"Of all the people you will fight your biggest competitor is going to be yourself. Strive to improve each time you go out on the field. The Knight that has been training for twelve years may defeat you with the first blow. Learn from him and next time it may take him two blows to take you out. Don't try to do and what the person next to you is doing. Work to improve yourself, compete against yourself and you are winning".
Powerful words from the kind Knight that so patiently fielded my questions, explained how to make a sword, hold a shield, showed me stances and strikes. Powerful words that realized later are applicable in all aspects of life. (When I get his name next Sunday I will sure to update this as he deserves full credit for this post).
This evening I stood beside Mouse in Karate practicing kata over and over again. Sweat ran down our faces and the sleeves of our gee stuck to our arms making the movements that much more difficult. We were struggling to get our stances right, our strikes correct, wrists straight, fist tight, heels on the floor, pivot on the balls of the feet, stay low, use hips for power, and the best of all... remember to breath. As frustration filled me and my body was saying "you will never get this right" I could hear Sensei's voice in my head asking "have you done it a thousand times yet, ten thousand?". Again we went through the moves, then again and again.
On the way home from class the kind Knight's words came back to me. Tomorrow I will do kata again and tomorrow I will do better. I will remember more, I will be stronger and wiser than I was today. I WILL defeat my greatest enemy, the part of me that wants to give up, to walk away, that tells me "you can't do it, whats the use in even trying".
For sure good Sir Knight, chivalry lives on!