Me and The Darkness
by Brad Wilson
(Saint John, NB, Canada)
My Name is Brad Wilson, I'm from the east coast of Canada and have been practicing taekwondo for 15 years. I am a 2nd Dan Black Belt, soon to prepare for my 3rd Dan testing.
I received my first black belt at the age of 14, still just a young kid. I have competed all across my wonderful country, enjoying every minute of it. I've had 2 defining moments in my black belt career that have changed me deeply as a person and martial artist.
The first was a 2004 Jr National tournament where I fought for the national gold and won. That fight tree, that bracket of the country's best was the most daunting piece of paper I had ever read and I was supremely confident in my immediate demise during the first round of elimination. I surprised both myself and my instructor by dominating and winning my weight class and the only reason I was able to do this was FEAR....
I used my fear.
I looked at my opponent across the ring before each match and let the fear tear me apart and eat me from the inside out. I let it "do its thing" and once the fight started, a calm came over me that allowed me to act with precision and confidence.
The second was my first senior fight, where I fought a 3rd Dan as a 1st Dan. This man was 10 years my elder, and much more experienced. In fact, MY Master fought him a few years before and my Master won by only 1 point.
I was intimidated to say the least.
I fought hard, using the lessons I had learned about using my fear and pain to fuel my spirit until in the 2nd round I was injured badly.
This was a defining moment for me because it was the moment that I decided to really take to heart the TKD Tenent of "Indomitable Spirit". I thought of all the training and knowledge that had been passed to me and the sacrifices that had been made to get me to where I was at that point.
I fought through the agonizing pain and the match ended up in a 7-7 Draw. Sudden death went in my favor, and I won the bout 8-7. It was the proudest moment of my life, surpassing the comparatively trivial victory of a national gold medal. Why? Because for me that personal victory, of my mind and spirit over the fear and pain, meant more to me than any medal ever could.
These are the two short stories of my 2 greatest lessons I've learned about myself and what it is I'm made up of and the moral is that no matter how many medals or trophies a fighter may have, it's what is in his/her heart (and guts) that really matters.
Mr. Brad Wilson, 2nd Dan, JVK Taekwondo, Saint John, NBDeb's Reply
Great stories Brad.
What can I say?... by telling your stories you've captured the essence of what it means to be a taekwondo black belt.
Thanks so much for reaching out - you will help others.