One Year Later – The Climb #300

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One Year Later – The Climb #300

Friday 17th November 2017

Tomorrow I have another tournament.  This time it’s Bucklerthon, the event where just a year ago I won my first medal.

Back in the summer of 2016 I was very frustrated with my swordfighting.  I’d put in a good 6 months of additional training with the aim of seeing some improvement but at both Astolat 2016 and Fightcamp I failed to deliver.

My friends had done well in 2016.  Both Matt and Josh had placed in quarter finals or better which meant that they were ineligible to take place in Bucklerthon that year.  You see, the main competition of Bucklerthon is only open to those who’ve never placed in a tournament.  It’s meant as a beginner’s competition.

However, I really wasn’t in a good place in the summer of 2016.  And my friends making a well-meaning joke that at least I could do Bucklerthon made me determined not to do it.  Because doing it meant I failed.  It meant that all that hard work had been for nothing.

And I was determined not to do it.  People tried to convince me but I stuck to my guns.  I’d go to Swordfish, I’d happily lose every match there, but I was not going to Bucklerthon.  To do so would be to admit defeat to myself.

Swordfish is a strange competition.  The pressure is intense, and that makes some people and it breaks others.  I saw great fighters crumple under the pressure so much that they’ve only just started competing again.  But it did something weird to me.

I’d always been a panicked fighter.  I’d go onto the piste and worry about everything, my brain almost deafening with all the what ifs, whys, and whats.  Yet, when I stepped onto the piste that year, all I could hear was white noise.

The pressure helped me find my focus.  I still lost every match but I fought in a way I’d never fought before, calm and focused.

It was a fortnight between Swordfish and Bucklerthon and I returned home from Swordfish wondering about this new found focus.  I wanted to know whether it was a one-off or if I’d made a breakthrough.

So on the evening before the competition, at the last possible moment, I entered.  I only did it because I wanted to test my focus.  I didn’t care that my friends were fighting in the steel invitational.  I just wanted to know if my experience at Swordfish was repeatable.

It was, and I went on to take Silver in the competition.  This was my first ever medal and one I’d worked so hard to get.

I’d go on from there to fight in Untournament, Astolat, Fightcamp, Wessex Bristol and Wessex Reading and place in the quarter finals or better at each of those events.  It was the start of an incredible run that only ended with my 17th place at Swordfish (but hey… that’s the equivalent of the world championships so 17th is bloody good).

It’s amazing to look back now and see just how far I’ve progressed in just a year.  And yet at Fightcamp 2016 I was ready to throw in the towel.

If there’s any lesson in this it’s that you have to be patient.  That if you work hard, success will find you, not the other way around.  But you can’t dictate the timescales.  Sure, that’s frustrating at times but you almost have to get to the point where any sane person would give up and still keep going.

I look at so many aspects of my life and see that this is true.  All too often people tell me I should give up on my hopes and dreams, and yet when I’ve stuck my guns, continued to work hard and be patient, it’s always panned out.

And whilst I don’t expect to do well tomorrow (Sword & buckler isn’t my primary weapon) and expect I’ll get injured (Rapier is less brutal) it’ll be good to commemorate the time my patience first paid off.

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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2017-11-18T23:17:11+00:00 November 18th, 2017|Swordfighting, The Climb|0 Comments

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