Blood, sweat, and finally…tears.

I’ve bled and I’ve sweat for 10 months now in Taekwondo. But never until this week have I cried.

Last week, I came very close to crying. In tournament training, we took turns sparring for 5 minutes straight with 5 different partners. It was so intense…all of my classmates gathered around cheering me on and yelling at me to keep my hands up, make sure I yell. By minute 3 I was done, just totally exhausted, but they kept coming. By minute 4 I was seeing stars. Minute 5 I was just doing my best to survive the barrage of kicks that came at me. They pummeled me on the head, in the kidneys, in the stomach. I heard my classmates’ desperate frustrated cries of “attack, Cathy! Don’t just give up!” But I am ashamed to say that that is exactly what I did. I gave up attacking, too focused on surviving. I had more in me but I didn’t give it my all.

After this torturous eternity, I retreated to the sidelines with my hands on my helmet, gasping for air, trying not to hyperventilate while at the same time choking back the overwhelmed and frustrated tears.

But this incident led me to doubt myself. As each day passed I became a little more unraveled about the tournament. If I couldn’t even stay in the ring for 5 minutes, how am I going to stand up to many opponents? This will be the first time that I will ever face opponents of my skill level, height, and age. I may be the best yellow belt in my school (which is dubious really because there’s a guy who I share a belt color with for about a month before he tests and moves up who is really good) but how do I compare against other yellow belts from all over the world? Ones of my height and weight? There’s no way I could be the best against them.

So two days ago I completely flaked out about this. I sat at my desk at work at 11am and tears flowed freely from my eyes. I couldn’t imagine how miserable the next two weeks would be. I didn’t want to go anymore. I HATE testing with a passion; how much worse will this be? I cried and cried and wanted to go back to bed.

Yes, I know full well I’m 23 years old and should pull it together. But I just couldn’t.

Whenever I am cornered by fear, my way out usually consists of thinking of other ways of considering the problem. In this case, I was quite sure that this tournament was not worth stressing over this much. So I thought that I would just try to have fun with it, and offer up all the pain and suffering to God for the intention of ending abortion (chosen because we’re in the middle of the 40 days for life campaign at my church) (yeah I know this is a totally Catholic thing to do ;)). But this way, I will have something outside of myself that I am doing it for. A cause larger than myself. And so now it doesn’t matter if I win or lose because I’m not doing it to quell my own insecurities or prove anything to anyone.

It was such a relief when I decided this. However, I am still scared ****less. Literally. Every time I think about the tournament, my stomach feels like it is about to liquefy and ooze out of my toes. This is going to be a long week…


3 Responses

  1. You can do it Cathy!
    I know it seems like the cliche thing to say.
    I know miss maria doesn’t read this, but if she did, I imagine she’d say something like:

    Suck it up, Cathy!

    What are our five tenants of TKD? Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit. Perseverance and Self Control. You’ve been saying these words repeatedly in class. This is your mantra. Your inner message ingrained onto your soul. I know you can do it. It takes a lot of work, yes, but you’re the ONLY person I’ve seen come to KC just to practice and not take class that isn’t close to a black belt.

    Everyone has started off badly. The reason we have good fighters is because they worked hard (like you) and never gave up. Even Saints were sinners that kept on going. So Suck It Up and kick some heiny.

    It may be hard for you to believe you are going to do awesome, but consider these words of wisdom..

    The greatest oak tree was once a little nut that held its ground.
    Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.
    The Japanese have a saying: Fall seven times, stand up eight.

    And in the words from one of the greatest works of our time:
    I get knocked down
    But I get up again
    You’re never going to keep me down

    So… suck it up, say a prayer, get kicked in the face, fall down, get up, keep ur hands up, kick butt, go to the tourney and have fun.

    it’s just a sport for fun. it’s not like your life’s on the line in some sort of death match kumite mortal combat thing where if you lose the world is destroyed.
    That would suck

  2. Yes, that would suck. 🙂
    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  3. “He drinks a whiskey drink, he drinks a vodka drink;
    he drinks a lager drink, he drinks a cider drink;
    he sings a song that reminds him of the good times;
    he sings a song that reminds him of the better times.”

    Hahaha brings me back to the late 90’s. Maybe I should bring this song with me on the tournament…

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