It is manifest in my heartbeat in the long hours and sacred silent minutes before every match. It stabs me like the pangs of hunger during fasts breeding discipline of body, strength of mind, and fortitude of soul.
It’s overcome when I introduce my opponent’s face to the mat, to its texture and smell; softened and intensified over the course of a thousand training sessions and through the absorption of gallons of human sweat.
In the world’s oldest sport, all questions about fear and determination are addressed in the exact moments when in my opponent’s eyes I clearly read that knees – or heart – will fold. They are answered beyond any shadow of doubt when I squeeze the lock and score a fall.
I will not weaken, for the only way I can become a champion is to welcome and endure that which I fear most – the possibility of being beaten – by seasoned teammates one day, and by unknown foes in foreign gyms the next.
After hours, days, and weeks of willing myself into the house of painful repetition, the bruises begin to fade. Quads burn less. Pain enters more slowly as body and mind are hardened, reconstructed, and refined. In the end, stepping out of the circle with arms raised in victory is not about outside obstacles, nameless opponents, or even the taste of my own blood. It’s about confronting my own pain, and through this, exceeding my own potential. It’s about transforming anxiousness into power.
It’s about me.
Family, coaches, teammates: I cherish their support. But on the mat, there are no kinships except with the mat itself.
Here, I must be, more than anything, Out For One.”
*This quote has been borrowed (and edited for grammar) from oldschoolathletics.com It rings true and I thought I had to share it with the world.