I WOULD HAVE BEEN FEELING REGRET INSTEAD IF I HAD NOT PARTICIPATED
It’s great to read everybody else's thoughts.
After another day of reflection, and reading your words, I'm actually feeling much more positive about my performance than yesterday.
I can confirm that, although my left arm has been a little sore, and I had some trouble raising it yesterday, this is already pretty much back to normal. Even though, as I mentioned, I was panting for breath in the ring, by the time I left the venue, I was back to normal energy levels and when I got home it felt the same as if I'd just had another day at the office. This alone is pretty amazing!
Also I can confirm that I have nothing but love for my fellow competitors, indeed more now than before the tournament. In fact, during the bouts, and watching the others, I really felt that there wasn't a 'me vs you' but really a 'me vs me' and 'we helping we' spirit, even as we dealt each other powerful blows! We really were achieving the ideal of being mirrors for each other. I have done other competitions, in various kinds of external sports, but I've never felt this feeling of mutual support before. I don't think anybody actually cared about winning or losing, I certainly didn't -- It was really the opportunity to help each other test ourselves that was the important thing.
Today I am in great spirits, full of energy and feel really positive and full of life. I know, like Chris, I would have been feeling regret instead if I had not participated. It may not have been beautiful and graceful kung-fu, but it was, for me, definitely a break into new, uncharted territory, and this has something liberating and thrilling about it. Perhaps the greatest thing is that I have increased self-awareness of where I need to work to improve, to make the next leap forward. And as Sifu has said, awareness of a problem already contains the remedy.
I totally agree with Chris -- if we're not training to have the confidence to use kung-fu in real life situations, then are we really living up to the ideals of the past masters? I think there is a risk that our practice becomes a kind of self indulgence, if we just seek easy joy and fun without balancing this with the more rigorous task of pushing ourselves to constant self-mastery.
I don't think tournaments are the only way to push oneself, and perhaps they aren't for everybody, but I think, based on my own experience, that there may be some students out there who actually need to undergo the experience or else they risk getting held back in their progress by their own fears or just lack of self-awareness.
I think there is also another learning that is dawning on me as I write this post- when we are in a tournament with members of our school, and when Sifu is present, there really is nothing to fear -- its like we're transported into a special dimension where its totally safe to let go and become familiar with the new experience and let our training take over. Maybe we're back in the original Shaolin Temple itself? I think that it must be a manifestation of the wu wei /yu wei principle -- you need to make the effort to overcome your doubts/fears/whatever is holding you back and get yourself into the tournament ring, but once you are there, the wu wei takes over and there is a real protection and support that comes to your aid. I don't know if others felt this, but now as I reflect on it I know its not just my imagination.
25th June 2012
The above is reproduced from the thread Full Contact San Shou Competition in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum
Editorial Note : Sifu Chris Didyk emerged as Champion of the Middleweight Division in the San Shou Competition.