And we have never met.
But he talked me through each round.
I remember after the 2nd round of sparring, there was a call, "That's round two, new opponent!" I remember thinking, "Round TWO! I am tired now and there are twenty eight rounds to go!"
The second dan is 30 rounds of sparring, each opponent fresh.
I am here typing this now, so I got through. Mostly due to the strong voice in my head. I would like to claim ownership of the advice but it wasn't mine. It was Joe Hyams from the book, 'Zen In The Martial Arts'. It was his words in my head.
When I was tiring in the seventh round, he said, "Nothing is impossible to a willing mind" (page 21).
In a round in the early teens I was up against an opponent who was scoring easily with the same technique, Mr Hyams whispered, "Although most expert martial artists have spent years mastering hundreds of techniques and movements, in a bout, or kumite, a champion may actually use only four or five techniques over and over again. These are the techniques which he has perfected and which he knows he can depend on."
There was a point in the last ten rounds that I stopped blocking, not with any force anyway.
I was just too tired.
I found it easier to use the advice of Bruce Lee as told to Mr Hyams on Page 59, "You and your opponent are one. There is a coexisting relationship between you. You coexist with your opponent and become his complement, absorbing his attack and using his force to overcome him."
In the last few rounds, I reached a point where I wasn't mentally struggling any more. "One learns to go with the flow", Mr Hyams said between my ears.
Then came the last round, or so I thought it was. I gave my all and really excelled but found it was the 29th round. Because of my flurry of activity, a higher grade and full contact fighter was sent in for my 30th and final round.
"The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be", was the advice (page 109).
Acceptance of a difficult situation is the first step towards dealing with it. The advice of teachers that have come before you, like Joe Hyams, will give you the edge.
Click the link below to get the book.