A TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE - TESTING MYSELF
One of the most memorable experiences came in 1975, at the
Oceanside, Ca Four Seasons Tournament, sponsored by
I was a green belt and was going to participate in the
freestyle or "kumite" competition.
One has to remember that at this time all of the protective
gear available today was non-existent. Although freestyle
was point fighting, there was the inevitable "accidental"
"What matters is not what you can do
but what you are willing to do."
One of the green belt competitors was a huge, tough U.S. Marine,
who although short on skill, was winning by just overpowering his
smaller competitors. I was part of a team that day, each member of a
different rank pitted against similar teams. When ready to fight, I
realized that the very same Marine was the green belt I would have to
fight. Now was the perfect time to test myself. Could I use the skills
that I learned, both in technique and mental spirit to overcome fear
It didn't take me long to realize that all he wanted to do was just
beat me up. He was wild, strong, in great physical shape, and
dangerous. I had to use every bit of skill just to defend myself. But
in order to win, I had to fight back and score some points. I calmed
down; focused and got ready to try the technique that I was sure would
work. When he next charged, I sidestepped and countered with a Kenpo
ridgehand on the side of his neck. Unfortunately, although the
technique worked, my control and his mad forward rush caused some
"accidental" contact. My counter attack had knocked him out
The referee, "Chicken" Gabriel (unknown to me, but my future instructor) disqualified
me for excessive contact. Even though I lost, and let my team down, I
finally understood many things. The skills that I had learned did
work, even against a much bigger opponent. I had passed a test of
individual courage. The real victory for me that day however, was
knowing that these skills were dangerous, and I accepted that awesome
responsibility, realizing that they were to be used wisely and only
when absolutely necessary.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."