Yesterday, I posted this old animated gif on my Facebook Page. Here’s some background and rambling:
Back in 2000, when this clip was taken, I had stopped my competitive career a while ago because:
- There was no money in it.
- I got married, bought a house and planned on having kids. Expensive things to do…
- There wasn’t much in the way of official support because Belgium is a small country and martial arts are not big-name sports here. They were even less so back then.
So it was either be flat broke and try to get help from the almost non-existent sponsors or quit fighting and work. I chose to work and move on with my life. Still, I made the decision reluctantly because I enjoyed the training and testing myself against other athletes. But it wasn’t to be, so I made my peace with it.
Then one of my students wanted to compete and for shits and giggles, I trained along with him. We entered the nationals and both won gold in our category. Which was rewarding, but I had decided up front this was to be my last fight. My first kid was on the way so pretty soon, I wouldn’t have much extra training time anyway. I figured I give it one more try and then go after different challenges.
Due to luck of the draw and circumstances, I only had to fight once, in the finals. My opponent was a fighter I had TKO-ed before in a previous tournament. He seemed to remember that experience because he refused to stand still in front of me when the first round started. I tried to cut corners and pin him but he rabbited all over the place, which annoyed the hell out of me.
So I stopped in the middle of the fight arena and looked at him with “Are you gonna do track and field or did you come here to fight?” plastered all over my face. He decided to try and fight. [Read more…]