Tournament Experience


One of the most memorable experiences came in 1975, at the Oceanside, Ca Four Seasons Tournament, sponsored by Mike Stone.

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" contact.

"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 and prevail?

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 cold.

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."
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