Category Archives: Karate

My life with Karate.

Karate And Me – Part 9 – Competing As An Adult

KARATE AND ME

PART 9 – COMPETING AS AN ADULT

Turning sixteen and moving into the adult categories for competing was not an easy transition. It would probably have been easier had I been training regularly, but alas that wasn’t to be anymore. For the past couple of years I had been plagued by knee problems, firstly the painful growing pains and once that had subsided I was left with an almost constant ache in my knees, this restricted any training, as the next day it would be severe and then fade as each day passes, only to start again next time I tried to train.

Secondly I had now become an instructor instead of a student, so training opportunities were restricted to one or twice a week, if I was lucky. When you add in the factor that I was at least a good four or five inches shorter than most of the other competitors, with the majority a good six foot tall and then there’s me, just five foot four and a half inches tall, believe me the half is very important to me!

Being short doesn’t stop you becoming a good fighter, it just means you have to work harder, be faster, have lightning reactions and great movement. I had speed, that’s not an issue, but reactions are the one thing that needs constant training, the ability to react when a six foot bloke is throwing a fist straight at your head is a must, this was the training I was severely lacking.

Due to the lack of training I missed my first national championships in 1990, it would be my first as an adult, which although meant that I would be in the junior male section, I didn’t feel fit enough or that I had had the required training, so I attended just as a coach and spectator.

Later in the year I started to compete again, but the success I had had in the last few years as a child, was now none existent. There was no momentum to carry into the adults sections, it was now a case of starting again from scratch, to reevaluate where I was, my tactics and my training.

Then came my first nationals as an adult in 1991, this time I entered and frankly in the fighting I was out of my depth for the first time, I could hold my own, but I was a long way from being competitive, not with the level of training I was getting, I was physically smaller, so I had to be physically quicker and smarter, this was where I was struggling.

But in the kata, that was a different story. In that first adult competition I lined up alongside all the other seniors, feeling a little bit out of my depth, but that I was going to give it all I had. I had never really had any success in the nationals in the boys kata, never got through more than a couple of rounds, so now I was in the adults, I didn’t expect much more.

So I was called up for my first match and I won. I was called up again and again, I kept winning. I made it through to the last two on my area, if I won that I would be through to the semi finals with the other area winners and the seeded finalists from the previous year, the seeds were basically made up of current English squad members, some of which were European and world medalists.

After the first kata, it was a tie, so we went again. I felt through the first half I was doing quite well, then my curse hit me, I suffered from something that would plague me for years, my foot slipped on the mats, losing my balance and composure for just a moment, but just long enough for the judges to see, I lost the bout and was out, I was so close, yet so far.

It was a disappointment, yet a revelation all at the same time. Having become less successful in fighting, I was breaking through in kata. All the development of my basic technique that I had put into my teaching, was showing in my kata ability. In the next few competitions later that year, the same pattern followed, moderate success in the fighting, followed by promising success in the kata. I wasn’t winning any trophies or medals at this stage, which after many successful years in the junior sections was a little different, but in the kata I was improving, soon I would stop competing regularly in fighting and concentrate all my training into the kata.

I was only getting in a certain amount of my own training, so developing my technique, which I could still do whilst teaching made more sense to me. I would still fight for the club in team events and enter the odd individual fighting completions, but after that I concentrated on kata competitions, success didn’t come straight away, but I was determined to get there.

FIREFIGHT by JIMMY EAT WORLD
This is where our diligence has lead
The waves roll in to claim our patient steps
Can we become more than just ourselves?
And leave the sand, our want, our will, our doubt

It’s firefight, I won’t run.
They’re spitting spite all through my blood
For you and me, there’s nowhere left to hide
Except you and me, there’s no one else alive

This is now the moment after next.
Are these still the eyes of a temptress?
Why open the door if you won’t go?
Don’t ask twice if you don’t wanna know.

It’s firefight, I won’t run.
They’re spitting spite all in my blood
For you and me, there’s nowhere left to hide
Except you and me, there’s no one else alive

Is there an answer?
If it’s an honest one, honestly worth its question
There’s no question
The city as my witness
I am who I wanna be, but you could be anything
Just be anything here with me.
Endless quotes and with the secondhand
If you let go then that’s where time will stand.

It’s firefight, I won’t run.
They’re spitting spite all through my blood
For you and me, there’s nowhere left to hide
Except you and me, there’s no one else alive

It’s firefight, I won’t run.
They’re spitting spite all through my blood
For you and me, there’s nowhere left to hide
Except you and me, there’s no one else alive.

Karate And Me – Part 8 – Becoming The Instructor

KARATE AND ME

PART 8 – BECOMING THE INSTRUCTOR

As 1990 rolled around myself and Darren weren’t left completely on our own in running a karate club, I had just turn 16 and Darren 18, thankfully we had a bit of help from another instructor of a club local to us. Jeff ran the club at Bingham at that time, he would come and train with Alan and when I was able I would go over to his club at Bingham on a Friday evening to train. Alan had asked Jeff to be our advisor and just to help us through, so Jeff would train under us on a Tuesday evening and then teach for us on a Thursday evening, which gave Darren and myself chance to train, I would continue to train at his club on Fridays as and when possible.

I think there are four main types of good karate instructor, yet there are many bad ones.

There is the instructor who has great technique, but lacks the knowledge or personality to convey his message across, he can’t really explain it, you just watch and try to replicate, maybe great for bringing through lower grades, but not always good to give higher grades the knowledge they needed, at this point in my life I think this was about where I was, maybe lacking a little bit in technique though.

Then there is the instructor who is maybe struggling with injuries or older in their years, they lack the technical ability to show the technique the way they want, but can explain the technique is such simple terms that a good student can still learn from. Jeff was like this, he was in his 60’s, both his hips were gone and would in the coming years be replaced, but his knowledge was great, he could spot minor flaws in technique and correct them, I learnt a lot from Jeff, he was a quiet man, but you simply respected him, I owe a lot to Jeff in those early years, I think he taught me how to be an instructor.

There is also the all rounder, this is where Alan fell, he had good technique, very good technique, he had great knowledge which he could convey easily, he could also get that last inch of effort out of you when you really thought you had none left, he was a great instructor, not the greatest technique or knowledge, but still had covered all the bases and could inspire that last drop of energy.

Then there is the instructor who has everything, amazing technique, unequalled knowledge and can get his point across easily and also has that personality that inspires, these guys are few and far between, if you find one, train under them as much as you can and learn everything you can, you’ll love every minute of it.

At that point in my life, I guess I had good technique, I had good knowledge, I just had to get over my shy personality and find a way to put what I knew in to words others could understand without me freezing or looking unsure of myself.

One thing I decided I had to do was get my technique to level I wanted others to do it. I believed that in order for me show the technique and explain it the way I wanted them to do it, then I had to be doing it that way too. I couldn’t correct them on something that they had copied me doing, if I wanted them doing the technique the right way, as far as I was concerned I had to be showing them the right way too. Explaining wasn’t enough, it was all or nothing.

So in a way I became my own teacher, I had to analyse everything I was doing and make sure if I was explaining what I wanted, I was doing it also. It brought my technique on leaps and bounds, I learnt to trust my body to perform the movement the way I wanted it to, if it was wrong it would feel wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I still needed someone like Jeff to run an eye over me from time to time, along with other visiting instructors, I had to keep improving and keep analysing, it was a never ending circle and really, it always should be, we shouldn’t get complacent, shouldn’t think we know everything, nobodies perfect, if I became perfect would there be a reason to carry on training?

In time I would ask my students if they thought they were really knew their Kata for their next grading and could do it well. I know this might sound harsh, but follow me on this one, but they would always answer yes to both questions, so I would respond that they were better than me!

This got a look of consternation from them all, confused, perplexed, how could they be better than me, they looked up to me, parents would say their kids wanted to be as good as me and in truth every instructor should aim for their students to be better than they are, that’s the goal.
But I would explain, that I know the directions of the kata, I know the pattern, but I’m still learning it even now, I may win kata competitions, but I’m not the best in the world, I’m not world champion, I still do not know any of the katas I can do properly, so they should always look to improve, I can do them well, but I still need to study them and do them better, there’s always room for improvement, lots of room for improvement.

Sometimes we have to humble and realise we need to improve, maybe we are trying to help others improve and we are further along the journey in what ever part of life, be it karate or just life in general, then we still need to improve.

I would look at students mistakes and then look back at myself, if I was doing that the. I needed to correct myself and improve, with kids especially it’s a case of monkey see monkey do, even adults would do that to a certain extent, so as an instructor I strove to learn from my students too, you’re never to good to improve or be taught a lesson by your students either.

I found the adults interesting, when older adults came along as new beginners they struggled, we would get very intelligent guys and women come along, teachers, businessmen, all sorts, but they struggled and got so frustrated. I came to the conclusion that they had forgotten how to learn!

I suppose as a kid or young adult, you spend all your time in a learning environment, learning all the time and especially as kids with sports and maybe even young adults in new manual jobs where you are actually training your body as well as your mind, you will find it easier to learn karate. If you haven’t been in a learning environment or done any training where body coordination comes into play you will struggle. Don’t get me wrong that doesn’t stop anybody training, with the right mentality that can and will be over come, but the frustration of some of these guys was plain to see.

We had adults who just could grasp which was their left or right leg, they knew left and right, but getting the to move the right one, as well as say punch or block at the same time was hard work. They just hadn’t been in that kind of learning environment for such a long time and they began to show their frustration, they wanted to train hard and strong, they believed that’s what an adult like them should be doing, but in reality it was the opposite, I tried to get them to slow down, pay attention to their body, to feel their way through and concentrate on the basics, the speed and strength could come later, but no they were like bulls in a china shop, they had to go hard and strong.

Eventually I would get through to some, others we lost in frustration, some just wanted to fight and didn’t understand you have to do the basics first, over and over again, and keep doing it until they were of a reasonable quality and control to allow them to fight. I think people expect to come in and fight straight away, kids want to be ninja turtles or power rangers straight away, like on the TV and films, adults wanted to be like the higher grades straight away, they don’t understand the process to get to the level where they are, it’s a journey, not a quick fix, just like life.

Sometimes we all have to slow down and go back to the basics. Sometimes we all have to look at our life technique and reevaluate it, never be afraid to learn from someone at a different stage of the journey, whether that be ahead or behind us, there are lessons to be learnt from everyone.

BECOME WHO YOU ARE by MAINSTAY
So it seems that I’m wrong ’cause you said that
I would never want for anything again
But my eyes are set low and I’m holding
To the things I know I can’t keep

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

So it seems that I’m wrong ’cause I keep on
Searching for the answers that I don’t need
I know I don’t need

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

Becoming who you are
You’re just becoming, just becoming
You’re just becoming, just becoming

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

I’m finding each time that you fall
I’m finding each time that you fall
We’re finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

Walking On Lego

It was my first day back at work in over 11 days, I must say it took some getting up this morning when the alarm went off, my body just didn’t want to get up and my mind seemed to be in agreement.

As I walked to work this morning, I was surprised how good I felt, there was only a dull ache in my heel, unfortunately that didn’t last as the day wore on.

I’ve had this pain in my left heel for almost seven months now, after a three hour training session last November, the pain went from dull ache and occasional sharp pain to all out sharp pain, the only way I can describe it is like continually walking on a piece of lego.

Those who have kids will probably know what that’s like, that moment when you tread on a piece of lego or any other small sharp toy, you will know that pain the bottom of the foot, it’s an occupational hazard when you have young kids.

After that training session it was like I had that piece of lego in my shoe, every footstep was a sharp pain.  So I had two choices, see the Doctor to see what they recommend or just pay for physio, so I booked a physio session.  I had seen this guy a number of years ago about a torn muscle I had in my back, he sorted it out back then, so I was confident he could get to the bottom of the problem this time around.

I booked in but had to wait a number of weeks to get an appointment, that was a couple of weeks before Christmas, what I found out was that is wasn’t my heel that was injured or the bottom of the foot, it wasn’t the ankle, but it turned out to be a torn calf muscle!

He said it had been done some time ago, but it had failed to heal properly, instead the muscle fibres had knotted, because of this the muscle was tightening and shortening which in turn was stretching the Achilles tendon, causing the pain in the heel.

I can only think that I tore this muscle walking in preparation for coming out of retirement for the National’s back in June.  I’m a kind of all or nothing sort of guy, instead of slowly getting back into training and building up, I just jump in and go for it where I left of, the pain started during that training, so I have carried the injury since then.

I have a certain stretch to do everyday, designed to stretch out this muscle, but this hurts to do and aggravates the heel, but when I went back to physio last week, I was reprimanded for not doing enough.

So far I have had two lots of treatment and am already booked in for another, it doesn’t seem like a quick fix like I had before with the back muscle, this one is way more complicated.

If I’m up on my feet it’s not to bad, if I’m moving around it’s generally okay, just the dull ache that very rarely goes away, but I’ve managed to tune out to that.  If I sit down for just a couple of minutes and then get back up, then the pain returns immediately, it pulls on the heel really hard, so I hobble about for a while.

This morning I thought everything was fine, at work I managed to stretch the calf whilst I was up and about, but that just aggravates the problem for a while as it’s stretching it out and the pain returned for most of the day.

The physio said until this is fully stretched out, so the stretching no longer hurts and the muscle doesn’t hurt when he works it, we cannot move on to strengthening the calf, so the stretches have to stay and I suppose for the time being the pain has to stay, but hopefully it gradually fades away as each day passes.

I really want to get out walking again in the mornings, but until this problem is sorted I can’t do that.  My plan is compete again this year, so I want to get ready with months to go, not weeks this time, so the sooner I can move forward the better, but for the time being, I just keep going with the painful stretching and wait to see what the next physio session is like in two weeks.

So for now, I have to keep walking with that piece of lego in my shoe!!!

INVINCIBLE by HEDLEY
Took a long hard look at my life
Lost my way while I was fighting the time
A big black cloud, stormy sky
Followed me while I was living a lie
So heartless, so selfish, so in darkness
When all your nights are starless
You’re running outta hope

But I found the strength inside to see
Found the better part of me
And I’ll never let it go

I’ve come a long, long way
Made a lot of mistakes
But I’m breathing, breathing
That’s right
And I mean it, mean it
This time
I’m a little run down
I’ve been living out loud
I can beat it, beat it
That’s right
’cause I’m feeling, feeling
Invincible
Whoa-oh-oh-oh [x3]

When you’re gone for a day on your own
Tear your heart out just to find your way home
I’ve been so high, I’ve sunk so low
I’ve come so far with nothing to show
For it mistaken, I got so good at taking
But now I’m tired of faking
This story’s getting old

So I found the strength inside to see
From the better part of me
And I’ll never let it go

I’ve come a long, long way
Made a lot of mistakes
But I’m breathing, breathing
That’s right
And I mean it, mean it
This time
I’m a little run down
I’ve been living out loud
I can beat it, beat it
That’s right
’cause I’m feeling, feeling
Invincible
Whoa-oh-oh-oh [x3]
Invincible

I’m not the only one
To crash into the sun and live to fight another day
Like a super nova, that old life is over
I’m here to stay

Now I’m gonna be
Invincible
Whoa-oh-oh-oh [x3]
Invincible

I’ve come a long, long way
Made a lot of mistakes
But I’m breathing, breathing
That’s right
And I mean it, mean it
This time
I’m a little run down
I’ve been living out loud
I can beat it, beat it
That’s right
’cause I’m feeling, feeling
Invincible
Whoa-oh-oh-oh [x3]
Invincible.
Whoa-oh-oh-oh [x3]
Invincible

Karate And Me – Part 7 – 1989 A Year To Grow Up

KARATE AND ME

PART 7 – 1989 A YEAR TO GROW UP

So 1988 finished on a high after recovery from an injury, then 1989 should have been plain sailing, continued growth, I guess it was but for wholly different reasons.

An injury that happens due to an accident or an incident, like my ruptured ankle is one thing, but an injury that can’t be seen or can’t be explained is another thing.  As the new year moved on, I was still training five times a week, Sunday was the busiest by far, it was a three and half hour slog every week, firstly teaching beginners for one hour, then two hours training in the general class and then an additional half an hour for just the brown and black belts, it was a hard day.

In early 89, I found that I would wake in the early hours of Monday morning, suddenly wake in pain, my shins just below my knees would be screaming in pain, when this happened there was no getting back to sleep, there was no position I could find to ease the pain, nothing I could do, I would just lie in bed crying with the pain, for weeks I kept it to myself, but then eventually I told my Mum and she arranged an appointment with a Doctor.

As the weeks went by I began to get aches and pains in my knees too, during training and after, it never really went away, but that pain on Sunday nights/Monday mornings was the worst.

Up until I was 15 I was under 5ft in height, suddenly in the first few months of 89 I had grown to pretty much my current height of 5ft 4½ inches, when I saw the Doctor he explained that I had Osgood-Schlatter Disease, it sounds severe, but essentially is severe growing pains.  He explained that the growth plates within my lower legs were not growing at the same rate and the pressure of my training was causing the pain, even the pain that would wake me in the middle of the night.  There wasn’t much that he could do, other than prescribe painkillers, it would eventually go, in other words I would grow out of it too, but it could be sometime, he advised that when the pain became severe to take time off training.

Over the coming months I would skip training for weeks at a time when it became bad, I tried to train through it, but it wasn’t always possible.

In terms of competition,  I still competed, but for the fighting my growth changed the category I was in.  At that time competition was catorised by height with under 5 feet and over 5 feet, all my success had come at under 5 feet, everyone was pretty much my height, we were all well matched, now it wasn’t so.  My first competition in the new height group was the Nationals, although I didn’t change the way I fought, I still waited and counter attacked, it made it harder, the distance changed because most of my opponents were now inches taller and so this changed my timing, that first competition I got through to the quarter finals, but lost to the eventual champion, he must have been almost six foot, his reach was way beyond mine and he just picked me off at random, it was a learning experience to say the least and from there I had to re-assess my style of fighting.

Over the summer I took more time off training, the pain wasn’t going away and at times it got worse, especially those Sunday nights, I came to dread going to sleep on Sunday night and not because it was school the next day, because I knew it was going to be painful.

Then one evening during the early summer Alan asked if he could speak with my Dad and me after a class, he took us aside and then dropped the bombshell.  He had decided that he was going to emigrate to Australia, only it would be this coming October, but he needed to organise the people who he wanted to continue running the club.  My Dad had been helping take the money at the club for some time, he helped Alan out where he could, which allowed Alan to concentrate on just teaching, so Alan asked if Dad could keep doing this, but it was his choice of instructors that was the big bombshell.  I was only fifteen and my club mate Darren was only seventeen, but Alan had decided we were the two people he wanted to continue the teaching at the club, Darren being older would be Senior Instructor and I would be Assistant Instructor, Darren’s Mum would become Secretary and handle the admin and my Dad would collect the money and help Julia organise things.

I don’t think it was so much as a request from Alan, I’m not sure he really offered me a choice, but I didn’t refuse and neither did my Dad, he had already approached Darren and Julia by this point and they had agreed, so did we, so it was all set.  After the next club grading at the end of September Alan would step down and leave the country just a few weeks later.  He had arranged for a couple of other junior students to run the Lincoln club with the help of their parents, but at the last minute those plans changed and a couple of other seniors who ran other clubs in the Lincoln area took over that club.

I don’t think at that time I really realised what that would mean in terms of my life, I was fifteen, it was just karate, although a big part of my life, I didn’t see it having such a big influence on the direction that my life would follow from that point.  From this point on, my life would begin to revolve around the club, my life choices were formed around what was best for the club and it’s students, although I didn’t have much of a plan for my life at that point, they would all have to revolve around the club I was now tied to.

My main apprehension at that point was how I would be received by other members of the club, mainly by our adult section.  I was senior than most of them in terms of grade and experience, but I was a junior in terms of age, our adult section ranged from ages 18 through to people in their 50s and 60s, if I was to be taken seriously by them and other club instructors, I had a lot of growing up to do.

But in those early months, my fears were all for nothing, the seniors seemed to understand the pressure both myself and Darren found ourselves in and helped us as much as they could, they stood by us and the transition went smoothly.  If anything is was our peers, the other guys that were of a similar age and grades, they were the ones that fell away, some left to go to college or university, others I guess found it difficult to adjust to us teaching, they simply left overtime, but the seniors, they stayed with us and encouraged us, I will never forget that, the respect they showed us both.

As the year came to a close there were once more a number of competitions, the first of which was just a week or so before Alan left at the Regionals, as a club we had our best competition yet, we returned with numerous trophies.  For me I had a break through, this time in kata, for the first time I made the individual final for kata at a Regional level, I finished fourth, but it was a break through, especially as my effectiveness in the fighting was now challenged by my lack of height.

As November came around my, knees were still causing trouble, when I returned to the Newark Open, I made the finals of the kata and the kumite, but in the last round of the kumite I clashed knees with my opponent, my knees were already aching, but due to the pain and bruising, I decided to withdraw, I regret it now, I should have just gone for it, but at the time I sat out and watched the others compete in the finals, thinking that I could have beaten them.

A week later I went back to the Ipswich Open, once more in the morning I made the kata final and then in the afternoon competed in the kumite.  I made it through to the quarter finals and then faced the tallest guy in the competition.  I remember the early exchanges, I waited and he attacked, again he out reached me and I wasn’t quiet as quick as I was due to the lack of training over the last few months, so it was hard, I just couldn’t match him.  Then he came in with a punch to the face, I tried to get underneath it, to block and counter as he came in, but he hit me full in the face, I just remember everything happening in slow motion as I slowly fell to the ground.

When I came around I was flat on my back and it seemed there was blood everywhere, the referees rushed over to me and then the first aiders came over, my mouth felt numb and I put my tongue to the left side of my mouth and realised I had a large hole in my top lip, it was torn wide open.

The first aiders helped me back to their station, while the referees disqualified my opponent.  I had made it through to the finals, but first there was the small problem of the hole in my lip.  The first aiders said they couldn’t do anything for me and it would have to be stitched at the hospital.  One of the local volunteers agreed to drive myself and my Mum to the hospital.  I was helped up to go to his car, I took a few steps across the hall and once again everything went into slow motion and I found myself once again slowly slipping to the floor, I had collapsed again, by this point it was obvious I was going to take no further part in the competition.

I was taken to hospital and eventually had six stitches in my lip.  I made it back to the venue just in time to collect my two trophies, still in my blood soaked suit.  For the second time in two weeks I made the finals, but couldn’t compete in the final, I regretted the decision not to compete in the finals the previous week even more.

I couldn’t eat properly for a number of days, it felt like half my mouth was closed due to the swelling, my parents kept me off school for a few days, by the time I went back to school it looked a mess, the dried blood had scabbed around the stitches and it was still swollen, it didn’t look good at all.  They told us at the hospital that the stitches would dissolve after a week or so, almost three weeks later I still had four stitches still in there, the other two I had managed to get out with my tongue and my teeth, eventually a parent of one of my students, who used to be a nurse, cut them out for me.  I still have the scar on my lip, in time I would add to it, I’ve only had two sets of stitches in my life and the second set would be in the very same place as the first!

So 1989 came and went, the nineties approached and the growing up was to continue.  When you take responsibility for something, especially at the age that I did, I guess you have no choice but to grow up quickly, what I originally found daunting I would begin to grow into, I would begin to grow as a person and a student myself.

BRAND NEW START by ALTER BRIDGE
Against the sky
Streams of light
Call out to me and you

We leave as one
We’ve just begun
To find the solace we’re due
This is the life we must choose

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

Cast your sorrows to the wind
Let the highway take us in
As we escape the disorder

This desert road
That we call home
This is our destiny
We’ll chase the setting sun
As we outrun
A life of agony
God how we ache to be free

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way

Karate And Me – Part 6 – Stagnation To The Winning Week

KARATE AND ME

PART 6 – STAGNATION TO THE WINNING WEEK

It’s fair to say that my karate progress has gone along at differing rates, so many times it has just moved along at a rate so slow, it’s hard to see any progress, then there have been big jumps in progress, it seems that’s the way it has always been, no steady progress, just very slow or very rapid, kind of all or nothing, I guess that sums up my character.

Following that period of success, starting with the runners up position at the regionals, passing my second dan and then third place at the nationals, everything slowed down once again.  In a way, there wasn’t that much to aim at for a while.

In terms of gradings, that was it until I was twenty one.  In our organisation, both then and now, the age limit for taking third dan was twenty one, some associations have a limit on first dan for juniors, but here in the U.K. there is rarely a limit on first and second dan, but third dan has that age limit, so for me at that period of time, grading became a distant thought.  I have to say that I fully agree with that, even though I did wait eight years to grade again, I don’t regret it and I believe it’s the right thing to do, even though I had a lot of knowledge at that point, at that age you don’t really have the maturity.  I was angered a few years back, when I saw that a senior instructor who split from that organisation and started his own, he changed that rule to eighteen, to promote his star student, in truth I thought it was a bit of a joke, because I knew the student in question and I had reservations about him, not so much his ability, but the general attitude he displayed to fellow students and competitors, as I say, I don’t believe he had the maturity to go with such a grade.

So the rest of 1987 went by without any major incident, I entered the regionals again that year, but in the fighting I was soundly beaten in the early rounds, the only success came as part of a team kata squad, Alan put me with two other lads, Darren and Ian, both were older, bigger and better than I was, but he decided we were the best team the club could put together at that time.  In team kata, as a three you perform the same kata in formation and synchronised, the three make a triangle, with on person in front and then two behind.  Generally you try to keep the two together at the back a similar size, so naturally I was the leader at the front, something that I have generally done all my career, even later on as part of the England team.  So I was the leader, I gave all the commands and set the tempo for the kata, essentially if I was off the team was off, there was no hiding when you’re in front.  It was our first outing as a team and we made the final four, I think we practiced really hard on our first kata to get through to the final, but not so much on a different kata should we get there, but we achieved the first priority, reach the final, but sadly we finished fourth out of four, but still received a trophy.

After that there wasn’t any further success for over a year, training was good, I was still training five times a week, still teaching with the beginners class, our black belt group was growing all the time and the club was growing, everything was good, so it’s hard to put a finger on why I didn’t continue with the successes I had had, but I guess these things happen from time to time.  In fairness, I have always said that the best lessons are learnt through failure, it makes you go back, to access and analyse things, a chance to work on things that aren’t quite right, so maybe it was a good thing.

In the summer of 1988 I had a major set back.  I had joined a local football club with a number of friends from school and over the summer we were preparing for the new season.  At a training session one Wednesday night I suffered an injury that put me in a plaster for a month.  I was running with the ball and my friend ran across me, taking my back leg with him, it was completely by accident, just one of those comings together, but my studs kept my foot stuck in the ground and I was spun around whilst my ankle ligaments twisted, as I fell to the ground my foot stayed flat in the ground and it torn my ankle apart as I fell, my ligaments were shredded.

I was taken to hospital, where they x-rayed the ankle, but they sent me home strapped up until some of the swelling had gone down and two days later I was put in plaster, it had severely torn my ligaments, I was now facing a month in plaster and then further time out until I could train again.

My Dad wasn’t happy, neither was Alan, my Dad said that after all that karate training I had no injuries and I do a few weeks of football and end up with ruptured ankle.  Alan wasn’t happy as he wanted myself, Darren and Ian to continue working together for that years regionals, which were coming up at the beginning of October, it was cutting it fine as I wouldn’t be out of plaster until the end of September, but he didn’t want to change the team at this stage.

I spent a month in plaster and then went back to have the plaster removed, if you have ever had limb put in plaster, you’ll know there is that moment of shock when the plaster is removed and a skinny looking thing with pale, flaking skin is there in front of you.  Where had it gone, my leg was tiny now from the calf down, in fact it still is, my right leg still looks skinny compared to the left, even after almost thirty years.

They told me to keep my weight of it for a week or so and to use crutches to get around.  I had use crutches for the first few days it was in plaster, but as they had given me a shoe to wear for the plaster, I had just walked around with that without using the crutches, I hated them.  So after walking home using the crutches, as soon as I got home, I put them aside and refused to use them ever again.  That was a Friday morning, I went to watch training that evening, but being sat there, with my foot out of plaster, I found it irritating not being able to do anything, so Sunday afternoon I defied Doctor’s orders and went back training.  I tried to take it easy, but soon got caught up in trying as hard as everyone else, some things were hard, I couldn’t turn on that foot as easily as I used to be able to, but after a few weeks, it was business as usual and our team was back practicing for the regionals.

We performed well, but I guess our lack of practice costs us, we failed to make the final, it was close, but we missed out.  I didn’t fight that year because of the ankle injury, only kata and team kata, but missed out on medals in both, maybe next year.

At the end of 1988 there were two open competitions that would be on back to back weekends, one at Newark on the last Sunday of November and then one in Ipswich on the Saturday after, which was made more interesting as we moved house the day before.  At the Newark Open I was entered in kata and kumite, I made it through to both finals that day, I finished third in the kata and then faced an old club mate in the final of the kumite.

Malcolm was a good fighter, I can’t remember the exact reason why, but he wasn’t training with us at that time, he was training with another local club, although we were all still good friends.  This competition was run on the unusual rules and they made us wear body armour and head protection, neither of us were used to this, but we made the most of it.  In the final I took the lead, fighting my usual way, just waiting for the opponent to come in, then counter attacking, I was leading when Malcolm made a series of punches to the head, the referee firstly warned him and then the second time disqualified him, as he announced it we both stood there wondering what was going on, I wasn’t particularly bothered by the punches, it was the head gear that was making it awkward, but the referees decision was final, I was awarded the fight, I was leading anyway, but still I didn’t want to win that way.

So the next weekend we went to Ipswich, I was in kata and kumite once again, but also in the team kata with Darren and Ian, as the eliminations went on I made the kata final and the team kata final, in the afternoon we had the kumite.  After fighting the previous week on the defensive, I decided to change my style in the first fight, I was against a lad I had beaten the weekend before, I decided to attack, pretty soon I lost the first point and almost lost the second, which would have seen me eliminated, Alan was refereeing and he gave me a look as if to say “what the heck are you doing!”  So I returned to my old style, I took the second point and then the decider to win the fight, so for the rest of the day I kept those same tactics, wait for them to come, I made the final once again and for the second weekend, it was me verses Malcolm, his chance for revenge from the weekend before.

I finished third once again in the kata, in the team kata we finished second and then it was the final of the kumite.  It was I guess a bit of a grudge match, this time no silly rules, no body armour and no head gear which caused more problems than it was worth, we were fighting the way we knew best, no gimics.

I kept the same tactics, wait and counter attack, Malcom was an aggressive fighter and liked to attack, so it was down to who was quickest, I took the first point by counter attacking and then the second doing the same, I was champion again for the second weekend running and any controversy or doubt about the result the week before was settled, we were still friends and remain so to this day.

It was a good return for seven very busy days, five trophies, two firsts, a second and two thirds, it was a good way to end a difficult year, but the bar was set for the year to come.

RISE TODAY by ALTER BRIDGE
The wind is blowing cold
Have we lost our way tonight?
Have we lost our hope to sorrow?

Feels like we’re all alone
Running further from what’s right
And there are no more heroes to follow

So what are we becoming?
Where did we go wrong?

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
Oh, won’t you rise today
And change this world?

The sun is beating down
Are we ever gonna change
Can we stop the blood from running?

Our time is running out
Hope we find a better way
Before we find we’re left with nothing

For every life that’s taken
So much love is wasted

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
So won’t you rise today
And change

This world
Only love can set it right
This world
If only peace would never die

Seems to me that we’ve got each other wrong
Was the enemy just your brother all along?

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
Oh won’t you rise today
And change this world?

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Yeah, oh yeah
I want to rise today
And change this world

Karate And Me – Chapter 5 – Success And Second Dan

KARATE AND ME

CHAPTER 5  – SUCCESS AND SECOND DAN

I guess after you’ve achieved a goal you set your heart on, there is a period of coming down, the next twelve months seemed to pass by with no real development, no real achievement, I trained, I continued to train five times a week, but just seemed to tread water.  It was one of those periods where I see where development was just slow.

The summer of 1985 was a strange one for me, I contracted some sort of virus which just didn’t seem to let go, I was constantly feeling sick, I missed about six weeks of training, there were times when I got to karate and then suddenly felt sick, my Dad thought I was losing interest, it wasn’t that way, I was still very much into training, I guess there was an element of that, but this virus did hang around for a while.

In either late 1985 or early 1986 Alan decided to add a special beginner’s class to the schedule on Sunday afternoon’s, but the revelation was the he wasn’t going to teach it, he would supervise, but it would be left to the junior black belts to teach new junior beginner’s the ropes.

At that point I was the fourth most senior of the junior black belts, so I was in effect just an assistant, but odd weeks I would lead the class.  I enjoyed this, one of us would lead the class while a couple of the other black belts or sometimes brown belts, would demonstrate in front of the class, the others mingled with the beginners, correcting them or showing them what to do.  The class started off small, but eventually it grew to over thirty students, this was in the hay day of the club, the overall membership of the club was well over 150, although at that time there was only one other karate club in the town and they didn’t take kids.

The junior black belts just kept coming, our the line up of black belts went from just the four of us at the end of 1984 and reached around twenty over the next few years, we had some promising students coming through, many showing much more potential than I had, many came through without getting any temporary grades and passed their black belt first time, in complete contrast to myself.

So 1985 passed for me with no real success, for the first time there were no gradings for me to take and in the competitions I entered, I didn’t find any success, but as Alan always said, the best lessons were in failing, that was where we really learnt about ourselves, not from victory.

The next year started pretty much the same way, but as our black belt section grew and we all trained together and pushed each other, things began to change.  In October the regional championships came around, four years previously I had taken part in my first competition in the regions, that time only in kata, this time I was twelve years old and allowed to fight in the competition for the first time.  At the time the current National Champion for my age group and height was from a club in Birmingham, he would be in the completion and he was a target for all of my club mates, he was the one we all really wanted to beat.

For some reason I decided to fight defensively from the off, I would just wait for my opponent to attack and either block and counter quickly or move in to hit them before they could hit me, in the early round it worked and I kept to the tactic, all the while listening to the instructions from one of my instructors behind me.  I was going well, so well in fact that Chris who was coaching me, missed the call for his competition, he wouldn’t leave the area whilst myself or any of my club mates were still in the competition.

I made it through to the semi final and was drawn against Andrew from Birmingham, I stuck to the same tactics, I would wait for him and counter attack.  It worked, I scored the first point, but Andrew went on all out attack as the time ran out, he didn’t score, but because he had managed to back me out of the area twice, it was given a draw, even though I was the only one to score.  So we had to fight again, still I would stick to the same tactic and it worked again, I picked him off, scored the only point and this time stood my ground, when time was called, I had scored the only point again and was declared the winner, I was through to my first final and had beaten the current National Champion to boot, I remember bowing off the area and jumping straight into Chris’s arms, I’m not sure who was more pleased in that moment, Chris or myself.

Come the final later that day, I would be facing my club mate Stuart, we knew each other quite well and knew how each other fought, he was still only a brown belt, but despite that he had already placed third in the National Championships.  I think I under estimated him, I thought being the black belt, this was mine, I was wrong.  The fight was over quickly, the first point happen almost immediately after the start, Stuart came in with a kick, which I still believe didn’t really connect and I countered, but his kick was scored, I was behind for the first time in the whole day.  For some reason then I switched tactic and went on the attack and Stuart beat me at my own game, he waited, blocked and countered, scoring the second point he needed to win the fight.

Still despite that defeat, I was still second in the region, there was over sixty kids in my category that day, I was second and had beaten the current National Champion, I had no right to be disappointed and I wasn’t, far from it.

As December come around it was time to attempt my second day, the grading would take place on my thirteenth birthday, down in Slough.  It was a long day, we left early and had to wait around so long before grading that, both myself and Darren who also went for his second dan, failed miserably.  I don’t think we were badly prepared, I don’t necessarily think the waiting around was a factor, it was just a hard grading, with a lot of good kids and on the day we hadn’t come up to scratch, we would both have to wait a few months before trying again.

It was only a couple of months before we would try again, so in February 1987 we went to Wellingborough to grade again, this time it was much closer to home and the waiting around wasn’t nearly as long.

There weren’t that many juniors going for second dan that day, I believe it was just six of us, I was naturally the youngest and by far the smallest, the others were all a couple of years older and all Darren’s size, so when it came to fighting, they pulled out a young brown belt who had just failed his black belt, it was a little unfair on him.  I wasn’t going to under estimate him like I had done a few month earlier, I went for it, I was all over him, in gradings it wasn’t acceptable to wait and defend like in competition, your were expected to show spirit and attack, so I did, I didn’t hurt the lad, but I never let him off the hook, I battered him a bit, the only time he hit me was with a kick below the belt, that just made me mad!

This time I had done enough, I had passed, unfortunately Darren hadn’t, that made things hard, we were good friends and it was hard not to show too much jubilant emotion, when you knew exactly what he was going through having failed before, to Darren’s credit, he never showed it, in fact the next morning I woke to find a congratulations card through my door, we had that much respect for each other, when he passed a few months later, I returned the compliments and put a card through his door too.

When May 1987 came around it was time for the National Championships again, as always at Crystal Palace, the junior catagories were getting bigger, there seemed to be more kids there each year and as usual, we were put in the smallest hall, out of the way of the crowds, but crammed into a small gym, hundreds of kids, not ideal, but we were all in the same boat.

I rode my luck to say the least that year, I made it through to round three and there I drew a lad called Ian, it was the first time he had competed, but he came with a reputation, his bigger brother was on the England National Squad and in the World Championships the year before had made the final, decisively beating the Japanese favourite on the way, so a lot was expected of Ian.

I was using the same tactics, wait and counter attack, but Ian didn’t give me chance, he was fast, he came in with a back fist, which hit me smack bang on my left ear, hard, I went down and the next thing I know he was on top of me, just punching away at my head.  He had gone over the top with his aggression and control, the referees disqualified him and awarded me the fight, I was through, but I would rather have won the fight fair and square.  I did get chance to fight Ian again a few years later, this time he fought cleanly and beat me hands down.

After that regaining my composure, despite the fact it felt like my ear had doubled in size, I made it through to the semi finals, there I faced a boy from Sunderland called Marc, he was good fighter and fought very similar to how I did, but he was faster than I was and beat me soundly, it was probably a fight to far for me, but I had made the semi finals and collected a bronze medal later that evening, it would be almost twenty years before I collected another medal from the Nationals, but I was happy with that one and Alan, my instructor was over the moon.

Later that day though I took part in the kata, in the first round I was against probably the smallest and youngest boy there, the judge announced the kata and told us both to begin, I started and then glanced across at this kid, he was doing a different kata to me, then I realized I was wrong, I had heard the right kata, announced the right kata, but was doing the wrong one, I stopped and just stood there as this kid finished, rightly he was awarded the win.  When I sat down, one of the corner judges turned to me, he said to come back next year when my head was on straight, well to be honest it didn’t matter, I was getting that bronze medal later, that was all I was bothered about!

After that period of treading water following passing my black belt, I had now in just over six months, come second at the regionals, passed my second dan and won bronze at the nationals, I was beginning to achieve a potential, that had you seen me when I first started, you wouldn’t think anyone like me could achieve.

NEW HORIZONS by FLYLEAF
So you’re tired but you’re alive
So open up your eyes
And you can get your sleep when you are dead
Kill the clock inside your head
Bring your normalcy to the edge
And watch it drown in new horizons
New horizons

You said I’d only have to wait until I die
And that’s in no time
How did we come to thinking this was funny?
Cheering and laughing at the dying
While we’re riding the line in You

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)

Life floods in with a conquest
Life floods in with a new quest
He’s a voice for the voiceless
And a song for the soulless
Life floods in

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)

When the times keep going wrong and we go right
When the times keep going wrong and we go right

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Ah!
(Wait until I fly, new horizon)
We need you here!
(Wait until I fly, new horizon)

There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly

When the times keep going wrong and we go right
We go right

Karate And Me – Chapter 4 – From Near Tragedy To Triumph

KARATE AND ME

CHAPTER 4 – FROM NEAR TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH

November 1984 seemed to come around very quickly, it was just four months since my last try at my black belt, that was a miserable attempt and since then I had gone back to training five times a week, it was hard work, but I was determined and Alan was pushing me hard, there were a number of other students of a similar age that were climbing the grades and getting to train with them also, helped to push me on.

But as November started, it all nearly came to an end.

We had a family tradition on Bonfire night, in the half term school holidays, all the kids would go to my Nan’s in the day time, while out parents were at work.  The boys, myself and my two cousins, took responsibility for building the bonfire, I was the youngest at ten, the other two being 14 and 15, the girls took charge of making the Guy and making bonfire toffee with my Nan.

We always made a big bonfire, then on bonfire night, the whole family would descend on my Nan’s, my parents and my Aunty and Uncles would bring a selection of fireworks and we would all enjoy the evening.

This year my cousin decided to add a little extra to the proceedings, somehow he managed to find a recipe to make homemade bangers.  All of the components were available for even a 10 year old like myself to buy over the counter, so we made a number of these in varying sizes.  They worked, in fact the worked better than the over the counter bangers that could be bought at that time, a few years later these would be made illegal, but back then bangers were common at bonfire night.

I wasn’t involved in setting any of them off, my cousin did, I must add, under the supervision of my uncle and at no point was anything considered unsafe.  The night was going well and everyone was enjoying themselves.

As the evening went on I began to feel my eye starting to itch, I rubbed it, but it got worse and worse, getting more irritating as the night went on, eventually I went to my Mum, who took me inside to take a look, then it became obvious that something was wrong.  My eye was far worse than just itchy, my eye lids were red raw!

Immediately my Mum and Dad took me to hospital, surprisingly it was quiet, so we were seen quite quickly.  The nurses in casualty  were concerned and called a Doctor that specialised in eye injuries.

It transpired that both my eye lids were burnt, it would seem that something and probably the sellotape that we used in the bangers had gone into my eye.  The Doctor stated that I was lucky, I must have blinked at that moment, because my eye lids were both burnt, but there was no damage to my eye itself.  Had I not blinked, the melting sellotape would have gone directly into my eye and almost definitely left me blind in that eye.

I had had a lucky escape, just superficial burning, I was sent home with paste to put onto my eye lids at regular intervals, but other than that I was fine, just an eye that was uncomfortable due to the scabbing of both eye lids.

They say things can change in the blink of an eye, I learnt the truth of that sentance on that day.

I went to karate on the next night, it was a normal Tuesday training session, I went only to watch, not take part, my eye still looked a mess, though I could still use it. Alan then broke the news that there was another grading on the Saturday, up in Newcastle, he could get me a lift there and he wanted me to try again.

Between Alan, my Dad and myself it was decided I would go for it again on Saturday, as my eye was mainly just cosmetic and not anything permanent, it wasn’t too much to worry about.

So Saturday morning I left my house about five in the morning, a parent of some of my club mates took me to Lincoln, there I met up with one of the seniors from our Lincoln club, who walked me to his sister’s house and she took us both up to Gateshead, near Newcastle.

We had set off early and then arrived early too, that gave us plenty of time to put in the grading forms, both Simon and myself were grading, so Simon copied the details of my previous grading form and submitted my new forms.

This was only the second time I had trained with Enoeda Sensei, my previous black belt gradings had been under a different examiner.  Enoeda Sensei was an imposing character, he just had that air that he carried with him, he looked serious and really did scare me.  I was on my own in the training, I was with all these kids I didn’t know, whilst Simon trained with the adults.  We practiced a series of moves, in a combination that involved a number of turns, then Sensei requested we get into groups of three.

All the other kids around me obviously knew each other, they all got into groups very quickly and when I looked around there were no other kids to go with, I was on my own.  So I just carried on practicing the combination on my own, whilst everyone else practiced in groups.  That was when I saw Enoeda Sensei coming my way, I panicked, I kept my head down and just did what I was doing as best as I could, after I finished the combination, I looked up to see him stood right next to me, I expected a telling off for not getting into a group with the others, then I saw him smile at me and raise one of his hands to give me a thumbs up.  Wow, I expected being shouted at, I was almost ready to cry, my shy and nervous side was ready to explode, but that smile, that thumbs up, just washed away all those nerves, after that my energy levels seemed to double, I was on cloud nine, I was flying.

There was a bit of waiting around after training, whilst the next group trained, then the grading itself started.  The younger kids were usually first, so I was in one of the first groups of six called up.  My name was called and I took my place in the line before Sensei, then there seemed to be a pause, something was being discussed on the table, then Sensei pointed at me and called me to the table, my heart sunk, all the positivity of the mornings thumbs up was now ebbing away.

I walked to the table, Sensei asked my name, I responded nervously, he asked when I last grading, I told him the it was one year ago, then he asked who old I was, I said I was ten, then he pointed at the paperwork and that smile came over his face once again, with a big laugh in his voice he bellowed out for all to hear;

“It says here, you one year old!!!”

I looked down at the paperwork and to my horror, Simon had put my date of birth as my last grading date the previous November and in that box put my date of birth, it was an obvious mistake, but Sensei saw the funny side, normally he would probably have rejected the paperwork, but he laughed with me as he corrected the paperwork and with that same smile I saw from him earlier that morning he sent me back to my place in the line up.

But once again, Sensei’s smile had put me back on cloud nine, I went back to the line, gave everything I had and waiting with the rest for the result.  Back then you sat through everyone else’s gradings and waited to be called up again, if you were called up a second time for another kata, you had pretty much passed, unless you messed up that kata, I was called up a second time, flew through the kata and a little late my pass was confirmed.

Simon hadn’t passed, but you couldn’t tell, he was over the moon for me, it seemed it meant more that I passed than the result of his grading, he never showed any disappointment, I’m sure he had some, but he did a great job of hiding it.  We found a pay phone (no mobiles back in 1984) and I called my Dad and told him the news, I remember us both being in tears on the phone.

I don’t remember the ride home, it was long, but it passed so quickly, I got home and within minutes Alan turned up at the house, he was over the moon, I could see it in his face, he always took great pride in any of his students passing their black belt, but it seemed more so with me.

The next few days were interesting, there weren’t many ten year old black belts back then, especially not in Nottinghamshire, Alan contacted the papers and I had arrangements for interviews and photoshoots.  One of the papers came to my house and photographed me in my front room, another arranged to come to my school, it was a little embarrassing to have to perform barefooted in a wet school playgroup, in front of a handful of friends, whilst being photographed, although that paper did give me the nick name the mighty atom!

The previous day I had been mentioned in the local paper, not by name, but I was listed as being the only Bonfire night casualty in the Newark area, not my most shining moment, then just seven days later, I made the paper for all the right reasons.

They were six days that were a complete rollercoaster, from almost losing the sight in one eye to obtaining that black belt.  Then there were those moments during that grading which just changed things, to this day I still feel like I must have been Enoeda Sensei’s favourite student that day, he saw something in me and knew exactly how to respond to my shy and nervous persona, maybe I wasn’t his favourite student, but just for those few hours, it felt like it.

Life can change in the blink of an eye sometimes, had I not blinked that Monday evening, would I have done everything I have since then?  Would I have gone on to get that black belt, well maybe, probably not that day or in those circumstances, but I may have carried on, but everything that I have achieved in Karate since that day, has happened because of that one moment, that one blink.

Back then and through most of my life I haven’t been a Christian, I never believed, but now I firmly believe that at that moment, that blink of an eye was a moment when God’s touch was on my life.  Karate has been a major part of my life, a major part of the good that is in me, even in my lost years of drinking, it was only karate I stayed sober for, I’m sure it kept me alive in those years, it was the only thing that went right for me as the world around me crumbled, had it not been for that blink of an eye, well, I don’t even want to think about that.

BLINK by REVIVE
Teach me to number my days
And count every moment
Before it slips away
Take in all the colors
Before they fade to grey

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

When it’s all said and done
No one remembers
How far we have run
The only thing that matters
Is how we have loved

I don’t want to miss
Even just a second
More of this

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink

Slow down
Slow down
Before today becomes
Our yesterday

Slow down
Slow down
Before you turn around
And it’s too late

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink, it happens in a flash
It happens in the time it took to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there’s no stopping time
What is it I’ve done with my life?

It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink
It happens in a blink