completely out of it because I'd actually hurt someone young enough to be my daughter. Can't tell you how ticked I was that I allowed the situation to take me off my game. Lesson learned - because that certainly won't happen again...
I've heard it said many times that in order to do a thing, you have to first admit that you want to do it then set a goal in order to make it happen. I think a scene from one of my favorite "feel good" flicks - "Akeelah and the Bee" - best illustrates that. When she begins her training, her coach makes Akeelah admit something she'd probably never said aloud before: that she wants to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She whispers a simple "I want to win," at first, but he makes her repeat it over and over again until she is able to scream it at the top of her lungs - and mean it.
So here goes: I want to be the Women's Kumite Grand Champion at the Diamond Valley Classic this November. There - I said it. OK - I'm still whispering right now, but each day I train, I not only get another day closer to the one circled on my calendar, but my whisper gets a little louder, too. It'll be a scream at the top of my lungs real soon :-)