On the first day of 2013, I was twenty-five days away from being awarded my black sash. Barring a mistake of colossal proportions or a horribly-timed injury, it was a sure thing.
On the first day of 2014, I mulled over being eleven days away from the first tournament of the year that I can drive to, if I choose to spend the money to enter. Not only is an award far from a sure thing, a bona fide competition isn’t a guarantee either.
In my last tournament appearance, I was the sole competitor in my event. All women over thirty-five in the room were either the mothers of child competitors or judges. I wound up competing against a Siheng from my own school to justify my being there at all. But until I was told there were no others in my events, I was practicing all out in a roped-off square arena half the size of the floor space normally used, enjoying trying to make it all fit and look good at the same time.
I think I’m better outside my school building than in. I’ve said before that my skill never seems to show when it counts – but that’s mostly in front of my kung fu family. Strangers get a higher quality. I don’t know what that’s about; I just know I like to compete.
Bottom line is: it’s going to be a challenging year in my martial arts life. I’ll either be gambling on wasting money on tournaments that provide limited or no competition, or I’ll potentially be without measurable kung fu goals of any kind. Either way, I’ll still be training. And every year that starts with that reality is a good one.