Eve Of The Fight – The Climb #181

//Eve Of The Fight – The Climb #181

Eve Of The Fight – The Climb #181

Friday 21st July 2017

It’s the night before the big tournament.

I am focused, I am not focused enough.  I am prepared, I am unprepared.

This is it, I think.  This is what I’ve worked towards.  It all boils down to this, where those hours of sacrifice, those hours of training… this is where I cash in.  I’ve turned up for every training session.  I’ve been the only person to turn up for sparring at times.  I’ve gone from someone no-one would rate to a contender to someone who can surprise the best.  Tomorrow I’ll show them just how much.

There’s part of me that feels I deserve this.  I’ve put in the work, I have the capability, it just has to come together tomorrow.  I have a fear of it all going wrong that tastes like bile.

But… then I think about how this is all a journey.  Yes, that journey began years ago when I first picked up a blade.  It continued through learning the weapon, competing in my first tournament.  It ran the gauntlet of frustration last year as, just like now, I felt success was owed to me.

It isn’t.  It’s a mistake a lot of people make.  The smart ones try to remember that lesson

I want to get myself fired up.  I want to tell myself that I’m going bring the competition, that metaphorically I’m going to bring them hell, rip off their faces, crush them, destroy them, pumel them, beat them.  But that’s not how combat works.  Warfare isn’t red hot and emotional, it’s cold and detached.

And so instead I tell myself I will bring calm, that I’ll all but ignore my opponent, that the battle is really with myself and my will to win.  It’s with my focus, it’s with my concentration.

And so, I walk a tightrope of emotions, the butterflies of anticipation and worry flapping their wings in my stomach.  I’ve fenced well recently.  I’ve fenced terribly.  What will tomorrow bring?

I want the quiet focus I had last Sunday.  I don’t want the distractions I had on Monday.

I’m a cerebral fighter and I know that the things that dominate my mind tomorrow will determine whether I win or lose.

Calm

Focus.

I could be in better physical condition.  I’m still carrying weight from chasepalooza.  I still can’t get into my fencing britches.  I’ll pay for that with the hits I get on my upper legs.

But other than a slightly strained knee, I have no injuries.  There’s no physical reason why I can’t do well.  I’m fitter than the others even in this state.  I’m stronger and I’m a hell of a lot faster than even they realise.

I tried to read some treaties today, trying to find that edge.  I don’t read the sources enough, I realise.  It’s too late to be finding anything new, I conclude.

I finally write and send off my laureando written piece.  Only 6 months late, but it’s done.  I wrote it on the use of the buckler, something that everyone tells me is one of their favourite lessons.

I’m pleased with the piece.  I think it’s really good.  I feel it’s worthy of my grade.

Sending the piece off is more than just a tick on the todo list though.  It means I feel legitimised to finally wear my laurel.  I affixed it – together with the school patch that came off in the wash – onto my jacket this afternoon.  I then panicked that I’d forget my jacket tomorrow, so I moved it to the rest of my kit and probably screwed up the adhesion of fabric glue.

But, I wear my rank as a badge of confidence.  I earned that badge through hard work and persistence.

And that’s what I will do tomorrow and Sunday.  I will persist.  I will give it my best.  I will show people what I’m like at my very, very best and they can approve or disapprove as they see fit.  I see no point in bragging that I might be better, nor conceding where I think I might be weaker.

Instead, I will show people how far I’ve come.  Because the journey doesn’t end tomorrow.  This is just the start and whether I come home with a medal or tears of frustration, the work still continues.

I cannot control whether people have a good day or a bad day tomorrow.  One half of me would prefer them to have a bad day, but there’s a part of me that wants to defeat them at their best.  Either way, it’s something I have no control over.  It’s not something I can fix.

I can only focus, I can only stay calm.

I’m ready although I don’t feel it.  This is everything and also nothing.  It’s the earth and the stars.  It’s the micro and the macro.  This is me pulling from both ends.

I can do this.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-07-22T22:51:48+01:00July 22nd, 2017|Swordfighting|0 Comments

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