The first time I did the long staff in competition, I dropped it. I didn’t so much drop it as inadvertently toss it and neglect to catch it, but the effect was the same: “click, clunk, click, click,” was the rattle sound that lasted all of about a second, before I picked up my weapon and soldiered on to a last-place finish in the long weapon event.
The sound of my staff against the gym floor had sprung into my thoughts more than once in recent days, even though I haven’t dropped it in any performance since that first public one. It’s almost as if some part of my psyche was attempting to jinx me into repeating one of the worst moments of my martial arts life.
So I opted for more practice, arriving almost an hour before the beginners’ class Monday to get in as many repetitions of the staff form as I could before teaching. Sure enough, self-fulfilling prophesies being what they are, the staff left my hand on the spin before the final slam four out of the first six times I did the form. I’m quite certain it would have been more had I not literally been saved by the bell.
Fast forward to the end of class and the resumption of repetitions, and I was lulled into believing that whatever glitch had reinstituted itself in my hand work had gone back to whence it came, until I dropped the staff once more, in the same section of the form, while doing the last of my intended repetitions for the evening.
That was it. Enough already! I wasn’t about to let my subconscious do a number on me with a problem that hadn’t existed in forever. I had to break it down to figure it out, but I did so in under a minute. It’s a lot easier to hang onto a staff if I wrap my fingers all the way around it. Apparently, my right hand was getting a little lazy with the grip in mid spin.
It’s funny how quickly a problem can be solved just by deciding to be finished with it, especially when the problem is an effect of self-sabotage. It’s a lesson easily learned – and just as easily forgotten, if I allow it to be. So I think I’ll keep a grip on the lesson as well.