On the 8th and 9th of July I will be in Orlando, Florida for the 2016 U.S. Open.
The super cool thing is it’s on Disney Property. So, I will be doing all sorts of yelling and screaming to the tune of “It’s a Small World” and maybe I’ll even get to see Snow White!
This is exciting!
This is also a little intimidating.
Y’see, there are some of the very best competitors in the world at this event. It’s an honor to even be on the same stage as them. But, I don’t just want to show up and feel the honor of their presence. I want to show up and also-freakin-lutely blow the roof off.
I want to win.
Over the years I’ve been competing all over the country, and even the world. A few months ago I was in Philly for a tournament. It went ok. Not great, but not super terrible. However, what it DID do was motivate me to come back harder and with a different mindset.
This is around when I started talking with a man who is basically a sport Karate legend. He redefined the sport and routinely trains some of the best competitors out there. He gave me pointers. When I found my voice, I thanked him profusely, the whole time thinking “I’m not worthy!!”
The biggest piece of advice he had was to be theatrical. It’s not enough to go up and go through a series of movements, there has to be an element of drama. The judges have to see what’s going on in the form.
I have to tell a story.
Here is the form that prompted this conversation with Master Sharkey. I’m competing with a high degree of technical skill. The form is strong, the stances are deep, the power and intensity is there. But, it’s boring.
I finished at the bottom of the division. Proof that technical proficiency is not enough.
To frame it a different way. Being really good at typing doesn’t mean you’ll be able to write a book.
I had a lot to think about on the plane home. And I talked to my coach about it. We played around, I went to another tournament. We played around some more, and then it clicked.
I understood what I needed to do.
I wish I could give you a link to a video of me telling a story with the kata, but right now, I don’t really have one.
There are two reasons for this.
1: I’m terrible at recording events of my life. Most of the pictures I have of myself doing karate were all taken by super awesome people who allow me to use them for this blog. I appreciate them 1000%
2: I’m still working on it. It’s a process I started 2 months ago. Though it “clicked” that doesn’t mean I suddenly have the ability to perform with it at a super high level.
Which brings me back to the U.S. Open.
It’s an awfully big pool with some pretty wicked awesome sharks in it, but what better place to go and reinvent yourself, than with the very best your sport has to offer?