I face a new challenge at the annual tournament in Neu-Ulm. The full-contact fights are underway, mine is still to come – and my kung fu brother is knocked out, an admission to the hospital is imminent. Immediately I think about the organizational stuff, about his stuff going with him, about him needing his IDs, about him not having to go alone. One of our coaches sees it differently. “Prepare for your fight.”

Before the tournament started, my sifu talked to me in a little more detail about mindset. About how the fight would be decided in the mind and I could only influence that. My skills would be as good as they were at that moment, but the question of whether I could call them up, that depended on my head. He advised me to do different things, to concentrate, to prepare, to call up the adrenaline in advance, and to go into the fight with the conviction of victory. This process was in full swing – and then my brother’s knockout, which had a dramatic effect on me.

So I withdrew, away from the events. He was still being tended to by the medics on the area, with a number of officials and helpers forming a visual screen. Another fighter came up to me, someone I had known for a long time, along with her teacher. We talked about what had happened and how to deal with it now. In the process, I asked him one question, and that was whether I should have done something differently. He looked at me and didn’t give me an answer to that, but said, “Don’t deal with that right now.”

Right. Right, that’s why I had left. I had left not to deal with it and prepare myself. I had to get back into the fight mode, which could only know the focus on victory. One fight I would have, for three rounds, and these rounds, I planned to win all three. Slowly, very slowly, I found my way back there, and when my kung fu brother had been taken away by the helpers, I went back to the ring.

When the fight began, I was ready again. Only for a moment did I falter inwardly as my unusually large opponent attacked with great energy, but the thought was over as quickly as it had come. Not a full round later, the fight was over and my hand was up. Only then did I realize that I had been so focused that I didn’t ask whether or not our injured fighter had regained consciousness.

As a conclusion, I draw on the one hand that everything has to happen in its own time and that it is also important to be able to trust your own team. I didn’t have to worry about it, because the others did. Looking back, that gave me the ground I needed to regain focus. And on the other hand, I was able to realize that I can find my concentration again when it has fallen. Despite the accident and also despite the short inner dispute during the fight, I found my way back and was able to achieve a strong victory.

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