Today, I was so upset with myself that I felt like punching a wall.

“Wow, that’s extreme”, I hear you saying. So let me put that into some perspective.

Around 25 years ago, I started doing karate. I am sure it was just my mother’s way of getting my brother and I out of the house for a little bit but I really enjoyed it even though it only lasted nine months until I moved to the other side of the country. After moving around a lot within Australia, I made my way back to karate whilst at Uni and starting again I made my way up the grades to a belt halfway to black belt. Then I started moving again, this time internationally, ending up in England.

I eventually got back to Karate and within a few years, in 2010, I finally got the Black Belt (1st Dan) that I had desired since my childhood. It was an amazing experience, achieving a goal that I had wanted for so long. Persistence pays off.

However, a month later I injured my back quite severely whilst attempting the Yorkshire 3 Peaks walk. If you have never heard of the Yorkshire 3 peaks, look it up, it is 12 hours of mountaineering fun!

Move on a couple of years and I get back to karate again, and then on and off for some time. Back not quite ready yet, seems okay, nope I’ve hurt it again. An ongoing cycle of pain and frustration. That is still ongoing but I am determined to get back into it and regain the speed, flexibility and skill I once had. At the very least, to get somewhere near it.

That brings me to tonight. Back to karate after a couple of weeks out. A bad migraine one week and bad traffic the next, my legitimate and simultaneously feeble excuses for non-attendance. I’m keen, I’m ready to go, so I was there, doing it, going all out.

In Shotokan karate there are sequences/patterns of movements called Kata. For my black belt grading I had to do eight of them. I should know them, I have done them over and over again. But no….I can’t remember any of the Kata after the first eight and even then, out of those eight, there were only two that I could remember first go and those are the first two kata I ever learned. How embarassing.

Yes, I have had a lot of time out and yes, I haven’t been practicing at home, so it is reasonable to forget quite a lot. Yes, that might be okay for some people, but that is not how I work. I do things and I want to be exceptional at them. So, it was frustrating, very frustrating to find that my mind had forgotten such simple little steps that once upon a time I could do flawlessly. Well, as flawlessly as one can without it ever being perfection.

I knew that all I needed was there in my head, I just needed to access it, trust it and feel it. I was thinking too much and not letting my body and instinct take control.

Stop. Breathe. Relax. Get in the flow and let that frustrated energy take me forward. 30 minutes later I have remembered the eight kata again, with a little help from my friends.

Some people would feel that frustration and lose it, maybe punch a wall, or cry, or shout and let it take them into an angry place. I know that I could have easily chosen that path, but I chose to control it and use that bubble of energy, that fire inside, to achieve success and to get what I wanted.

Admittedly, I did some sparring after that and took a kick the wrong way, cutting open my thumb….so all in all, not the best night for karate but I am on my way back to where I want to be. I am on the path and that path is going to be difficult and frustrating. I am going to be annoyed at my poor timing, my slow movements and those forgotten things. Each one is a small obstacle which I will surpass and work through, each one is just another thing I can do better.

So when you are feeling frustrated, don’t give up and don’t give in to the powerful emotion. Convert it to success energy and launch yourself in the right direction. You can do it.