One More Fight

The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?


I'm standing in the arena, facing my opponent. Hands on guard and ready to fight, fists clenched and sweat dripping down my fingers. In the distance, I hear the command, "fight!" The match has begun.

Sparring, kata, sweeps, hooks, and grabs had all proven to be integral aspects of my training in the art of kenpo over the past eight years. I spent countless hours learning and mastering the material, and I was always excited to show that all of my hard work was paying off. I got that one chance at tournaments: I had to make the most of it. These days were filled with sweaty palms, nervous laughter, and bated breath.

As the minutes of the fight drag on, my breath becomes shallow and my face heats up. I continue to push on, drawing nearer to my opponent and throwing out kicks, punches, blocks. My opponent retaliates, launching a snappy roundhouse kick that jolts me off my feet and onto the ground. I'm sprawled across the floor and gasping for breath as I try to blink back the fuzziness creeping into my vision. My heart pounds violently against my chest, begging for escape. I try to inhale, but all I feel are daggers in my lungs.

Following a week of recovery, I walked back into my karate studio with a slightly bruised ego and...

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