Back in the summer of 2007, I was somehow convinced to pack my bags and head to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL to take part in the International Chinese Martial Arts Tournament. I had only practiced kung fu for about a year or two prior to this, so I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready.
We didn’t drop straight into the competition once we arrived in Orlando. We spent a few days touring the parks, which is when the lovely picture above was taken. We went to all the parks in Orlando over the course of a few days, until the day of the weigh-in. Weigh-in day can be pretty brutal. In the days or weeks leading up to a weigh-in, you have to keep a pretty strict diet. But the day of the weigh-in itself can be pretty brutal. Thankfully I didn’t fight that year so I didn’t have to worry about it!
I was only competing in sword and form demonstrations. My regular form didn’t have all the fancy flips the other had, so I only got a second or third place. But when it came time for the sword demo, I…
I was motioned over to a group of kids my age. There were kids from all walks of life, all heights and sizes. The only common factor was that we were all in our teens. I sat next to two random kids, and we got to talking. After a while, it was finally my turn. I got up there and I blazed through my sword form…until I started doing a fancy twirl of my blade and I ripped my pants leg a bit and stopped, frozen. I could feel the heat, in my face and in the small scrape I had in my leg.
After a few seconds passed I asked the judges if I could start over. They agreed, and I proceeded and finished like a slightly awkward boss. I was a little embarrassed, but I had gotten through it. I got second place.
After the awards were given out, one of the judges walked over and pulled me off to the side and told me “You know, if you hadn’t stopped when you grazed your leg we would have easily given you first place”.
It was then I learned that sometimes you just have to charge ahead, and that it’s ok to make small mistakes. Even if that mistake is to rip up your awesome black pants with red trim.