18 Nov

My fencing coach pulled me aside during practice recently, said she needed to detox me after my last tournament. After reviewing what went wrong, she challenged me to adopt a different attitude towards what I’m doing.

“What I love about this sport,” she said, “is its spiritual component. To have any success in fencing, you need to be able to conquer yourself.

“Your average fencer has an ego that can’t fit through the front door. And you need it — if you don’t have an ego, go do aerobics. The people who have success are the ones who can fold their ego, and keep folding like like a samauri sword, until they caan get it through the door.

“You’re a good fencer,” she said, her analysis splashing softly against the rocks of my insecurity. “The problem isn’t with your skills, it’s in your head. I don’t know how long it’s going to take you to get your D” — not sure when she decided I was going to advance past E — “it might be just a year, but you’re going to get there.

“But you can’t focus on getting your D now, can’t worry about how far away you are from being where you want to be. Get into the joy of Working on your skills, the thrill of competing. You can’t be about the destination — it has to be about the journey. And if you can enjoy the journey, you will get to your destination.”

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