In my head, Martial Arts Competition was a final step, an assessment of achievements from these nine months in Shaolin Kung Fu school. Evaluation of my physical skills, but more importantly evaluation of my psychological capacity to be there and be able to give my best without getting too nervous.

I was waiting for it because afterward, I could relax.



At the beginning of July, the school asked again, who would like to perform in the competition. There were only two people – me and Jacob.

Three months ago there were 15 people registered for the competition. But because of various reasons, most of them resigned. Some of the students, like Julian, Charles, Ugwar… had already booked a flight ticket back home. They all were informed that the martial arts competition will be a few days earlier. Unfortunately (for them and school), it was assigned to be on the 20th of July. The others, like Janina, Jana, Kevin… had their own personal reasons to cancel their participation.

The school was very disappointed. There were gossips that they will cancel the whole thing.

It wasn’t so easy though. The students from Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School were the only international students in the competition. The organizers already made it, because of our participation, an international event. The school couldn’t just say: „ej guys, we… actually… don’t want to compete“. It was a big deal for the school to make students go to the competition.

Till the last week before the competition, I wasn’t sure if we go or not. Master Wei – the head of the school – gathered all students, who didn’t want to participate in the competition but registered at the beginning. The school learned that some of the students didn’t have enough money for the competition. The school made compromises and reduced the price.

6 days before the competition,

the final decision was made

The number of six students – Jacob, Chandan, Arlen, Nick, Julian, and me – was signed in to participate in the second international Martial Arts Elite Competition in Jia Xiang City.

Finally came Wednesday – 19th July – a day before the martial arts competition. On that day, I was reflecting how unique and unpredictable my life was. One year ago, the dream to train, compete and be able to show, what I have learned, was just a cloud of random thoughts… now, it become a reality.

4 p.m we left Qufu. I felt excited and a little bit nervous. I was happy as well that this big day is so close and soon it will be over.

I wanted to enjoy this moment. I wanted to wear beautiful clothes, have my hair tight up and have good make-up. In summary, I wanted to look good, feel good, so I could present the best of myself. Not for the results, no. Just for the moment.

We arrived at the hotel. It looked big but very neglected. There were (of course – China) some issues to resolve. Eventually, we received the room – me and Dani together. We could unpack and prepare for tomorrow.


Morning came and everything started to be hectic.

I woke up earlier than I planed. Still, I couldn’t make my hair as I wanted. Daniel was not helping, quite the opposite, making it more difficult to deal with my emotions. I was annoyed.

They told us to be ready at 8 a.m. But (of course) the time was 7:30. I wasn’t able to eat calmly, or pack things properly, or correct my hair. I was angry at the situation.

The martial arts competition took place in Gymnasium School in a sports Hall. It wasn’t very big. There were three carpets, on each of them 4, 2, or 1 competitor presenting a program. There were four tables, each table containing 8 judges.

I was assigned to perform in the afternoon. Almost everybody from my school was performing in the morning.

It was noisy, crowded with people and we had to wait a lot.

The hours were passing slowly. I was watching performances, seeing that the level of competitors varied. My body and mind felt tired. I had a bit of tightness in the stomach.

Around 12 o’clock Jacob, Arlen, Nick, Julian, and Chandan performed. Their forms went pretty well. Somehow that made me relaxed – the competition was less of a big deal right now.

After lunch, again – waiting, noise, and a bit less of the crowd. I was again bored, tired, and annoyed with all the mess created around it. At some point the whole thing seemed to me pointless – people competing against each other, one not better than the other, with different bodies and abilities, judged by the others and I was a part of this masquerade. The most ridiculous thing was that I was actually nervous about it. I felt just stupid.

Time went by. In my head rang the words my Shifu said to us before the competition: “Don’t be nervous. Don’t care about the scores, the medals. Just do your best”.

Finally, around 3 p.m. came my turn – my first performance, Sha Hong Chuan.

I was curious: „Will I forget my form? Will I panic? What will I feel? Will I make fun of myself…? No.“ – I just wanted it to be over – „I am ready! Let’s go!“

I went in front of the judges.

My heart was pounding, but not more than when I presented the form in front of my Shifu. I bow confidently as instructed by my Master. The Form started. I made a mistake but I easily went over it. I enjoyed being on the “stage”. I was focused, trying to make the kicks and punches as fast and powerful as possible.

After the first performance, I had to wait 2 and a half hours to present the next form – Kung Fu Fan. The waiting time was boring and seemed to last ages. But, I enjoyed it. My mood changed. I was happy. I wasn’t nervous anymore. I was confident with myself.

Around 6p.m. Again. I went in front of judges with the thought: „Finally“.

The beginning wasn’t good. My fan didn’t make a confident sound. I corrected it with the next movements. My body wasn’t as sharp as I expected it to be. Doing a bridge, the ground seemed too close. I was happy with the jump. I hesitated during the front sweep. I finished knowing that I could do better.

But, it was over. It was time to go for a reward – Pizza and ice cream. Nothing embarrassing happened. All stress before was unnecessary. This is though how we learn.

The best part is that now I know I can do it.


The second best part is that I could finally rest a bit and think about the next „mile stone“.

Hurrah !!!


You wanna know how to become a champion?
It’s easy
turn your dream into your GOAL
plent it deep in your heart
And for the next ten years
eat, sleep, breath, laught and cry
but don’t ever take your eye off your GOAL
not even for a second
You wanna know how to stop being a champion?
Actually tried that once
Believe it or not


Gabby Douglas

Shaolin Kung Fu


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