Tag Archives: Retirement

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

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.