Martial Arts and the Power of Belief

Player One
2 min readOct 15, 2021
With thanks to Sam Moqadam via Unsplash

I had spent the previous four hours in an incredibly heightened state. Basically, I was a nervous wreck. And right there and then, I could feel pains in my chest.

I remember thinking I was having a heart attack, surrounded by hundreds of people, most of them much younger than me. I also remember feeling stupid, out of place and inadequate.

My opponent, by my estimation, was in his mid-thirties. I was pushing 45, and feeling it. Taekwondo had always been a love of mine but the competitions always made me feel stressed and anxious.

I did the breathing thing. Box breathing. I had read somewhere that marines practised box breathing before battle. So I counted my breaths and told myself I was a warrior.

It didn’t help.

It’s all about what you believe

Thanks to Uriel Soberanes via Unsplash

I had also read something else. I’d read that if you believe something will happen, it most likely will. Years earlier I had believed I had a shot at winning a national short story contest.

Everyone around me said I had no chance. If they didn’t say that, they told me not to get my hopes up. The other writers were too good, they said.

I won that contest.

My opponent stretched, jumped up and down and looked as mean as he could. It’s common in martial arts competitions, the staring you down, the physical display. Sometimes, people say, the fight is won before you get in the ring.

Then I started to believe.

I believed. I imagined that I would land the right kicks at the right time. That I would block his kicks. That I wouldn’t get tired. That when I got hit (you always get hit) it wouldn’t shock me or even hurt that much.

I believed.

And then I won.

Have a great weekend.



Player One

Here to help you wake up, smell the gasoline, and help others with your experience.