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  • rebeccatherebel23

From Competitor to Coach. It can be a painful transformation from the tiger to the dragon.


The transition from competitor to coach is kinda rough. It’s the battle of the tiger and the dragon within.


It’s 9:00pm on a Friday night and I’m sitting in a hotel room getting ready to rest up for a martial arts tournament tomorrow. I’m reminiscing a little bit because, you see, I’m “in-between” stages in my life. I am progressing from competitor to coach, from the tiger to the dragon. It’s not easy, every tournament reminds me of my glory days when I was waking up at 5am to run, training 6-10 hours a week in the dojo and weightlifting on the off days. Jump kicks and back flips were easy, I could memorize a kata in 15 minutes, and a tournament didn’t leave me completely exhausted at the end of the day. That’s the tiger. Headstrong, high energy with something to prove and always on the prowl, eager to fight.


Then there is the dragon, always being challenged by the tiger. The Dragon represents wisdom. Always seeking ways to end a fight before it starts. It’s power can be felt before it is seen and uses the cunning circular movements of martial arts to conserve energy and out wit his opponent. The dragon is a teacher and no longer relies on the strength of youth.

So here I am, after 26 years of training, finding myself in the middle. I still long for days of competing when physical activities seemed so much easier. Yet, I find myself settling into the roll of the dragon. Still competing once in a while but learning to enjoy new roll as a teacher and coach. There is a learning curve that I am on and it is teaching me how to delight in the victories of my students. When they rank up, my heart is happy. When they earn a tournament trophy, I have the same joy as if I had won it myself.


I would be lying if I said it was easy, it’s not, but I have no choice so I must accept it for what it is and transform as life demands. Martial arts teaches us to be malleable to our surroundings and that is what I am trying my best to do. As my dad would say, “growing older is not for the young”.

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