A year ago – I competed at a local tournament. I’ve had breathing problems my entire life but what happened here was another level. At the end of my match I found myself in a full blown asthma attack.
I know many have suffered this before. In all the stories I’ve heard every time I underestimated the pain and helplessness that it leaves you feeling. That it left me – in the middle of a glorious battle, as weak and frail as I was as a child.
The next day, I went to the doctor – not a first but a rarity for sure. I found out that I had been suffering walking pneumonia. Nothing special – but enough to put fear into my heart at the deepest levels.
The time went on and I persisted in going to tournaments. I went but I was different. I was safer –
Every motion was calculated to save energy. Not because I needed it. Because I was terrified of ever getting back to that place. The worst part, I did this with no understanding of what I was doing. I just kept losing. I trained harder every loss, and couldn’t bridge the gap.
It took me over a year to understand. By then I had developed enough skill that I could control the match without breaking a sweat. Control but not win. I can’t begin to explain the frustration and humiliation.
But the amazing thing is – I kept trying and my team kept standing by me. They offered the skills and encouragement and waited with amazing patience. I say with no trepidation- I would never have recovered without my team.
This weekend I fought again – the first match was better but still controlled. And I recognized it and then I recovered. And then I won. I can’t say that I won’t slip again. Fear is a powerful foe – and once it finds your weakness it will keep coming back as often as you let it.
I can say, I found a moment that I could win. Against my opponent and against my enemy. I earned my purple belt in jiu jitsu this weekend and I am looking forward to the next few years of proving that I deserve it. That I deserve the rank in the patients from all those that supported me.