By Eddie Fast.

In uniform I stand on a mat waiting. My mind is soaring through a thousand questions; how does this person compete? What if I mess up? If I mess up will he notice and counter? How will I keep my cool?

Take a deep breath through your nose then exhale out through your mouth. Don't think about messing up. Nobody really exists I told myself.

A plan is formed in my mind and a calm relaxation sweeps over me. My confidence level is growing to a state of readiness as I warm up. Suddenly, my name is called along with another name. I have heard that name before, but I put it out of my mind. My mind is kept from all social thoughts and issues.

I walk to the middle of the floor where this person is already located and I stand facing him. We greet each other in respect, most like a handshake but very different. A man, a respected man walks up and stops between us. We greet him in the same fashion as each other.

I stand there in front of my competitor waiting as the respected man holds out his arm with his fingers out and together. I turn my body on the angle and put my hands in front of my face. I am waiting, but in a different position. Some might find this form of waiting quite different but not in this situation. My opponent seems to be doing the same as me.

The man, the respected man drops his arm in front of us and stands backů.

Hajime! (Begin).

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