This was the first trophy I won after I became a Black Belt,
it was won for Bo Kata, now long ago.
Other trophies followed.
I really wasn’t competing to garner trophies, rather as
we had some of the best forms competitors in the Nation in the old Region 10,
I was always looking forward to the challenge of competing against those individuals.
The rush from the push.
My training never covered what you should do when you win.
I was without an instructor or a guide,
Really did not know anyone in Scranton, for that matter.
So I decided I should place my entry in the local paper.
I remember Sensei Lewis used to do that when students won.
I went to photographer and had photos taken,
Then took them to the local paper and gave them the facts of the tournament,
And the photo.
Then the next week I was on the cover of the local section as a winner.
Of course nobody knew who I was,
No one ever mentioned that photo and article to me.
I guess that was a lesson in itself.
When you win the first time, that is something special.
A moment you will remember.
When you win the next time, you more correctly realize that it meant for that second
And that day, the judges felt you were the better competitor.
Eventually you understand on any given day, it could be vastly different.
That is not the same as what you feel going up against those top competitors.
You do not even make a dent in their performance.
But time moves on, and they move on.
After enough trophies, perhaps they have other things to do.
Then you climb in the local ratings.
Maybe for a year you are just out of the top competitors.
Then the day comes they are all gone,
And it is time for your day in the sun.
Where you find the challenge is not there,
There are other things that are more interesting.
Those trophies you won from time to time,
Just standing in the corner year after year passes gathering more dust.
You hear from friends who won housefull of trophies,
All of them broken by their kids.
And yours continue to gather dust.
And after great time, you re-enter competition again to push yourself against age.
A few more trophies and now medals.
More things to gather dust.
When it is time to move,
They also move to the trash.
Not worth the space to go to a new home.
But one photo of that first trophy remains.
And One medal left on a shelf, also gathers dust.
A memory remains of a time when the competition was a tool to push myself.