These are my continued thoughts on my recent experience fighting in Crown Tournament. Read the first part here.
For the second round, the tournament moved back to a more standard random draw. But as is too often the case with a random draw, you can end up driving hundreds of miles to fight the same people you fight every week at practice. While luckily there wasn’t much of a drive, this proved to be the case with me.
For the second round, I had to fight my knight.
While we don’t fight every week at practice, we fight quite a bit. He’s also the one that has been training me, helping to find the mindset needed to be truly dangerous. In other words: he knew my tricks, I knew some of his, and I didn’t want to let him down by giving him a mediocre fight, even if I lost.
Luckily, I was able to find whatever I had been missing that first round. I felt much more focused. Everything outside the fight faded into the background, while my opponent stood before me in sharp relief. I can still remember the feeling, although it’s hard to put into words. If you’ve ever done competition, you probably know what I’m talking about. There is a calm, but it is focused and energized, not lethargic. Your mind is curiously blank, but you are reacting faster than you would be able to think. You are, as corny as it sounds, In The Zone.
I felt much better during these fights. In fact, I was even able to kill my knight with a quick thrust to the eye. He didn’t let me do it twice (as well he shouldn’t), but I feel like I made him work for his two other victories. In the second and third fight he ended up legging me, forcing me to fight from my knees. And while I did end up losing, he got me with a different shot each time (which tends to make me feel good, and means that I’m probably not doing something egregiously stupid).
I can still remember the laser focus I felt during those fights. If nothing else, fighting in Crown provided me a chance to really experience that mindset. I was fighting near the top level of what I could achieve, not dialing down or playing around as is too often the case at practice. I will hold on to that place in my mind, and now that I know where it is, hopefully it will be that much easier to find in the future. I’m already looking forward to practice this week to see if I can find it again.
So that was my Crown adventure. While I was out in two rounds, I won at least one of my bouts. I was hoping to be able to go three rounds (meaning at least two wins), but alas. Oddly, this was pretty much my performance the first time I fought in Crown four years ago: head not right for the first round, but took the second round to three fights. Like I said, though, it was a great learning opportunity, and rather than discourage me it’s made me look forward to the next chance. I’m even considering entering the Spring Crown, which would be held about seven hours to the southwest in March. Not as convenient as 45 minutes east, obviously, but better than waiting an entire year to try again.
I think I may have caught the bug.