In karate tonight, there was a real adult-only class that followed the mixed (Aka kids) class. We began sparring for the session. As usual, I was extremely nervous. Even as I was, in a way, destroying my opponents in matches, I was dealing with those nerves, with that fear, allowing and releasing that sense of panic that always comes up for me around sparring.
The instructor even commented on how I had been so worried before, and yet see how far I had come… I told her that just because no one else noticed didn’t mean I had no fear or stress around the sparring…, as is the case with most anything in life. Just because we can’t see something on the outside, doesn’t mean it isn’t there on the inside for someone. As we put on our gear to spar, I had noticed the distinct reeling of my heart, panicked at what was potentially to come.
And, tonight, one of those things did come. The assistant instructor hit me hard in the center of the face. Though we wear helmets, his glove and hand hit the face cage so hard, it rattled everything, and it knocked me back a couple paces. No, my head didn’t jolt backward – I keep myself braced enough to avoid that -, but it shook me. And it frightened me. Just the sound from a hard hit on the helmet, from the inside, is jarring. The physical sensation addition of the hit itself just adds to the whole experience. When it happened tonight, I had to wait a few moments before I could return to the ring to continue. I was a tad dizzy, but only from the shock, not from any physical damage. I communicated that it had been too hard (he asked immediately, likely knowing, and I confirmed), and that I needed just a few moments to gather myself before continuing. And they allowed it easily. And everything was okay. I had I remind myself that I was safe and that everything was okay, including that I’d been hit so, and I put myself back in the ring before I fully felt like I wanted to be there. I knew I wouldn’t want to go back ever, if I didn’t just breathe and go back then. So, I went back in. I was nervous, and focusing on calming myself more than on sparring to win. I don’t remember the outcome of that match in particular, but I do remember that achieving the calm I sought was the best thing I could have done for myself. And I am grateful to have reached it, and to have been able not only t continue with other matches, but to do them calmly and stellarly. At the end of the night, I was clear that I had had a wonderful, fun, and free-feeling time… sparring. Which is awesome. 🙂