Category Archives: Karate

Karate And Me – Part 1 – The Beginnings

KARATE AND ME

PART 1 – THE BEGINNINGS

It can safely be said I was quite a sickly child, whatever went around I caught, my sister on the other hand was never ill, it was always me.  It was tonsillitis that was the bane of my life as a young child, it seemed to come around every couple of months and instead of school, I would be sent to my Nan’s whilst my parents worked.

Eventually it was decided that I would have my tonsils removed.  In the late seventies and early eighties it was, I guess, common practice to just send every chronic suffer to have them removed, nowadays they aren’t so keen.

So on Sunday 21st September 1980, I went in to Newark General Hospital, the day before my operation was scheduled.  There were three other boys having their tonsils out and also a young girl who was having her adenoids removed.  We were all of a similar age and seemed to get on, except the young girl who was rather loud and annoying!

On Monday afternoon we were taken upstairs to theatre and one by one we were all operated on.  I remember waking up and just coughing up blood, all we were allowed to eat for the first few days was ice cream!  On the following Thursday we were discharged and my parents were told I was not allowed out of the house for two weeks, for risk of infection.

Whilst I was house bound, my cousin, who was four years older than me had started karate at the local sports centre.  On the first Sunday that I was able to leave the house, I went to watch him.

At that time in 1980, karate was only just becoming the family activity it is now, beforehand it was just a battleground for grown men, but now more and more clubs were inviting kids to join.  The club in Newark at the time had an age limit of seven years old, at that time I was still only six, just two months before my seventh birthday.

So on Sunday 12th October 1980, I went along to watch my first class.  I remember sitting on the bench at the side, just watching and then standing up and trying to replicate what the kids and their parents were doing.  Then about half way through the class the instructor came over to my Dad and me, he had obviously seen that I was trying to do karate too, he asked my Dad how old I was and when he told him that I was still just six, but only a couple of months from being seven, the instructor paused for a moment, then decided I could join in, he invited me to join the rest of the class and off I went, shoes and socks off and I joined in.

As a child, or being honest here as an adult too, I was very shy.  I didn’t make friends easily and didn’t speak with people I didn’t know.  If I was with my parents and they stopped to speak with someone they knew, I would hide behind them, unless I knew them, but generally I was very shy and quiet.  I was more than happy with my own company.

So karate was a big step out of that bubble for me.  The instructor, Alan, was a hard but fair man, he pushed us, sometimes maybe too hard, but that was because he wanted to get the best out of us and generally only the ones that really tried and he thought had potential.

In those early months, I’m not sure what he saw in me, I tried, I really did, I was a trier, if I was doing it, I was all in, doing the best I can, but the honest truth was that despite all my efforts, I was rubbish, my natural shyness didn’t help either, I guess it stopped me performing at times and also if the instructor raised his voice, I would probably break out into tears, I did many times and generally it wasn’t because he was shouting at me either, I was just that sort of kid that would cry at the drop of a hat, I was shy and I was emotional, I guess I still am, just ask my Connect Group!

After five months for training, it was time to take my first grading, I had never met a Japanese person before, Kawasoe Sensei was quietly spoken, but a very good technician.  I don’t really remember that first class with him, I remember it being a Saturday evening, as was the normal for grading back then, eventually they would move to Sundays, but that would be a year or so later. I think that Sensei would come up from London, take a session and grading in Newark on the Saturday and then travel on Worksop to do the same on Sundays, although I may be mistaken.

I have a vague recollection of taking that grading, but what I do remember is the result and what my instructor told my Dad afterwards.  It was very rare a student ever completely failed a grading, they would have to be clueless to do that and lets be honest, if they were clueless, they shouldn’t be taking the grading in the first place.

I don’t think I was clueless, I just wasn’t very good, my instructor told my Dad that I got the turns wrong in my kata, essentially the first kata is a twenty simple moves and a handful of turns, the turns are the only thing you really have to get right!  In addition to that I didn’t kiai during my grading either.  The kiai is a shout of spirit, it should be done at the end of every set of basics and twice during the kata.  I think I may have kiai’d during the grading, but knowing me and how shy I was, it was more likely that I just mumbled something under my breath, rather than let out the shout of spirit that was required.

As I say, it was pretty rare to see anybody fail at the first grading, it still is, but there is what is called a temporary grade, the student still gets to wear the belt they were grading for, but as they are not quite up to standard, they could just be made up to a full grade the next time, unless they significantly improve.

I got a temporary grade that day, 9th kyu as it was called.  These days we give out a bright orange belt to new 9th Kyus, back then though, there was no such thing, we kept the same shabby, fraying canvas white belt and my Dad wrapped a piece of black electrical tape around each end, that signified 9th Kyu, the next belt should be what is now red, but back then a second tab was added, it was all a bit basic.

I laugh now when I think back to that first grading and my early days of karate, the thing I couldn’t do back then, is what I now have a reputation for, I couldn’t do my kata, as time went on I would become Regional kata champion, eventually National kata champion and represent England in kata on five occasions, but back then I couldn’t do it for toffee.

It does however make a good story for my students these days.  When I can see they are struggling with their kata, learning new ones and not getting the right, I tell this story, of the little shy boy, that couldn’t do his kata, that got that temporary grade like some of them, I wasn’t very good, I wasn’t natural at any of it, I worked hard though and in time it came to me.  The young kids look at me in disbelief, they can’t imagine that I would have been that bad, I tell them I was a lot worse than they are, then watch as they relax and things begin to fall into place.

That early disappointment wasn’t a setback, it was just a start, I was too young and didn’t really understand what it meant for it to be a setback, I got the belt, so everything was fine, it was now on to the next grading.

But there was a setback to come.  Back then I idolised my cousin, we weren’t a very well off family, most of my clothes and all of my bikes at that point had been hand me downs from my cousin, needless to say, he was four years older and generally bigger than I was, I was very small for my age, well below the average height, indeed at 5ft 4½ inches, I am still very short (needless to say the ½ inch is very important), so the clothes I got from him were too big and by the time I grew into them, they were well out of date!

Some weeks after that grading, my cousin decided one Sunday that he wasn’t going, we only trained once a week at that point, but the classes were growing by the week and soon a Tuesday evening would be added, but my cousin said he wasn’t going, so I wasn’t going either.  The same thing happened the next week and then the week after that, it happened for about six weeks, then my cousin said he didn’t want to go anymore, so naturally, as I wanted to do everything he did, I told my Dad I didn’t want to go anymore either, my Dad wasn’t very happy and I didn’t understand why.  I had no idea how much it cost each week, how much the karate suit cost, the license and the grading, I didn’t understand any of that, I had no concept of money, I didn’t get pocket money, I did karate and that was it, so I didn’t understand until years later why he was unhappy that I didn’t keep going.

He hardly spoke to me for the following week, until on the following Saturday, I asked my Dad if he would take me to karate the next day, I remember the light in his face when I asked him.  My Dad worked three jobs most of the time when I was younger, he worked at the local factory during the week, two weeks on days and then two weeks on nights, then the weekends he would work with a friend of his at a Garden Centre in Southwell, the friend he worked with also did karate and around this time had just received his black belt, apart from Alan, the main instructor he was one of two that past that day to become the second black belts from the club.  In addition to those jobs, my Dad would finish work early and then go and work for an hour or so at the D.I.Y. store my Mum worked at in town, he would just help in the mill cutting wood and then would come home with my Mum, so unless I went to the Garden Centre with him on a Saturday, which I did from time to time, I didn’t get to spend that much time with him, he worked so we could have a nice home and nice things.  I had been born into a family that was living in a Council Flat on Grange Road and by now my parents were working hard to buy their first house, it was a council house that we had moved into, but my parents had purchased it and were working to do it up and pay the mortgage, as well as give my sister and myself everything they could afford, so when I said I wanted to go, I realised this was something that he wanted to do for me, to support me in, he knew I liked it, I knew I was a trier and the instructors there had taken to me, whether I was pretty bad at it or not, he wanted me to succeed.

So I went back and started training once again, preparing for that next belt.  By the time I took that next grading, the belt system had changed and the 8th Kyu belt had now changed from the old white belt with two tags to the red belt, although the 9th Kyu belt would remain white with a tag for a while to come.

Back in those days it was popular to just dye belts, I guess it was expensive then to buy belts, karate wasn’t as popular a pass time as it is now, so belts weren’t available everywhere like nowadays, so my Mum decided to dye one of the white belts I had, I had two now, because I had inherited my cousin’s after he quit, she purchased the red dye, followed the instructions the evening after my grading.  I still had only a temporary 8th Kyu, I was good enough to complete my 9th Kyu belt that was a temporary grade from before, but still wasn’t quite good enough to get a full red belt, so it was temporary again.  The only problem was that she dyed it that Saturday evening after the grading, but it came out pink and she had used all the dye, the Sunday was normal training at the club and well, I went with my pink belt.  There wasn’t many people at the class and with it being July, the class was held on the playing fields behind the sports centre.  My Dad took his camera that day and somewhere there are pictures of me in pink belt, beating up Fraser, one of the adult brown belts who would help out at the kids classes on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say the next day my Mum purchased some more dye and re-dyed it, it came out a dark crimson red, that was fine for me.  After that grading I never wore a dyed belt anymore, it was a purchased belt all the way.

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to

Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up,
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
 

Discovering The Heart Of A Champion

The Church I attend is called Everyday Champions Church, that was the Church I walked into on the 1st April 2012, just three days after finishing my last drink.   We have a motto as such which is “There Is More In You Than You Think”.

Over the last few weeks in our Connect Groups we have been discussing what it means to be an Everyday Champion, what it is that drives us on to be the best we can be.  A couple of weeks ago in our Group, my mind was drawn back to a comment I had heard, a quotation that a famous Karate Instructor had said and when I went away to find the actual quote, I came across a story I had heard before, but now found more relevant than ever.

Back in 1957, the Japan Karate Association organised the first All Japan Karate Championships, which was probably the first Nationally organised karate competition in the world.  One student, Kanazawa Sensei was training for this competition, until just four days before he broke his right hand training.  The J.K.A. withdrew him from the competition because of the injury.

His mother had travelled to Tokyo to watch her Son compete, when she arrived he told that he was unable to compete due to the injury to his hand, but she didn’t understand why he couldn’t.  He tried to explain that he wasn’t allowed, due to the injury and she questioned him further.  She asked if he only used his right hand, didn’t he have another hand and two leg also, couldn’t he use them?

She told him to go back to the J.K.A. and ask to be allowed to compete.  The J.K.A. eventually agreed, on the provision that he had a doctor with him that would take responsibility for the injury.  So he went along to compete, hoping to win just one fight for his on looking mother.

In the competition he used his left hand to block his opponents and counter with kicks, he won his first fight, then another and another, until he made the final.  In the final he once again used his legs to score the points that saw him crowned the first All Japan Karate Champion.

Years later he travel to England to teach, he was introduced as a Champion of all Japan and students would congratulate him on becoming champion, he would usually respond  with “Thank you but please remember that I was only a karate champion for that one day, what about all the other days of the year?” Then he would say. “Karate is not just about being a champion on one day of the whole year but karate is about how hard you train in order to perfect your karate and yourself all the time, for every day, not just one”.

The story of that first karate championships is a great example of how we think.  He only saw what he didn’t have, concentrating on what he had lost, his mother looked not to what was lost, but made him look to what he had, to use that and go out and win, she changed his thinking and his mentality.

We see a parallel here with many stories and heros of the Bible, the likes of Moses, when God instructed him to lead the Isralites out of Egypt, he saw his inability to speak as a reason he couldn’t do it, but God saw the heart inside and sent Moses anyway, sending Aaron to speak for him, God saw what Moses did have, rather than what he was lacking.

In Jeremiah 1, we see the same issue, God instructs Jeremiah to go out to be a Prophet among the Nations, but Jeremiah responds with what he does have as an excuse, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”  God sent him out anyway, seeing what Jeremiah had rather than what he lacked.

Despite being a karate champion, Kanazawa Sensei saw that as only one act, just that day, he saw his training as his way to perfect his character each day, to be the best person he could be.  In karate we have what is called the Dojo Kun, five ideals we strive to be:

  • Seek perfection of character
  • Be Faithful
  • Endeavor
  • Respect others
  • Refrain from violent behaviour

Kanazawa strove to live out this code in his daily life, not just a champion for that one day, but to live as a champion everyday.

Unfortunately these days we see too many champions of sport, not just karate, who fail to live this way, though they train to win on that one day, the rest of the time they unfortunately fail as human beings, consumed by success and riches gained, rather than living the real life of a champion.

We see in David, a champion on the battle field who strove to live the life of a champion everyday.  We see when he accepted the challenge of Goliath, it was those around him that saw only what he didn’t have, they saw him as young and small, inexperience and not a warrior, they didn’t see what David had.  Even Saul didn’t see what David had, otherwise he would have taken the challenge himself.  We don’t see Saul get down on his knees and pray to God, he was the King of the Israel, yet he never saw what he had on his side, only what he didn’t.

David on the other hand knew he had God with him, he answered Saul’s doubt with “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” He knew he had God with him, he had all he needed and as we know he defeated Goliath.

We are all guilty of seeing what we lack, me included, I see everything I don’t have as a reason not to be the person God made me to be, I see all that is wrong with my life, forgetting about all that I have and what God has given me.

I may have overcome so much, but there is still much I am afraid to do, because I have fear in what I don’t have, rather than confidence in the God I have with me always, I just need to keep believing, like David, that the God that has delivered me from so much, will deliver me in all the battles I face.

What is it that you see as a reason not to face the challenges before you?

What is it that you don’t have that stops you from competing?

What is it that you believe you don’t have that stops you being a champion everyday?

For we all have God with us, in every battle, in every fight, so what is it that stops us living as a Champion?

WHOM SHALL I FEAR (GOD OF ANGEL ARMIES) by CHRIS TOMLIN
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still

Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises

You are faithful
You are faithful

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises

You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Retired? – Not Anymore!

So just over a year ago I posted this:  Retired!!!  The previous year I had retired from competing at karate after thirty years of competing and bowed out as my associations 2013 Mens National Kata Champion, the second time I had won the title.  So last year the deadline for entering came and went and I decided that I was staying well and truly retired.

When I went to last years championships, I guess there was a longing inside to compete again, watching the competition that day, I knew I could still beat the majority of them, even though hadn’t done much karate over the previous nine months, due in main to the depression I found myself in and the subsequent decision to scale down my teaching involvement for a while.

I never meant that scaling down to be permanent, but in fairness I haven’t really got going again, I teach at least once a week, no way near the five sessions a week I was teaching two years ago.  I’ve found it hard to get the motivation back for it.  It’s been my life for so long and in a way my weeks and to a certain extent my life was organised around it, due to my commitment in running the club.  Luckily for me over these last eighteen months, I have a very able assistant instructor who has taken on the mantel of running the club and allowing me the freedom to come and go when I please.  It’s been nice to not have just be there all the time, it’s been nice to pick and choose when I go.

In a way I’ve become quiet lazy about it though, there are nights when I could have gone, wanted to go, but just didn’t, the motivation wasn’t really there.

So three weeks ago, with the forms for this year’s National’s entries in my inbox, I made a choice that I was coming out of retirement.  Despite the fact I’ve done one training session myself this year and my involvement in teaching has been at best minimal, I had no preparation, I was back to being overweight and needed to get myself in shape again and get back some motivation.

So three weeks ago I started the early morning walks, the weight started to come off once again, I booked this past weekend off work and made my travel preparations.  I told only my assistant Steve, my boss and a colleague at work and our Campus Pastor at our Church Campus in London Bridge, other than the organisers of the National’s, no one else knew, not even my family.  The only other preparation I had apart from the walking was a quick fifteen minute run through of the Kata’s I would need and that was that.  I decided to tell as few people as possible, so I wasn’t putting added pressure on myself, I just wanted to be able to turn up and give it ago, no fanfare, nothing, just to go and take part, what will be will be, no added pressure!

So Friday morning I set off to London, met with Melvyn, our Campus Pastor in London, for a coffee in London Bridge, then carried on to Crawley, spending the night in a Travelodge in Crawley town centre.

Saturday morning, I walked to the venue and met with many old friends and met with the comments, “I thought you were retired”, I answered with “I am, I’m just having a day off!”

All in all it didn’t go that bad, I got through the three elimination rounds without losing a flag, two competitors compete side by side and the five judges raise a flag to either red or white, depending on who they thought performed best, so things were going well and I wasn’t feeling that bad.

Come the semi final, I wasn’t doing that bad, until an old injury flared up and made me stumble slightly, but not enough to drop too many points and I still made it to the final the second highest of the four finalists.

Once again in the final I felt okay, until near the end and the injury flared up once again, making me stumble and rush through the final sequence, I wasn’t happy with that part, but in the end I settled for third place.

All in all, considering everything finishing third, with little prepation, still overweight and carrying an old injury, I’ll take that.  Plus when I look and see that the two that beat me are both close to twenty years my junior, it’s not all that bad!

So now what, well there’s another competition later in the year, this time organisations from Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Norway will be sending competitors, so I plan to take part in that too, there is plenty of time to lose a little bit more weight, to get back down to the weight and fitness I was when I retired, so let’s go for it.

I stayed over in Crawley again on Saturday night and left for London first thing, I went to our Church in London Bridge, they only joined with our Church at the beginning of the year, so I don’t really know anyone there, but they all made me feel welcome.  My presence there surprised Gareth, our lead Pastor and if you know my testimony, Gareth is who I called that morning back in March 2012 when life had become too much, he answered my call and came around that evening, he brought God into my life and began the process of my recovery, I owe him so much.

I did receive a bronze medal for finishing third, but I felt inclined to give it away, so I gave it to Gareth’s young son Reuben as a present.  It just felt like the right thing to do, my last medal, the Gold medal from two year’s ago resides now in Swansea, with my old Connect Group leaders Paul and Sarah, I gave it to them as a gift and a thank you for all their support, when they left Newark to start a new Church in Swansea last year.

I must say I didn’t feel 41 when I was competing on Saturday, I didn’t feel that bad this morning, but as the day wore on at work, I am feeling it now, hopefully it will wear off in a day or two and I can carry on with getting fit again.

I came across this song on Thursday night and I’ve been playing it on repeat almost all weekend, I had it one whilst I was travelling over the weekend and even as I sat relaxing between rounds on Saturday, it brought a very calming influence over me and it’s a great song too, it’s long, but well worth a listen.

REDEMPTION RAIN (Extended Version) by JONATHAN DAVID & MELISSA HESLER
Won’t you come up here, come up high
Won’t you sing His praise, let it rise
Up from your, ashes and all your pain
Won’t you come and dance, in redemption’s rain
Come up here

Won’t you come up here, come up high
Won’t you sing His praise, let it rise
Up from your, ashes and all your pain
Won’t you come and dance, in redemption’s rain
Come up here

Redemption rain is falling
Down, down, down
Redemption’s love is pouring
Out, out, out

Redemption’s song is singing
La, la, la
He’s singing la, la, la
He’s singing la, la, la

Won’t you come up here, come up now
Won’t you leave your worries below the clouds
And let His beauty fill your lungs
The heavenly chorus it has begun
Come up here

Redemption rain is falling
Down, down, down
Redemption’s love is pouring
Out, out, out

Redemption’s song is singing
La, la, la
He’s singing la, la, la
He’s singing la, la, la

Oh love be in my bones
Love shake down my walls
Love be in my bones
Love shake down my walls

Love be in my bones
Love shake down my walls
Love be in my bones
Love shake down my walls

The Story So Far – Chapter 19 – National Champion

CHAPTER 19 – NATIONAL CHAMPION

Just like twelve months before, May was a month of picking myself up and getting myself back in shape.  The year before I was just coming out of the pain of withdrawals, back then as soon as I felt I was free from that pain, I started exercising and began a program of losing weight, in order to be fit to compete at the National Championships.  After the stop start months of March and April, May was a month to get back to where I wanted to be, especially with the Nationals fast approaching on the 29th June 2013.

This year it was to be my swan song, I had planned a few years previously that I was to retire from competition after this years competition.  I had participated in my first National Championships at the age of nine, back in 1983, this year would be my 30th time competing at the Nationals, so as I was now 39 and fast approaching 40, I thought it was perfect time to step down from competing and bring a close to what had been a fairly successful run over the years.

Three years previously I had actually won this competition, at that time I was well in the throws of my addiction, I was overweight, I even drank the night before, but I still had it together at that point to put in a good performance and win.  The following year I finished second, but by that time I had put on even more weight, I was totally unfit and as the year before had been drinking the night before.  Somehow I still managed to perform to a good standard, despite all that was going on in my life, I may have been a mess, but as I’ve stated before, once I put on the karate suit I seemed to leave that side of my life behind, somehow I managed to outperform who I was.

Obviously the year before I had tasted disappointment, I had so much expectation that I could get back to winning ways, I was fitter than I had been since I was a teenager and above all sober, but things didn’t turn out the way I had planned them in my mind, but in all honesty that was the best way, I think it was right that I didn’t win that year, I wasn’t ready for that step, I was to wait and wait I did.

Come the day of the competition we drove down on the morning of the competition, it was a long drive, well over three hours, we set off very early in the morning, ready for the 10am start of the competition.  Yet somehow I still felt calm and relaxed, ready to go.

Back in 2006 I went into the competition as probably the favourite, I had finished second the year before, I had competed earlier in the year at the European Championships and also been selected for the World Championships in Sydney later that year.  I made it through the early rounds with very few problems and went into the semi finals pretty confident.

But a combination of my health problems and the volume of alcohol I had consumed the evening before, conspired against me.

I had spent the evening before at a barbeque, watching the England vrs Portugal World Cup match, the infamous match in which Rooney was sent off and Ronaldo’s wink!  I hadn’t intended to drink as much as I had, normally the night before a competition I would limit myself to one or two.  I must add that at this point in time I don’t consider that I had an alcohol problem, I drank and drank regularly, but I drank socially, not to escape my life, at that time life was pretty good.

My blood pressure issues and circulation lead me to have clammy hands and feet, this became worse when I drank.  So at the competition in 2006 they were using a new set of mats for the semi finals, unfortunately these were proving to be a little slippy in general, most people were managing to handle them, but not me, I managed five moves into the kata Enpi and then slipped and fell.  At that point it was all over for me that year, I had fell in front of everyone present and had to carry that with me ever since.

Since then I had stopped using katas that were flamboyant or fast paced, settling for competing with katas that were safer for me to perform, yet more conservative.  So this year I decided that if I was going to go out one last time, I was going to do it with my favourite katas and not the safe option.  I was going to defeat those demons that had haunted me since that day in 2006.

Things went well through the early rounds and without any problems I made it into the semi finals.  In semi final I performed the kata Enpi, this kata I hadn’t performed in competition since 2006 and this time everything went fine, I qualified for the final as the highest scorer.

Just as the last competition, I had found a way to keep calm and relaxed before competing, part of that was praying and just breathing, it seemed to be working for me at least.

In the final I decided to use a kata I had not used since the 2007 final, on that occasion I had trouble with the fast turns in the kata, because I couldn’t get the grip with my clammy feet, so I had stopped using it too.  So for the final I sent with Sochin and performed well enough to win my second and last National Championships.  The response from my fellow competitors and old squad mates was amazing, they seemed to really appreciate what it meant to me.  At the medals ceremony my retirement was announced and I was given an unprecedented introduction as I collected my medal, usually thing occasions are quite formal, but not this time.

As I collected my medal and stood on the top of the podium to the great ovation from all the competitions, spectators and officials, the emotion began to get the better of me and I admit there were a few tears.  The whole day couldn’t have gone any better, it was just the way I had hoped it would be, in a way it was the way I wanted the previous year to be too, but now I really appreciated that it was worth the wait.

Nationals 2013

Nationals 2013

A couple of weeks later the Chief Instructor of our association and my former squad coach came to my club to conduct a grading.  We spoke about the competition and he told me that I shouldn’t retire yet, he believed that I had competed better than he had ever seen me compete and there was still more to come.  That confused my decision to retire, but in the end I stuck to my guns and decided that I had finished with competing.

MIRACLE MAKER by KIM WALKER- SMITH
I’m waiting here for my life to change,
When the waters stir You can rearrange me.
Just one touch is all I need,
I’ve nothing much but the wounds I feel,
I’ve come to find the hand of the miracle man.

Holy, You are holy,
Who was and is and is to come.
Holy, You are holy,
Saviour, healer,
I’m standing at the feet of the miracle maker.

I’m holding on, with Your life in mine,
Living water’s come,
And You’ve rearranged me.

You are holy, You are holy,
Who was and is and is to come.
Holy, You are holy,
Saviour, healer,
I’m staring in the face of the miracle maker.

Holy, You are holy,
Who was and is and is to come.
Jesus, precious Jesus,
Thank you, Saviour,
I’m walking in the shoes of my miracle maker.

Holy, You are holy,
Who was and is and is to come.
Jesus, precious Jesus,
Thank you, Saviour,
I’m standing with the faith of a miracle maker.

The Story So Far – Chapter 13 – The Return To The Mat

CHAPTER 13 – THE RETURN TO THE MAT

Come November 2012 and it was time to brush of the dust and go back into competition.  The disappointment of the Nationals back in July was behind me, but not forgotten.  This time around it was a competition organised by our association which invited the other national associations of the UK and Ireland, essentially the same competitors as the last time, but with a handful of competitors from the other nations, but for me it was time prove I still had it and I guess after the last competition the pressure was on the others and not me anymore.

By the time of the competition I had lost even more weight and was down to 10st, my lowest weight for almost twenty years.  When I got to the venue there were a number of people who didn’t actually recognise me, I had known them years, but they had to do a double take before they realised who I was, it was a response I actually enjoyed and found pretty funny.

I was actually feeling quite confident, but in a very different way to the last time.  I guess the last time I was way over confident, I felt that I couldn’t fail, the title was mine this time around, there was no way I could lose.  This time around I was confident, not just that I could do better than before, but this time I felt that I just go out there and compete without any pressure, pressure that mainly I was putting on myself, I was confident, but with that what will be will be attitude, it took the pressure off me.

I felt far more relaxed when competing this time, I always feel nervous, even after a thirty year competition career, I get nervous, before approaching the area I am nervous, very nervous, but once I walk on I switch modes, put everything around me out of my head, bow and walk on, I put all those nerves aside, the downside of that is that sometimes I become pretty tense, which can make the movements slower and a little less fluid that they need to be, also I have a tendency to rush, especially if I just lose that little bit of focus and let a little bit of what is happening around me distract me.  But this time around I was able to manage this so much better than ever before, for the first time I felt I had lost that tenseness which sometimes creeps in.

The preliminary rounds went really well, there were no little slips, no rushing, things were maybe a little tense, but not as bad I had been in the past.  In fairness the National squad competitors are generally seeded in the draw and miss each other until the latter rounds or the semi finals, as a former squad member and champion, I am afforded that privilege and get seeded along with the current squad members and previous finalists, so the early rounds were straight forward enough.  They should have been last time around, but that over confidence played its part and well, what happened, happened.

I remember feeling quite emotional when I reached the semi finals, the last eight were split into two semi finals of four, each competitor was to perform their choice of kata and the top two from each section would go through to the final later.  Although I wasn’t entirely pleased with me performance, I made it through to the final after winning my section.

After that I had to find a quiet place, I was feeling so overcome with emotion I had to go somewhere quiet, I left the hall and found a quiet corridor away from everyone, there I had a few tears.  I’ve reached so many finals over the years and won my fair share of them, but I’ve never shed a tear like this, not in this way, maybe it was just a reaction to disappointment of last time, I’m not entirely sure, but I shed a few tears and thanked God for what He had done in my life up to that point, six months before I was on the edg of life, now I was overcoming so many things, I was thankfully for every one.

The final later went well, I was once again not entirely pleased with my performance, it wasn’t my worst, but could have been better, but in hindsight now it was probably better than my performances over the last few years, but there was room for improvement.  I finished second in the final, losing to an old rival, Ken had won the National’s earlier in the year, we have been competing against each other over the last twelve years, we seemed to take it in turns to beat each other, one year I would beat him, then next he would beat me, this time around it was his turn and that was fine.

2011-2012

2011-2012

Though slightly disappointed with my kata in the final, I wasn’t actually disappointed to finish second, not after the last time, in truth I was just happy to be back competing and to still be competitive.

Over the previous years karate had been the only thing that kept me going, it was the only thing, other than alcohol, that I had an appetite for, it was the only thing I would stay sober for, it was the only place that I actually felt normal, felt alive.

When I met with Gareth I described my karate suit as my Superman suit, I was like Clark Kent, without the suit on I was weak, yet when I put the suit on I became someone else, someone who showed strength, leadership and life.  But in reality over the last couple of years that was all a lie, a big lie.  There was such a difference in my personality in and out of the suit, I couldn’t let anyone really know what was going on, especially not those who saw me as a leader and inspiration, I had an image to keep up and I did it the best I could.  Before karate I never drank, sometimes at the weekend I would have one pint with a meal, but that would be a few hours before training, seeing as just one pint would make me sleepy, then I tried to avoid it anyway.

When the suit came off, I almost ran to the pub, I would have waited all day, weeknight’s when I taught it would be gone 10pm before I hit the pub, so the quicker I got there the better.  As my drinking got worse, the opening hours went from closing time at 11pm to closing at 12pm, so instead of getting just two pints in that time, I was not able to get four in.  Eventually I wouldn’t leave the pub until about 1am, walk home and then start on whatever I had in the house, before I fell asleep.

Finally though it seems that the two sides of my personality where coming together, there was still a bit of difference in the two sides of me, I was still more comfortable in my surroundings in my karate gi, where as in real life I was far more shy and reserved, but the distance between the two was far less, not that I was diminishing in the suit, but I was becoming a stronger person without the comfort of my karate suit.

RISE ABOVE by FIREFLIGHT
Too much time we let pass by
Broken dreams and idle lives
Waiting on the way it ought to be
Pushing forward, falling back
Counting scars and losing track
Afraid to crash we never spread our wings
And with every chance we take we find a reason
To give up on the hope that we all need

Maybe today we all will rise
Maybe today we all will rise
Above the mistakes that we’ve made
Sometimes we’ve got to face the fall
Before we rise above it all

Can’t give up on second tries
Leave the pride that blinds our eyes
No one taught us how to say goodbye
Now’s the time for broken hearts
Embrace today a brand new start
Leave the past and let love lead the way
And with every chance we take we find a reason
To give up on the hope that we all need

Maybe today we all will rise
Maybe today we all will rise
Above the mistakes that we’ve made
Sometimes we’ve got to face the fall
Before we rise above it all

If we just lived like we mean it
If we loved even when we don’t feel it
We would suffer for a reason
And see there is more to who we are

Maybe today we all will rise
Maybe today we all will rise

Maybe today we all will rise
Maybe today we all will rise
Above the mistakes that we’ve made
Sometimes we’ve got to face the fall
Before we rise above it all
Rise above it all
Rise above it all

Friday’s Addiction Feeding

I love teaching karate, especially kids, about three years ago, in the period where I had no work and nothing to do, I was doing just that one Friday morning, lounging around, doing nothing!  When the phone rang, it was the Sports Centre where I teach karate, they needed a favour and I would get paid as well, they were running a Tae Kwon Do class for kids on a Friday afternoon as part of a package of courses they offered to kids on the swimming course, but their instructor couldn’t make it, could I cover the class?

Okay, I have never done Tae Kwon Do, but the principles were similar, I had nothing to do and the money was good, so I said yes.  When I got there they asked if I could cover for the next two weeks, well that was okay with me, the age group was 7-15, the class was quite small and although I taught them karate and in a slightly watered down way to what I would normally teach, I enjoyed it.  After the three weeks I was asked if I wanted to take the course on full time, as the other guy could no longer commit to it, so I agreed a fee and said yes.

After a number of months the manager called me in, they wanted to expand the class, to include a younger age group, was I okay with the extra class and the four to six year old age group, again I had nothing better to do, so I agreed to it.

After a slow start the younger group gradually increased in numbers, until I was teaching about 20 of the little guys on my own, which wasn’t easy to control (I had agreed to 15 max), but I got through it and actually enjoyed it, even though it could at times fry my brains!!!

Obviously at this time I was falling deeper and deeper into my alcohol addiction, although I never drank before any class, except maybe for one pint with a meal at lunch at the weekends, but never anything more, I stayed sober and in control for my classes, which is more than can be said for everything else in my life.

So Friday evening’s were no different, actually these became my worst nights for drinking alone, I would walk home at six o’clock, when both classes had finished, on the way home I would stop at the shop around the corner, I would get two bottles of wine, two bottles of Jaques cider and probably four cans of normal cider, I would get home, nobody would be in and I would start drinking, the Jaque’s first and then both bottles of wine, the cans maybe one if I actually finished the rest before I fell asleep or if not I would keep them for the next day, where I would follow a similar routine after karate, but the weekends included a stop at the pub and a number of pints there.

Gradually the classes on a Friday went beyond the number of kids I had agreed to and the Sports Centre asked if one of my assistants would like to help, they would be paid the same as me, I asked Steve and he agreed and joined the class.  I’m not sure why, but I let Steve take the classes and I assisted, I guess it was nice for once to be the assistant rather the leader as would be our normal roles in the club situation.  It relieved the pressure and stress, but that didn’t relieve the drinking issue, I would still go home, stock up and drink it all, it was rare that I left too much to drink for the next night, pretty much if it was in the house I had to drink it, leaving it was not really an option, although I usually brought a few extra cans for emergencies!

Obviously that was then, I stopped drinking, after that I just went home after karate and did what I could do to stay on the wagon, not an easy journey, but one I am managing to accomplish so far, there have been thoughts, but that’s all they have been I am pleased to say, I pray for the strength to overcome everyday and am thankful that my prayer is answered every time.

Tonight though was one of those rare occasions, where Steve was away and I was on my own, the classes the last few weeks have been quite low, so I was hoping for a similar turn out, but ended up on my own with fourteen 4/5 year olds, oh great!

One of the mothers asked me just before we started if it was just me, when I said yes, she jokingly asked if I had got a can of beer in my bag, err awkward!!!

It wasn’t really the time and place to go into my history or admit I was an alcoholic, I simply said I didn’t drink anymore, but jokingly said you never known I might think about it after this class!  I didn’t really know what to say, she never meant anything by it and I understood what she was saying, something to calm the nerves after the class, but in a situation like that in a hall full of other parents, how do you react, I just laughed it off, it wasn’t a problem, I wasn’t offended, but it did bring back memories of those Friday nights where I would indulge in a life destroying habit.

The kids I can safely say where raving, they were definitely on one, not in a bad way, more in a crazy over enthusiast way.  Although when we had races at the end, I got my own back by thoroughly confusing them, I always line up the teams, tell them I have one rule, “to go when I say go!”

Well it gets them all the time, no matter how many times I repeat it they just look at me nodding, the parents laugh and many are telling them to go too, but they just don’t get it, cruel I know, but I like to have the last laugh!!

All in all it was a good class, I really enjoyed it, although it was a bit on the crazy side, but the great thing is I can come straight home and relax, I don’t need anything to take the edge of things, to calm the nerves or put me to sleep so I can forget the problems in my life.

I have my moments, my low spots, just like I did last Sunday, at times I want to be alone, at times I quite happy to share my problems with friends and work through them.

I am so thankful to God for answering my prayers and setting me free, I am also so thankful for everyone at Everyday Champions Church who have been alongside me all the way, that have propped me up when I felt like falling, who have just been there when I needed them.

I SEE HEAVEN by BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT
I see heaven invading this place
I see angels praising your holy name
I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

I see Glory falling in this place
I see hope restored, the healing of all disease

I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

I see Glory falling in this place
I see hope restored, the healing of all disease

I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

All of the glory
All of the glory, Jesus

Let your Presence fill this place
Let heaven come

Let your angels be released
Let heaven come

We will worship at your feet
Let heaven come

Face to face we want to meet
Let heaven come

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory

All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory

Retired!!!!

So as midnight passed last night and Friday 13th of June came to an end, so definitely did an era.

Yesterday was the my karate association’s deadline for this year’s national championships, last year I officially retired on the occasion of competing in my thirtieth Nationals and becoming England Men’s National Kata Champion for the second time.

I has planned to finish last year, hoping to go out on a high and of course I did that and they gave me a great send off on the day. Then my Chief Instructor told me it was the best he had seen me compete and maybe it wasn’t time to stop just yet.

So as the year passed and the Nationals approached, would I get that itch again?

The answer is no, I have no real motivation to compete again. In reality my appetite for karate is no way near where it used to be, I still enjoy karate, but it’s taking a far less important role in my life.

For 34 years it’s been a big part in my life, at one point I was teaching somewhere everyday of the week, for four years I travelled almost weekly down to London for squad training and travelled the World with the England squad, I’ve had some great times and amazing experiences.

But over the last few months I’ve taken a step back, let others take over a little bit, I’m still teaching and still involved, but for the first time in over 25 years, if I don’t want to go to karate, I don’t have too! For those. 25 years I have been the club, it was me doing all the teaching, if I wanted a night off, assistants would have to be arranged in advanced, it was rare that I could get home from work and decided I didn’t feel like going, I had to be there or things just ground to a halt.

Thankfully Steve who has been helping me for many years has stepped in and taking the reigns, allowing me a bit of breathing space to get my life right.

Family, Church and work, now come before karate, for many years karate came first, even before drinking, I never drank before going to karate, although afterwards I would catch up, quickly! I would say that to a certain extent karate kept me alive, it gave me a purpose when my life was collapsing around me.

Karate will always be a part of my life, I don’t intend to stop teaching, I still enjoy it and after all it has given me some great principles to live by, but for now the stress and pressure of competing is in the past, this year I’ll just go to coach my juniors and cheer on all my old England team mates.

MOVING ON by NEEDTOBREATHE
Can we put back all the pieces to the puzzles left behind?
We will soon be back together just before the stars align.
When the curtain falls for one last time and closes out the show.
Marching left, right, left, another step. Keep smiling as you go.

Movin’ on
Movin’ on

I’m sick of good intentions how they always tend to drown.
But, then, nothing seems to stay afloat living in the saddest town.
When the curtain falls for one last time and closes out the show.
Marching left, right, left, another step. Keep smiling as you go.

Movin’ on
Movin’ on
Movin’ on
Movin’

You’re out of room for marking days on the wall
The lines remind of just how long I’ve been gone
You’re holding on but now it’s time to let go.
Just let it go.

Movin’ on
Movin’ on
Movin’ on
Movin’ on

We could be the story that’ll break your heart.
We could be the victim of a fall apart.
Maybe we could last another week or so.
Movin’ on baby means you gotta let it go.

New Student, New Spark

I’ve been teaching karate now for the past 25 years, with no more than a few weeks break in that time.  I took over the club, along with a colleague back in 1989, I was a mere 15 years old and my club mate just 17, he was the main instructor and I was the assistant, but that still meant that I had more teaching duties than training opportunities.   By the mid nineties, I had taken over the majority of the teaching, before eventually taking over the club on my own almost 10 years ago.

I’ve had good times and bad during those years, it’s not been plain sailing, it’s been hard work and a lot of time, indeed a lot of my life has been given over to it, at one point I was teaching everyday of the week, at the club, at schools and at a University, but on average it’s been five times a week that I’ve been out of the house teaching classes.

Many times, I considered why do I do it, many times I questioned do I want to keep doing it.  I spent many years doubting myself and my credibility, I was such a young instructor, I never saw myself as being taken seriously or whether I would get the respect I deserved, but over the years my reputation in competition and the results of my students, proved what I was about and I got beyond that doubt.

There have been times when I’ve been worn out and just needed a spark to reignite the fire inside, usually something happens to breathe new life into the club and into me.  For a long while karate was the only place I felt the good side of me came out, when I went through my real dark years of drinking and hardly working, karate was the only thing I had my head on straight for and only time I would never drink was before teaching, it was simply the only place I felt normal and of some worth, somewhere I still had something to give.

Over the last year I have scaled down my involvement, I have an able assistant who is more than capable of handling classes without me.  Back in November I took a step back when I was struggling, Steve took over teaching for a few months and gave me some time to get my head straight.  Since the New Year I have been back teaching, but I’ve not had a real fire for it for some time, I enjoy it still, but I can’t say I’ve been giving my all, it needed a spark to reignite the fire.

So last night, when I got home from work, out of the blue my daughter came to me and asked if she could come to karate!  She did a few class a few years ago, but only because her friend tried it, but since then she’s not really been interested.  My son trained for a few years, but after a while decided he didn’t want to do it any more, I was disappointed, but I would never force him to do it if he didn’t want to.

So Eve shocked me when she asked out the blue and tonight she was so excited.  It was her first class this evening, we walked there together (well I walked, she jogged along side), she joined in the class, the class was split between me and Steve, she was in Steve’s class, but she was okay with that.  When we walked home, I got a full run down of her class, what she did, what she got wrong and also everyone else got wrong too.

And when we got home she was quick to show me what she had learnt, she’s ready for the next class on Saturday now.

Maybe, this is the spark I need, I don’t want to go back to the five times a week I was doing before, I don’t need to, but I do want to get back a little of the old hunger, I guess retiring from competition last year hasn’t helped, but just maybe, I’ve got a second wind.

SET A FIRE by JESUS CULTURE
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of You God, I want more of You God.

There’s no place I’d rather be
There’s no place I’d rather be
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than here in your love, here in your love

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of You God, I want more of You God.

Love of God overflow
Permeate all my soul

My Daughter’s Chored My Ferrero Rochers!

Okay, so I get home after a long day at my Karate Club grading, with the gift of a box of Ferrero Rochers, my favourite chocolates, it does seem as though some of my students listen to me endless hints!

But since then my daughter has returned home, the first thing she found was my nice unopened box of chocolates, she worked out how to open the packaging and helped herself.  Now she keeps darting back in and out of the room to help herself to some more.

This is not the first time she’s eaten some of the chocolates I’ve received as a gift, a few years ago one of the parents who went with the England Junior team to Prague, where I was an assistant coach to the team, brought me some expensive chocolates as a thank you, on that occasion as the wrappers had what looked like Disney Princess Castles on them, she helped herself to them too!

Just in case your wondering what my post title means, well the word “Chored” is Newark slang for stolen, one our wonderful slang words!

It’s been a good day, I managed to train for 3 hours, the second time this year, so I am going to ache tomorrow morning.

Last night went okay, it was my Boss’s wedding reception, I really didn’t want to go, I’m not big on these kind of events anyway, but since last November I seem to have more of an issue going out to events where others are drinking. A friend from work said they were only going for a short while and they would give me a lift, so I agreed to go, I thought that out of respect I should at least make an appearance.  It went okay, these things are always awkard, but it went by just fine.

So next Saturday is the second anniversary of my sobriety, I suppose when I started out, I wanted it to be permanent, but even then I never imagined I would make it this far and still be intact, I can only thank God for that.

WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP by SANCTUS REAL
We will not lose heart
We will not lose hope
When all we see is fading
We trust in what we know
We will never give up

Pressed on every side
Praying for escape
We can see the answer
That You’re the only way
We will never give up

We will fix our eyes on the One who will last forever
We will hold on tight to the only real treasure
We will not lose heart
We will not lose hope
We will give our lives to the One who will last forever

We were born into weakness
Fragile by design
So we hold onto Jesus
With everything inside
We will never give up

We will fix our eyes on the One who will last forever
We will hold on tight to the only real treasure
We will not lose heart
We will not lose hope
We will give our lives to the One who will last forever

Greater is the One in us
We will never give up
Power of the Risen Son
We will never give up
We will never give up

We will fix our eyes on the One who will last forever
We will hold on tight to the only real treasure
We will not lose heart
We will not lose hope
We will give our lives to the One who will last forever

We will not lose heart
We will not lose hope
We will give our lives to the One who will last forever
Forever 

Jogging Bumblebees And All That!!!

Sometimes you think things can’t get much weirder, this morning as I neared the entrance to my work I was passed by a young woman jogging, dressed as a bumblebee, not the sort of thing you see every morning in Newark, I mean, we have some weirdos but a jogging bumblebee!  I can only assume there was some sort of fun run organised for Sport Relief, otherwise, I really don’t know!

Friday afternoons I teach a couple of karate classes for the Sport Centre, the first class is for four to six year olds, which can be interesting at the best of times, today was one of those days.  We have recently managed recruited a young boy, who has a zero attention span, you need to pairs of eyes on him all the time, which means either me or my fellow instructor spend most of the lesson trying to keep him in check.

Today that seemed almost impossible, the class bordered on chaos, we managed to keep it together, but we were well relieved when it ended.  It’s saying something when the kid that usually causes us the most problems, is getting annoyed at this other kid for not doing anything remotely like what we were asking him to do!

The only problem is that when that class finishes we have the next group straight away, one group leaves and the other starts, not even a minute to regroup!  The second class wasn’t as bad, they are older and far more interested in learning, but it still has it’s moments!

Oh well, we’ve got a week to recover and then the madness starts again!

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight, 
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to 

Fight the fight and 
Keep defying
I’d give up, 
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me