Fight for the Future

by Jinryu

It’s Friday at this point. This is my second week off of school due to the midsemester break, and I haven’t had much of a vacation when you really think about it. It’s been a lot of work, and not all that much play.

On the plus side, I got through the tournament match and did pretty well, considering my own expectations. It’s the first time I do a round of full contact kickboxing in a competitive situation in several years, so I was glad that I got in what I did. The setup was 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, no knees or elbows. Round 1 was scored as a tie (10-10 by the judges). I got my opponent with an axe kick about halfway through and that made his nose start to bleed a fair amount. I stuck to my game plan in that one and managed to outmaneuver him, playing hit and run. It seemed to me also that his cardio wasn’t as good as mine, so even if I just kept it even early on, it’d be okay because I would be able to wear him down.

Round two was scored 10-9 in favour of my opponent. It was clear to me that my opponent was a tank– with all the armour that we were wearing, my roundhouses didn’t have enough stopping power. Also, because of the weight difference I think, my side kicks weren’t going as deep as I wanted. I started taking more risks to score bigger with boxing, and that was my mistake– I got greedy, and suffered for it, because my opponent was more than willing to exchange at hooking range. In fact, he easily ate my punches, and served it back to me with such force that I was often forced out of bounds. In the skirmish, he managed to hit me a solid in the face which started my nose bleeding. On account of not being able to breathe properly, my cardio started falling apart and I wasn’t able to maintain my distance from him anymore.

Round three I started putting more energy back into the kicking, and i think that the damage was trading well– I was doing a fair number on his legs. However, with one of his charges, he managed to nail me straight on a couple of times in the face through my guard. I wasn’t hurt, in large part because of the headgear and gloves, however I was bleeding enough that I couldn’t breathe through my nose anymore and my mouthguard was starting to get caked up. I figured I was happy with what I had done, so I forfeit rather than toughing out the last minute or so remaining. The third round was scored 10-8 on account of technical knockout.

All in all though, it was a great fight that’s done a lot to boost my confidence about life in general. I’m not sure how many of you people look back on your youths and find that you were once so adventurous and brave– I look back on my youth and find that, despite the stupidity of it, yeah, there was the adventure of it all, wasn’t there? At the time, the inability to forsee consequences was what fueled our passions with that extra hi-octane stuff. It made the days endless, the nights unlimited.

I’m not one who will age well. I’m certain of it. I have too much that I want to accomplish. It isn’t that I want to hold on to my youth in some physical sense– but rather, I guess I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that time will eventually catch up to me, and I’ll lose all the sensations of expereince. And if not for our drives, then what’s the point of life?

The thing is, I’ve never been one to really be content with the standard plan. I’m not conservative. I’ve always been one to find something I want to obsess about, and push in that direction. It’s not enough for me to do it by the textbook.

When will it ever be enough?

I’ve noticed one big difference between being young and being my current age though, and it has a lot to do with [CM]. If I was younger– I wouldn’t have forfeited in the third round. You can be damn well sure that, if I was going to lose, a [Jinryu] ten years ago was going to make sure that I took some of your teeth with me. Despite taking massive damage in tournaments, including bleeding noses, an injured eye, dislocated fingers, and fractured bones– I have never not completed a round, and when the gong sounded, I was always still moving.

So what’s different this time around?

My opponent the other day was about 20 kilos heavier than me, and at least 6 years younger than me. I tied him in the first round, I wasn’t too far behind in the second. I’d like to think that if it wasn’t an interclub tournament, that I could catch him with high roundhouses to the head and that it would have gone through his headgear and guard pretty easily. I’m not looking down on him, just because I chose not to use those kinds of techniques– but what I am saying is that I chose the terms on which I would fight, and within them, I did good. I only started doing kickboxing about a month ago, after a break from heavy martial arts of several years. In one month, I’ve turned my entire physique around. Compared to who I was when I left Canada, I’ve shed almost all of my fat, I’ve regained a lot of cardio, and I’ve put some life back in my legs and arms. I’ve also reawakend the fight computer that’s always been catching dust in the back of my head.

I think I stopped myself in that third round because instinctively, I felt that I was satisfied.

A younger me would have critisized me for giving up– he would have told me that I was a coward for not going until the very end. That without risking everything, I had nothing. Sure, I could have gotten hurt– but on the other hand, I had the chance for a glorious comeback, right?

But I have a greater understanding of my place in the world now. I’m not just a passionate fighter, although being one, I’ve realized, gives me the backbone to do everything else in my life better. I am defined by other things as well. Being a good fighter, I’ve learned, has a lot to do with chosing your fights. Sometimes, being able to protect those who you care about means not fighting at all– and indeed, sometimes the opponent more relevant than the opponent before you is your own pride.

I know my limits, I know what I want. And part of that means a future. And I know I’ve got a lot more time on this planet to become who I ought to be. This game is on my terms– and so, as long as I’m happy with myself, I can stand just fine.